Posts Tagged ‘globalgiving’


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.

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. :)


Transparency on Trial?

Posted by dennis on October 22nd, 2009

[Reposted from the Huffington Post, 10/22/09]

A number of commenters have asked me to weigh in on the lively debate that emerged from David Roodman’s Microfinance Open Book Blog about transparency–not only on Kiva, but really about all attempts to make philanthropy more direct, starting with the pioneering efforts of Save the Children in 1940.

I’ve hesitated about weighing in–mostly because we have shared war stories, best practices, and worst moments with our friends at Kiva. We know that they are classy folks who know how to work constructively with feedback. And no one has written more openly than Matt Flannery has about the ups and downs of starting a new organization. So I have wondered what we could add to the debate.

Upon reflection, though, I do want to add a couple of things. It’s partly because, as I reflect on this nascent space of direct philanthropy enabled by technology–including GlobalGiving, DonorsChoose, GiveIndia, and others–I think we have a collective responsibility to keep pushing the envelope on transparency and authenticity of the experience.

Let’s face it: since the space is so new, we don’t always know what works. So we keep trying things, based on what we think will work. Sometimes we get it right, and often we find we can improve.

Overall, we provide an enormous amount of information and transparency to our users about the organizations and projects on the site. We try to put the salient information on project home pages and provide links to more detailed information. At the beginning, we provided far too much information on the home pages. Users told us they couldn’t see the forest for the trees – they felt overwhelmed and were paralyzed into inaction. Over time, we have gotten better in achieving a balance, and users tell us that they like our presentation much better now. Most of them feel we are giving them what they want.

But we can always do better.

For example, though the overwhelming majority of projects on the site are run by the equivalent of US 501(c)3 non profits, a few are run by self-help groups and community coops, which are sort of a hybrid type legal form. We even work with a handful of socially oriented for-profit companies that represent a new wave of entrepreneurs trying to leverage business principles to promote the common good. According to IRS guidelines, all of these different organizations are eligible to receive donations as long as they are carrying out a charitable purpose that is not possible under normal market conditions. Regardless of their structure, all are subject to our rigorous due diligence process. When these organizations list projects on GlobalGiving, we monitor their expenditures to make sure they are not making a profit from the donations.

We’ve received feedback that we should make this information more prominent on the project pages to make it clear to potential donors. That is a fair point, and we have in fact been considering making these categorizations visible, including a “for-benefit” category for these organizations that aren’t equivalent to US 501(c)3s. My guess is that we will find that some donors are specifically attracted to this type of organization.

One of the positive things about the web is that we can get feedback – and respond to it – much faster than we could imagine back in the 20th century. Case in point: we recently piloted getting beneficiary feedback (via text message) in Kenya. We ended up with an incredibly rich dialogue between beneficiaries and donors that ultimately led to the beneficiaries moving on to work with another organization, and the original organization closing up shop.

We’re constantly looking for more ways to get that feedback more quickly, and from more people. We even put in place what may be the first-ever philanthropic guarantee – the GlobalGiving Guarantee. This give donors a powerful way to tell us if they are unhappy in any way, and signals to them that we are serious about listening. And it gives us a chance to address the issue not only for that donor, but for all donors.

I admire how Matt and Premal have responded to the debate over at Kiva. Their response sets an admirable standard for speed and transparency. (And in that context, if you have any ideas about how we could get more feedback from more people faster, please let us know…!)

Reminded Why We Do This Thing Called GlobalGiving

Posted by Donna Callejon on September 29th, 2009

Last Friday the GlobalGiving office looked like a college freshman boy’s dorm room, albeit with fewer beer bottles around. We were in this stacking, dumping, pizza-box mode as we prepared for a move to our new office space.  We are moving because we have outgrown our existing space – thanks to increasing donation volume, support from our capital funders, and because we have been able to attract an amazing number of free or almost-free “interns” who are in transition.

And into this chaos stepped Dennis Gaboury, one of the top finalists in our recent Global Open Challenge, and founder of ZimKids.

