I am a huge camp person. Anyone who knows me knows this about me. The picture on this blog is an example of what a crazy camp person I am. I actually convinced my husband and son to build me a camp-like tent in my yard in Vermont. This is the place that I rest and read and watch the birds and my chickens. Sometimes I even think up blog topics. It is a truly magical place. Ok- but back to camp.
So this weekend, I was at a chapel service at camp. It was Parents Weekend in the middle of the season at the boys camp called Lanakila where my son is a counselor. The place was crawling with kids and their parents. We had a near mystical chapel service in the woods, complete with beautiful music and wonderful storytelling about the things that are really important in life. And then.. it was time for the offering.
The Assistant Director talked about the cause that we were supporting with our offering- Village2Village, a village in Africa that Lanakila has adopted. There are a number of ways that the camp supports this village. A former counselor has taken groups of kids there to do service. They have even bulit a re-creation of the castle that is one of the iconic landmarks at camp.
But here's the point of the story. During the chapel service the camp folks were asking for our support of this cause through our offering. They were asking for support for this place on the other side of the world. They had some pictures that were great and helped people connect with the cause. But then, the Assistant Director, Bryan, told us that two young women from the village were there on Sunday. They had come thousands of miles and were willing and happy to talk to us. They were introduced and stood up to great applause. It turns out that these were the first two girls from this village who had actually enrolled in college. And suddenly, the ask became much more real and much more personal. This was not just a place on the other side of the world, but this was a place with real people who cared enough about our gifts and our commitment to them that they had traveled up to the woods of Vermont.
I don't have the numbers but I'm willing to bet that the offering on Sunday were more bountiful and generous than usual. When you tell compelling stories, when real people speak from their hearts about the need, people are moved to generosity.
Our clients are raising money every day on our platform. And we know that when they are able to tell a compelling story about their organization and their impact, they are more successful. That's why we launched the feature on our home page called Goodness in Action. If you are an organization doing good work and having impact, we want to share your story.
So here's to compelling storytelling in fundraising and in life. And I can't help myself.. here's to camp. May every child away at camp this summer have the same magical, mystical experience that I had.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending a “Social media for social good” workshop with media extraordinaire, Nirasha Jaganath, also known as the influential blogger, Mommy Niri. The workshop touched upon the importance of social media for today’s nonprofits and the ever so popular world of blogging.
As a writer for two blogs at BiddingForGood, I am always jazzed to learn how to infiltrate the world of other influential bloggers. These bloggers are sometimes known as “mommy bloggers” but be careful…there are a lot of daddy bloggers out there too!
We realize influential parenting bloggers are a great asset. These bloggers are people who care about their kids’ well being, education and future. As Mommy Niri pointed out, these people dedicate their entire life to their blogs so they can share useful information with us. The reason why BiddingForGood cares about these bloggers is because they are successful in leveraging social media to create an audience of pretty important people – other parents.
A good part of BiddingForGood’s business stems from moms and dads who care about their kids. About 40% of our business comes from PTO/PTA committees trying to raise money to enhance programs at their kids' school. Starting to see a cross-over?
BiddingForGood isn’t the only one who recognizes the magnitude of an influential blogger’s voice. Fortune 500 companies have instilled programs making influential bloggers their brand ambassadors. There are many forms of brand ambassadors. Some get paid cash, some get paid by product, and some get cross promotional benefits. Often times, bloggers receive products in the mail from companies vying for a nice little write up (or two) about their product. But did you know that some of these bloggers are sitting on a ton of products that they sometimes can’t even house? Heck, I can’t keep up with the amount of toys my kids currently have.
Mommy Niri found herself in a situation where products were starting to stockpile in her basement. She decided to do something “good” with them. Donate them, of course. What a wonderful idea. Who wouldn’t want donations of free, shiny new products? Well, to our surprise, it seems like she couldn’t give them away. She tried to donate the items to worth-while nonprofits and they declined her offer. Yup. They said “No. Thank you.” Why? Because they need dollars. I try to understand where the nonprofits were coming from as some of them are clients of ours.
Mommy Niri did find one nonprofit who was thrilled to take her up on her generous offering-Room to Grow. Room to Grow provides parents raising babies in poverty with one-on-one parenting support and essential baby items throughout their children’s critical first three years of life. Mommy Niri loved the feeling of being socially responsible and decided to extend the power of her blog with a second blog called Mommy Niri Cares. She uses the blog extension to round up other influential bloggers and tell the stories of “do-good” efforts. Genius! This is why we love influential bloggers. They don’t just have a powerful voice, but they have the power to make a real impact.
According to a Forbes article, there are about 3.9 million mommy bloggers out there. Imagine if they all had Mommy Niri’s ingenuity and passion? I certainly would have a lot to blog about it.
