Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Future of Philanthropy

As the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and we must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace. For the world has changed, and we must change with it. ~President Barack Obama

If you haven’t seen the TED video with Katherine Fulton on Philanthropy (http://bit.ly/CnGH3), I highly recommend you see it! She talks eloquently and inspiringly on the democratization of philanthropy and how it is changing from a field of the few to one of the many. Philanthropy is becoming democratized through mass collaboration and collective philanthropy, online philanthropy marketplaces and aggregated and matching giving, through innovative competition and social investing. Through her explanation, she describes that “we are acting our way into a new way of thinking as philanthropy completely reorganizes."

Additionally, research demonstrates that nonprofits have outpaced businesses and education in using social media (http://www.ericmattson.com/ and http://bit.ly/12lrL5) due to the low cost marketing ability to engage, share, listen and promote what they are passionate about and elicit new donors. As the more traditional ways of giving and philanthropy are shifting, so is the way everyone is thinking about giving and DOing giving!

We are truly entering a new era in giving and philanthropy. Businesses are shifting their practices to incorporate triple bottom line (people, profit and the planet) into their business principles as they see the benefits both for the planet and for their bottom lines. A Cone Research study (http://bit.ly/ACRWd) demonstrated that 79% of consumers would be likely to switch from one brand to another if that brand was associated with a good cause – that is good business. As that happens we are seeing businesses shift they way the do business – incorporating support for causes and change on the planet. While there is a lot of debate about whether cause marketing (or consumption philanthropy) is a good thing (http://bit.ly/i15Ui and http://bit.ly/11TZix), the reality is that it is happening and changing the face of business and philanthropy.

From the other end of the spectrum, the way individuals give is changing. More individuals are engaging online to share, promote and showcase their favorite causes and nonprofits. From every direction, philanthropy is becoming a more mainstream part of life, business and the way we think. Even Obama’s Presidential campaign demonstrated the need and desire for combining social media and fundraising, as he raised over 1/3 of his campaign funds online (http://bit.ly/2AdhY4). Obama “evolutionized” giving by creating a movement around change and giving – he “democratized” giving – because people wanted not only to give but they wanted to be a part of the larger giving community and movement.

How are you a part of the movement of giving and change? What more can you do in your business and life to be a part of the change? How are you changing with the world instead of being left behind? Give Today! Live Today! Be a Part of the Change!

Happy #2GiveTues (to replace #charitytuesday)! I can be found on Twitter @pilarstella and on Facebook www.facebook.com/pilarstella!

Friday, June 26, 2009

This Week’s Top 9+ Giving & Social Media News

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. ~ Pericles

On this #FollowFriday, I decided to pull together this week’s latest news on giving and social media. It feels as though every week there is more innovation and excitement going on around giving, philanthropy, change and social media. Here is my latest attempt to pick the best and most interesting news of the week. Enjoy and please share with me other news and interesting stories when you can. Also share and pass along to others!

1. Giving Trends. Several of the latest giving reports released found:

  • A Survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy of 65 nonprofits revealed that giving is down 2/3 through first five months of 2009. Despite this, the study found an increase in the number of individual donors, but a decrease in the amount given per donor. http://bit.ly/L9nPa
  • A report funded in part by the Wallace Foundation found that between 1990 and 2006, the nation’s private and community foundations increased their support for activities for women and girls by 223 percent. Yet giving for these populations still remains a small percentage of foundations’ overall giving. http://bit.ly/3xeyY
  • A survey by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch found that the numbers of millionaires worldwide shrank by 15 percent in 2008, with assets dropping 20 percent. http://bit.ly/teOIZ

2. Giving & Hollywood. While the Philanthropist TV show aired this week and captured 7 million viewers, the question is whether philanthropy will take advantage of the opportunity afforded by Hollywood’s release of this TV show about a billionaire turned philanthropist. While the TV show was engaging, it likely won’t do much to truly educate viewers on the role of philanthropy – that is a job left up to foundations and others to educate people on. http://bit.ly/ZriOs

3. Mobile Giving. Mobile giving providers are growing rapidly as several new mobile giving programs have released including: Givabit will be a new and *free* iPhone application that features charities on a daily basis allowing users to discover worthy causes and easily contribute micro donations to them http://bit.ly/PX7xu; mobile donations are coming via text to the United Kingdom and technology provider WIN has agreed to waive transaction fees http://mobilegivinginsider.com/; and others to recently release mobile giving solutins include MobileCause’s mobile donation program, GiveByCell and GiveOnTheGo giving solutions http://bit.ly/yBhAu.

4. Google Service. This week Google launched http://www.allforgood.org/ a community service search engine that volunteer opportunities from around the US from a number of nonprofits and other websites. All For Good is also now being used to power the search portion of Service.gov, Obama’s service site launched last week http://bit.ly/11GADR.

