Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Human Rights Day - If not now, WHEN?

Today, December 10th, is the 60th annual celebration, across the globe, of Human Rights Day. This commemoration honors the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. It was the first global effort to proclaim the rights of all human beings. There are 30 articles in the document proclaiming such rights as the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, equality before the law; and social, cultural and economic rights. Other more fundamental rights include the right to food, the right to work, and the right to education.

The Grameen Foundation is an organization that provides small loans, savings, and other financial services to poor people to help them launch businesses. According to Sarah Campbell of the Grameen Foundation:

  • One billion people live on less than $1 a day
  • One-in-five people live without adequate water or food
  • 26,000 children die each day from preventable causes

Though the U.N. outlined human rights adequately in 1948, our inability to provide even the basics a half a century later is painfully obvious.

“Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime....Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.”
—UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, 10 December 2006

At this time of year we need to turn our sights outward, to the world, and rather than focus our attention on our diminished 401 (K)s, resolve to help promote the rights of everyone. Why not begin TODAY? What do you think?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Go Techno or Bust

After his successful presidential bid, Barack Obama still has $30 million left over. During his presidential campaign, Obama raised an unprecedented $745 million, $104 million of which came in the last five weeks immediately before and after Election Day.

Obama’s outspoken desire to change the way politicians raise money through special interest groups - opting instead to raise money on his own and not participate in the public funding system - fueled his record-breaking fundraising. Close to half of the funds raised were by private donations. What was the key to his success? The internet and Obama’s use of technology stand out as the single key factor in his successful fundraising.

Among the technical tools used were the following:

  • Individual Fundraising - An easy web experience employing the tactic of keeping the donor on the fundraising web site throughout the entire contribution process, from initiation through authorization.
  • Online Advocacy - These tools put users in a position to get information in the hands of policy makers. The idea is that when constituents participate - i.e. write their legislators reach out to news editors and opinion leaders, sign petitions - you get results.
  • Outbound Email - There are many rules governing spam and there is software that can handle outbound email more effectively. With the proper emailing tools, you can stay in touch, raise money, and mobilize action - whether you have a thousand constituents or ten million.
  • Social Networking - The power of social networking is extraordinary. These tools give your constituents a voice and ideas can be freely exchanged.
  • Content Management - The ability to locate, reuse, repurpose and capture content is supremely important to a successful online experience. The tools are ever more sophisticated, but are also becoming essential.

It is clear that a new day has dawned with regard to fundraising. Fundraisers will not be able to compete for those important donor dollars without a technology plan for the future. What are your thoughts?