Archive for the ‘General’ Category


Transactions that trade in more than dollars.

Posted by dennis on May 28th, 2010

It’s always nice when someone gets you.

Seeing this post by Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatch, about our work here at GlobalGiving gave me that sense.

He discusses how GlobalGiving uses the power of an “emotional transaction” to do good in the world—by allowing people not only to provide money to a cause, but to support an idea with which they genuinely connect.

This is the spirit we hope to foster through GlobalGiving: not only should we give to help change the world, but, in doing so, we should be engaging—intellectually and emotionally—with the people, ideas, and approaches that resonate with us and mean the most.

It is among those ideas—particularly when selected from among a vast marketplace—that we’ll find the most powerful ones (the “levers,” as Bill points out) to genuinely shift people and communities towards positive social change.

That’s what GlobalGiving is all about. Thanks, Kevin, for really getting us.

Dennis Whittle is Co-Founder and CEO of GlobalGiving.

Symantec: Funding technology that’s fueling sustainable social change in South Africa

Posted by lisa kays on May 26th, 2010

In Guguletu, South Africa, a woman named Linda provides care for eight children who have no home of their own. Linda knows each of the children’s stories, ages, and names.

Except for one.

Linda can’t tell you the name of one of the girls, because she hasn’t spoken since arriving at Linda’s home with no documentation or other information. Though physically healthy, the child remains silent. Linda worries that she was previously literally locked up alone somewhere.

Here, in Linda’s home, the child is worried about with the care of any mother. Linda says, “What she needs is love and friends.”

To provide this kind of quality care to vulnerable children, Linda depends on Ikamva Labantu, an organization that provides social support to South Africa’s most vulnerable, with a special focus on children. Ikamva Labantu fosters success for school kids through innovative basketball and chess programs, as well as vocational skills training. They also focus on early learning and education programs in the formal and informal sectors.In addition, Ikamva Labantu supports families raising children orphaned by AIDS, fuels small businesses by providing start-up tools and training, and runs senior centers.

Symantec Corporation, a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world, was so impressed by Ikamva Labantu that they awarded a grant to provide much-needed computers and IT support to bolster their work.

Symantec’s grant is part of their tailored, corporate philanthropic partnership with GlobalGiving, to support work in four focus areas: K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math education; women and minorities in engineering; environmental sustainability; and online safety.

Through the customized service provided through GlobalGiving, Symantec was able to provide a grant tailored to Ikamva Labantu’s needs, resulting in eight new computers, 11 upgraded computers, a new external hard drive, and a new color printer and 10 desktop printers.

With this gift, Symantec is investing in the sustainability of a proven, vetted organization, freeing up Ikamva Labantu to focus their resources on what they do best. 

Jovana Risovic, Ikamva Labantu’s fundraising manager, explains, “Symantec’s support will help us tremendously in achieving our goals and focusing our financial resources on the programs that assist hundreds of disadvantaged South Africans.”

Symantec and GlobalGiving invite you to build upon Symantec’s generous gift and fuel the tremendous work Ikamva Labantu is doing to change lives in South Africa.

Support Ikamva Labantu’s work.

Other “levers” to invoke behavior change

Posted by bill brower on April 26th, 2010

Many NGOs, particularly environmental NGOs, are in the business of seeking to change people’s behavior. As anyone with experience trying to do so will tell you, this can be no small order. There are only so many “levers” that one can manipulate to try to influence what someone chooses to do or not do.
Often the biggest lever, and sometimes the only one of consequence, is financial. Farmers in developing countries aren’t going to adopt organic practices unless it saves them substantial money on inputs and/or gives them access to a premium market. People aren’t going to stop poaching endangered animals as long as there is a healthy market for them.
What I find really interesting are the other levers. In addition to making something a status symbol, appealing to parents’ concern for their children’s health, making something “cool”, passing relevant laws, etc. I’ve heard of a couple others recently that I hadn’t come across before. I spoke a couple months ago to a woman who had spent time in Somalia with an organization aiming to reduce the practice of open-field defecation (i.e. promoting the use of toilets). When their initial efforts were disappointing, they started essentially a marketing campaign saying how distasteful of a practice it was to not use a toilet. The message caught on and people started using toilets much more, mostly because they now felt ashamed not to. Obviously shame is not a lever to use lightly, particularly for an outside organization, but it is a potentially powerful one.
The other I just heard about just today. There is a protected forest, Bajra Baharahi, near a school I was visiting outside Kathmandu, Nepal. The woman from Sarvodaya Nepal that I was meeting with told me that growing up everyone said that if you took anything, even one dead leaf, from that forest that you would have bad luck. When she later came to work in that community, she found out that rumor was started as part of conservation efforts. Superstition! I love it.
What levers have you found effective?

