Author Archive


Alumni Baby #1 – Willa Stefanski

Posted by Donna Callejon on June 28th, 2008

Former employees of GlobalGiving know that they never really leave the GG family. And of course, this means that their children are immediately issued a GlobalGiving account and building ID card. In May we had a visit from Alumni baby number one – Willa. Willa is the progeny of our former Chief Program Officer, Eli Stefanski (now Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Fund) and her husband Scott. Mom, Dad and young Willa were the hit of the office….how could they not be, when you look at that face, those eyes.

In the next couple of months, two more alumni babies are anticipated – so watch this blog for news of their arrivals. Tim/Allison – Willa has set a high bar.

Sports, Sports and More Sports

Posted by Donna Callejon on June 24th, 2008

GlobalGiving has always had an undercurrent of jockiness about it. When I first started working here in late 2003 I was immediately recruited for the Myrtle Beach Relay Marathon (aka road trip with beer to SC). We had a shower in our office. Our first Marketing Manager, Tim, was a championship Ultimate Frisbee player. Dennis and Mari would sometimes show up at work in their biking togs. Dana arrived and put us all to shame with her handstands and backflips across the office floor. Meredith played kickball. As for spectators, well let’s just say that the Tar Heel contingent was strong in the early days. March Madness reigned.

As GG has grown the sports enthusiasm has morphed. We might have more weekend warriors, more members of Red Sox Nation, and more March Madness guessers than marathoners, but it’s still a pretty sports oriented place.

We have been thrilled to be part of Nike’s Let Me Play program for the last couple of years, helping great sport and development projects get access to worldwide donors through a special GG page. And now we are psyched to work with the producers of Kicking It, a new documentary that will be opening here in DC this weekend, and will be distributed by ESPN throughout the summer. Kicking It follows several Homeless World Cup teams as they prep for the 2006 Cup. You can support the teams here. It was directed by a local DC star, Susan Koch, and our pal (and one of the producers) Ted Leonsis has been blogging it like crazy over at Ted’s Take.

For you DC folks – or anyone who will be in town this weekend – the US trials are being held at a new soccer (aka football) pitch in downtown DC. Should be a cool set of events, games and promotion for Kicking It.

Go get ‘em, sports fans!

Welcome Marisa

Posted by Donna Callejon on June 3rd, 2008

A much awaited new member of our team arrived this week. Marisa Glassman is the newest addition to our Business Development team, working with the always amazing John Hecklinger. The BD team is responsible for identifying and working with corporate and other institutional partners, as well as large individual donors. The team helps these partners enhance their direct and customer- and/or employee-focused giving programs.

While many conferences are represented by the team at GG, there is an historic tilt toward the ACC – with folks from UNC and University of Maryland dominating, supported by representatives of Virginia and Duke. Our interns, on the other hand, have also represented the SEC well – including Syracuse, Pitt and, of course, Georgetown. Well, Marisa straddles both worlds. With an undergraduate degree from Georgetown and a just-conferred MBA from the Flagler School at UNC, March Madness promises to be a conflicted time for her.

Here are a few things about Marisa

  • Between degrees, she worked for four years in the publishing business. Yes, books, those things that don’t (necessarily) come on a screen
  • She is is from Montclair New Jersey and has one younger sister
  • She counts Almost Famous, Garden State, and Rent among her top movie picks
  • Her music tastes are “so varied it’s impossible to narrow down a favorite” (i feel another Pandora fan in the making)
  • She has traveled to, and worked in, a number of locations, but Costa Rica and Thailand are her two favorite destinations

We are all glad to welcome Marisa to the team!!

Girls Rock! (And so does the Nike Foundation)

Posted by Donna Callejon on May 27th, 2008

This weekend the Nike Foundation, in partnership with the Novo Foundation, launched a powerful campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the power of investing in girls in developing countries: The Girl Effect. We are pleased to be supporting the “take action” part of this effort. I could write a long post, but this video makes the point exceptionally clearly:


Emergency Aid for Chinese Earthquake Victims

Posted by Donna Callejon on May 14th, 2008
To follow up on Stephanie’s post, we have been working closely with our partner organizations to establish projects to help victims of the earthquake in China. Latest news reports suggest that the death toll could reach 15,000.