ZimKids is not a 501(c)3, and had never done any formal fundraising before last month.  Dennis is a sculptor whose wife was on a Fulbright in Zimbabwe when he started volunteering his time working with orphaned and sick kids…and morphed into an amazing social entrepreneur.    When they started the Challenge they just hoped they could find 50 people and $4,000 worth of donations and get on the site permanently.  What they ended up with was more than $30,000 and over 120 donors, and third place in the Challenge.

But the real gift of Dennis’ visit was not hearing about how they succeeded in the Challenge.  It was in hearing about his experience in Zimbabwe, and his love for the kids he works with.  Rather than being in constant survival mode these 160 kids now have a radically transformed day-to-day existence, lengthened life expectancies, and more chances for economic self-sufficiency.

Dennis is the type of social entrepreneur that motivated Mari and Dennis to start GlobalGiving, especially representing those who have no other way of raising tax-efficient charitable funds in the U.S., and his visit was a welcome break in the packing.  More importantly, it reminded us why we do what we do – whether in our old crowded dorm room space, or our new, slightly nicer home.

Clean Water for Loonwa

Posted by john hecklinger on May 12th, 2009

[youtube][/youtube]Last month I had the rare and very moving opportunity to visit a village that had recently received a clean water plant with funds from The Eleos Foundation, implemented by the Naandi Foundation, with GlobalGiving acting as the matchmaker/intermediary.  I visited Loonwa, a town of 10,000, in India’s beautiful and historic, but environmentally harsh, Rajasthan state.  Loonwa, and many other communities in Rajasthan, have a three-fold water problem.  First, there just isn’t much water – imagine farming in Phoenix or Las Vegas.  Second, water contained in stagnant ponds during the rainy season is likely to be contaminated with bacteria and worse.  Third, due to an unfortunate geological situation, the groundwater is high in fluoride and other chemicals that leach into otherwise pure water from wells.  Just enough fluoride helps teeth grow strong, so they put it in our water and in our toothpaste.  Too much fluoride makes teeth turn very white, then they fall out, and it seriously hurts skeletal development of children.  Here’s a scientific discussion of the subject. Enter Eleos Foundation and Naandi Foundation.  Eleos wants to help the poorest of the poor get healthier around the world, and they want to do it through market-based solutions.  Naandi helps communities in India finance clean water plants, and then trains local folks to operate the plant and sell the water at affordable prices.  Through UV and reverse osmosis purification, the water is pathogen and chemical free.  And it’s available for about $18/year for a family.  Over time, the community buys the clean water plant with the proceeds and everyone is healthier.  GlobalGiving helped Eleos connect with Naandi, and now this community has a potential solution to this unique problem. As I pulled into Loonwa with Amit and the Naandi team, I wondered if there was a political rally going on.  It was election time in India.  No, it was a welcoming party for us.  I cut the ribbon on the door of the water plant, saw how the plant works, attended a community meeting where we were all welcomed very warmly by the leaders of the village, then toured a Jain temple.  I was overwhelmed by the sincere excitement about having access to pure water, and I was humbled and a bit embarrassed by the very, very festive welcome I received.  You’ll see my sheepish grin in this video. [youtube][/youtube]

To blog or not to blog

Posted by Donna Callejon on April 2nd, 2009

We’ve been on a bit of hiatus, trying to figure out if anyone actually reads this blog and how to make it useful to the GlobalGiving community at large.  The silence has been deafening.

So we’re throwing ourselves at the mercy of our handful of blog readers and asking the two- part question (pay attention lest you miss the two parts):

1. Should GlobalGiving have a blog and

2. If so, what would be worth your time reading?

Let me duck so I don’t get bombarded with the thousands of instantaneous comments.

Seriously, what do ya think?

Simple gives in a down economy

Posted by Marc Maxson on February 5th, 2009

GlobalGiving is at its best when ordinary people find innovative ways to stretch their assets and spread the wealth.Dread party I want to give a shout-out to Appalachian State University student Maggie Osborn for hosting a “dread party” last week. By selling the opportunity to friends to put her hair in dreadlocks, Maggie raised $50 for GlobalGiving. These funds went directly to childhood malaria prevention deaths by providing insecticide treated bednets, malaria education, or treatment.