5. Giving & Social Media. Here are some resources on social media for nonprofits.

  • DIOSA communications released a list of 10 Best Practices for Nonprofits on Twitter and for Facebook Pages. For twitter recommendations included being authentic, thankful and nice, using favorites to organize important tweets, tweet other people’s content, regularly tweet but don’t overtweet and others http://bit.ly/MYGll. For Facebook tips include configuring your page for more participation, using your organizational logo for the picture, add regular new links, spark conversation on your page with questions, use “Causes”, “Notes” and other apps http://bit.ly/OLXce.
  • An accesscharity blog this week talks about nonprofits on twitter and other social media http://bit.ly/3zmL3.

6. Cause Marketing & Giving. I had to share a couple of articles related to cause marketing as there is a lot of debate and discussion about the pros and cons of cause marketing, including:

  • A cause marketing article talks about the new concept “antripreneur” that disturbs some and fits others http://ow.ly/fJAs;
  • An article by Angela Eikenberry calls cause marketing “consumption philanthropy” and argues that it compromises the potential for nonprofits to enhance society http://bit.ly/i15Ui and the great discussion that ensued http://bit.ly/11TZix.

7. Giving URL Shorteners. http://www.giv.to/ has released a URL Shortener for Causes, Non-profits, and Political Campaigns that encourages users to click with a call to action and ensures trustworthy links. The site is worth checking out. For additional information on the best URL shorteners, Beaconfire blog shows a comparison. http://bit.ly/mSr3Y Additionally http://www.contribune.org/ has a tool that shortens URLs in addition to providing news stories on giving and steering donations to nonprofits in the process.

8. Evolving Giving. As the giving evolves, so do the models, language and existing ways of doing things. Several articles illustrate these changes:

  • More and more people are looking at blending the lines between for-profit and nonprofit business models. Recent hybrid corporate structure models are allowing non-profits to accept private investment w/out diluting missions and for-profits to incorporate nonprofit principles http://bit.ly/pDV0G.
  • Many people don’t like the word “nonprofit” (or “charity” for that matter ;), so there are discussions about new names – “delta sector” is one http://bit.ly/pDV0G, whereas in other parts of the world “third sector” is used as well. What do you like?
  • Democratization of Philanthropy. Katherine Fulton talks on TED about how philanthropy is changing with new models including mass collaboration and collective philanthropy, online philanthropy marketplaces, aggregated giving, innovation competition and social investing. Katherine articulates a new moral hunger as we are acting our way into a new way of thinking. Philanthropy is reorganizing and as lines blend new terms including philanthro-capitalism, natural capitalism, and others describe these new evolutions and will continue to transform http://bit.ly/CnGH3.

9. Giving Advice. This week’s news includes some practical tips for the donors and nonprofits, including:

You can follow me on twitter @pilarstella. Also send me your thoughts, favorites and other news! Have a great #followfriday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is It Social Entrepreneurship or Conscious Capitalism?

What business entrepreneurs are to the economy, social entrepreneurs are to social change. They are the driven, creative individuals who question the status quo, exploit new opportunities, refuse to give up, and remake the world for the better. ~ David Bornstein

In order to make money you have to serve other people – for me that’s the beauty of conscious capitalism. ~Fred Kofman

I recently spoke at a Fulbright Scholars Event on the topic of Social Entrepreneurship. It left me thinking for weeks about the topic and the direction we are moving as a society and as a world as it relates to business, philanthropy and where the two shall meet.

As I looked at the definitions of social entrepreneurship, I found:

  • an entrepreneur who engages in business seeking both financial and social return;
  • the art of persistently and creatively leveraging resources to capitalize upon marketplace opportunities in order to achieve sustainable social change;
  • any earned-income business or strategy undertaken by a nonprofit for the purpose of generating revenue in support of the nonprofit’s social mission; and
  • a social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to make social change;
  • Social enterprises are “more-than-profit.”

It left me lacking and wanting for more. So I looked into conscious business, conscious capitalism, creative capitalism and sustainable business:

  • Enterprise that has no negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy;
  • Business that has progressive environmental and human rights policies;
  • A business enterprise that seeks to be aware of the effects of its actions, and to consciously affect human beings and the environment in a beneficial way;
  • Conscious business has emerged from the theory of Corporate Social Responsibility, and is currently related to movements of Not Just For Profit Business Models, Conscious Consumerism, and Socially Responsible Investing - also referred to as “Conscious Capitalism”; and
  • Creative capitalism an approach where governments, businesses and nonprofits work together to stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or gain recognition, doing work that eases the world’s inequities (Bill Gates).

As I saw these definitions, the questions started swarming in my head. Is there really a difference between social entrepreneurship and conscious capitalism? OR is there really a continuum between the two? Is it possible that these are slowly evolving and becoming one?

From what I can tell businesses are evolving towards more corporate social responsibility, conscious capitalism, cause marketing and incorporating triple bottom line into their corporate philosophies. From my perspective, those are the businesses that are thriving and succeeding in a down economy. These businesses understand that investing in the planet and people in addition to profit actually improves their bottom line – their profit.

