donations Posts

generosity amplified

Witnessing the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan has been heartbreaking, but the human response – the calm bravery of the Japanese victims and the generosity of people around the world – has been genuinely inspiring.

At GlobalGiving, we‘ve been working hard to channel that generosity to the places where it can do the most good.  Every week, we send the donations we’ve received (over $2 million as of today) primarily to carefully-selected local Japanese organizations.  These groups are providing everything from mobile medical care, fresh food, tents, and portable stoves to childcare, radio equipment, and cell phone chargers.  The needs seem to be endless – things I would never have thought to consider.

In return, we receive frequent reports from our nonprofit partners on the ground, updating us on the situation and their work.   Aside from giving us information, they let us know that our work together is making a real difference.

The generosity we’ve seen isn’t just from the many thousands of individuals who support GlobalGiving organizations, but companies and employee groups who have been moved by the scenes of human need.  These corporate contributions often match individual gifts, significantly expanding our ability to help.  The companies matching employee donations include Dell, Nike, Gap, Hilton Worldwide, Discovery, Jefferies and Co., Capital One, Rosetta Stone, Sabre, LinkedIn, CARFAX, and Fandango.   So far their employees have collectively donated more than $700,000.

Other companies are using their marketing power to get customers involved.   Gap and its sister brands –  Banana Republic, PiperLime, Old Navy, and Athleta – are promoting the GlobalGiving Japan Relief Fund on their websites.  When eBay customers are checking out, they have the option to add a donation to the Japan Relief Fund. PayPal, an eBay company, has featured the GlobalGiving Japan Relief Fund on its homepage. Additionally, over 30,000 items have been listed on eBay GivingWorks to benefit the GlobalGiving Japan Relief Fund.

Gap has designed a limited edition t-shirt to benefit the GlobalGiving Japan Relief Fund.  The Gap Foundation has made generous grants to International Medical Corps and Save the Children. Liquidnet and Gilt Groupe are matching donations, and LivingSocial has broadcast its Japan donation appeal to its entire subscriber base. Other consumer-focused campaigns include Hilton Central Europe, Travelocity, and Anime Matsuri.

It’s worth noting that all of these companies have long histories of charitable giving and socially responsible actions – they didn’t just wake up to international development and aid when the earthquake happened.  And because many of them have worked with GlobalGiving to support development and small organizations around the world, we were able to launch their Japan efforts quickly.  That was, obviously, critical to getting relief to those in need as fast as possible.

In all, we have been overwhelmed by the practical, compassionate generosity shown by people and companies we’ve worked with on this effort.   Our work, and our gratitude to our partners and supporters, will continue as long as there are people in need in Japan (and around the world).

A New Shade of Generosity

We’re launching a new “shade” of GlobalGiving today – GlobalGiving Green.

GlobalGiving Green looks at development through a green lens – and vice versa, for that matter – and enables you to support projects that are fighting poverty and dealing with climate change at the same time.

Why are we doing this? The developing world faces a double whammy. Pretty much every country in the developed world has gotten to where they are through a carbon-intensive path, which if repeated would cancel out any other efforts to combat climate change. And developing countries are more likely to bear the consequences of global warming—things like flooding and droughts, or increased incidence of diseases like malaria. And there are indirect societal and political impacts too – Nicholas Kristof wrote about one of the more unusual ones earlier this year, linking unusual levels of rainfall in rural Tanzania to more women being accused of witchcraft.

So, we partnered with EcoSecurities, a leader in emissions reductions markets, to evaluate how projects are doing with regard to climate change, and in areas such as providing sustainable economic growth, aiding the culture and environment of a community, educating future generations on green issues, and more. Twenty-four projects were initially selected to be a part of GlobalGiving Green, and on the website you can see how they do on elements ranging from use of innovative technology to creation of additional health and safety benefits. And we’re working with our amazing Project Leaders to help them understand how their proposed solutions to big societal issues can build a carbon-neutral path to development.

It’s a small (but first) step toward creating a market-based incentive for green development to thrive. Through GlobalGiving Green, we hope people concerned with climate change can more easily find the best solutions for creating positive change, developing responsibly, and reducing harmful emissions.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Survey Says, “DONATION!!”

I have been fascinated with survey data my entire life. In 6th grade, I polled my classmates on whether or not they liked my classmate Kenneth Klein, to this day one of the 3 funniest people I have ever known.

I regularly watched Family Feud (I watched when Richard Dawson was the host.) As a political science undergraduate student I actually railed against “horserace” polls and their misuse in the media. Later after working for a few years, I decided to go back to school and had the great fortune to study survey research and work at the Center for Survey Research at The Ohio State University. While there, I read an article in the New York Times that rocked the foundation on which I had been working and studying. Here’s the segment of interest from the magazine article (free registration required) by Max Frankel, former executive editor at the New York Times, talking about how he was interrupted at dinner time by a telephone survey:

“…That telephone pollster called, naturally, in the middle of dinner. He asked what kind of car I dreamed of owning next. Fortunately, I was annoyed.

“Do you get paid for asking that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, then, how much will I get for my answer?”

“Why nothing, sir. We have selected you so that we can learn how to serve you better.”

With no thought at all, I heard myself inventing a doctrine that I have smugly invoked ever since: “No pay, no say.” …”

The cliched lightbulb went on for me. The entire discipline of survey research rested on the assumption that people would answer researcher’s questions for free. Max wrote that in 1995, at the dawn of the internet. Today, online survey practitioners consider incentives as a matter of course.

As did we when we surveyed GlobalGiving’s donors and newsletter subscribers recently. (If you replied, thank you!) We offered respondents the opportunity to enter into a drawing for ten $50 gift certificates, for a total cost of $500. We received over 1,200 responses, so each survey “cost us” a little more than $.40 in incentives.

So imagine my surprise, when performing one of my other duties here at GlobalGiving, analyzing site traffic that leads to donations, I saw that we actually received donations from people who had filled out the survey at Sixteen separate donations, averaging just over $100, for a total of $1,647! No, we won’t be sending out surveys to collect donations. But yes, here is yet another data point showing how lucky we at GlobalGiving are to be bringing together our donors and projects, breaking rules left and right.

Giving is Good

Saw this in a blog called Don’t Tell the Donor, but actually it’s the kind of inspiring story that donors like to hear.

It’s about Sonja Christopher, one of the contestants in season one of Survivor (way back in 2000). She had originally promised to donate her potential prize winnings of $1 million to her church to build a community hall – but since she was the first one voted off the island, ended up with “only” $2,500, which she went ahead and gave to her church anyway.

But something interesting happened – moved by her generosity, fellow congregants stepped up – and raised the million dollars needed. Ground was broken recently. The moral of the story, according to the church’s minister, is that “giving is good.”

And never underestimate the power of a “small” donation.