Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December's Latest e-Giving News

I am amazed that another year has gone by and here is the latest and last e-Giving news of 2009! May you find it useful, helpful and resource laden! Enjoy and see you in 2010.

You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself. ~Harvey Firestone

Celebrities & Giving
Alicia Keys: Singing for Success and Giving Back. Grammy-winning musician, trend-setting pop star, and unfailing philanthropist Alicia Keys shares that, "[giving back] is a necessity for success. It's part of it. To be successful-not just at a job or a career, but as a human being-a portion of me has to be paying attention to the rest of the world. If I'm only wrapped up in my own life, my own issues or problems, then I'm not being fair. And I'm definitely not being successful." Music may be her passion, but here she reveals her true purpose as co-founder and spokesperson for the Keep a Child Alive nonprofit.

Corporate Giving
Philanthropy is a Sound Business Strategy. According to Giving USA, American corporations gave $14.5 billion to charity in 2008. Corporate gifts are critical to not-for-profits in supporting their work in education, the environment, disaster relief, community services, and the arts.

Individual Giving
Reasons to Be Giving in Tough Economic Times. Need another reason to be giving? Here's a compelling list of reasons why you should do good, especially in challenging economic times, including: because it's good for business and your self esteem, people with less give more, it's a wise investment and more...

Politics & Giving
Wealthy Ask to Extend Estate Tax for Philanthropy.
United for a Fair Economy, a nonprofit group in Boston that works to lessen income inequality, is pushing Congress to renew and increase the tax that applies to large estates when people die - which is set to expire at the end of the year. The tax is a small price to pay to support government services like education and research that allow people to become prosperous in the United States. It also encourages philanthropy, they said, because people with large fortunes can make gifts to nonprofits without paying taxes on them.

Nonprofit Resources
Five Fundraising Tips to Add to your Checklist.
Is your nonprofit about to launch a year-end online fundraising campaign? If you answered yes, then check out this fundraising checklist before you hit the "send" button to your entire list. This blogger is an amazing resource for nonprofits, definitely check it out!

Other Giving
One Day's Wages. According to UNICEF, approximately 3 billion people live on less than US $2/day and 1.4 billion people live on less than US $1.25/day - the definition of those living in extreme poverty. In the midst of these staggering statistics, what can one person do? What can a person's "one day's wages" do in the face of such staggering statistics?

Giving Trends
Nonprofits Fare Poorly in End-of-Year Giving Season. A Chronicle poll of 395 nonprofits conducted over the past week finds that one-third of nonprofits expect donations to decline by 10 percent or more by year's end. Another 21 percent also expect donations to decline, although by smaller amounts. Nonprofits of all sizes seem to be affected.

Giving for Thought...or Discussion
Busting the Overhead Myth. An interesting discussion of overhead costs and the myth that the percentage that organizations spend on overhead is a good proxy for effective nonprofit organizations. The article presents excellent arguments that the popular, yet artificial, use of overhead rates as a proxy for effectiveness is actually ineffective!

Keep giving back and watch all the gifts that unfold for you in 2010.

You can follow us on Twitter @onegiving & on Facebook Pages.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The GIFT of Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

As I woke up this morning to the awareness that it is December 25th and Christmas Day for many and just another Friday for others, I realized that this entire month has gone by and I haven't had a chance to blog. Wow! I know it has been a busy one, but I hadn't realized how busy, until I finally got a moment to be by myself and be with me.

While I don't really celebrate just one holiday but many holidays throughout the year, I woke up this morning with the most amazing GIFT that words probably can not quite describe. After doing my morning meditation and kundalini yoga, I got online to check in with the world and check my emails, etc.

To my delight and surprise, I had received an email from a girl who I had met on a plane over a year ago. She wrote to me to tell me that this year for Christmas she received my book Seeking Serenity ( and that she really liked it. The best part was that she prefaced it with, "I don't know if you remember me" and of course I did! She loved the book and the fact that she could see what the Nobel Peace Laureates thought about peace.

I received the email and it touched me in a way that words can not describe. My heart opened and tears streamed down my face for the joy and love that the email brought was better than any GIFT I could ever have imagined. This is the GIFT of gratitude that brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. And the fact that a little girl took the initiative and reached out to let me know - what an amazing act of kindness!

I realized in that moment the knowingness of doing what is right for us and being authentically who we are and sharing that gift and light with others - it lifts us all up. Because I wrote a book that came from my heart and soul and a little girl read it and reached out to let me know she enjoyed it - the cycle of gratitude and love could recycle on and on! That is the gift of giving and receiving - as you give you receive and as you receive you give some more!

A few holiday seasons ago, I decided to keep it simple from now on for the holidays - to do only the things that in my heart I felt like doing and to leave the rest of it all behind. I decided to choose holidays as a safe space and time for me to feel free and do what my heart desired, when I desired it, where I desired it and how I desired it. I chose to do nothing out of obligation, but only out of love and bliss. Since I made that decision, holidays have been the most magical time for me - a time of rejuvenation and renewal, a time to revive my spirit and my soul so I can continue to live authentically in my truth and spread my light and love to myself and others.

This holiday season I hope that you too can give and share in the GIFT of gratitude. That you may be who you are, cherish those that are important to you and live fully in your truth, grace and authenticity! And from my heart to yours thank you for your continued love and support in my journey...I really do appreciate you!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Monday, November 30, 2009

The FUN Theory and JOY Conspiracy

Every day I am becoming more aware of how important it is for us to enJOY this journey called life, and not get so caught up in the drama, chaos and need to get to some unattainable destination. This is it! This is your life! So you might as well get busy living, or get busy dying - only you can make the choice.

In between goals is a thing called life
that has to be lived and enJOYed.
~ Sid Caesar

Many of you who know me, know that I am an eternal optimist. While I went through a very dark period in my own life, I woke up one day and realized I might as well get busy living. For me this journey has taken me to the place of not only living but living in JOY and FUN!

Despite the never ending bombardment of negativity in the media and world, I have recently been inspired by how people are putting a little dance in their step and a little song in their hearts to have more FUN and JOY in their lives and inspiring others to do the same around the world. So this month, I wanted to share with you a series of videos, blogs and more that have inspired me and are inspiring others to do the same. As I see videos, blogs and sites like these, I can't help but believe that truly indeed, we really are moving into new era of JOY, FUN, PEACE and HOPE. These are just a few examples below of how people like you and me are inspiring the change:

First and foremost is the site: This site and project is sponsored by Volkswagen as they have several videos on their site that show ways in which they replace normal every day activities like taking the stairs at a train station, throwing trash away at a park or recyclables away on the street with FUN activities. Their theory is that "FUN can obviously change behavior for the better." Check it out and see if there are ways that you too can be inspired to put a little more FUN in your every day routine.

Another blog,, is building the case about those who are conspiring to make this world a more JOYful place. This is the blog site of a friend of mine that recently launched in which he explains in his first blog ( that the JOY conspiracy, much like the pessimist conspiracy that is now inundating our world, news, media and beyond with fear, doubt and negativity, took years for the programming to sink in and happened so gradually that we didn't see it coming. Much like that conspiracy, he believes there is a much more powerful, and may I dare add "stealthy"conspiracy going on, involving a massive group of people intent on creating a JOYful way of life that will refuse to be destroyed. Check it out, document and share your JOYful actions and be a part of the conspiracy and see how it makes you and others feel as you spread the JOY!