On the flip side, successful nonprofits and social entrepreneurs are evolving their sustainability and organizational models by incorporating more expansive mechanisms for “revenues” beyond the traditional grants, gifts and donations. In order to evolve in a competitive market, increasing need and a down economy, nonprofits are required to evolve to stay alive. Isn’t that Darwin’s theory of evolution?

So I wonder in our next evolution, if we won’t just see a blending between social enterprise and conscious business, but also between the for-profit and nonprofit models? I know there are all types of legal ramifications of this, but if done in a smart way, why not? Is it really wrong to do good and make a profit (a discussion for another day)? Or to do good, make change and be of service to and transform traditional business principles in the process?

Could the next evolution be a hybrid of the two? If and as for profits understand the need to incorporate nonprofit principles into their businesses and the need for partnerships with nonprofits to succeed and thrive AND as non profits become seen less as the recipient of grants, but more of a provider of service to the planet, community AND businesses itself – wouldn’t the line of division slowly dissipate?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Food for thought for me for sure! It will be an interesting era to see as social media transforms not only the way we do business, but the way we GIVE & RECEIVE and perceive nonprofits and for profits, social entrepreneurs and conscious capitalists, and the continuum or boundaries between them!

What do you think?

You can also find me on Twitter @pilarstella.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Latest Top 10 News on Giving & Social Media

There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. ~Richard Bach

Since I got such good feedback from my listing of the latest in news on Giving and Social Media last week, I thought I would try to continue the trend on a regular (maybe not weekly) basis. So in trying to help you (and me) keep my head straight on all that is going on related to giving and social media, here are my latest top 10 news tidbits on all that is giving and social media. Happy reading!

1. Giving Trends: Giving USA Report Released: 2008 marked the first drop in charitable giving since 1987 and only the second time giving has fallen in 50 years. Despite this and given the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, giving still exceeded $300 billion for the second year in a row and still reached over 2.2% of GDP. For more on the report go to: http://bit.ly/YfaRx and http://www.givingusa.org/.

2. Mobile Giving Applications: New giving applications are getting ready to be released. Apple is considering a new iPhone app called Givabit http://bit.ly/dSNnE). MobileCause is helping to mobilize causes through text donations (http://bit.ly/13XxWR). Additionally, Chance to Give (http://www.chancetogive.org/) has released a mobile application to give to cuases. What more will be in store for us in the coming year?

3. President’s Summer Service Campaign: President Obama launched the “United WE Serve” Summer Service Campaign beginning June 22nd through September 11th, deemed “The National Day of Service and Remembrance.” President Obama launched this to promote service and encourage people to volunteer. With it http://www.serve.gov/ was launched to enable community members to register their service projects. More at http://bit.ly/ZhZU7.

4. Why Nonprofit CEOs Should Use Social Media: This is a great presentation and article about why CEOs in general and nonprofit CEOs should use social media. As business becomes global, so must CEOs reach become more global and more personal – social media allows for both. Check it out at http://bit.ly/k3QH4.

5. Demography & Giving: A recent Chronicle of Philanthropy Prospecting article proposes that shifting demographics can be more of a factor to consider in giving and fundraising than the economic downturn. The article encourages fundraisers to consider the implications of an aging and more diverse population – focusing on new strategies for baby boomers with extended life expectancies, younger givers and trends in giving for minority populations which will become “majority” by 2050. Nonprofits need to respond to these trends and adapt their fundraising strategies accordingly. More at http://bit.ly/16yKpJ.

6. Change & Social Media: While this article is from May, it is a great one from Mashable about ways to change the world through social media. Recommendations include take social actions, twitter with a purpose, choose your cause, host a social media event, and more at: http://bit.ly/NElPE.

7. Giving & Profit: This is one of my favorite articles and discussions that ensued about whether or not online giving sites should charge fees for giving. It is one near and dear to my heart (and our internal discussions as we build OneGiving). Online giving sites are providing a service – this article and the follow up comments explore the pros and cons – weigh in, it is a worthy discussion: http://bit.ly/Y43uk. Another article from the Huffington Post explores whether volunteerism and service can become profitable http://bit.ly/hVsR9. Another article discusses cons of cause marketing http://bit.ly/11TZix. All of these discussions are valuable to initiate the dialogue about the blended line between for profit and nonprofit efforts.

8. Donors & Web 2.0: A recent article on http://www.change.org/ highlights traits of Web 2.0 donors – including how they are younger, give in smaller amounts and ways in which they want to interact. As we move from Web 1.0 to 2.0, it is crucial that online giving sites and nonprofits begin to adapt with the changes or be left behind. In a related article, change.org encourages all nonprofits to keep updating their Guidestar entries to stay up to date with all the Web 2.0 giving sites: http://bit.ly/Ght8h.

