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

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