Another series of YouTube videos have extended beyond to spread the FUN and JOY to the masses. Each time I get a video like these, I am refreshed and renewed with a sense of hope for the world we are living in, the possibility and optimism, and potential for change by other "joy co-conspirators!" Put a little JOY in your own life and pass it on to others and have a little FUN:
Grocery Store Musical: This video whether staged or not, definitely puts a smile on your face as these grocery store shoppers bust into a musical urging us to keep our fruit from being lonely by squishing our fruit together!
Wedding FUN: These two videos give a whole new perspective on walking down the aisle:
and the first wedding dance: Doesn't that make you want to create and innovate for your big day?
Train station dance: First came the DoReMi dance in an Antwerp train station as people bust-a-move and joined in:, then in a train station in Liverpool: and the clincher, though planned by ImprovEverywhere, is of a group of people who inundate the subways of New York with no pants: Imagine the giggles in your day and that of others! Doesn't it make you want to dance and spice up your life and that of others?
Free JOY: In these two videos we get to see the power of giving away free hugs on the street and a guy dancing his way around the world spreading the JOY:
Creative giggles: Two videos come to mind as creative types jump on the FUN band wagon to spread some laughs on a boat : and inspire some hope with stand by me for change:

Are you inspired YET? Go have FUN! Push the envelope! Act outrageously, boldly, audaciously and authentically in your truth to live fully in JOY! During this holiday season, rather than getting caught up in all the gifts that you have to purchase, perhaps instead may you be inspired to spread your gifts of FUN and JOY!

JOY is not in things, it is in us.
~Richard Wagner

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November's Latest Top e-Giving News

As Thanksgiving is upon us, no matter what your views about this day, may it bring a moment of pause for all that we are grateful for and the ways we are giving back. This month may you be inspired by our latest e-gifts news and be grateful for all that you have.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it,
is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~ William Arthur Ward

A recent article ( talked about a new release by noted philanthropist Charles Bronfman and philanthropy expert Jeffrey Solomon, entitled "The Art of Giving: Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan". The book posits that philanthropy must be strategic, intentional and - perhaps most importantly - fun! As I read the article and their thoughts about giving, I realized that those are all the components we are putting together as we develop OneGiving™. How right on they are that while there is a lot of giving going on in the world, which is a good thing, what if we could make that giving more strategic and intentional so that all of our individual giving efforts could not only build upon each other, but could also be put into the context of the need of giving, and ultimately can be more fun! As we create OneGiving™. that is at the forefront of our minds, while at the same time sharing with everyone the news and resources out there surrounding giving, so we may all move in the direction of making an even bigger impact on the planet! Enjoy our November latest e-Giving news:

Funding Opportunity
Chase is giving away $25,000+ to 100 nonprofits: Chase Community Giving is a program run by Chase that will allow Facebook users to vote for local non-profits, and help direct Chase corporate philanthropy dollars to eligible organizations in the following focus areas: education, healthcare, housing, the environment, combating hunger, arts and culture, human services, and animal welfare. The grassroots campaign aims to inspire a new way of corporate philanthropy.

Celebrities & Giving
Product (RED) Controversy: This article investigates Product (RED)'s $135 million donation to the Global Fund for AIDS programs and explores the controversy around the campaign and where all of the money from product sales is going, its impact and whether this is the best approach and use of resources.

Corporate Giving
Brands & Causes = Consumer Worthy:
The 2009 PR Week / Barkley Cause Survey uncovers that while consumers have decreased spending on charitable giving, 91% expect companies to fill that gap and showcase their commitment to the greater good (up from 86% in 2008). The study also reveals that cause can make strong business sense for brands by increasing trial, loyalty, sales, and even higher prices at the cash register.

Individual Giving
Volunteering or Work?:
You know the job market is bad when you can't even work for free. But while the right volunteer gig can help your job search, there are no guarantees. And in some cases, volunteer duties can actually get in the way. This article provides six tips for getting the most out of pro bono work, and making sure it doesn't take you out of the hunt.

Social Media & Giving
Social Networks & Nonprofits:

Got a tweet to spare? It could help the nonprofit of your choice. Many recent examples of how social networks have quickly become a powerful yet inexpensive tool to raise money and awareness for charities, even at a time when the economy has reduced overall donations to nonprofit groups.
10 Golden Rules of Social Media: An interesting set of rules to embrace, debate, pass around and refine regarding the growing trend of social media.

Nonprofit Resources
Helpful resources of the month that range from taglines, YouTube, online newsletter ideas, Twitter and website content:
· 13 Outstanding Nonprofit Taglines: A nonprofit's tagline is hands down the briefest, easiest and most effective way to communicate its identity and impact.
· Nonprofits & YouTube: A Must: A webinar about how nonprofits can use YouTube effectively.
· 27 Story Ideas for Nonprofits: Ideas to provide newsletter article themes you can take and run with - real newsletters examples are included.
· Top 100 Tweeps to Follow: Follow folks in specifically social entrepreneurship circle. Start with the first 20 below and see how it goes.
· 20 Twitter Hashtags for Social Entrepreneurs, Nonprofits and Activists: One of the best (and worst) features on Twitter is the hashtag. Check out this list of 20 hashtags change-makers will be sure to enjoy.
· Top 10 Things Donors Want from Nonprofit's Website: Most donors check out nonprofit websites before making a gift. Here are ten things to ask to see if your website is hurting or helping your fundraising campaign.
Giving Trends
2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study: According to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, new research released today explores American new media users' interactions with brands, their engagement with corporate responsibility practices and their support of social and environmental issues.
Donor Motivations, Income and Education: Nearly one in five donors says that the most important reason to give to nonprofits is to help meet people's basic needs. However, a key finding of the research is that, while there are differences in the percentage of people who select different motivations within each region of the country, those variations can be explained by regional differences in income and education, not underlying values specific to the region.

Giving for Thought...or Discussion
Some thought-provoking articles ranging from Twitter followers, tips, non-profit naming, likeability quotient and proposing new fundraising ideas:
· 4,000 Followers Who Don't Care: An interesting article examining the impact and usage of Twitter and other types of social media.
· 9 Advanced Twitter Tips: Twitter tips that will help you manage your everyday "tweeting."
· 6 Reasons to Use the Term "Community Benefit Organization": A debate of using the term "community benefit organization" vs. "nonprofit."
· Definitive Guide to Become Likable Online: What do you think is the most important factor to becoming likeable online?
· Want to Try Something New?: If you ran a nonprofit and your fundraising team came in tomorrow proposing to invest a chunk of your fundraising capital in a social media effort (or any other new fundraising approach), how would you respond?

What are the things that you are grateful for? Are you expressing your gratitude? How are you giving back in the world? Are you open to receiving the gifts that others are sharing with you? Try it on for size this month and enjoy all that unfolds before you!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nobody Told Me There’d Be Days Like These….

Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed. ~ John Lennon

I decided to share this writing in my blog from a few weeks ago because I realized that it is critical that people know about the good and the bad days that come with starting up a company! So often we have the tendency to share the good, but I believe it critical that people also know about the hard days, as it may help them to not feel so alone as they embark on a journey to start up a company and/or make their dreams a reality...

I don’t think they make stories this good (or maybe this bad?) that often! I know this one will keep me going for a long time to come. The funny thing is I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. So I guess I’ll write about it and feel better.

If someone had told me all the ups, downs and all arounds of starting a start-up company, I never would have done it. In fact, if you asked me right now, I’d say run! Run fast and hard the other direction and don’t look back. But maybe that is because you caught me on one of the tougher days. It really isn’t always this bad. Today is one of those particularly rough days.

The funny thing is I got a fortune today that said, “Your principles mean more to you than any money or success.” I cried. It was something I heard The Dalai Lama recently say when I went to see him speak about Buddhism. He said that when you are on your path and you are committed to a higher cause, your higher purpose and to the greater good, other things don’t matter. In fact so much so, that you begin to allow superfluous things to drop away. I believe this is true, even though it isn’t always easy.

That’s how I feel about the path of creating OneGiving™ ( It started as a vision and a dream a few years ago. I never knew how hard and, yet, fulfilling it would be. Today is one of those days that seemed harder than I could have ever imagined following your dreams and starting a company could be.

I went to Colorado for investor meetings and my business partner flew out and they all got cancelled. Now I had a bunch of meetings with my contacts so it made the trip worthwhile for me, but my partner flew out specifically for the investor meetings and they were cancelled. We are at the beginning stages of raising money, so expending resources when we don’t have to is not my idea of good business. But I guess sometimes in the process, you have to allow for whatever happens and accept it for what it is.