9. Global Philanthropy: A recent article explores the implications of proposed new regulations that may impede international nonprofits and aid groups in a crackdown on foreign philanthropy. What will the greater implications be for global giving? Join the discussion: http://bit.ly/huyix.

10. Additional Resources: The List of Change recently released a new ranking of cause related blogs with over 170 listed: http://bit.ly/tvZCK. Pew’s Research on American Life and the Internet released the latest data on different types of internet use. Data says that 20% of users make donations online: http://bit.ly/HgrnA. An online social network for grantwriters: http://grantwriters.ning.com/. A new site creates a community where your online time benefits nonprofits of choice: http://www.jackthedonkey.com/.

You can find me on twitter @pilarstella. Keep the dialogue going!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Top 10 Philanthropy, Nonprofit and Social Entrepreneur Experts to Follow on Twitter

The more I give away, the more that comes back. That is the way life works, and that is the way energy works. ~ Ken Blanchard

Since it is #FollowFriday on Twitter today, I thought I would recommend the Top 10 Philanthropy, Nonprofit and Social Entrepreneurial Experts to follow on Twitter. I will try to regularly add some of my favorite and best picks for resources on these subjects and others, but will start with these for this week. My picks are not based on who does the most self promoting, but who I look to regularly to provide the latest and most up to date information and resources on giving and change! So check these resources out and enjoy your #FollowFriday:

1. @Kanter – Beth Kanter is a blogger, training and consultant nonprofits in the effective use of social media. She has great resources, links and information on the intersection between the nonprofit world and the latest and greatest social media and technology. She also has a great sense of humor and puts fun spins on all she does. Check her out!

2. @Sumaya – Sumaya Kazi is a Senior Social Media Manager at Sun Microsystems. Though at 26, she has already won awards for Young Entrepreneurship for founding TheCulturalConnect, an online media publishing company dedicated to young professionals around the world. She is passionate and shares wild and wacky random Sumaya musings. But she is also an excellent resource on anything social media, social entrepreneurial and giving back. Finally, she also is known for her quick wit on twitter and her salsa dancing. This is one woman you don’t want to miss on Twitter.

3. @Philanthropy – This is the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s official Twitter page. It is updated regularly by Peter Panepento with the latest and greatest up-to-date information on philanthropy, social media, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit news and otherwise. Definitely a necessary regular read.

4. @Philanthropy411 – Kris Putnam-Walker is a philanthropy consultant, evaluator and speaker. She is compiling a list of community foundations on Twitter and provides the latest information and links on philanthropy and nonprofits. Read on!

5. @Nonprofitorgs – This Twitter-er provides up-to-date information on nonprofit organizations and serves as a portal to all nonprofits. They only follow nonprofit organizations, but they are worth following to see what’s happening.

6. @Nonprofitmatrix – Run buy George Irish, this is an online directory of service providers for nonprofits and social causes. You can follow and add a listing for your service or software, but more importantly you get informative information in the field.

7. @Kenscommentary & @charitynav – Ken Berger is the President of Charity Navigator (Happy 1 Year Anniversary Ken)! Through his personal tweets and the tweets of Charity Navigator itself, you will get some dry humor, thoughtful musings, oh yeah, and some great up to date information on what’s happening in the nonprofit realm. Worth a follow.

8. @Koodooz – I don’t know who this woman is, but she tweets about great stuff going on by youth in particular and nonprofits, cause marketing and beyond. She is a truly fun person to follow – you can just feel her heart and passion for all that she posts. Definitely two big thumbs up!

9. @stevedrake & @causeaholic – Steve Drake is the CEO of Drake Co, an accredited Association Management Company that focuses on associations, social media and agriculture. Steve is an award winning cause marketer and is passionate about working together with for profits and nonprofits. He provides resources and good discussions around cause marketing that are relevant for everyone in the field. Thanks…keep tweeting. Definitely worth a tweet out.

10. @howardlake & @ukfundraising – Howard Lake is an online fundraising writer, trainer and consultant. He is also the publisher of UK Fundraising, an online resource for professional nonprofit fundraisers. He keeps us up to date on what is going on in the UK and beyond. Follow his tweets, for sure!

Now, these are just my favorite top 10 that I follow on Twitter. I will continue to add more as I find more that provide as great up to date information and help keep me informed on what’s going on in the world of cause marketing, social media, social entrepreneurship, nonprofits and philanthropy. I will also do my best in the coming weeks and months to provide other relevant information on giving sites, nonprofits and related news.

Who do you follow for related tweets? Please share with us all!

You can follow me @pilarstella!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Redefining Charity for the 21st Century

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. ~Bertold Brecht

As I sat down to write on what is called “Charity Tuesday” on Twitter, I started thinking further about the word charity and wondered if it bothers others as much as it bothers me?