As a alumnus of AppState, I’m proud to see word about GlobalGiving getting out to the backcWatauga countyountry of Western North Carolina. Appalachian State is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains and isolated hamlets. When I lived there, the “Democratic Party Headquarters” for Watauga county used to occupy a stray rail car on the side of a twisty mountain road between Boone and Blowing Rock, NC. That’s Appalachia for you. And yet one person can send money to buy dozens of bednets ten thousand miles away. Even better, that person can see the impact this donation makes in one village through GlobalGiving’s regular project updates.bed nets line

In the “new economy” (a euphemism about as pleasant as “downsizing”), there are thrifty tricks to amplify your impact. Tell you friends. Even better, give your friends small gift cards to prime their giving impulses. Maggie probably learned about us because a friend or parent gave her a GlobalGiving gift card. That gift card combined with an idea she had sitting in a coffee shop and resulted in a new hair style and more bednets. Look at what one small invitation can do to get more money to people that need it most.

Note from a GlobalGiving Donor

Posted by Donna Callejon on October 27th, 2008

We send personal notes to a lot of donors, and in them we ask how they found out about GlobalGiving, what inspired them to give, etc.  We love to hear their stories.  Here is one that came through to our colleague Wylia last week…every so often a member of our community articulates what we are about so beautifully it re-inspires us:

Hi Wylia!

I thought that I would answer a few of your questions. I heard about by reading White Man’s Burden. The founders and the website were featured and because I was procrastinating writing a paper for one of my masters classes, I decided to take a look at the webpage. I was really excited to see the amount of homegrown effort around the world and thought that I should donate. I have been to Argentina and was heart broken to see the young children on the streets after the collapse of the Argentine economy. I looked around saw the program for education and health services for the Argentine children and thought that could be a way to help.

I was also drawn to the program in Brazil because I have read countless stories about the favelas and how children are impacted by the violence. The particular program I picked had not received too much funding but they were not asking for much either; just enough to pay for the arts and crafts for the children. I thought even if there is a little that I can do to put a smile on a child’s face I have to do it and thought that program was perfect.

Because I am in the military I have been able to travel around the world and see some amazing things. I went to Morocco a couple years ago and fell in love with the country. I saw the water program and was amazed how many Moroccan villagers would be impacted by something we take for granted.
Lastly, my heart went out to the young mothers in Kenya who have been tossed aside by society. I loved how this program is ran by a Kenyan woman who understands the issues these women have to face. I was drawn to her cause.

Overall, I have been very fortunate to have everything that I have. I know others have not been so lucky and I just wanted to donate what I could to help those who needed it. I am looking forward to hearing updates from the programs and will likely share them with my family and friends, many who I already informed them about globalgiving. Hope you have a nice day!

Global UK Launches!

Posted by dennis on September 19th, 2008

Last Monday, GlobalGiving UK launched its brand new web site in London at a big gathering of NGO, private sector, and government leaders.  This is particularly exciting since UK donors are among the most generous and progressive in the world when it comes to supporting causes overseas.

The creation of GlobalGiving UK has been supported financially by the Charities Aid Foundation‘s Venturesome Fund and the Travel Foundation, with key advice and operational support from Google, Expedia UK, Paypal, and Isango.  Booz and Company hosted the launch on Monday and provided office space in the start up phase.  The GlobalGiving US team worked overtime to provide back-end services and adapt the front-end website to the UK context.

Minister Shahid Malik of DFID (the UK’s aid agency) gave the keynote speech and made the first donation through the site, which speaks volumes.  DFID is at the very top of official aid agencies in terms of innovation and leadership in key areas.

The GG UK team is outstanding.

It is headed up by Sharath Jeevan, who has the kind of eclectic background that makes him specially suited for the job.  Most recently, he ran eBay‘s charity division in the UK. Previously,  he has worked at the international NGO ActionAid, been a project leader at Booz Allen, and has even done a high-tech startup in Asia.  Having grown up near London, Sharath has an economics degree from Cambridge, an MBA from INSEAD in France, and graduate degree in creative writing from Oxford.

UK team members include Rachel Smith, who heads up relationships with NGOs and campaigns, Svetlana Gitman, Tanya Serov, Ann Dugan and Becky Hill – all of whom have played key roles in the launch.

We at GlobalGiving US are proud of our new cousins in London.  But we are a little nervous, too.  They have already introduced a couple of key innovations that we don’t have on our own site :)