We have two projects on GlobalGiving that will provide immediate assistance to those affected. We’ve partnered with Half the Sky to provide emergency shelter, food, and medical care for children orphaned or separated from their families, also temporary or long-term foster care or, if needed, temporary institutional care.

We’ve also partnered with Mercy Corps to support their response through their local partner organizations in China to provide emergency support and assistance.

Thanks and go for it, Kellogg Foundation

Posted by Donna Callejon on April 17th, 2008

We probably don’t say as much as we should about the people and organizations who have directly supported building the GlobalGiving marketplace. It’s a pretty amazing group of funders – Omidyar Network, Skoll Foundation, John and Ginger Sall, and the Hewlett Foundation – and a couple of anonymous donors – have all contributed significantly. We are both humbled and inspired by their confidence in GG’s vision, and our ability to execute against that vision. A few years back the Kellogg Foundation provided a small grant that was very timely. And we are about to work with them on some innovative ways to leverage online giving tools to support their grantees.

Two reasons for this post:  First, as a shout out to Kellogg for being a strong and innovative funder in the philanthropy space. They have consistently supported anchor organizations in the philanthropic sector (e.g, Independent Sector and Guidestar), and made important investments in emerging and innovative organizations like Kiva, Network for Good and the Women’s Funding Network. We’re glad to count ourselves among that latter group.

Second, on Monday the Chronicle of Philanthropy ran an article about WKKF’s revitalized mission – focusing on vulnerable children. Since the Chronicle has a subscription-only block on the article, (if you have a subscription, can be found here) here are the opening paragraphs:

In May 2007, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation gathered its more than 200 staff members for a three-day discussion and brainstorming session. It was the start of a soul-searching process that has led to a new mission statement and, for the foundation’s program staff, a new organizational structure that goes into effect this week.The changes are designed to break down divisions among departments within the organization, seek multifaceted approaches to solving problems, and sharpen the organization’s focus on the vision of its founder, W.K. Kellogg, the breakfast-cereal magnate.

All of the foundation’s grant-making staff members will be assigned to interdisciplinary teams in an organizational system that is rare among foundations but common in large companies.

Sterling Speirn, president of the foundation, in Battle Creek, Mich., describes the overhaul as “starting the next generation of our work.”

Speirn most recently led the Peninsula Community Foundation, so he’s lived in the most innovative valley in the country. He has brought on a new crop of leaders, to augment the strong leadership team already there. WKKF is taking on its own culture and norms by structuring itself in a very “matrix-y” fashion – and sharpening the focus of its grantmaking. And they are committing an initial $100 million to a new Mission Driven Investment Fund – twice as large as any other foundation’s “non-grant” portfolio. That’s revitalization!

I spent the day Tuesday in Battle Creek, and I can attest that the place is ready for change. The structures are changing, the expectations are changing. And we are glad to be part of the energy, possibility and promise of the next chapter.

BlogHers Rock!

Posted by Donna Callejon on April 7th, 2008

As a member of the Board of a fast-growing Women’s Fund, it’s sometimes easy to forget that everyone doesn’t look at philanthropy through a gender lens, but Fern Portney’s post over on Philantopic caught my eye as i was catching up on my blog reading this weekend. She brings together several threads that are well known among a subset of those in the philanthropic sector, but not covered well by the mainstream philanthropy press. To excerpt the punchline:

As an advisor to the initiative, I’ve observed the following phenomena, which bode well for the future of philanthropy:

  • Women donors are strategic. They understand, deeply, the wisdom of funding women and girls.
  • They care about impact and know that women’s funds — which vet their grassroots grantees for effectiveness — are an effective way to be sure their dollars truly make a difference.
  • They are relational. They want to give in community, to give together.
  • They are egalitarian and recognize that their dollars are far less effective without “grantee partners,” the women on the front lines who know how to use the funding they provide. In the world of women’s funds, you will see donors and grantees working side by side, a Disney heiress collaborating with the director of a shelter in Harlem.
  • Women are charging ahead even as the economy falters. Women Moving Millions has quickly surpassed $90 million toward its $150 million goal.

The upshot? Women are positioned to lead the way in shaping philanthropy’s future.

