Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December's Latest e-Giving News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, December 25, 2009

The GIFT of Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at