But it gets worse than this. So because our meetings got cancelled, we decided to head to the airport to try to catch a flight a day early to not waste any more of our time or money. I dropped my business partner off at the airport to catch a flight and I went to return the rental car. When I got there, I forgot to fill the gas tank, so I had to turn around and go get gas. When I returned, I locked the keys in the rental car, so we had to wait to get it unlocked before I could get my luggage out of the trunk .Fortunately for me, it only took a few minutes and I was on my way.

I got to the airport only to find that the only flight out was in 2 hours, would cost me an additional $300 and I might not even get on the flight. I decided to go back and stay with a friend and catch a flight in the morning. I called a friend or two to get a ride back from the airport and they were busy, so they said to take a shuttle back to their place. I jumped on a shuttle…and guess my luck? I was the 10th person to be dropped off out of 10 people on the shuttle – it took over an hour to get back to my friend’s place.

As I sat on the shuttle, I started to laugh. One woman asked, “Something funny?” I laughed, I mean what else could I do at this point, and replied, “Yeah, just a funny day overall!” When I got to my friend’s house, I collapsed. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Why was this journey so hard somedays? Why me? Why was I doing this? Why couldn’t I just stop? Yet I knew inside, I just couldn’t. This was not about me – it was about something bigger than me. I started to cry.

Most days, I feel ok, in fact I feel great, blissful, joyful and happy. I know I am on my path, fulfilling my purpose, pursuing my passion. I am strong. I am capable. I am working on something – a vision and a dream that is bigger than me. It is not about me, yet I have to be strong enough and I have to have the courage to see it come to fruition.

Most people know me for being positive and an eternal optimist. I find joy and fulfillment out of inspiring others to find the positive in every moment. I love quotes that do the same and spread that love and light to others. But in this moment, I was worn down, exhausted and I fell apart. I was tired of being the strong one and holding it all together.

My friend was a superstar—she held my hand and said all the right things. She reminded me why I was doing this and that it needed to happen. She allowed me to be vulnerable. In that moment, I realized that for the most part in my life, I am strong, committed and passionate. I am a light to inspire myself and others – most of the time. But some of the time it was ok to be vulnerable, it was ok to break down and it was ok to cry and let it all out.

If I had been told about these days, I probably wouldn’t have taken the first step. Nobody told me there’d be days like these. But then again, if they had, I may not have moved forward in following my heart and my dreams to create OneGiving™. I realized that this too would pass. I realized that I could allow the feelings to come, I could collapse for a moment, catch my breath, and then pick myself back up and continue moving forward.

The funny part of it all, was that later that night, my business partner texted me and while she got on a flight out of Denver, she ended up getting stuck in Phoenix and had to get a hotel room there and stay the night. The next day when she finally got home, the airlines lost her bag. As I said, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so this time I decided to laugh. What else could I, or we, do?

Not all of our days can be pretty or turn out the way we want them to, but the reality is, that I wouldn’t change a thing. If we are committed to our passion, then we are committed to the journey as well as the destination. While nobody told me there’d be days like these, I realized I could accept what was and use it as fuel to keep propelling me forward on my path and accept whatever else comes my way in this journey knowing that for me and right now it is the only thing, the right thing for me to do!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October's Latest Top e-Giving News

Given the world’s problems, should we resign ourselves to smallness? ~Dan Pallotta

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we have seen the power of the pink ribbon in cause marketing campaigns everywhere. With this cause marketing, we are seeing the blended and blending line between nonprofits and brands, causes and corporations, marketing and messages, for-profits and nonprofits and the changing landscape of philanthropy. As we enter a new era of the conscious consumer, social innovation and transformative philanthropy, we are witnessing a power shift from the few to the many and a new way forward that starts with understanding, engaging and empowering the new consumer. Enjoy the articles and may they help you adapt to and transform the world around you!

Celebrities & Giving
What Business Can Learn from The Dalai Lama: In this article Carol Cone talks about a recent conference in Canada in which she and The Dalai Lama spoke about the power of businesses to authentically embrace social issues. Both spoke about compassion and trust as the core reasons why businesses must embrace social issues to relate to even more skeptical consumers, communities, NGOs and government officials.

Corporate Giving
Strategies for Corporate Giving: In this article, Peter Frey outlines some different strategies of corporate giving programs including: matching gift program, donating time off, volunteer time off, dollars for doers, donating equity, in-kind donations, donating office space and more.

Corporate Responsibility Weathering Storm: The 2009 State of Corporate Citizenship Report by Boston College's Center for Corporate Citizenship revealed that corporate citizenship efforts are particularly critical during a recession. Research found expansion of environmental sustainability efforts, increasing integration of corporate citizenship into business strategy and 75 percent of CEOs and 40 percent of all companies (65 percent for large companies) with a team or individual assigned to work on corporate citizenship issues.

Individual Giving
Americans & Giving During Tough Times:
This article captures the essence of the softer, gentler human side of giving in this economy.

Social Media & Giving
Using Social Media To Animate Community: This article highlights LiveStrong’s use of social media to energize activism, outreach and community, including: using blogs, partnerships, co-creating content, video, petitions and more.

Corporate America & Social Media: This article explores the use of social media by corporate America, and its mistakes, barriers and failures in doing so. One of the biggest mistakes is the siloization of social media within communications departments and the need for corporations to integrate social media across internal infrastructures. Other barriers include control, lack of authenticity, self centered marketing and more.

Giving Trends
Goodness on Twitter: Twitter recently added a number of well-known social entrepreneurs and innovators to its suggested users list. This is significant because it propels social entrepreneurs to enter the mainstream and gives valuable Twitter attention to promoting good causes. This demonstrates that good creates more good!

The Future of Giving: In an article by the World Policy Blog highlighting a social entrepreneurs panel at the Global Creative Leadership Summit that talked about the future of giving and the key being public and private partnerships. Some of the innovations and key components for the future of giving included: microphilanthropy and nanophilanthropy (including u-kis, e.g., strategic partnerships and alliances, repackaging capitalism, global connectivity giving.

Giving Measurement, Outcomes & Evaluation
Measuring the Success of Your Blog:
This Beth Kanter article provides valuable tips to create a successful blog and any social media effort by analyzing blog content, including: identifying readership growth; reviewing reader engagement and bookmarking; assessing connecting and conversations; analyzing the numbers of links and page views; and evaluating the industry index.

The Impact of Giving Circles: This blog by the Boston Jewish Community Women’s Fund highlights the impacts of giving circles. Giving circles result in more giving, more engagement, more breadth in giving and more strategic giving with a focus on change.

Philanthropy & the New Consumer: This worthwhile read examines how the trends in giving are shifting and the new opportunities arising given the current online, social media and giving landscape. A recent BBMG Conscious Consumer Report 2009 showed that Americans are re-evaluating what matters and are seeking brands that deliver both value and values. The result is that brands need to deliver based on a triple value proposition: practical benefits, social benefits and tribal benefits. That is brands that answer the questions: How does the brand improve my life? How does this brand help me make a difference? And how does the brand connect me to a community that shares my values?

How Much Should Charity Resemble Business? This Chronicle of Philanthropy article highlights some of the debate about how much charity should resemble business and where should the line be drawn between business and charity. It asks the question, “Given the world’s problems, should we resign ourselves…” to the small thinking of charity or expand into a new way of thinking, giving and doing business?

How do you want to BE the change you wish to see in the world? How are you thinking and acting BIG, rather than acting in fear and scarcity? What do you think about the transformation and how is it impacting you?

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Peace - Yes We Can!

Peace worldwide, starts from inside. ~ The Luminaries

I have been watching the articles and the comments fly about the fact that President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. There are many people who are skeptical about it and think he was awarded it undeservedly so. What I think many of the critics don’t understand is that this is actually one of the trademarks of the Nobel Peace Prize. That is, if you look over the Nobel Peace Prize and who it has been awarded to – it has a long history of controversy that goes with it. In fact, I would dare to say that the uniqueness and beauty of the Nobel Peace Prize is that it stirs up controversy, raises awareness about an issue and most often also makes a very strong political statement. In fact, so often it has been used to not only award acts of peace and deeds accomplished or achieved, but to provide an incentive to take further steps and strides in creating peace.

