Monday, February 28, 2011

A Look at Giving in 2011: Everybody's Giving! Part 1 of 3 in a Series

Despite the reports about drops in donations, 2010 was a good year for giving! The buzz around giving kept growing, signaling good things to come.

With increasing numbers of companies ramping up corporate social responsibility and online giving efforts (Chase, Pepsi, Virgin, Target...), more and more celebrities and athletes jumping into the fray (Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, Ovie Mughelli, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ed Norton, Angelina and Brad...), and media covering more social responsibility (including Newsweek, US News and World Report, Huffington Post, Mashable...), the hip new words on the street are GIVING and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

To meet the increasing demand by consumers for more giving, online and mobile giving sites and solutions started popping up out of the woodworks. Two of the bigger splashes were the release of:

· started by actor Ed Norton in partnership with others to create a more media friendly-spin to online giving and
· started by former Facebook executive Chris Hughes, an Obama social media campaign expert and others to create a more socially interactive giving site.

In addition to these sites, there are other new generation giving sites such as and that are joining the first generation of sites including:,,, and a whole host of others.

We've started to see an increase in brand and cause marketing campaigns tying goods to causes; in mobile giving sites such as,, and more; store giving and round up campaigns at Whole Foods, Safeway and others; in advocacy campaigns with,;, and many more; celebrity galas and giving campaigns tying their events to their causes of choice; and continued efforts at accountability with, and others. This is just the tip of the iceberg!

This is exciting news and an exciting time for philanthropy! There is no shortage of new and different giving sites coming out regularly...and we still have a long way to go! Efforts to give and support giving are still fragmented and confusing for donors. While there are many people addressing different pieces of the giving puzzle, we have yet to fully solve the problem systematically or address transparency.

In January, reports about the (RED) campaign backed by Bono came under fire for corruption and lack of transparency This is just one of many reports over the years plaguing efforts to support charities, including,, and others.

While it is necessary to be sure that our dollars are going to where they say they are going, it is also critical to acknowledge and recognize that significant dollars were raised that never would have been there before. Which is great news!

Now we have to start solving the piece of the puzzle that addresses being more strategic, connected, transparent and sustainable about our giving and we may really be on to something...

MORE in the Series in Future Blogs...CHECK BACK... ;) p

You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella and Facebook at

Friday, February 25, 2011

Frustrated? Look Within!

Frustration with others only mirrors our own frustration with ourselves. ~ Pilar Stella

I recently had a series of experiences with frustration that really struck me. I had a conversation with a friend who was frustrated and complaining about the way this other organization was doing things. I also witnessed another friend pushing hard for others to change and getting frustrated when they didn't.

It took me back to many of my own experiences with frustration and I had to take a real moment of pause. I remembered a time when I regularly felt and acted that way. I remember in my relationships with others that I would nitpick at others in frustration because they weren't doing it this way or that. When really I was just frustrated with myself for not doing what I was here to do. I recall when I worked with clients, I used to get frustrated because they would hire me to give advice and then they often wouldn't take that advice. When what I should have done, and finally did, was to look within for the reasons for my own frustration.

At the time, I couldn't see it. Most likely like my friends couldn't see their current frustrations. But now it was clear as day. The minute I stopped getting frustrated with others and looking for others to go do what I wanted them to do and I started doing what I wanted to do and what I'm here to do, my frustrations nearly disappeared overnight.

I realized that when I finally was ready to commit to myself and figure out what my passions and purpose are and then had the courage to go for it, my frustrations dissipated. I felt like I had been let out of prison...and it was a prison that I had created for myself.

I believe we all have some sort of prison like this and this is where our frustrations are born. Until we are able to go inward to find the key to unlock the door, we will continue to be frustrated with others, when really, we are just frustrated with ourselves. We may be frustrated with ourselves because we don't know what we want, don't have or make the time to figure it out or have the courage to go for it if we do know what we want.

By dealing with and addressing my own frustrations, I have found a whole new acceptance, empathy, compassion and appreciation for others in times when I would have otherwise been frustrated with them and with myself. I find myself less likely to impose my opinions, desires and expectations upon others. I don't feel a need to judge or be frustrated with them. I can just appreciate and accept others for where they are at and also where I am at. And when I do get frustrated, I am able to recognize it much more quickly and take a moment to look within and figure out where it is stemming from.

Whatever the case may be for you, any time you are feeling frustrated with others, take a moment to look within and explore what you are frustrated with yourself. You might just be amazed at the freedom you will find when you allow yourself to find the answers to your frustration within and you begin to take the steps to alleviate that frustration.