I wrote a blog about it recently and haven’t stopped thinking about it, particularly when everywhere around me, people and organizations are talking about their charities of choice. Now don’t get me wrong, I am excited and thrilled to see people getting excited and incorporating causes into their lives, work and other life priorities. What an amazing time!

Yet, it keeps hitting me that as with everything else going on with the web, that perhaps the way we think about giving and “charity” may begin to change as well with the times!

When the web was created, it was used as a business tool to enhance existing business practice, but for its first generation really was used in the same traditional ways of business. However, with the latest iteration of the web and social media, we are beginning to see a new wave and trend in the web, in which it is becoming its own live organism and rather than the more linear relationships and uses of the web in the more traditional ways, people are beginning to cross-interact and the web is beginning to have a life of its own.

From everything I can tell, this is a trend that will is beginning to happen with giving as philanthropy becomes more active on the social web. For decades, the concept of giving has been rooted in the philosophy of “charity.” I give to you, and with it has come somewhat of a hierarchy. However, as nonprofits begin to outpace corporations and education in using the social web (http://tinyurl.com/28syby), this linear and hierarchical dynamic will rapidly begin to change.

With these foreseeable changes, the relationship between the donor and the recipient is set to shift dramatically. Nonprofits will no longer be seen as solely doing good and will not be required purely to ask for gifts, grants and donations. Rather, they will begin to be seen as resources of information, change agents and the dynamic between giver and receiver will rapidly transform. We are already beginning to see this as the interaction between donor and recipient, with the help of the social web, becomes more interactive, co-creative and synergistic.

Do you think in this evolutionary change in dynamic between the donor and recipient, the view of “charity” and the word itself might change? Perhaps as our paradigms shift in so many ways during this new millenium, we may also see our language shift to accomodate those changes. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella. Have a beautiful #charitytuesday as they say, or perhaps we might start calling it #causetuesday or otherwise - do you have any ideas on the name? Let me know!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Top 10 News and Tips on Giving and Social Media

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. ~ Albert Einstein - Perhaps not! ~ Pilar Stella

As I sat down to write my blog today and I thought about this quote, I thought to myself, “Perhaps, not!” You see it seems to me that we are in an amazing era in which our technology might just be beginning to enhance our humanity. As I thought about all of the different social media tools, news and tips that are being used to enhance and transform nonprofits and giving, my head started to spin. So much is happening in this arena, there is increasing information and many people proactively engaging social media for giving.

Sometimes it seems hard to keep track of it all. So I thought I would try to synthesize some of the latest news in giving and social media to keep up with it all (for myself) and share what I learned with you. In my opinion, here are the 10 Top News and Tips on Giving and Social Media:

1. Kiva.org Takes a Risk in the U.S. While Kiva.org has provided over $76 million in small loans to business owners in developing nations over the past four years, they have decided to expand their loan program to the U.S. While the average loans to date globally have been approximately $415, they will increase loans for the U.S. from $1,000 to $10,000. More at http://ow.ly/dKuN.

2. As a “Craigslist for service” is set to debut, “All for Good,” inspired by the Obama vision for service, there is significant debate surrounding its launch. The site is managed by Google and has attracted some heavy hitters in the technology and philanthropy world, yet has also alienated some in the nonprofit world who fear duplication. More at http://tinyurl.com/kl8dkx.

3. If You Do Good, You Look Good. A recent study from the Tel Aviv University School of Economics found that image is a motivator in giving and doing good. Attaining maximum donor response can be achieved by providing significant recognition to donors – the more visibility, the greater the image boost, the greater the contribution. However, when individuals were paid to raise money for charity, they preferred less public visibility. More at http://tinyurl.com/mky8vx.

4. Top Nonprofit Blogging. As I searched online to find more on nonprofits, giving and change, I found two sites for top nonprofit blogging: 20 nonprofit blogs by people of color http://bit.ly/3ULwWm and top nonprofit bloggers http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/listofchange/.

5. Attracting Big Gifts Online. A new report (CDR Fundraising group) found that attracting larger donors online requires combining online marketing techniques with more traditional face-to-face donor interactions. Some of the recommendations included – ask for large, and small, gifts online; provide regular (at least) monthly reports, gain testimonials, and provide additional insider information. More at http://tinyurl.com/mnpu4a and http://tinyurl.com/cnnlpy.

6. Measuring Nonprofit Effectiveness. A recent series of articles and conversations have explored the issue of outcomes measures and nonprofits and have found that an estimated less than 10% of charities seem to be measuring outcomes. As a result, a series of blogs and forums will continue to explore this issue further. To read more and weigh in, go to: http://tinyurl.com/lzmgsp and http://tinyurl.com/b2t7xr.