Here are some examples of controversies and political statements made by the Nobel Peace Committee over time in awarding its Laureates:

· One of the most controversial awards was in 1973, when the Prize was awarded to Secretary of State Henry A Kissinger and North Vietnamese Leader Le Duc Tho even though there was clearly no peace agreement achieved. Further controversy ensued when Le Duc Tho declined the Prize (the only person to have ever done so) and Kissinger refused to go to Oslo to receive the prize and tried returning it, but wasn’t allowed.
· In 1976 with both the awards to Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan for the conflict in Northern Ireland and in 1987 to President Oscar Arias for the conflicts in Central America, there was significant controversy due to the fact that the conflicts had been far from resolved. The committee had awarded the Prize in the hopes of providing an impetus to move more quickly towards peace – something that still took many years to alleviate or resolve either of these conflicts.
· In 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the committee awarded the Prize to the 14th Dalai Lama in Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso. Clearly this was not a coincidence, but rather a strong political statement opposing the Chinese Government’s policies against Tibet and within for its hostile actions.
· In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s “discovery” of America, the committee awarded the Prize to Rigoberta Menchu Tum, who advocated for Indigenous Rights in Guatemala and Latin America. The ironic intention of the Nobel Peace Committee was unmistakable in this blatant example of controversy to raise awareness around an issue.
· In 1994, the Peace Prize was awarded to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. The prize was awarded despite the fact that negotiations were still far from establishing peace.
· In 1995, the committee awarded Joseph Rotblat, one of the creators of the atomic bomb, the Nobel Peace Committee for leaving the Manhattan Project and dedicating his life to nuclear disarmament. The irony was they did so on the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
· In 1996, at a time in which East Timor had nearly been forgotten internationally many years after the Indonesian invasion of 1975, the Nobel Committee awarded Jose Ramos-Horta and Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo the Prize. The Prize was a leading contributor in raising attention back to East Timor and helping them get on the road to independence.

While the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to those who have worked for humanitarian assistance and aid, arms control and disarmament and human rights, the Prize has also come to be used unmistakably “not only as a reward for achievements accomplished but as an incentive for the Laureates to achieve even more.”

My guess is that this is exactly the call to action the Nobel Committee intended by awarding President Obama the Peace Prize. Perhaps for some, or many, his election as the First African American President of the United States and his unwavering commitment to creating a renewed HOPE in our country and around the world and CHANGE, or a correction of course, are not enough to warrant the prestigious award of the Nobel Peace Prize. But the Nobel Peace Committee definitely did what it is known to do so well in its long history: create controversy, raise awareness and set a new high standard of achievement and accountability for President Obama to live up to.

For that I tip my hat to the committee for taking the leadership and lighting a fire to incite the President to truly stand up for HOPE, CHANGE and PEACE. It is encouraging to see the Committee raise the bar and hold a new high standard for President Obama to step into and live up to. May it inspire us all to raise the bar for ourselves to step up above the criticism and controversy and take a deep look within to ask ourselves, how are we contributing to peace, hope and being the change we wish to see in the world?

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Saturday, October 10, 2009

To Think Pink or Not To...That Is the Question!

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. ~ Albert Einstein

A recent article in the Boston Globe, "Sick of Pink," talks about people's conflicted feelings about the Pink Ribbon campaign and corporate use of the pink ribbon to promote breast cancer awareness, and as some argue, to boost profits. ( Some call it "consumer philanthropy" and feel that corporations are commoditizing their diseases and taking advantage of cause marketing for their own benefit.

My question is AND so, is that really the worst thing? I know there is a lot of controversy about this subject, as brought up by another blogger So I too dare to ask the question, is there really anything wrong with this? Isn't it a win-win after all?

We are entering an Era of the Hybrid. That is, the old ways surely aren't working and the new ways are yet to be figured out. Yes, corporations might be making more of a profit because of the pink ribbon or other causes that they are associating with. But aren't they also contributing money that never before was available to these causes?

In addition to generating their own profits, aren't they generating a profit for the nonprofit that never existed before? So what is wrong with that? Perhaps, one could argue that the nonprofit should get more of a percentage. Possibly, this is true.

Yet isn't it exciting that we have entered an era in which corporations are beginning to acknowledge that the simple profit model no longer works and recognize that adopting a triple bottom line approach, a hybrid of sorts, is the only way to go. With all the corporate corruption, isn't their inclusion of a cause into their profit based structure a step in the right direction?

Now I get that there is potential for corporations to misuse or abuse the system, so we want to be vigilant with companies and help foster an environment to support them to grow their efforts in integrity and at the same time not punish them too early in the game so they pull out and stop supporting causes altogether. Wouldn't that harm the greater social benefit effort altogether?

The reality is for-profit corporations have a bottom line: profit! As we demonstrate that further aligning with causes is good for businesses' bottom line, will propel business forward into a new paradigm of a triple bottom line: people, profit and the planet!

Isn't this what we really want? What if every company on the planet was affiliated with a cause or many causes? And what if nonprofits could create new revenue streams from corporate partnerships, rather than solely from grants into a new hybrid model of true sustainability?

I am asking for you to:

  • Imagine the possibility of every business affiliated with one or more causes.
  • Imagine if every nonprofit found new revenue streams through corporate and other strategic partnerships to create sustainability in addition to grants.
  • Imagine if every person had a way to tap into this greater movement.

How do you want to be a part of the Responsbility Revolution? How do you want to help usher in a new era of giving? How do you want to support the next evolution of giving? How do you want to BE the change that you wish to see in the world? Do you want to think pink or not to think pink, that really is the question?

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September's Latest Top e-Giving News

Change always comes bearing gifts. ~Price Pritchett

Here is a blog that I sent out in my newsletter today - you can sign up to receive it regularly at! It is the latest news on e-giving from the month of September! Enjoy and happy reading!

The first thing that struck me this month was how much is happening with giving! My favorite was an article in Time Magazine about the Responsibility Revolution ( This article was a huge marker for us at OneGiving™ to let us know that, indeed, we are on the right path! Basically, the article talked about the fact that we are going through a Renaissance of sorts in which the American Consumer is becoming an Ethical Consumer and as a result, corporations are adapting their business practices away from a simple profit based model and towards a triple bottom line – impacting people, profit and the planet! This is great news for OneGiving™ as this is one of the core tenants of why we are creating OneGiving™ - to move the dial forward for businesses, consumers, nonprofits and others to become more evolved in their giving, business practices and impacts on people and the planet! Enjoy the article and the other valuable resources below!

Politics & Giving
Day of Service and Remembrance: President Obama declared September 11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance. This followed in a series of the administration’s commitment to service starting with the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, signed into law last Spring and followed by the Summer of Service – “United We Serve” campaign. The administration encouraged people to stay involved in service throughout the year by logging volunteer activities at:

Corporate Giving
A New Age in Corporate Giving: A new report by LBG Research Institute found that corporate giving is changing given budget cuts and the new economy. In a survey of over 100 U.S. corporations and foundation, the report found that corporations are encouraging a shift from cash based donations to increased employee volunteer time (84%), in-kind donations (15%; e.g., office space, equipment, etc.), product donations (12%) and new strategic alliances to better align with business strategy and goals (over 50%).

Nonprofits & Giving
Nonprofits in the Social Media Age: This is a terrific article that talks about the old model of nonprofit engagement that is a very linear and outbound model, with an organization broadcasting out to its members. Rather in the age of social media, nonprofits have to have more lateral lines of communication back and forth, much like was done in the Obama campaign and utilizing external chats, meet ups and other to fuel the talk, hype and energy focus on a nonprofit..

Nonprofit Starvation Cycle: An article by the Stanford Social Innovation Review talks about the vicious cycle of nonprofit underfunding that starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations, the nonprofits adapt to the pressure from funders, the nonprofits spend less on overhead or underrepresent reporting expenditures, which continues the cycle of funders’ unrealistic expectations. The article highlights some of the ways to break the cycle, starting with adjusting funders’ unrealistic expectations.