Creative financing

Posted by bill brower on March 27th, 2010

In the workshops on online fundraising I’ve been holding around Southeast Asia the past few months, I encourage the participating NGOs to think beyond the typical fundraising approach of writing endless grant proposals. Specifically I encourage them to develop their online network of individual supporters. But the implementing partner of the Smile Train, a GlobalGiving project partner organization, in Manila is a great example of an organization thinking creatively about how to support itself financially.

The Philippine Band of Mercy provides free cleft lip and palate surgeries to primarily children in low-income families. They started a fellowship program, which helps send surgeons to get special training in plastic surgery. After the training, the fellows go on to have very lucrative private practices, and in exchange they volunteer to do free surgeries at the clinic one day every week or two. Their financial support to these specialists pays a huge return in social capital and future services.

This pro bono work obviously significantly reduces operating costs; I was even more impressed with how they cover the rest of their expenses. Their office and clinic complex are centrally located in Manila, and there are a few popular restaurants nearby and adjacent to their property. Seeing a demand, they started selling parking space on their lot. Between that and renting out a bit of extra office space, they are able to completely cover their expenses. So many of the organizations I speak with are forced to spend much more time than they would like on fundraising; it was great to meet with one that is able to focus more completely on its programmatic goals by realizing the potential of all of its assets.

Social Media: Practicing What we Preach

Posted by Marc Maxson on March 4th, 2010

By Bill Brower (posted on his behalf by Marc):

As I travel around Southeast Asia for GlobalGiving, I’ve been holding workshops on online fundraising, a large portion of which I devote to talking about social media. I think to a lot of people working at NGOs here, many of whom are only hazily familiar with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, it can all sound like a lot of fluff. I can sense people thinking, “You really expect me to believe that my organization can make money through the website college kids use to post photos of their drunken escapades?” At first I was backing up my assertion with vague assurances that GlobalGiving sees donations coming in each week from various social media sites. “In one week in December we managed to raise $15,000 off Twitter alone!”


I now provide a textbook example of using a coordinated and dedicated social media effort to drive not only wider recognition but significant donations online courtesy of my wonderful colleagues back in D.C.


In the workshops, I tell people that the first step is just to get in the relevant conversations online: Alison, our social media guru, has done a great job of that; we have over 13,000 followers on Twitter.


Then I tell them to create interesting content: Alison recently riffed off the jokes going around online following Apple’s unveiling of the iPad:


“#iPad and #iTampon jokes are funny. But in #Uganda girls leave school for lack of sanitary pads:


Our CEO, Dennis Whittle, also posted a blog, which drew off the buzz surrounding the iPad.


I tell participants in the workshops that interesting information is easily passed around online: The number of people who had this Tweet pass through their Twitter feeds, either directly or when mentioned by someone else, was on the order of hundreds of thousands. Dennis’s blog was mentioned on another blog on NEWCONNEXTIONS.


And I tell people that most givers are motivated by family and friends: GlobalGiving staff posted the iPad message to their personal Facebook pages. It caught their friends’ eyes, they donated and told others that they did on their Facebook page. All told, about 40 people gave over $1,600 to provide sanitary pads to girls in Uganda from our iPad social media messages.


[tags social media, twitter, Facebook, fundraising, iPad]

Maryland Teen Raises over $3,000 for fuel-efficient stoves in Rwanda

Posted by Donna Callejon on December 16th, 2009

Reposted from

15 Dec 2009
Local Teen Raises Over $3,000 for CHF International’s Fuel Efficient Stoves Program

Spencer Brodsky, a Maryland teen, has raised $3,300 for CHF International’s Fuel Efficient Stoves program in Rwanda through Global Giving’s Give More, Get More Challenge. Through social media, Spencer encouraged hundreds of like-minded individuals to give to CHF through Global Giving, who were matching donations by adding a matching percentage to however much grassroots donors raised.

