Thursday, October 25, 2007

$1 Billion In Storm Relief From Foundations, Business

Foundations and corporations in the United States committed more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind giving for relief, recovery and rebuilding in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to a report by the Foundation Center.

Contributions by corporate giving programs and corporate foundations accounted for the majority of institutional giving, according to the report, at nearly $520 million or 57 percent of total giving. Moreover, corporate giving focused more on immediate relief, while foundations focused more on recovery and rebuilding.

The report, Giving in the Aftermath of Gulf Coast Hurricanes, is based on an analysis of interviews with 10 of the top 25 independent foundations that responded to the disaster. They include David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Calif.), Ford Foundation (N.Y.), Robert W. Woodruff Foundation (Ga.), Open Society Institute (N.Y.), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Wash.), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (N.J.), Lilly Endowment (Ind.), Rockefeller Foundation (N.Y.), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Mich.), and Walton Family Foundation (Arkansas). Additionally, the report provides a comprehensive record of the resources institutional donors provided.

The overwhelming destruction wrought by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the failure of the levee system in New Orleans, and the widely criticized government response all served to engage foundations across the country, according to the report.
In fact, of the estimated $6.5 billion (GivingUSA) for the relief effort through June 2007, giving from institutional donors accounted for more than $900 million in cash donations, and more than $100 million in-kind.

Click here to read the complete article...

Nonprofits Getting A Lease In Second Life

By Marla E. Nobles

America's Second Harvest (A2H) added another location to its coalition of more than 200 food banks and food-rescue organizations. But unlike the other operations, this one won't be stateside. In fact, donors will have to log on to enter its doors.

The Chicago-based food bank is the latest in a growing number of nonprofits joining the cyberspace community known as Second Life (SL). Some of the third sector neighbors include Fund for Animal Welfare (situated on Progressive Island), Reporters Without Borders (Hangflame), Save the Children (Midnight City), World Vision (Kiwa Northwest), and the Southern California chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which launched the virtual "MS Fly" fundraising event this past June.

Another 32 nonprofits are housed on SL's new Nonprofit Commons space, which TechSoup officially launched this past August. There were two simultaneous grand opening celebrations, one in SL and the second "in-world" event in San Francisco. The nonprofits-only space was donated by the world's first virtual millionaire, Anshe Chung, and managed by TechSoup.

Since opening to the public in 2003, SL, created by San Francisco-based Linden Lab, has experienced explosive growth. In April 2004, SL had around 6,000 residents. Just over three years later, that number surpassed 9 million (as of August 21), growing by nearly 3 million this past summer alone.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cyber money is just as green

It used to be that only sex generated money on the Web. Well, some nonprofits gone wild have sultry success stories to tell.

The World Wildlife Fund’s ClickReward program, “Miles for the Wild,” raised $23,000 its first year, 1999. Donors received two “ClickMiles” per dollar. The next year, the program was swinging from the trees: $465,000 in online contributions. Sure, there was a one-to-one match for donations of $200 or more that raised $400,000. But, the progress was worth a Tarzan yell.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation launched a campaign online that raised more than $200,000. Donors got frequent flyer miles by clicking through to donate. Its first year also was 1999, generating $70,000. The following year the organization doubled donations -- soliciting the 400 donors from the previous year as well as a new list of 5 million names.

Need more evidence of the value of online campaigns?

  • World Vision put its gift catalog online. A coordinated program for telephone and online. Orders of medicines and dairy goats for needy people around the world raised $1.6 million during the Christmas 2000 season.
  • Cabrini Mission Foundation generated $160,000 to thwart the spread of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland, Africa. Another online campaign raised $50,000 for Cabrini without a single email solicitation. Donors were attracted to the site through educational information.
  • Emails worked for nonprofit radio station WBEZ in Chicago to raise $135,000. It held an online pledge drive through an email sent by radio personality Ira Glass, host of “This American Life.”
  • The National Arbor Day Foundation’s 2001 online campaign brought out the vote -- to name the national tree. The campaign logged $20,230 in gifts as well.

Monday, October 22, 2007

National Good Governance Practices Pushed In Report

By Mark Hrywna

Governance practices at nonprofits are at the core of a new report from Independent Sector (IS) that suggests, but does not mandate, some 33 principles that nonprofits can follow to develop principles of ethics, accountability and transparency.

The report, the result of 18 months of expert opinion and public comment, is called "Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundation." Released last week by IS and its Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, it is organized into four categories: legal compliance and public disclosure, effective governance, strong financial oversight and responsible fundraising.

Among the suggested items are:

  • A charitable organization should have a formally-adopted, written code of ethics with which all trustees, staff and volunteers are familiar and to which they adhere.
  • The board should review organizational and governing instruments no less frequently than every five years.
  • A charitable organization should neither pay for nor reimburse travel expenditures for spouses, dependents or others who are accompanying someone conducting business for the organization unless they, too, are conducting such business.
  • Contributions must be used for purposes consistent with the donor's intent, whether as described in relevant solicitation materials or as specifically directed by the donor.
  • An organization should spend a significant percentage of its annual budget on programs that pursue its mission. The budget should also provide sufficient resources for effective administration of the organization, and, if it solicits contributions, for appropriate fundraising activities.

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Don't get comfortable: Get a new job

Staying ahead of the game is essential for maximizing one’s potential for success in any career. There are a number of methods those in the nonprofit sector should keep in mind to achieve a successful and rewarding career.

  • Change jobs once in a while. You’ll keep yourself fresh, as well as change your perspective.
  • Network. Don’t rule out contacts that are not involved directly with your current duties.
  • Care about your cause.
  • Join a professional association and get involved. It’s a good way to make contacts and get name recognition.
  • Keep your resume up to date. Have different versions of your resume available so you are prepared for various opportunities.
  • Dress well. Fernando Lamas said, “It’s better to look good than to feel good,” but if you look good, you’ll feel good, too.
  • Keep your skills current. Read up on current affairs, attend conferences and be on the lookout for new trends and technologies.
  • Never burn a bridge.
  • Develop professional relationships with volunteers. They can be a great source for references and referrals.
  • Formulate a career game plan. You can’t get what you want until you know what you want.
  • Don’t resist the right lateral move. Moving sideways can often lead to moving ahead.
  • Find a mentor. It helps develop partnerships and friendships.
  • Develop your one-to-one solicitation skills.