Social Media & Giving
Social Media and Executives:
Good research from emarketer about the value that US executives find in Social media. More than eight in 10 management, marketing and HR executives responding to a July 2009 survey reported using social media most for brand-building, followed by networking, customer service, and various research- and information-related activities.

Creating an Online Community: A great blog about creating an online community for social networks, nonprofits and more. Tips include: Listen!; create bite size content; provoke conversations; signpost the way; ensure good commenting; reward active members; don’t be the bottleneck; and simplify!

Mobile Giving
Mobile Giving is catching on: Because most of the $300 billion a year in charitable giving in the U.S. comes from individuals, Jim Manis, chief executive of the Mobile Giving Foundation, saw mobile giving as a way to reach a new demographic. He could increase the pool of charitable donors by capitalizing on the popularity of text messaging, which is used by almost 70 percent of people aged 18 to 24.

Giving Resources
20 Funder Networks That Tweet: & 90 Foundations That Tweet:

e-Cards that Give: A site that has ecards from Care2 that generate donations as well as send greetings!

Giving Measurement & Outcomes
Measuring the Social Impact of 'Mission Investments’: Much like the long-running debate in the nonprofit world about how to measure a charity’s performance, a movement is under way to figure out how to evaluate whether investments that seek both financial and social returns are making a difference. The absence of common standards means that investors can’t compare the social and environmental benefits of different investment opportunities, said Antony Bugg-Levine, a managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation. Even measures as simple as the number of jobs created through an investment might be counted differently from one social-investment fund to another.

GOOD - Metrics the beat at the heart of philanthropy: Great article about what it means to design and implement evaluations in ways that honor the voices and lived experiences of those who are participants or recipients of the services, programs, and policies the field supports and funds.

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Responsibility Revolution

"Every generation needs a new revolution." ~ Thomas Jefferson

I wrote in my blog last week about connecting the dots and Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech ( referring to the fact that you can’t connect the dots moving forward, but you can always look back and see how they connect.

My journey in creating and now working on raising capital to launch OneGiving™ has been such a lesson in connecting the dots and, oh yeah, patience! Any time I am unsure of myself or have a day when I wonder to myself, now, why again am I doing this, one of those dots shows up that serves as a reminder, a marker, and, yes, one of those magical dots that Steve Jobs was talking about that reminds me that I am on the right path and to keep moving forward.

A recent article in TIME magazine did that for me. It was an article about the “Responsibility Revolution” ( It was a really good reminder to me of all that I believe in and all that I am creating with my vision for OneGiving™.

The article talked about how we have entered this era in which consumers are starting to put their money where their ideals are. That not only are individuals serving more, volunteering more and giving more, they also want to spend more ethically.

We have entered the “Responsibility Revolution” or the “Era of the Ethical Consumer!” What an amazing time to be living. Seriously though, as I read this article and thought about the fact that the top reason the most successful entrepreneurs started their companies was to make a difference or change the world, I felt a wave of excitement and relief flood over me.

Can you believe that it is possible that in our lifetime we may truly see a shift from a purely profit based capitalism to a more conscious, or ethical capitalism, in which triple bottom line – people, profit and the planet – supersede the more simplistic “profit” based model? We have reached a period in which people have lost faith because of the scandals on Wall Street and corporate America and are looking to see a values shift in corporate America!

Additionally, as seen in Obama’s campaign, people became engaged, because they felt part of something bigger than themselves. The campaign was not about “me” but about how “I” can become a part of the greater “We” and how can “We” collectively move the dial forward?

While I may have some days in which I feel overwhelmed or overwrought with so much to do and what I feel like is a huge responsibility to myself and my fellow human being, I see articles like this and I am revived, revitalized and reminded of why I am doing what I am doing in creating OneGiving™ ( Because I care, I want to make a difference and I want to not only be a part of the “Responsibility Revolution,” but I want to be a leader in it.
What are you doing to be a part of the Revolution? What can you commit to doing to be a part of the “Responsibility Revolution” to be the change you wish to see in the world?

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Faith, Trust and Connecting the Dots

I posted this in my newsletter and sharing it with on my blog. Enjoy, happy reading and happy 9-09-09! May this inspire you in your dreams, start ups and breaking through the every day blockages!

As I move forward in building my company, OneGiving™ (, and I get ready to go to investors looking for start up capital, I am finding more and more every day that it is about faith and trusting that the dots will connect, even if I can’t see it from here.

I was recently reminded of this when I re-read Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address from June 2005. As he put it, “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever…it has made all the difference in my life.”

This really helped remind me to keep moving forward and to trust the process. It made me realize that I am not the only one embarking on a journey to follow my dream, start up a company or stretch beyond my comfort level. So I pulled together some of the wisdom from my favorite recent readings that I wanted to share with you all to help inspire you to push past some of your own obstacles and beyond your self-imposed limitations.

In Steve Jobs’ commencement speech (, his words of wisdom included:
· Find what you love and do it! The only thing that really keeps us going is to do what we love. We spend so much time working, so we might as well spend that time loving what we do. If you haven’t found what you love, then keep looking and don’t settle until you find it!
· Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. We definitely aren’t taught to follow our heart and intuition and often get trapped in living the life that others want for us. Life is too short! Don’t let those voices drown out your own truth! Follow your heart and intuition, it won’t steer you wrong.
· Have faith and trust that the dots will connect. As per the quote above, you may not be able to see how things will work out, but as long as you keep going in the direction of your heart, having the courage and trusting, you will begin to see the magic unfold!

In a talk entitled, “How Not to Die,” Y Combinator partner, essayist and entrepreneur Paul Graham talks about some key tips for start ups on how to survive and thrive (and not die) ( His wisdom included:
· Stay in regular contact with your investors and others. In other words, don’t isolate. This can apply to you whether you are a start up or just someone breaking out of your own limitations. Become part of a circle and community that helps you keep growing, moving forward and succeeding. So often when we hit our walls, limits or obstacles, we isolate and wither away. Avoid this and stay in contact with others to engage, nurture and inspire you to keep going.
· Stay committed and focused. Don’t take on other projects, distractions or “consulting gigs.” Sound familiar? I know it has been a hard one for me. Every month, when I think about the money coming in, I think ok perhaps I should get another consulting gig just to pad the budget a little. But I know I always give 150% to clients and that would be valuable time I couldn’t be giving to 100% focus on the success of OneGiving™. It is scary, but it has really helped me be fully committed to its success and my success and so I am willing to go that extra step, that extra mile, to make it all happen!
· Don’t ever give up! I love this one. One of the things Paul talks about is how if start ups just keep going, they will eventually succeed. So many of us spend so much time planting the seeds, doing the hard work, yet get scared or uncomfortable at the very end and we walk away, we quit before it is time! I have heard before there is no failure, other than quitting, then you are choosing to fail. Food for thought!

Finally, in a book called “Founders At Work,” Jessica Livingston, another partner at Y Combinator, interviewed 32 leading start up company founders that made it to share their experiences in the start up process to help others ( She wrote about the characteristics that each of these start up founders had in common, including:
· Determination, perseverance and adaptability. I kind of hit on this above, but felt it was worth reiterating. When starting something new, so many of us have a vision of what something looks like and when it doesn’t happen the way we think it should happen, we often cast it off as a failure and walk away. Rather, what she found is that when people are determined, continue to persist and adapt, they look for the nuggets of what is working and adapt their idea and vision to meet where people are at. Having this flexibility and persistence allows for the best of all creations to arise and often makes for a success bigger than we could have ever imagined.
· Put it out there! I totally had to laugh at this one and the following quote from her book, “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” Boy if this one wasn’t the truth. So often we hold things back and are afraid to put our ideas out there because we are afraid people will steal our idea. But the reality if you get it out there, more people can be working in your favor to make it happen!
· Change the world! Finally, my favorite thing of them all, is that when interviewing everyone, she found one major thing they all had in common: they all wanted to change the world!

That is what it is all about after all! Yes, I am building OneGiving™ (, a for-profit and nonprofit company, and seeking investors to make them (and us) money. But more than anything else, I am creating this company and this vision because I want to be the change that I wish to see in the world. It is that plain and simple!