There’s a lot going on in the world of philanthropy this week. Here is a round-up of stories that caught our eye.
Nation’s First Undergraduate Degrees in Philanthropic Studies
The Chronicle of Philanthropy highlights the five graduates from Indiana University who will be the nation’s first to earn bachelor’s degrees in philanthropic studies. The program is intended to produce future nonprofit leaders and it’s one of many new undergraduate nonprofit programs across the country. As for their future plans, two of Indiana’s graduates are moving on to graduate school and the others are seeking entry-level jobs at nonprofit organizations or foundations.
Charities Seek Some of Facebook’s Billions
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports on how Silicon Valley nonprofits are anxious to “friend” Facebook and its employees in hopes they will receive donations stemming from the company’s IPO this week. If Facebook employees need a solid example to follow, the company’s co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz are setting an example with their own philanthropy. Both have pledged to give at least half of their wealth to worthy causes. And the company has already budgeted $500,000 to start the Facebook Local Community Fund, which will enlist Facebook employees and local leaders to review grant applications from local charities. We look forward to more “status updates” on how Facebook plans to give back post-IPO windfall.
Newman’s Own to Grant $30M
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Newman’s Own Foundation announced plans to give away at least $30 million to various charities this year. Marking Newman’s Own 30th anniversary, the foundation has awarded $350 million in grants during its existence and 2012 will be its largest funding year ever. The funds will support nonprofits that work in the areas of nutrition, child healthcare and leadership initiatives. Let’s raise a glass -- of Newman’s Own lemonade, of course -- in celebration of Mr. Newman’s philanthropic and entrepreneurial endeavors. Cheers!
Donate via Tweets and Texts
Mashable reports on a new service launched in the UK which makes charitable giving easy via text and Twitter. Givey works as a payment platform and lets people make “on-the-fly donations” with short tweets and SMS texts that benefit charities. Starting in August, Givey will record all donations and rank users by their charitable acts. Eventually users will be able to log their time spent volunteering. The CEO explains, “It could also become a way for companies to identify future employees or leaders based on the glance of their Givey Score.” We’ll be watching for updates on when the service will hit the U.S.
This week’s round up of philanthropy stories includes high-profile headlines featuring the likes of Facebook, Justin Bieber and the Beastie Boys. Read on to find out how they all have a common tie in philanthropy. For more high-profile celebrity goodness, check out the items we have up for auction benefitting the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.
Will Facebook’s Zuckerberg be the next Bill Gates of philanthropy?
The Washington Post calls Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg a “tech titan trying to use his reach and wealth to do good.” The compliment follows Facebook’s recent announcement that it would allow users to share their organ donor status in order to create broader awareness around the issue. Zuckerberg is no stranger to philanthropy and has donated $100 million to set up a foundation to help the Newark schools and has pledged to give away a large share of his wealth to charity.
Late Beastie Boy MCA's Legacy Extends Beyond Music
Nonprofit Quarterly ran a piece remembering Adam Yauch, otherwise known as The Beastie Boys MCA, who passed away after losing his battle with cancer last week. Yauch was much more than a musician – he was also the driving force behind the Tibetan Freedom Concerts where bands performed in support of Tibetan social justice. The first concert alone raised $800,000 back in 1996. Yauch was once quoted as saying “…the only thing that brings us lasting happiness, that really makes us happy, is when we do things to benefit other people.”
New Justin Bieber Song to Benefit Moms in Need
Just in time for Mother’s Day Huffington Post Impact reports that Justin Bieber is releasing his new song with the proceeds benefitting Moms in need. Bieber made the announcement via twitter: “Think im gonna release #TurnToYOU for my mom this friday for mother’s day weekend. The proceeds will go to help other single moms. thanks.” Now that’s using your star power to do good!
Give to charity at a cash machine
The UK’s Telegraph is reporting on a new, convenient way to make charitable donations – via ATM. Beginning this summer, people will be able to make charitable donations at the same time as withdrawing money from thousands of cash machines across the UK. Each participating bank will select the charities involved. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) cash machines and those owned by independent operator Bank Machine will be the first to pilot the program. We can’t wait for this concept to hit the U.S. – we’ll be the first ones in line!
Each week, we like to recap the philanthropy stories making headlines in our Goodness in Action blog. This week’s headlines represent all facets of the philanthropy world including the Global Philanthropy Forum, National Volunteers Week and the charitable focus of the Boston Marathon. Let’s dive in!
