It's an exciting time to support international development...

But how do you begin?  Who should you support?   How can you make the most difference?

Step ONE: Take a three hour course to become a better informed, more strategic international donor.

Step TWO: Continue learning by joining a community of internationally oriented donors – NEID Global

All proceeds go to NEID Global, a community of internationally oriented donors that can further support your philanthropy journey through ongoing learning.

Smart Donors…Make a Difference - International Edition

The short course that will empower you to make more thoughtful and effective decisions about your charitable giving overseas – and feel more satisfaction about the difference you are making.

Seven Modules – 24 Lively Videos

Each module consists of short videos that use a mix of live case studies, background information, useful advice, and even a few myth busters.
By filling out the accompanying workbook, you’ll end the course with a personal roadmap for your international charitable giving.

The Curriculum

  • Module One - Your Giving Roadmap

    Welcome to Smart Donors… Make a Difference – International Edition, the short course that will empower you to make more thoughtful and effective decisions about your charitable giving overseas – and feel more satisfaction about the difference you are making.

    • Chapter One - Global Interdependence = Global Responsibility

      In this chapter, we’ll see why it’s an exciting time to be involved in international development.  We’ll also cover the basic vocabulary you’ll need for the course. (7½ min)

    • Chapter Two - Why Generosity Feels Good

      We’ll start by reviewing how our brain reacts to giving and what we can do to feel enduring satisfaction. (5 min)

    • Chapter Three - The Smart Donor Funnel

      The seven modules of the course represent seven steps needed to make thoughtful and effective international giving decisions, as illustrated by this funnel diagram. (1½ min)

    • Case Study - The Mistakes We Make

      This video reviews common mis-steps in international giving and how to avoid them. (8 min)

  • Module Two - The International Giving Landscape

    This section is an overview of the evolution of international assistance over the past decades, as well as challenges and opportunities for the future.

    • Chapter One - Today

      This chapter provides a landscape scan to give you a sense of who are the major players, where the money comes from, and how it flows around the globe. (9 min)

    • Chapter Two - Tomorrow

      This chapter looks at the past accomplishments, the current trends, and the future challenges facing international development assistance. (15 min)

  • Module Three - What Interests You?

    The single most important decision you can make to ensure your gift makes a difference is choosing the right cause and, especially, the right issue area within that cause.

    • Chapter One - Choosing a Cause

      In this chapter, you will choose the cause(s) about which you feel most passionate. (3 min)

    • Chapter Two - Selecting an Issue Area

      To better select the issue you should focus on within your chosen cause, you will learn about three simple tests to determine where you can make the most difference. (7 min)

    • Mythbuster - The Overhead Myth

      This video debunks one of the most destructive misconceptions in charitable giving and demonstrates the importance of supporting an organization’s operating costs. (7½ min)

  • Module Four - Why Is This Happening?

    This module offers simple tools for donors to better understand the issue they have selected before deciding which solution to support.

    • Chapter One - Framing an Issue

      First, we review why properly framing an issue is so important (and what happened when a large international organization failed to do so). (5½ min)

    • Chapter Two - Understanding an Issue Within it's Ecosystem

      Our world is made of complex relationships, so we can’t simply look at one problem and one solution.  We must zoom out to look at all the factors that influence an issue to determine at which points intervening may have the most positive influence. (2½ min)

    • Case Study - Youth Unemployment in Kenya

      This case study illustrates the range of choices a donor faces when deciding which interventions to support. (10 min)

    • Chapter Three - Drawing Your Landscape Map

      In this chapter, we will show you how to draw your own landscape map using the previous case study as an example. (3 min)

  • Module Five - What Pathways To Change?

    This module will show you different the different approaches international funders can use to help make change happen through the organizations or initiatives they support.

    • Chapter One - Three Pathways to Change

      After reviewing the critical importance of seeking “great” rather than just “good” solutions, we will look at the characteristics of community based (direct services), policy based (advocacy, communications campaigns), and market based (social enterprises) pathways to change. (15 min)

    • Case Study - Advocacy on a Shoestring

      This case study will illustrate how the right small investment in advocacy can go a long way to foster change. (3½ min)

    • Case Study - Beyond a Woman and Her Cow

      There was a time when microcredit (allowing one woman to purchase one cow) was considered a silver bullet for the Global South.  This case study reviews the evolution in approaches to financial inclusion and suggests how you might engage with this exciting topic. (7½ min)

  • Module Six - What is Impact?

    “Impact” is one of the most misused (and misunderstood) terms in charitable giving.  This module is a primer on the basic concepts smart donors should grasp to understand if they are making a difference.

    • Chapter One - Measuring Results

      Using the example of a program to develop social and emotional skills in Colombian youth, this chapter explains the different ways to measure change. (6½ min)

    • Chapter Two - Evaluating Results

      We’ll use the same example to demonstrate a “Theory of Change,” a method to determine if a program or activities are leading to improvements and ultimately solving a problem. (4½ min)

    • Chapter Three - Analyzing a Website

      Many donors get much of their information from a charity’s website.  This video is a guide to understanding (and questioning) the information communicated on a website. (8 min)

    • Mythbuster - Cost per Head

      This video focuses on more common misperceptions about impact. (3½ min)

  • Module Seven - Who is Making the Most Difference?

    By this point, you will have chosen a cause and issue area within it, performed enough basic research about the issue to know which approaches and solutions you wish to support, and created a short list of organizations that fulfill these criteria.  In this module, you’ll learn how an American donor can engage in international initiatives.  We’ll also look at powerful ways to make the most difference by supporting grassroots organizations.  And we’ll end with a review of buzzwords and concepts you may encounter as you launch your international giving journey.

    • Chapter 1 - Ways to Give Overseas

      This first section explains the legal logistics of international giving by American donors. (5½ min)

    • Chapter 2 - Funding Grassroots Initiatives

      This chapter shows you why supporting grassroots organizations directly is so impactful, and how an American donor can engage in this approach. (6 min)

    • Chapter 3 - Buzzwords

      This last session helps you understand the jargon and concepts you may encounter. (9 min)

  • Conclusion - Your Engagement

    This final session will help you complete your roadmap and will also highlight ways – beyond making donations – you can make a difference globally.

    • Your Engagement - Finalizing Your Roadmap

      This final session will help you complete your roadmap and will also highlight ways – beyond making donations – you can make a difference. (5 min)

All the Smart Donors… Make a Difference** virtual courses empower individual donors to make more thoughtful and effective decisions. In addition, the International Edition provides answers to questions such as:

Smart Donors… Make a Difference courses are produced by SylviaBrownSmartDonors and distributed through Uplifting Journeys L3C, a social enterprise providing donor education materials in the US and UK.