That was the dot I needed to keep me going until the next dot appears and I can begin to more clearly make sense of and connect the dots! Thank you all for the inspiration! I hope this may inspire some of you to keep moving forward, step by step, dot by dot, in the direction of your dreams!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The In-Between Time

Wow! I recently read a paragraph that really hit home and resonated with me. I am sharing it with you below because it helped me to breathe a sigh of relief for where I am at in my life and hopefully can do the same for you, that is, if it resonates with you.

It was uncomfortable to let go of my past before there was any evidence of something new. It was also disquieting to release the way I had always seen myself-my identity, so to speak. Getting rid of so many things that defined who I was left me with a tremendous void that danced in the pit of my stomach. However, I really believe that if you want to create something wonderful in your life, if you truly want to make a big change, you’ve got to learn to tolerate the “in-between” time. That’s the period in which we let go of who we know ourselves to be in order to allow for the possibility of who we might become. ~Katherine Woodward Thomas from Calling in the One

I think I am smack dab in the middle of the in-between time, as she so appropriately puts it. Or perhaps, I may actually have just recently crested the hill and have begun making my way slowly down the other side. Let me tell you, it sure does come with its discomforts, awkwardness and bumps along the way. But I guess I must really welcome that in, because I know one thing for sure and that is that I really am alive and living fully.

Just over a year ago, I walked away from my comfortable consulting career in Denver, Colorado. I really enjoyed what I did and was well respected. You probably can't ask for more than that. But, of course I did.

Externally, it probably seemed to many as though I had it all going for me. But one thing was clear to me. Even though I enjoyed what I did, I realized it wasn't fully my life purpose. I knew it was a tool and a stepping stone towards my life purpose, but wasn't completely in alignment with who I was and my authentic self. Yet I didn't know exactly what that was either. I just knew that wasn't it and the longer I postponed addressing it, the worse I began to feel. I felt knots in my stomach and constriction in my throat. I had real physical symptoms affecting my ability to keep moving forward as I had for as long as I had known.

So I made a change - and a pretty BIG one at that. I shared with my clients, friends and family that I was leaving Denver to move to LA. For what they asked? I still wasn't quite sure. But one thing I did know was I needed to find out or risk shriveling away and dying from just this overwhelming constriction.

The last year has been full of ups and downs and all arounds. As I came to LA, it became clear why I had come and what I was here to do as business partners and people started appearing around me to help me in my purpose. I realized I stepped out to follow my dream of creating OneGiving ( to connect people around the world in giving and raise awareness, visibility and voice for nonprofits and causes around the world; to empower individuals, corporations, celebrities and other donors to give with more knowledge, resources, accountability and passion; and ultimately, to make a difference for people, profit and the planet.

What has been amazing in this effort of building my dream and following my heart and inner guidance is the transformation and peace I am finding within myself. That is what Katherine Woodward Thomas talked about when she talked about the in-between time to allow for the possibility of who we might become. There are days that I wonder, well who am I becoming? And days that I hold on to what I had done or who I was in the past.

The reality is that I am learning to trust myself. I am learning to be myself - authentically and truly in every moment. I am learning what I love and what I don't love. I am learning my boundaries. I am learning what I am willing to go to bat for and what I am willing to walk away from. I am learning to make choices that are 100% right for me and not always right for those people around me. I am learning to let go of so many of the obstacles and the drama that has kept me out of alignment in my life. I am learning to allow, appreciate and even embrace the in-between time.

It really is a beautiful journey, but let me tell you, it can be really uncomfortable at moments. For me, letting go of so many of the things I was taught--the fears, the worries, the obstacles, the drama and beyond are not easy. But if I let go and allow the discomfort to come through and then pass over like a wave, I can come up for air and really breathe in fully knowing that I am becoming more fully, truly and authentically me with every breath and every moment. There is nothing more valuable or precious in that.

So if you get caught in the "in-between time," allow it to be what it is and honor, nurture and love yourself through it. Don't use it as an excuse to resist the changes and go back to the old ways. Allow it to help you usher in the new ways, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Watch your life and the magic unfold before you, as you discover so many beautiful gifts about yourself that you may never have known if you hadn't tolerated the in-between time and allowed them to come in.

You may find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gratitude in Giving

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~ Albert Schweitzer

This past weekend was a full one! I had an event on Saturday with Our New Earth ( in which they were premiering their TV show RAW, all about raw food and conscious living. I had the honor of opening and setting the energy for the event by teaching Kundalini yoga and doing a gong meditation. I also got to represent OneGiving and be the giving spokesperson for the day by introducing two nonprofits and the amazing work that they are doing. On Sunday, I got to be at an event to support a nonprofit fundraiser.

It was a full weekend of giving and service and left me fulfilled and full of peace and gratitude. It also got me thinking about giving and conscious living in general. We live in a crazy time and world. Things are changing so rapidly around us and sometimes it feels as if it is impossible to keep up with all the madness. I realized that if there is anything that is helping me to stay sane (other than my own yoga and meditation practice) it is the regular incorporation of gratitude and giving into my life.

What does this look like you may ask? It means finding things regularly, daily and moment by moment in my life that I can be grateful for and that I can give to. A large percentage of my life and time is about service. So much so, that many times I have friends say, how can you keep giving and giving? Doesn't it wear you down? How can you afford to give so much of your time and not receive a paycheck or otherwise for it. That is where the gratitude comes in. You see giving is a cycle - it really isn't just about giving, it is about all that you receive in return for the giving.

Now, of course, that isn't why I give, but I will tell you it is through my regular giving that I receive so much in return and it is why I can stay in a state of perpetual gratitude. Giving and receiving and gratitude all go hand in hand. Lately, so much of my time has been committed to building OneGiving a company about giving, receiving and making a difference on the planet ( Other than that my time is filled with teaching Kundalini yoga, meditation and service. I don't have a lot of social time other than that and the time that I do have, usually you can find me volunteering or being of service.

Sounds crazy? Maybe, but I think it is what keeps me going, committed and truly fulfilled and happy. Here are some of the nonprofits that inspired me this past weekend and have helped me to stay in gratitude and motivated to keep taking the next step in building my own dream of OneGiving.

Healing Bridges ( - Healing Bridges is a nonprofit committed to address and create positive outcomes in the areas of health, education and sustainable employment in Africa. Healing Bridges is building the first high school for girls in the forgotten refugee camps in Eastern Sudan.

Create Global Healing ( Create Global Healing is a nonprofit organization committed to heart-centered leadership development for orphans in war-torn countries, US students, humanitarians and philanthropists. In September 2009, Create Global Healing is sending a team of professionals and humanitarians to Rwanda to work with over 100 Orphan Head of Households, all genocide survivors between the ages of 17 and 30, and caring for orphans, ages six and under.

Youth Mentoring Connection ( Youth Mentoring Connection awakens at-risk youth to their power, unique gifts and purpose by matching them with caring adult mentors and placing that “match” within a structured group dynamic that provides the resources youth need to reach productive, conscious adulthood. We further seek to awaken society to the needs, promise and value of this overlooked population. I am inspired by this nonprofit and join them for their summer "surfing" activities where they bring youth from South Central to the beach to learn to to surf and connect with each other, the ocean and themselves!

What do you dream about and what inspires you to keep going for those dreams? What nonprofits do you work with? How do you give? And are you open to receiving when you give as well, to allow the love, light and gratitude in? Try it out and enjoy! And remember to have a great #2GiveTuesday (aka #charitytuesday on Twitter)!

You may find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Si Se Puede - Latest News on Giving & Social Media

Si Se Puede! Yes We Can!

It is with jubilant excitement that I give you the latest news that I could find related to Giving and Social Media. The last few weeks have been a journey - a roller coaster of sorts. I gather interesting articles and tweets as I find them across the days and then I store them all to review and pick out the best of the bunch. I am thrilled about the latest.

We are progressing! Who is this "We" you might ask? Well it is all of us! But particularly I am speaking to those who care about giving and making a difference AND seeing how the online community and world are helping to expand the capacity for that to happen quicker, more virally and almost like a movement!

