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 www.onegiving.com! 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 (http://bit.ly/3oyk1g). 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. http://bit.ly/16VqXg The administration encouraged people to stay involved in service throughout the year by logging volunteer activities at: http://www.911dayofservice.org/.

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%). http://bit.ly/6OsZY

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..http://bit.ly/MAe2t

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. http://bit.ly/1anMWl

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. http://bit.ly/2L6RMm

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! http://bit.ly/15O7Bk

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. http://bit.ly/121EaO

Giving Resources
20 Funder Networks That Tweet: http://bit.ly/4z8dlv & 90 Foundations That Tweet: http://bit.ly/1l7bdR

e-Cards that Give: A site that has ecards from Care2 that generate donations as well as send greetings! http://bit.ly/QEUFx

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. http://bit.ly/17Oycw

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. http://bit.ly/16xbWQ

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at www.facebook.com/pilarstella.

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 (http://bit.ly/8wVZ) 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” (http://bit.ly/3oyk1g). 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™ (http://www.onegiving.com/). 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 www.facebook.com/pilarstella.

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™ (http://www.onegiving.com/), 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 (http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html), 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) (http://www.paulgraham.com/die.html). 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 (http://www.foundersatwork.com/index.html). 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™ (http://www.onegiving.com/), 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 www.facebook.com/pilarstella.