7. Nonprofit Social Media Use Outpaces Business, Education. A recent study by Eric Mattson found that nonprofits are the largest adopters of some social media technologies – ahead of business and universities. Nearly two-thirds of nonprofits interviewed actually listened, participated and engaged in social media. Some of the reasons for their quick adoption is the low cost ability to market, given their limited funding, and ability to comment, engage and share what they are passionate about in an affordable way facilitates their use of social media to listen, share and promote, and elicit new donors. More at http://tinyurl.com/28syby and http://www.ericmattson.com/

8. 5 Best Tweets on Nonprofits, Companies & Social Media. This is a listing of 5 of the best resources for nonprofits on social media. It includes monetizing social media, best practices for nonprofits, nonprofit CEO’s that tweet, social media presentations for nonprofits, tips for an effective call to action. For more reading, go to: http://tinyurl.com/knpquw and http://jeffbullas.com/

9. Resources to Help Nonprofits Navigate Social Media. The Chronicle of Philanthropy released a listing of resources to help nonprofits navigate and better utilize social media. More at http://bit.ly/YXCBu.

10. Social Media Changing the Nonprofit World. In an article for Mashable, Beth Kanter (tweeter extraordinaire @kanter) lays out 4 ways in which social media is changing the nonprofit world, including: deepening relationships, forging new collaborations, new individual and group organizing around nonprofits and requiring organizational cultural shifts. More info at http://bit.ly/YXCBu.

As we enter into a brave new world of social media and philanthropy, rather than look at technology as our enemy, we may begin to use it for good to create change on the planet. If you want to stay up with the latest, stay tuned for #charitytuesday on twitter and all the tweets, blogs and other news about nonprofits and change! Be the Change!

You can find me on twitter @pilarstella.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cooperation Over Conflict

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end. ~ President Barack Obama

Yesterday I posted a link on my Facebook page with the "Does your hair feel like mine, Mr. President" picture and link (http://tinyurl.com/mb2xxv). What followed, surprised and amazed me. The first response was a beautiful one that expressed a friend's self-identification with the picture, quote and link that it lead her to tears.

It is truly a beautiful and amazing time to see an African American president within the life time of the civil rights movement. Whether you like President Obama or not, the accomplishment and all that goes with it, are an amazing symbol of progress.

Yet, what followed was a reply from someone who used the term, "Negro", and completely disrespected the other person's heartfelt experience and comments. A not so pleasant exchanged occurred and by the time I got online to read it, I was left stunned and amazed. How is it possible that we continue to live in a world in which people not only show disrespect for others by calling people names, but also that when there is a difference of opinions, that the conversation can not stay respectful.

As I have moved into a more loving, accepting and respectful place in my own life, I have come to respect and honor people for our differences, but also for our similarities. We are all ONE. It really is that simple, and as long as we continue to see differences and address each other disrespectfully, we will only continue to manifest the situations that divide us - war, hatred, racism, discrimination and so on.

After having heard the President's speech in Cairo, http://tinyurl.com/pv7355, which focused on peace and harmony, rather than discord and suspicion. It was a beautiful speech that articulated what so many of us feel and want to see happen in the world.

As many others, I want to live in a world in which we see progress for our youth, in which people choose love over fear and respect over hatred. I want to know a world in which we can hear each other, choose respectful words and embrace our differences and show dignity and compassion. I want to live in world in which religion, culture, ethnicity and other differences are honored and yet our common humanity continues to connect us.

It is time for the disrespect, hatred and violence to end. We all have an opportunity to choose the peaceful alternative in our own lives. How will you choose so today and every day? Be the change and inspire others through your actions in your own life!

Additional quotes from President Obama's Cairo speech:

I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground.

And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations -- to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes -- and, yes, religions -- subjugating one another in pursuit of their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; our progress must be shared.

The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Too many tears have been shed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them, joined in prayer.

Our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity -- men and women -- to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice.

There's so much fear, so much mistrust that has built up over the years. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country -- you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort -- a sustained effort -- to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It's easier to start wars than to end them. It's easier to blame others than to look inward. It's easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There's one rule that lies at the heart of every religion -- that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. (Applause.) This truth transcends nations and peoples -- a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. It's a faith in other people...

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

~ President Barack Obama

Monday, June 8, 2009

Today's Free Thought: Tomorrow's Common Sense

The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next. ~ Matthew Arnold

I got this quote today from my tea bag and it couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. That is, I had already been thinking a lot about paradigm shifts and how things that are considered “out there” in one generation are often considered “normal” in the next (whatever normal is). Anyway, it got me thinking about the whole social media madness and particularly about Twitter, because I have recently begun to dive into it more and become more enamored with it (ok, I admit it I am a Tweetgeek).

While you wouldn’t know it by the number of followers or following me, I have just recently gotten turned onto Twitter and find it fascinating. I recently read a bunch of articles to learn more about it and its functionality and also the anomaly that is Twitter.

In a recent article in Time Magazine, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live” (http://tinyurl.com/qtvneh), Steven Johnson wrote that “the sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles.” That is, that at first glance we may dismiss Twitter as being a huge waste of time with the writing and reading of 140 character tweets. But if we begin to understand the how and what of Twitter, we may see how truly useful those little tweets may be to a bigger whole.