I think one of the best sum-ups of where we are at today in giving and the social web is the folloiwng article by Beth Kanter and crew - really good stuff and inspiring for all of us to keep expanding our thinking and growing our online efforts to enhance and increase giving:

Community Philanthropy 2.0 Report Finds Increasing Use of Social Web for High Dollar Donors: A recent study by Beth Kanter, Society for New Communications Research, Geoff Livingston and Qui Diaz examined the use of social media by nonprofits and causes and donors. One of the primary findings is that: the online world of charitable activity is highly social, but also fragmented. No dominant voice for charitable giving exists online, indicating the social web is still in an early phase of philanthropic activity. There is a need for a trusted source, and a lack of authoritative philanthropic conversations. Social media use is a good way to cultivate high dollar donors. MUST READ:

Beyond this, the other articles are great too! Enjoy this latest read!

Celebrities & Giving
Harry Potter Fans Supporting Nonprofits:
Dumbledore’s Army is a nonprofit registered by a team of Harry Potter fans who want to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and genocide. The organization was started by Andrew Slack, a 29 year old Harry Potter fan. The organization has raised over $15,000 in aid for Darfur and Burma through blogs and YouTube videos and 14,000 books to children in need. Check out the full story at Newsweek:
Celebrity and Nonprofit News site: is an online source of celebrity nonprofit news and information on what stars are doing to make a difference in the world. The site includes exclusive interviews and a database of celebrity good deeds.

Politics & Giving
Bill Clinton Calls for More Rural Philanthropy: At a recent Council on Foundations conference on rural philanthropy, Bill Clinton urged nonprofits serving rural areas to do more to advocate for additional foundation support and recommended partnership with organizations in urban areas. More at:

The White House Office on Social Innovation: This new office represents an opportunity to transform how we solve our most pressing domestic problems, including health care, education, poverty, the environment and more. This article examines some of the ways it might do this if leveraged effectively:

Fact Sheet on the Social Innovation Fund: This fact sheet is a valuable resource on the purpose of the fund, how it will work, what it will fund, etc.:

Corporate Giving
How Companies Can Build Trust Through Corporate Social Responsibility:
This article examines 3 ways in which companies can truly use CSR to build trust and relationships, partnerships and bottom line. They include: creating and leveraging social capital through employees; using CSR as a social media platform, not a marketing tool; and integrating strategy with key business objectives and measuring the outcomes. Excellent article:

Using Social Media to Enhance Business: This Wall Street Journal article demonstrates some of the key ways in which businesses like Ford, Pepsi Co. and others are using social media to enhance business strategy, avoid public relations problems and build consumer trust and support. Worth a read:

Nonprofit Times Top 50 List: The NonProfit Times, a leading business publication covering the nonprofit sector, has released its annual Power and Influence Top 50 list, which this year reflects the growing importance of the national service movement.

Hewlett Foundation Report on Shared Measurement and Social Impact: A recent report documents the use of shared measurement systems in increasing nonprofits’ efficiency, knowledge and impact based on interviews with thought leaders in the social sector. The study includes four case studies of the use of collaborative learning and measurement systems which offer ways to increase the effectiveness of interrelated organizations as they impact social issues

Social Media & Giving
The following articles demonstrate some key insights into the use of social media, types of users and potential for growing social media to promote your organizations and expand donor bases. They are all fascinating and valuable reads:

New Study Shows How Different Generations Use Social Media: Great recap blog of a recent study showing how different generations are using Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and social media. A GREAT summary table is included:

Understanding How a Facebook Page Grows: This blog post shows specific ways to grow a fan page and what triggers the growth. Excellent read for organizations interested in growing their Facebook pages, strategically:

The Four Types of Twitter Profiles: This blog includes the different types of Twitter users and highlights how each may serve a different purpose. They include: pure corporate brand; corporate with a persona; employee with corporate association; and pure personal account.

Mobile Giving
Mobile Giving is Catching On: Mobile giving is catching on amidst the over 75% of individuals giving in the over $300 billion giving market. The Mobile Giving Foundation and others are catching on and capitalizing on this market, particularly with people aged 18-24

There is more news coming - check back regularly as I'll add more soon. This is just what I could get to for today and this last few weeks. This is all good news! These are exciting times - a proverbial giving storm brewing up good things for the planet! Stay tuned!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Friday, July 31, 2009

Twitter-ific, Twitter Inspired

There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.
~ Winston Churchill

I have to say I have been truly amazing and inspired by the world that is Twitter! While it often takes a lot of time and upkeep and yes, many of the tweets often feel like bombardments of sales pitches, it is well worth the time and energy put in.

Over the last few weeks, I have had calls with people I have connected with on and through Twitter and I have been completely inspired! Thank you! And it got me excited to talk to many more Twitter-friends to come!

When I moved to LA, I was amazed by this place that so many people dislike because for me I found a haven. For me, I found home. LA is the land of misfit toys. Do you remember that land in the childhood favorite TV show Rudolf The Red Nosed-Reindeer, where all the “misfit” toys go when they are rejected by Santa’s elves if they are deemed not good enough to be given out on Christmas? Well, LA is a lot like that, people who haven’t fit any where else, fit in here. We are dreamers, we are believers. Why else do you think it is called the City of Angels?

You may think I digress, but here’s the tie in. While LA is the land of misfit toys, Twitter of the online land of misfit toys – maybe? Or maybe not? I am not quite sure, but whatever it is, it is a community where you can be yourself and share all of you. Some days you may share what you know, what you have learned, what is the latest and greatest news or information in your fields of interest and expertise. Other days, you may share about your travels or random laughs or other stories and in doing so you begin to expose all of you.

I have heard it said (by @chrisbrogan, among others) that the universe of Twitter and similar sites, will bring us more into alignment as a culture, society and world. That is, now that we are exposing more of our personal and professional lives, we can’t continue to compartmentalize those pieces of ourselves and we are moving in the direction of better aligning our whole selves. And if we aren’t in integrity in one part of our lives, it will now, more emphatically bleed into the rest of our life. So the good news is: we are almost completely being forced into better alignment. The bad news? I don’t think this is really bad news, but some might: if we did have the tendency of being out of integrity or alignment, we might have to be a bit more careful about all that we do and say personally and professionally so as not to get caught. How cool is that, a technology like Twitter can do all that?

Anyway, here are a few of the amazing people I have met in the Twitter-verse for this #FollowFriday! I am grateful for their wisdom, friendship, mutual respect and support!

@changevnglst - Sidney Hargro is a community philanthropy professional, yet his passion is social innovation, being a change agent, connecting and promoting others. He is a relentless idealist, and is fun, passionate, compassionate human being! His blog is at: - enjoy the balance between head and heart!

@pauldunn is an entrepreneur and the Chair of Buy1GIVE1 ( He is a thoughtful, insighful philanthropist who cares deeply about leaving a legacy on this planet and inspiring others to do the same. Check him out!

@stevedrake is the CEO of DrakeCo, an accredited Association Management Company. However, Steve is also passionate about cause marketing. You can also check out his tweets at @causeaholic! His blog is at:

@drguenette is a mind-body specialist, healer and philosopher. He is working on a project to explore peace in healing - both inner and outer peace as the solutions to all of our healing. He is an inspiring soul, more at:

What do you find inspiring or terrific about Twitter? Who inspires you?

That is it for another exciting #followfriday! Thank you all for inspiring me and hopefully Twitter will continue to connect and inspire others! I may be found on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook Peace!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

That Crazy Thing Called LOVE

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu

I wanted to start writing a blog tonight about how much Twitter has inspired me...but I'll have to save that for next time, as it got trumped by this blog about that thing we call LOVE.

What is the magical thing about LOVE – that inspires, encourages and invigorates us when it hits? When it happens, it usually throws us off kilter for days, weeks, even longer.

What is it about love that makes us take such pleasure and joy in the little things, the silly things about the object of our affections? That in loving them, we love everything about them – the way their nose sits on their face, the way their eyes penetrate through our soul when they look at us, or their hands shake when they talk, or the way their brilliant minds work, or how a little drool comes from their mouth every so often when they talk. That being with that person makes everything else go away as we feel that nothing else, other than that moment of being together, matters.

