How You Give Matters As Much As What You Give

How You Give Matters As Much As What You Give

November 30th is Giving Tuesday, an international day of giving. It’s an important moment for organizations like Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) to call people to action and invest in our Native-led organizations and movements across the country. It’s also a moment to reflect on the past year and what we’ve learned from our work advocating for stronger investments in our communities. 

As you consider your personal philanthropic investments this Giving Tuesday, I ask you to reflect not only on what you give, but how you give. So much of the change we saw in philanthropy over the last year was a shift in the practice of giving. We saw many individual and institutional funders give up power by providing gifts with no strings attached. No expectations for how the funds would be used, fewer burdensome reporting and administrative requirements, and more multi-year commitments. 

Giving should be a practice grounded in values. As Indigenous people, we center much of how we give around the values of reciprocity and trust. As we reported earlier this year, the shift toward trust-based philanthropy by many donors wasn’t only respectful to those nonprofit leaders who know their communities best—it had real results. If you believe in the leadership of Native people themselves, giving flexible dollars show that you trust them and value their own knowledge and connections in their community. Donors from outside our communities can’t determine the impact of their investments through budgets and reporting, but they can by investing in—and trusting—Indigenous leadership. 

As you consider your gifts to Native-led nonprofits and Tribal communities this Giving Tuesday, we urge you to simply write a check to invest in their mission, and trust that they will make the impact. Here are a few ways you can give differently this year to Native people:

  • Learn about Tribal communities and current philanthropic investments on our Investing in Native Communities platform in partnership with Candid or sign-up for our Indian 101 series.
  • Donate to our Native Voices Rising collaborative in partnership with the Common Counsel Foundation where Native people make funding decisions for a national network of Native-led power-building organizations.
  • Explore the many other Native-led community foundations and nonprofit organizations that are helping get resources to tribal communities

On this #GivingTuesday, support NAP in our work to indigenize philanthropy. Sign up to receive the NAP Journal to learn more about the work we are doing to support a trusting relationship between philanthropy and Native communities.

Meet The Author: Erik Stegman
Erik serves as Chief Executive Officer of Native Americans in Philanthropy, a national organization advocating for stronger and more meaningful investments by the philanthropic sector in tribal communities. Previously, he served as the Executive Director for the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. He has held positions at the Center for American Progress on their Poverty to Prosperity team, as Majority Staff Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and in the Obama administration as a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. Erik began his career in Washington, D.C. at the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center. You can read more about him on his page.