His example is one of a conference in which a group of approximately 40-odd educators, entrepreneurs, scholars, philanthropists and venture capitalists gathered to discuss the future of schools. Because they weren’t able to invite many others, they opened up the dialogue to people on Twitter and invited others in to provide input into the dialogue. While it started out with just people from inside the room, it quickly spread to others on Twitter who wanted to provide input. As a recovered policy wonk and continuing social entrepreneur, I am fascinated to see its potential use in transforming policy, social and environmental change.

While this is just one example of the many uses of Twitter that were not dreamed up by the founders, it truly demonstrates its potential for impacting not just economic/financial change, but also social, environmental and other changes to make the world a better place.

I have recently read a slew of articles about Twitter’s uses – the best collects several articles in one place (114+ Awesome Ideas on How to Use Twitter http://bit.ly/3bEmu0). I highly recommend reading these articles and links as it provides tips on :
What to twitter about (http://tinyurl.com/myhjej),
Ideas for twitter for business (http://tinyurl.com/8xg9zl),
Ways to use Twitter for fun and profit (http://tinyurl.com/5wl34g),
Tools to enhance your twitter experience (http://tinyurl.com/nmqs7z),
Ways to attract quality Twitter followers (http://tinyurl.com/lf4y7c),
Ways to increase twitter traffic to your blog (http://tinyurl.com/knje4c),
How to best utilize twitter for business owners (http://tinyurl.com/ne895y), and
How to use twitter (http://tinyurl.com/mompm9).

So you may ask why do I care and how is this all relevant? I guess the bottom line is that Twitter is an emerging technology that has the power to bring together people from around the world in common causes and issues to not only super-business market and develop personal relationships, but also identify problems and solutions to looming social and environmental issues. It is an opportunity for the free-thinkers to get their thoughts out and have them heard and gather in a collective community to make today’s free thoughts, tomorrow’s common sense.

How do you think Twitter will transform today's and tomorrow's social and environmental issues? You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Is It Really Charity?

Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving. ~Hank Rosso
But what is charity? ~ Pilar Stella

As I work on building a business around giving and philanthropy, the term "charity" keeps popping up and every time it does I find myself twitching with irritability. We have moved into the 21st century and continue to do so more and more every day with techology, social media and even movements for change. I have been completely inspired over the past months as I begin to see corporations, celebrities and world leaders truly embrace making a difference and giving.

My only issue: Yes, it is that word charity. As I sat down to write about this, I hesitated, as the definitions and meaning behind charity are well-meaning and well-intended. Words such as benevolent goodwill, love of humanity, generosity and helpfulness, gift for benevolent purposes popped up. All leaving a warm feeling in my heart.

But perhaps, well-meaning and well-intended on the part of the intender, may not always be received as well. When I dug further into definitions of charity, I got to words like relief for the needy and lenient judgement of others. It sounds as though the terminology "charity" may continue to maintain and perpetuate a hierarchy between giver and receiver.

In my work with foundations, corporations and others, I work to move away from the concept of "charitable" giving and towards a model of strategic, sustainable and exchangeable giving. This becomes more of an acknowledgement of the exchange that happens in the giving - the mutual benefit, not just the one way giving to, yet a way to create a cycle of giving and receiving to become more sustainable on both ends. For the donor there is always a gift in exchange. For the recipient, a return gift, knowledge or service.

Giving opens the way for receiving.- Florence Scovel Shinn

I started thinking that perhaps it is time that we move into the 21st century with giving, as we have in so many other realms, and start using another word that captures the beauty of the exchange and removes the hierarchy. What that word is I am not sure yet. I have tried to replace charity in my own vocabulary with nonprofit or otherwise. Yet, to some extent, there needs to be another word as we find ways to move the donors in the direction of giving and seeing the benefit that comes to them and the recipient to recognizing that in receiving they are giving in return - their service, good will, knowledge, wares, or otherwise.

This is all just food for thought and perhaps just the beginning of a longer dialogue we will begin to have with and through OneGiving and on a global scale as more engage in giving and discussions about it. No matter what, may you continue to give fully and freely - of yourself, your time, your money, your service, your love or just through a smile or a hug.

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. ~ Albert Camus

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Choose Your Path

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday, I wrote about the changes that are occurring through social media and the web. I thought I would write a little bit more of what I learned from the speakers Chris Brogan (twitter @chrisbrogan) and Erik Qualman (@equalman) at the BEA conference in NYC. You may wonder why I care about this so much, mostly because I am a social entrepreneur who is looking at the ways that new technology and paradigms will affect us socially and environmentally, not just financially. As we develop OneGiving to connect people globally in giving and resource exchange, we must fully understand the technology, where it is going AND how people are thinking and responding to it so that we may serve people, and humanity better, and deliver a more comprehensive, successful, fun and interactive platform to enhance the user’s experience.