And why is it that when it happens, so often we retreat, afraid to be totally honest and put it all on the line for the one we love? Why do we often feel we have to protect ourselves and when might we be able to be totally truthful with ourselves and them?

I’m starting to realize the power of this thing called LOVE. When you really love someone, you give them the space they need to be who they are and to do what they need to do. Loving someone means respecting them in their journey and trusting that if it is meant to be it will be. Loving someone is knowing deep down that no matter what their love looks like in return, that we can still make the conscious choice to love them pure and simply.

Love is not needing a partner but wanting a partner. Love is not asking how much I must do, but how much I can do. Love is allowing someone to just be.

In my book, BEing the Present: 101 Ways to Inspire Living and Giving (, I wrote about loving fully (#25). I wrote that love is about risking, loving 100% and loving all the way rather than part of the way because of a fear of the other person’s reaction, of what they might think or that they might not love you back as fully.

But that is what love is. When you love fully and unconditionally, it doesn’t matter whether they love you back, nor if the way they love you back is the way you wish for it or want it to look. When we love someone and allow them to be who they are, we are allowing ourselves to be who we are and loving and respecting ourselves in the process.

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook

Friday, July 17, 2009

9 More News & Latest on Giving & Social Media

Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don’t go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won’t laugh at you. ~ Jim Rohn

Every few weeks, I go back through and review the latest news on what’s happening around giving and social media. I can’t quite seem to keep up, but made an attempt this time to create categories for the future…we’ll see how it goes. As with everything, it seems that there is more and more happening with giving, which is good news! May you keep up with it and find these resources and articles useful to help you in your efforts to create change on the planet!

Celebrities & Giving
Stories of Change.
Jeff Skoll and Robert Redford partner to make films about social entrepreneurs. Combining the resources of Skoll's foundation and Redford's Sundance Institute, they set up a $3-million film project called Stories of Change, from which more than 300 proposals, 10 film projects received grants of up to $150,000 to produce documentaries.

Benefiting Water. Matt Damon, H2O Africa co-founder, and Gary White, WaterPartners executive director and co-founder, have joined forces to co-found a new organization – – a non-profit focused on bringing access to safe water and sanitation to the developing world. will help bring safe water to nearly 890 million people and safe sanitation to over 2.5 billion people. More at

Politics & Giving
Social Innovation Fund Latest. The Social Innovation Fund, created by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, signed in April, will provide money for nonprofit to expand innovative social projects or start promising new ones, focusing on results and requiring matching funds. Matching funds must be provided by private sources or state or local governments. Spending is continent on Congressional approval and this week a House subcommittee proposed trimming the new Social Innovation Fund from $50-million to $35-million. Advocacy groups are urging Congress to fully finance the program to help people and organizations hit by the economic crisis. More at: and

Corporate Giving
Sustainability Index.
Walmart ($406 billion in revenues in 2008) is developing an ambitious plan to measure the sustainability of every product it sells – a sustainability index. Wal-Mart has been working on the index for over a year and will likely start using it on products in a year or two. Much like labeling in the food industry has changed business, this idea has the potential to transform the way businesses track their environmental impact. Keep your eyes open

Sustainability Characteristics for Nonprofits. TCC recently surveyed over 700 organizations to identify ten key characteristics of sustainable nonprofits. The report, The Sustainability Formula: How Nonprofit Organizations Can Thrive in the Emerging Economy found that leadership, adaptability and program capacity are key factors in nonprofit sustainability. For the full 13 page report (pdf) go to:

Managing Nonprofits in Tough Times. In a follow up to their recent report (, Bridgespan released a quick guide with 7 steps to manage your nonprofit during hard times, including: acting quickly but with contingencies; protecting the core of your mission; staying close to key funders; communicating regularly and otherwise.

Social Media & Giving
Merits of Social Media.
An article by Katya Andresen on Beth Kanter’s blog lists 7 ways to convince your skeptical boss that social media has merit. Worthwhile:

Facebook Causes. On July 10th, Facebook Causes Eclipsed $10 million in giving in just over two years. $5 million alone was donated in 2009 with median donations at $25, 26,000 causes and 192,000 unique donors.

Twitter Giving. A recent Washington Post article highlights the benefits of fundraising through Twitter. The best part: “Some may argue that the thousands raised through social media sites doesn’t match the millions raised through traditional tactics. But most [nonprofits] are relatively late adopters to new technologies; and the success we have seen this early is probably an indicator of the potential that is yet to be unharnessed.” Interestingly enough with other reports that nonprofits are actually adopting social media quickly, there is a huge untapped potential.

Access Charity. In a series of articles on nonprofits and social media, Access Charity highlights some of the effects and impacts of social media for nonprofits and resources and strategies for a successful online presence

Instant mobile payments. Obopay, a company funded by Nokia, provides the ability to complete transactions through your mobile phone. With Obopay, you can get, send and spend money from your mobile phone. Nonprofits can use it to gain donations as well. Worth keeping an eye on

The Power of Cell Phones. One of the latest uses of mobile technology to improve health, known as mHealth. This is the use of mobile phones and texting to increase communication between rural health clinics, providers and other to enhance health care in developing and low-resource countries. What else will mobile phones be used for?

Mobile phone recycling for nonprofits. A mobile phone recycling company, SHP Limited, in the UK has launched a website,, to allow users to recycle their mobile phones into cash with the option to keep some for themselves and give some to nonprofits. More at

Giving Trends
Young donor survey.
A survey of young donors shows trends in giving for under 35-ers. While young donors are an increasing population of donors, particularly online, data doesn’t reveal why young donors give less (due to affordability, expectations, or otherwise).

Nonprofit Investment Report. A recent poll conducted by SEI’s Nonprofit Management Research Panel, with 160 U.S. based nonprofits with assets ranging from $25 million to $1 billion found that 71 percent of nonprofits are making changes in their investment profiles due to the economic volatility. The economic changes have required nonprofits to adjust their allocations (US vs. global), use of consultants for investment management, and otherwise (

Giving study. A recent Barclays Wealth study of 500 wealthy individuals in the UK and US revealed that 75 percent had not reduced their contributions to nonprofits with more than one in four increasing their giving in the last 18 months, despite the economic recession. The report also found that donors are becoming more discerning in their giving and prefer giving to smaller organizations than the larger institutional nonprofits.

Giving Resources
Online Donation Conversion Study. A recent study published by Donordigital researched ways to optimize your donation landing and conversion rates to increase giving. While for some organizations, only 10 percent of people who land on a donation page actually complete the transaction and give, this report provides some recommendations on how to enhance conversion from landing to gift, including: using horizontal vs. vertical string layouts, providing a smaller range of giving ($35-250), including info on the organizations mission visible, creating a clear, visible and large donation buttons, and keeping forms simple and streamlined. More at: and

Community Fundraising Resource. The Linchpin Campaign of the Center for Community Change has released a free, downloadable new manual on reaching major donors about community organizing. The manual, Untapped: How Community Organizers Can Develop and Deepen Relationships with Major Donors and Raise Big Money, is a valuable resource for nonprofit’s fundraising toolbox.

Additional resources: – resource of some of the top experts in social causes, activism; UK Fundraising's latest blogger; – the home of tens of thousands of nonprofit professionals

Charity Navigator.
President Ken Berger received skepticism and questions at the annual InterAction conference when he spoke about efforts to change nonprofit ratings system. There is quite a debate about Charity Navigator’s new rating system, what are your thoughts? Weigh in at:

Kiva Controversy.’s recent addition of entrepreneurs from the United States has spurred significant debate among people who make loans through the Web site. A number of members have started a group called Unhappy Kiva Lenders on the site that urge Kiva to stop the loans in the US as they claim that Kiva’s mission is to “alleviate poverty” and believe the loans to US entrepreneurs goes beyond the scope of the mission. Weigh in on the discuss at Chronicle of Philanthropy

Let me know if there are any of these articles that are particularly useful, what more you would like to see and what less. Enjoy and happy #followfriday!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at