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

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