The Global Philanthropy Forum
The Globe Philanthropy Forum was held this week in Washington, DC and focused on the changing roles and responsibilities in the new social contract. Forbes contributor Rahim Kanani (@rahimkanani) reports that former British Prime Minister and Philanthropist Tony Blair spoke and emphasized that “21st century philanthropy must continually innovate and adapt to our rapidly changing world.” His reflections on the philanthropic sector particularly resonated with us here at BiddingForGood. A video of Tony Blair’s full address is available here and below is an excerpt we particularly enjoyed:
“First, the best philanthropy is not just about giving money but giving leadership…. It is creative not passive; it seeks to disrupt not follow conventional thinking. It steps into areas Government is too fearful or too risk adverse to go. It uses technology and its power to change the world in innovative ways. It is visionary, seeing the connections, the trends, the patterns that others don’t.” – Tony Blair
National Volunteer Week
This week was National Volunteer Week, which was established by President Barack Obama to urge all of us to make giving back part of our lives. At BiddingForGood, giving back is part of the reason we all get up in the morning. Huffington Post put together a beautiful slideshow of reader submitted images highlighting volunteerism across the country. You can also view a copy of the Presidential Proclamation here. Did you partake in any activities as part of National Volunteer Week? Tell us about them in the comments.
Here in our neck of the woods, we watched the Boston Marathon on Monday in record breaking 88 degree weather. The heat was not the only hurdle many runners had to overcome. Charity runners make up a huge portion of the field and many have to raise a minimum of $4,000 to run as part of a charity team and obtain an official number for the race. The Boston Marathon has had a charitable history for nearly 100 years, and as reported in the Nonprofit Quarterly, the event raises more than $10 million annually for charities within Greater Boston. In 2011, 2,285 charity runners raised an average of nearly $7,000 each. Congratulations to all of this year’s runners and fundraisers on this major accomplishment!
We're back already! It's the Part 2 video of the story about the rest of the charities our employees picked to represent in this year's BracketsForGood challenge. We couldn't fit all the clips into one video, so here's the sequel. Along with this goodness, you will get a Sweet 16 preview where Eric and I go back and forth on the matchups remaining in the tournament and what BiddingForGood employees are battling each other starting tonight!
Learn more about the charities we selected; Amanda's Horizon for Homeless Children, Bryan F's pick Let's Get Ready, Ellen's selection The Sharing Foundation, Eric's American Liver Foundation, Brian's Beardsley Zoo, Sherry's Christopher's Haven, and Dave's choice Everyone's A Player. Follow the link to each great organization's website to learn more about the benefits they provide to the community and all the hard work they do!
This week, The Chronicle of Philanthropy released its list of the 50 Most Generous Donors in 2011. It’s an awe-inspiring list with a total of $10.4 billion given in 2011, a more than three-fold increase from the previous year. We are encouraged to see charitable giving on the rise and hope the trend continues across all income levels. At BiddingForGood, we celebrate charitable giving from big to small and applaud the honorees on this year’s list for their accomplishments in philanthropy. In this week’s round up, we’ll highlight the top 5 names from the list and share their stories.
1. Margaret A. Cargill
Forbes points out that while 47 of the 50 honorees on this year’s list are men, a woman earned the top spot. The late Margaret A. Cargill, an agribusiness heiress, left a $6 billion bequest to two foundations: The Anne Ray Charitable Trust and Margaret A. Cargill Foundation which support the arts, the environment, disaster relief, and other causes. We are proud to see a woman philanthropist recognized at the head of the list but Ms. Cargill may have been more modest about her accomplishments. According to the Chronicle, Ms. Cargill was “quiet donor who loathed public recognition for her largess.”
2. William S. Dietrich II
The late William S. Dietrich II was a steel executive who died in October 2011. He left $500 million to the Dietrich Foundation, which will largely support more than a dozen Pittsburgh and other western Pennsylvania nonprofits. Several universities with close ties to Mr. Dietrich will also benefit including Thiel College, the Greenville, Pa. institution where his parents had met; Princeton University, where Mr. Dietrich earned his bachelor’s degree; and Carnegie Mellon, where he had served as a trustee since 1997.
3. Paul G. Allen
Microsoft’s co-founder Paul G. Allen, 59, earned a spot on the list for the tenth consecutive year. In 2011, Mr. Allen donated $372.6 million which included a $295 million gift to endow his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and $70 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science to support neuroscience and genomics-research programs. Mr. Allen also made a $7.6 million contribution to Seattle’s Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum.
4. George Soros
According to the Chronicle, Mr. Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management, a New York firm that manages hedge funds. Mr. Soros, 81, gave $335-million to his Open Society Foundations which support the development of democratic institutions throughout Central and Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union. Other awards were made to support the Institute for New Economic Thinking; Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., for its public-policy institute; and the Young Men’s Initiative. This is Soros’ sixth year on the list.
5. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Mr. Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, founded the Bloomberg financial-data and news-service company. This is his eight year on the philanthropy 50 list. Forbes notes that Mayor Bloomberg, 69, donated $311.3 million in 2011 to 1,185 different nonprofits that support the arts, human services, public affairs, and other causes. That’s more than three nonprofits a day over the course of the year!
For more fun facts about this year’s list of the most generous Americans, click here to see an infographic from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
We’ve got football on the brain this week as our hometown team – the New England Patriots – heads to the Super Bowl. With discussion of the big game dominating everything from media coverage to office water cooler conversation, we thought we’d put our own Goodness in Action spin on it. In this week’s round-up, we’ll take a step back to examine some feel-good charitable stories related to the Big Game.
The Boston Herald reports that a Tom Brady jersey (worn but not signed) has “racked up a $26,620 bid in the Super Bowl XLVI’s NFL memorabilia benefit auction,” which benefits NFL Charities. Reportedly, an autographed helmet worn by Eli Manning in 2008 when the Giants won the Big Game is only going for $5,500. No matter your team preference or which item scores the highest bid, I think we can all agree that these QBs are using their star power for a noble cause.
Super Baskets of Hope
The Super Baskets of Hope project was started in 1995 by the parents of a young girl who had cancer. Now the project’s hard-working volunteers have created about 7,000 gift baskets for hospitalized children in the NFL's 32 cities. On Monday, nearly 1,000 volunteers assembled baskets with items that offer children inspiration, entertainment, and hope. NFL players, coaches, and regional volunteers are delivering the baskets to children in hospitals nationwide. The Indianapolis Star reports it is the first project by a Super Bowl host city to reach across the country.
Blood Donor Wins Tickets
According to the Chicago Tribune, an Indiana woman who became a regular blood donor to repay the units used by her late husband has won a pair of Super Bowl tickets because of her generosity. The Indiana Blood Center hosted the Super Bowl ticket giveaway to encourage more people to become blood donors. The well-deserving recipient of the tickets won for donating blood at least four times in three months.
Myra Kraft, the wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, lost her battle with cancer before the start of the football season, but her charitable legacy is anything but lost. The Patriots dedicated their season to the late philanthropist, wearing a patch with her initials, MHK, on their uniforms. The Nonprofit Quarterly takes pause to remember how MHK rolled up her sleeves to make an impact. “Aside from raising money for numerous educational initiatives through the Kraft Foundation, Myra Kraft also served as the first female chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and was the national chair for the United Jewish Communities General Assembly. She served on the boards of directors at the Boston Foundation, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, Brandeis University, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the American Repertory Theatre.”
Have you heard of any other Super Bowl stories focused on philanthropy? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.
There’s so much happening in the space in which we operate everyday that it’s hard to keep up. This gave us an idea for a new blog series. Starting this week we’ll begin a wrap-up of some of the week’s most interesting news about charitable commerce, philanthropy, education, non-profits and more. We’ll give you our take and ask you what you think. Let’s dig right in.
Immediately after Halloween, Christmas songs and décor arrived in stores, seemingly everywhere. But one place you won’t be hearing or seeing any premature carols or ornaments is the popular luxury department store Nordstrom. This is because they have decided to take things “One Holiday at a Time.” TheStreet.com reports on Nordstrom’s policy of not celebrating Christmas until after Thanksgiving. We at Bidding For Good applaud Nordstrom for what seems to be a message about the over-commercialization of the holidays. The way we see it, there are many ways to celebrate: moments of family togetherness and experiences that will be remembered long after the wrapping paper is cleaned up and the sweaters exchanged. No matter what the hot gifts are this season, doing good while giving and sharing quality time with the ones you love will always be in style.
And speaking of the holiday season, a recent article on Newswise.com reported that because of the recession more and more shoppers are looking for socially conscious gifts for the people on their lists. Saint Joseph’s University sociologist Keith Brown says that consumers feel good about giving gifts that not only benefit the person receiving the gift but also the seller. Brown calls this a “double gift.” At BiddingForGood we give bidders the chance to buy once and give twice and that’s something they should definitely feel good about.
Our final story is about the other season that’s upon us… the Hollywood award show season. This week drama swirled around Eddie Murphy deciding he wouldn’t host the Academy Awards, which is still months away. But this Sunday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' will host its third annual Governors Awards ceremony. One of the honorees is Oprah Winfrey who will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The Associated Press reports that Winfrey has given more than $500 million and countless hours of time to charities around the world. While we all don’t have millions to donate, we think it’s important to remind people that every little bit counts. So, three cheers for Oprah who earned an Oscar not for acting but for something much more important, helping others.