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With so many issues the world over, from homelessness and poverty to problems of education, health, issues affecting young and their families, starvation, community and economic development and environmental issues, where do philanthropists start to try to save the world?

Recent results indicate that careful strategy matched to the values and concerns of the donors does seem to bring about a giving that makes a difference. IT brings a deeper understanding to the issues donors care about and connects them more to the problems they could help. This closer connection appears to bring better results.

Global Angels, for example, helps communities living in poverty by providing long term solutions. One of their projects to support a village in Uganda has had a transformative effect on the lives of the families living there by introducing pig-breeding programs. One family last year received a pig that soon gave birth, then used the piglets to buy a goat. Now they are breeding goats and the manure from the goats helps grow better maize. The breeding of the pigs also helps pay for school fees for the children and helps buy potatoes, which they can farm each year. This support leads to families becoming self-sufficient and this self-sufficiency means the children can go to school.

GiveDirectly is a way that donated money is given directly to poor villages in Kenya and Uganda. The money is received directly by the family and is used however they wish to use it. The results of this form of giving have been carefully monitored and recorded and show that the direct cash transfers benefit the children, with positive effects on their health and an increase in schooling. Many recipients save or invest their donation and generate a future income. Spending increased in all areas except for tobacco, alcohol and gambling, thus proving that the beliefs of the cynical are unfounded. In fact, working hours have increased for many, as they take on better paid jobs.

As with anything in life, there are many differing views on philanthropy and there are many ways of approaching it. Much work is carried out by philanthropists to research and analyse the social issues involved and to understand the root causes behind these issues, believing that strategy and compassion of donors will make a difference; as these result show, getting to know the problems and the people is gradually having an impact.

For more information about these projects, you can visit Global Angels at www.globalangels.org and Give Directly at www.givedirectly.org.