For over two years, Spencer has been working with CHF International raising money to provide fuel-efficient stoves to disadvantaged communities in Africa. His current focus is on raising funds for a fuel-efficient stoves project in Rwanda, designed particularly to help with the many orphans and child-headed households in the country, a legacy of the 1994 genocide. The fuel efficient stoves help youth because they don’t have to work as hard or travel as far to collect fuel, which frees up time for studying or working to earn an income for their families. The program is also working to end deforestation and introduce fuel efficient stoves to protect local habitats there..

Thanks to Spencer for all of his hard work helping the environment and families in Rwanda! To see Spencer’s website click here

“I feel any individual, adult or teenager has the ability to facilitate positive social change.” -Spencer Brodsky

Spencer, we couldn’t agree more!

International Giving Can Be Tough for Companies, but…

Posted by Donna Callejon on December 7th, 2009


Last month the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (“CECP”) published its annual report on corporate philanthropy, “Giving in Numbers2009.”  This is one of the reports we look forward to seeing each year, as CECP is very highly regarded and counts among its member CEOs of many of the leading global corporate citizens, including several of GlobalGiving’s corporate partners – Applied Materials, Gap, Inc.,  Hasbro and PepsiCo, to name a  few.

CECP describes itself as the only international forum of CEOs and chairpersons pursuing a mission exclusively focused on corporate philanthropy. The Committee’s membership consists of more than 170 executives who lead the business community in raising the level and quality of corporate giving.

The ~60 page report is actually pretty easy to digest, but here are some highlights:

  • Even in challenging economic times (and giving overall being down in 2008), 53% of surveyed companies increased giving from 2007 to 2008;
  • Among the 53% of companies that gave more in 2008, non-cash giving increased by a median of 29%;
  • Improved contributions tracking, beyond-budget disaster-relief giving, and strong profits through the third quarter were among the reasons cited for increased giving;  And  interestingly,
  • Financial results are not statistically linked to corporate giving, as corroborated by Giving USA.

The minor mentions of “international giving” are highly noteworthy, as they continue to emphasize the barriers and difficulties many U.S. companies identify:

Frequently cited challenges in expanding global giving include: developing local issue expertise, vetting NGOs, U.S. Patriot Act compliance, and building local community partner­ships. The complexity of receiving tax deductions for international dona­tions can be an additional deterrent. Cultural differences among employee attitudes toward volunteerism and charitable giving can also hinder global giving initiatives.

Companies also face hurdles in accurately measuring giving abroad. Pockets of international giving may be unrecognized because the tools and communication channels needed to record them accurately have not matured. Still, international giving is a growing priority as business globalizes.

We are glad that we’ve been able to help many companies address these challenges.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Nike and Gap have been able to engage their employees globally and create equity worldwide in workplace giving – not just for disaster giving but every day
  • Symantec has funded a great strategically-aligned program in Pune, India through GlobalGiving, providing them a way to find grantees and receive the tax deduction they need
  • Intel has sponsored the Technology and Innovation Fund and we have worked to establish very specific deliverables with the implementers – tracked by GlobalGiving -giving Intel the measurement/impact assessment it desires and a platform to engage other stakeholders.

We feel privileged to work with some of the most creative companies around.  And we’re always up for working with more. :)


Do You Believe in Life After Love (and War)?

Posted by Donna Callejon on November 16th, 2009


In her 1998 worldwide number one hit iconic superstar Cher asks, “Do you believe in life after love?”  But these days that memorable line could be amended to add “…and war?”

For years Cher has been a visible and unabashed advocate for ensuring that women and men who serve our country are honored through policies and programs that lift up their heroism and ensure their dignity, both during deployment and after they return from combat.  She has demonstrated this commitment  by supporting organizations from Operation Helmet to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and by performing at USO events.  In 2006 Cher appeared on The Ed Schultz Show to discuss her work in support of U.S. troops fighting abroad, as well as returning veterans. Schultz noted her involvement with both Operation Helmet and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which is building a center to serve military personnel who have been catastrophically disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those severely injured in other operations, as well as in the normal performance of their duties, combat and non-combat related.

Now Cher is creating her own non-profit, The Heroes Project. The mission of The Heroes Project is to improve the care and protection of heroes through individual support, community empowerment and systemic change. Through this organization, Cher will continue to support heroes through service and advocacy. The organization works closely with many of the leading military and veterans organizations and aims to leverage their work, rather than duplicate it.

