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