Every day we continue to hear, we are entering a new era, a new paradigm in which the choices we make every day are beginning to impact us more as a planet and humanity. According to Erik Qualman, the use of social media, the social web, social networks and the social graph is about you and bragging AND it is about listening.

Sounds somewhat contradictory perhaps, but Chris Brogan further expanded upon this saying, it isn’t about you, it is about the user of the product. However, what he said was that it is about being more authentically you, playing by your own rules, being consistent and transparent in who you are and letting everyone know who you really are first. Then the key is to connect back with others on the things they care about, communicating and relating to those things on a human, 1:1 personal level. It is about building relationships and influencing others. For more on Chris’s presentation you can go to http://bit.ly/KJxlk.

For me, this is an exciting time. We are seeing younger generations (and ourselves) preferring to communicate via text and social networks, rather than email. Email is beginning to get outdated and as Chris Brogan predicts so will Google’s current platform become outdated (though as any smart business, they are adapting with the changes). Why, he explained, is that currently when anyone types something into Google, everybody gets the same top 10 things on that search. So if they are looking for a hotel in Paris, the same hotels will come up first. Whereas with the way the social graph is taking us and connecting us through common data points, data will become more personalized and specified and with that the search will too. Data about types of hotels in Paris will become more tailored and tied to me personally and my personal needs, based on my other purchases, interests, etc. that are being tracked. My purchases may also be more personalized and tied to not just generic recommendations as on Amazon, but to recommendations of the people in my social network and their recommendations – to the people I care about and trust.

Such dramatic open information and connectivity of information has implications for privacy. Yet, many people remain optimistic that because information is becoming more open and based on personal relationships and trust, it will provide more accountability and will self correct for any abuse of the system very quickly. It all remains to be seen.

As I have stressed before, you can spend your time worrying about it or naysaying it, but it is what it is. That is, it is happening and it is the direction in which things are moving NOW. So it is your choice to become a part of the wave and help shape the direction in which it moves or you can resist and either get left behind or be left to react to what it is later on, when there is less ability to shape it. As with everything you and only you have a choice. That is the beauty of being a human being.

We human beings do have some genuine freedom of choice and therefore some effective control over our own destinies. ~ Arnold Toynbee

Monday, June 1, 2009


The times they are a-changin’. ~ Bob Dylan

We are truly entering a new era. I went to the Book Expo in NYC this weekend and it reminded me just how much the times are changing. I listened to two speakers in particular share about social networks such as Facebook and Twitter – Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents (on twitter @chrisbrogan), and Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics (on twitter @equalman). It really was the talk of the conference. And it was apparent from being there that not just publishing, but our entire world is truly transforming before our eyes and we have a choice…to shift along with the changes and the new paradigm or to get left behind.

Over the last year, the publishing industry has seen record losses. I heard numbers like they have seen 87% losses from prior years. That number is astounding. But when you think about it, everything about publishing and our world is changing. Due to a very significant part to the internet and what has resulted from it – and we have only seen the beginning.

Expert Kevin Kelly, who spoke at past TED conferences (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web.html) talks about three distinctive stages of the internet. The first stage we saw was one which linked computer to computer, called the net. The second stage, which we are in now but transitioning out of, connected web page to web page, called the Web. The era of google and web pages is about finding information, putting information out there and gaining increased access to information via web pages. However, this is web 1.0, which as Chris Brogan put it, is a one-way web in which data is more unidirectional. The third stage of the internet (web 2.0) links data to data, which Kevin Kelly referred to as the one (machine) and Chris Brogan believes is more 2 way.

As I learn more and see more about social networks, it is actually a movement towards the creation of what is being called a social graph. That is, a way for each of us to share, promote and even brag about ourselves but more importantly to listen and connect back up with others. It is, as Chris Brogan claims, a way for us to bring humanity back to our business and our communication.

It is an interesting concept, but basically one that seems to have people falling on two sides. When I speak about the web and social networks, some people react and say that the web is a horrible waste of time, a degradation of our communication by the use of only 140 characters, and something that has disconnected us. Yet on the flip side, it is bringing people across continents together; across racial, ethnic and cultural boundaries together; it is forcing us to begin to communicate and research through Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project (http://www.pewinternet.org/) shows it may even be bringing families together by reducing television time and increasing interactive online learning and communication time.

Either way, as I see it, it is like any other paradigm shift and change. You can complain about it and resist and be left behind or you can move forward and change with the times. As the typewriter switched to the word processor to the computer to the laptop and now to even more mobile devices or the tape to the cd to ipod and other mp3 technologies, many people resisted, but ultimately the change happened, so they have either jumped on the band wagon or gotten left behind. What choice do you have? As the world structures around us – education, health care, financial structures, political systems and even communications mechanisms are changing, how will you choose to move forward into the new era?

Oh yeah, and I am on twitter @pilarstella, come join the fun!