Today we are pleased to be powering a campaign that aims to harness the power of the women of the blogosphere to make good on the promise inherent in Fern’s post. BlogHer – the dominant women’s blogger portal – is reaching out to 8 million women who read blogs by and for women – and launching BlogHers Act. For the next month prominent women bloggers will be featuring stories on the subject of maternal health around the world, and encouraging readers (and anyone else) to support five projects via GlobalGiving. We are very psyched to be part of this effort, and to see the power of the BlogHer community in action.

Read the press release here.

Remembering Dr. King

Posted by Donna Callejon on April 4th, 2008

Forty years ago today, the world lost an incredible leader and advocate for human rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For those in the United States, this Sunday, April 6 at 8 pm / 7 pm Central the History Channel will air a documentary about Dr. King simply titled KING. It will also feature this wonderful cover of U2’s Pride (In the Name of Love) by John Legend.

John Legend performs PRIDE (In The Name of Love)
by ElectricArtists

Goodbye and Good Luck, Dennis & Mari

Posted by Donna Callejon on April 1st, 2008

Imagine our surprise this morning when, fresh off the plane from the Skoll Oxford Centre’s conference in the UK, our founders gathered the team here at GlobalGiving and let us know that they had made a decision to return to the World Bank, where they will be leading two separate, but related new departments. Dennis will be taking on the role of Director of the Strategic Longitude Office (“SLO”) and Mari will be VIce President of the Semi-Technical Evaluation And Dissemination Institute (“STEADI”)

After pouring seven years of blood, sweat and tears into solidifying GlobalGiving as a viable and successful online marketplace, Mari told us, ” The work of social entrepreneurship is hard. It’s time for the younger members of the team to take up the mantle and figure it out. And the opportunity to return to the structured, top-down, environment of the Bank was one we couldn’t pass up.” Dennis was overheard whispering, “I can’t wait to get a secretary again…enough of the Best Western Inn and doing my own expense accounts.”

A World Bank press release quoted Dennis as saying, “Doing something innovative and in the field of disruptive innovation is highly overrated. It turns out that the crowds aren’t quite as wise as we thought. Mari and I are looking forward to being back in an environment where the rules are clear and the work is predictable. The future for us is SLO and STEADI.”

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, (fools).

Mac Users Are More Generous Than Windows Users

Posted by Donna Callejon on March 26th, 2008

As a web developer, one of the most interesting things that I get to do is see how people use GlobalGiving. We have a big screen display that gives us updates on daily donation totals and recent donations, and during peak traffic spikes, I’ll log onto the servers and watch what’s going on in real time. Like most web sites, we also collect aggregate statistics about our users so that we can improve our site. The other day I was curious to see which browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari) our visitors are using and what it means for our design and testing plans. The results were surprising!

First, I took a look at which browsers our visitors use. Like most web sites, Internet Explorer is the most popular browser. GlobalGiving has a slightly larger Firefox user base than the general Internet, but it’s only a few percentage points higher. Safari comes trailing in around 5%. That’s all in line with general internet browser share statistics.

Then I took a look at dollars per visitor broken down by browser type. For people not involved in e-commerce, dollars per visitor is calculated by taking the total amount of money raised on your site and dividing it by the total number of unique visitors to your site. This gives you a rough idea of how much each person is likely to give/spend on your site. I expected that the dollars per visitor would be similar for each browser. After all, the desire to change the world isn’t related to your choice in technology… or is it?

As you can see, although the Safari users only account for a small percentage of our total visitors, they give a lot more. A Safari 3.0.4 user will give $3.42 while the normal IE 7.0 user will only give $0.74!!! (NOTE: We don’t yet have enough data on Safari 3.1 to include it in this chart.)

Since Apple recently released Safari for Windows, I thought I’d do a similar break down by operating system. Sure enough, the average Mac OS X user will give $2.53 while a Windows XP user will only give $0.97 and a Windows Vista user will give $0.58!

Why the big difference? Perhaps Mac users have more disposable income and are able to give more to charity. But if that were the case, I’d expect the Windows Vista users to be giving more than the XP users, since Vista requires an up-to-date computer to run well. Perhaps Mac users tend to be more internet savvy and are more comfortable with giving online, but I’d also expect anyone using Linux to be comfortable with the internet, yet they have one of the lowest rates that we’ve tracked.

It’s hard to say what it is about Mac users that causes them to give more. Perhaps they just think different.