GlobalGiving has been very fortunate to help facilitate a portion of Cher’s philanthropic activity, by working with her philanthropic and advocacy advisors to facilitate the funding of the Shikamana School in Kenya.  Now, we are working together to raise funds for The Heroes Project, kicking it off with an amazing auction currently running on eBay. In this auction, Cher is generously donating three sets of tickets and a backstage visit (with champagne) to the highest bidders.  All the proceeds will go to The Heroes Project.

So if you believe in life after love and war, and you want to combine your love of music and an icon with doing something good – bid now – you only have three more days!

For Profit, and More…

Posted by dennis on November 13th, 2009

There has been growing interest over the past few years in the concept of socially-oriented businesses.  This interest has been manifested in many different ways.  More and more mainstream companies are trying to do business in what they describe as a more ethical or socially conscious way.  Increasingly, they do this because it makes good business sense — it results in better products, happier employees, and more satisfied customers.

There is a movement to brand certain companies as “B Corporations” if they meet certain social and environmental performance standards.  Some states are even considering a new type of business entity called an L3C, which is sort of a hybrid for-profit/non-profit structure.   This structure is specifically for organizations that want to marry the advantages of the for-profit model (efficiency, scalability, and ability to attract capital) with the social mission of a non-profit.

The For-Benefit concept takes this idea even further.

We support this type of experimentation.  Though the vast majority of projects on GlobalGiving are run by non-profits, we have had a handful of projects run by for-profits.  For years, IRS guidelines have permitted for-profits to accept donations for activities that have a charitable purpose and that cannot be carried out under normal market conditions.  We welcome such projects as long as they comply with IRS guidelines and our due diligence processes.  Making the world a better place requires a combination of for-profit companies that generate wealth and jobs along with non-profit organizations that make sure that public goods are provided for everyone, and in particular, that the less fortunate have a fair chance in life — i.e., that the poor are able to participate in wealth creation and employment. Donations to these projects are fully deductible for tax purposes.

Giving the growing interest in this concept, we are now going to specifically highlight projects on GlobalGiving run by for-profit companies.  Though there are currently only two projects on the site run by for-profits (Building a Library in Morocco and Building a School in South Africa), there could be more in the future.

Look for the following text in the project description:

This project is being run by a socially-oriented for-profit company.

From time to time, GlobalGiving posts projects run by socially-oriented for-profit companies, whose work includes charitable activities in the public interest. ALL projects on GlobalGiving have a bonafide charitable purpose, and are required to submit extensive documentation for due diligence. GlobalGiving reviews all due diligence, and vets the projects to ensure they are legitimate, well- run, and satisfy IRS guidelines for international grantmaking as well as the new voluntary guidelines for anti-terrorism set forth in the Patriot Act. Provided projects meet all these criteria, the IRS allows public foundations such as GlobalGiving to make grants in support of this work.

Projects in this category are required to undergo an expenditure review – meaning they must detail the charitable activities for which they are requesting funding, and provide an actual review of how the funds were spent.

Breakfast Event, Internet Salvation and Project Leader Honored

Posted by alison on October 29th, 2009

Earlier this month, I was invited to the Center for Nonprofit Advancement‘s Annual Meeting and 30th Anniversary Celebration, which was held this morning. I was invited through YNPNdc, not as an attendee or an honoree – but to Tweet the event. The Center has been making progress to reach more people, more networks and evolve, just like all of their partner nonprofits. So they recruited a small group of us to attend and do what we do – tweet.

It didn’t occur to me until I arrived that I was, in some respects, more of the media than an attendee of the event. It was my job to talk about the event and report on it to people who weren’t there.  Shoot. I wasn’t prepared. Who, exactly, were all these people in the program? What were their stories? Where did they work? Why were they being honored? I had no idea. *GAH*!

Good thing I had the internet at my disposal. Whew. Bullet: Dodged

It was only when I Googled all of the award winners and presenters to see if any of them or their organizations were on Twitter that I realize that I recognized one of them.

Aleta Margolis, Executive Director of the Center for Inspired Teaching, was honored as a 2009 EXCEL Award Honorable Mention. Aleta is a rockstar Project Leader with whom I’ve become more familiar because of all her Tweeting! We like to encourage Project Leaders to reach out on all different types of networks and find creative ways to fundraise, and Aleta her team do it with flair.

Congratulations to Aleta for all of your accomplishments and your award. Keep up the good work!

Check out the Center for Inspired Teaching’s project on GlobalGiving, follow them on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook!