March 7, 2014 at 01:21pm
The Social Impact Statement – piloted by GreatNonprofits and the Pittsburgh Foundation provides transparency to donors and a direct link between their gift and the positive change affected in the community.
It’s a fact we face daily in the nonprofit sector: philanthropy has been relatively stagnant for years. Giving has only been growing at two percent, year over year.
What’s the cause of this lack of real growth and more importantly, how can we change it? There is a definite lack of tools in the sector for connecting donors to their direct impact. Donors want to know the on-the-ground difference that their money is making. Foundations, and their grantees, face a difficult task in communicating this impact to donors. And while overall philanthropy is sluggish, community-based giving is growing. So we know that donors want that kind of local connection—they want to know how their dollars are changing their communities.
Keeping this in mind, GreatNonprofits is developing tools for community foundations and nonprofits to show donors their direct 2 social impact. This past year, GreatNonprofits piloted one of those tools – the Social Impact Statement with the Pittsburgh Foundation. The goal was to test the theory that awareness about the direct impact of one’s giving should positively influence future charitable giving. The Social Impact Statement provides transparency to donors—a direct link between their gift and the positive change it affected in their community.
Together, we provided highly personalized email statements to about 17,000 donors. Each donor received specific information about what impact each of their donations had, photos, reviews and recommendations for other, similar local nonprofits. We reached out to each nonprofit to provide an accurate picture for each donor. We wanted to know, what does a $50 dollar donation go to, for example. Each donation was linked with a specific action taken by the nonprofit.
“The Social Impact Statement can solve a critical need in the nonprofit sector to engage donors…by providing valuable information on how donations made a difference” - Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits
The Nonprofit of the future is going to need to be able to connect the dots for their donors and the Social Impact Statement is the way to help the sector move toward emotionally engaged giving.
For instance, a $50 donation to Network of Hope provided one week’s worth of food, purchased at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, to supply the Braddock Men’s Recovery Home.
What did we learn? Donors loved it! The emails had an open rate of nearly fifty percent and nearly fifty percent of respondents gave the statement a 10/10 rating. Plus, by using an algorithm based on actual donation patterns, the statement generated recommendations of 3 additional nonprofits per donor. Of the full list, we were able to generate recommendations for all but 27 donors. We heard that donors were excited to see their personal impact. Making the donation impact digestible to donors can lead to more donors giving more money, while rewarding the most high-impact community nonprofits.
The nonprofit of the future is going to need to be able to connect these dots for their donors and the Social Impact Statement is one way to help the sector continue to move in this direction of increased transparency and emotionally-engaged community giving.
Click here to read more on the Social Impact Statement
What do you think? Is this something that your foundation would be interested in using to communicate to donors? To learn more about getting involved, contact Perla Ni at firstname.lastname@example.org!
January 30, 2014 at 12:22pm
GreatNonprofits, in collaboration with America’s Charities, invites you to participate in the Snapshot 2014 survey. Your participation in this survey will provide valuable insights into how nonprofits work with companies and their employees to build strong partnerships, and how nonprofits demonstrate impact from the contributions they receive.
Your input is vital to Snapshot 2014. The findings will be published by America’s Charities and shared with corporate funders in April 2014. We will also provide you with a copy of the report. To participate in this short, 15-minute survey, click this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/0114GNP
Please complete the survey by February 7, 2014. Your responses will be kept anonymous and will only be used in an aggregated format. Thank you for your help and contribution to this important topic.
January 30, 2014 at 11:37am
Guidestar – our partner – has declared February the month of February Nonprofit Love (we concur!). To help nonprofits, Guidestar is launching a series of webinars that are coming up in February. Both of these webinars are topics we at GreatNonprofits care about – transparency and feedback. And, we’re speaking at one of the events. So please, come one, come all. Register for the events below. Collectively, we can’t wait to have you.
Impact Call: Expanding the Definition of Transparency
GuideStar led the first revolution in nonprofit transparency by posting IRS Forms 990 online nearly two decades ago. That resulted in greater accountability in nonprofit practice and greater transparency in compensation, program effectiveness, and giving across the sector. Now GuideStar is helping to lead a second revolution. GuideStar’s Impact Call is a revolutionary idea: to proactively provide results in real-time to constituents and begin a systematic dialogue that encourages data-driven decision-making across the sector. Event details:
Monday, February 24, 2014 11:00 am Pacific Standard Time
Using Online Reviews to Showcase Your Impact
Think about the last time you bought something online. Did you look at Amazon or Google reviews first? Did you use Yelp to find a great local restaurant or TripAdvisor to coordinate your last adventure? If you are like millions of people online, you did. And it makes sense: you are trying to get past “marketing speak” to look at what *real* people have to say about a particular product, service, or company.
Well now that same 360 feedback is available exclusively to the nonprofit world through –GreatNonprofits.org. GreatNonprofits is the largest online review site exclusively for nonprofits. In this webinar you’ll learn how to claim your profile, how to invite reviews, how to manage reviews to best showcase your impact and improve your programs. Also in attendance will be JustGive, a GreatNonprofits users and 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit. You’ll learn how JustGive leverages GreatNonprofits the importance of online reviews to the donation process. Event details:
Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:00 am Pacific Standard Time
About our partnerships. GreatNonprofits partners with organizations like GuideStar and JustGive too syndicate nonprofit reviews. That way we are sharing nonprofit stories of impact more broadly that just among our user base. Our goal is to help nonprofits grow their causes by sharing stories of impact. To learn more about our partnership opportunities, click here.
January 30, 2014 at 10:13am
The World Of Corporate Giving Has Changed
Did you know that:
- Less than 6% of the $320 Billion that is donated annually to North American charities is done online.
- Less than 5% of that amount comes from corporations.
- 70% of employees are not engaged in their jobs – and 25% are actively disengaged.
These are all statistics that Benevity, a software social enterprise that helps companies engage their customers and employees through giving back, hopes to change. And they highlight issues that corporate social good efforts, like employee giving and volunteering programs, are evolving to address. “Doing well by doing” good is more than just a tagline; it’s a business imperative. The good news is that an increasing number of companies are doing more – they’re part of a significant shift towards integrating support for causes into their operations.
The Focus of Workplace Giving Has Shifted to Engagement
Employees care deeply about giving back, and their expectations of companies are greater than ever. People overwhelmingly want companies to give back and support causes: 90% of Americans expect companies to support important issues, and only 7% believe that corporations should only worry about the bottom line.
To better address the increasing expectations of employees that their employers’ help them support causes that they care about and to tap into peoples’ passion for causes to create stronger connections, companies are shifting the focus of their workplace giving programs from pure fundraising to engagement.
When the goal is engagement, workplace giving looks a little different than traditional workplace giving initiatives from yester-year. Programs are successful when they’re built around choices (who, where and how to give), provide year-round opportunities to give, harness corporate matching budgets, introduce new ways to get people involved and interacting to support causes and reduce unnecessary administrative and transactional costs. The result is programs with higher participation rates, greater engagement, lower administrative and transactional costs and, ultimately, greater impacts – for companies, the causes their programs support, and the world as a whole.
How You Can Tap In To Corporate Giving – Meet Benevity and the Benevity Causes Portal
Benevity helps companies and charities focus on what matters – programs, mission and making an impact. By providing simple, empowering ways to donate online, we help companies engage more of their customers and employees through giving back. Benevity’s clients, which include some of the most well-known brands and businesses in the world, use its technology to power engaging giving programs, enable real-time matching offers, give ‘dollars for doers’ volunteering rewards, and garner support for corporate causes through featured campaigns.
In turn, this same platform makes it easier and more cost effective for nonprofits to get funds by taking care of the receipt issuing and other processing transactions for the nonprofit and by connecting nonprofits directly with people who care about their causes.
The Benevity Causes Portal is the nonprofit side of the Benevity platform, where nonprofits that are registered charities can provide Benevity corporate clients and their users with up-to-date information about their nonprofit efforts and programs. In addition, nonprofits can access reporting on donations. Getting started is simple: just visit causes.benevity.org and follow the steps to get started and tap into the new world of corporate giving.
Excited to Work Together
At Benevity we’re excited about the changes happening in Workplace Giving. We’re excited that a rapidly growing number of companies want to create engaging giving programs that connect with people and Do More Good. And we’re excited about working with causes like those nonprofits on GreatNonprofits.org to change the landscape for the better. It is our goal to help you achieve your social mission by making it easier for you to receive more funds more efficiently.
January 29, 2014 at 04:51pm
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I’m still rounding up stray pine needles stuck in the rug and eating the few remaining arms and legs of broken gingerbread men. I really don’t need a tempting box of fancy chocolates or a lavish prix-fixe meal out on the town. How can I bring more meaning to a day that has become yet another opportunity to show affection and commitment through expensive presents and bouquets of flowers forced to bloom in the dead of winter?
You don’t have to look far to figure that one out. People in our communities need help all year long. We feel good about ourselves during the holidays when we buy a gift for a needy child or serve a holiday meal at a shelter. Why stop there when you can volunteer or donate to a local nonprofit or charity.
According to last year’s “Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey” by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, the average annual Valentine’s Day spending reached $13.19 billion. The amount the average American spends on Valentine’s Day is $116.21. Think of how a local nonprofit might spend that money.
Here are five ways to involve nonprofits or volunteering to celebrate Valentine’s Day with meaning.
Instead of going out to dinner, stay in and cook a special meal for your loved ones. Consider donating the money you saved to a community meal program, like these 2013 top-rated nonprofits:
- FOCO Café (Feeding Our Community Ourselves), Fort Collins, CO. “This team is focused on providing access to healthy, delicious and sustainable food to all members of our community.
- Widbey Island Nourishes, Whidbey Island, WA. One of the volunteers says this program “…provides highly nutritious, ready-made meals at no cost to food insecure youth on South Whidbey Island. Meals are prepared with love by volunteers using high-quality ingredients, including produce from local farms and fruit gleaned from trees throughout the community.”
Rather than a buying a bouquet of flowers, give to a community garden. Your donation will continue to give back as the months go by; those flowers will droop in just a few days. Check out these top-rated nonprofits:
- Square foot gardening, Ogden, UT. Volunteers are enthusiastic: “I support this foundation because it saves the environment, promotes healthy lifestyles, reduces our carbon footprint (no more local than in your own yard!) and helps the poor cut their food bills.”
- Generous Garden project, Greenville, SC. Here’s a thoughtful volunteer’s comment about this project: “I have truly enjoyed the work and getting my hands dirty, but most of all it’s the people that make the difference. It is great to meet new people each week and to know that we are all working to help other people in need.
Instead of a romantic weekend away, a donation can help people find a caring place to sleep during the harsh winter nights. Check out these 2013 top-rated organizations:
- Aurora Warms the Night, Aurora, CO. The mission of this organization is heart-felt: Preserve the life, health and stability of Aurora’s men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. “Aurora Warms the Night is a compassionate organization that reaches out to help the homeless of Aurora with vital and life-saving housing assistance on the coldest of nights.”
- Beverly’s Birthdays, North Huntingdon, PA. All children need to be recognized and feel valued. This organization provides birthday celebrations for homeless children living in shelters. As one volunteer says: “I think the most rewarding thing when attending a Beverly’s Birthdays party is seeing the smiles on the children’s faces.”
Set a wonderful example for your kids, showing them ways to embrace others. Ask them to help you pick a need that your donation can fill. These two organizations were top-rated in 2013:
- Camp Sunshine at Sebago Lake, Sebego, ME. This camp provides respite, support, joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families from around the world through the various stages of their journeys. Says one volunteer: “I have now had the opportunity to volunteer at camp four times and will be returning this weekend to volunteer again. As a former client served I cannot even begin to describe how much of an impact this organization has had on my family and my life.”
- GlamourGals, Foundation, Commack, NY. Teen volunteers in GlamourGals chapters around the country make regularly scheduled visits to senior homes to perform complimentary facials and makeovers. This comment from one volunteer captures the spirit of this organization: “Joining Glamour Gals, I hoped to gain experience and give back to the community. I lost my grandparents a couple years ago and it was very hard because I was so close to them. It left a huge hole in my heart that I thought would never heal. Glamour Gals has healed that hole in my heart. Every month I’m spending time with grandparents who aren’t mine, and it’s a blessing.”
Help someone in your own neighborhood. You may discover that a senior living near by needs a lift to the doctor or help getting groceries. Here’s one organization that matches drivers with riders:
- Neighbor Ride, Columbia, MD. This 2013 top-rated organization connects people: “volunteers drive – seniors thrive.” One volunteer summed up the experience this way: “While helping others, I get to meet some wonderful people who often touch my life with joy.”
For more inspiration, read through the descriptions of GreatNonprofit’s 2013 top-rated organizations here: http://greatnonprofits.org/awards/browse.
Contributing writer: Big thanks to our volunteer writer, Kathryn Maclaury for her time and contribution to this article.
January 7, 2014 at 10:39am
What’s the most common mistake organizations make when recruiting board members?
Not fully describing what’s expected in terms of their role and responsibilities. Too often we understate expectations because we want people to serve. That’s self-defeating. Full disclosure from the beginning will bring you amazingly dedicated and committed board members. By the same token, understating the requirements (“You only have to come to meetings – the staff does everything else”) will backfire and create resentment. (more…)
January 7, 2014 at 10:19am
Here at GreatNonprofits, we believe in allowing people to find, review and openly share information as the best way to find the right nonprofits to support. Our goal is to make it easy for people to share knowledge so that other people can benefit from it. With this in mind, we recently entered into a data sharing agreement with Truist, a leading provider of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy services. Truist helps companies manage their employee giving, matching, and volunteering programs. Over the coming months, Truist will be incorporating our user reviews into their various products so their users can leverage this information to make decisions about their charitable giving. (more…)
January 3, 2014 at 11:22am
As the Hollywood awards season begins to rev up, all eyes are front and center on the celebrities who will be strutting their stuff at the Golden Globes. Celebrities receive much critical acclaim for their work on the silver screen, but beyond the glitz and the glamour of showbiz, many of these household names are quietly serving on the sidelines as active philanthropists. Many celebrities are doing far more than just writing a check or turning up at a gala or cocktail party – some of the headlining nominees at this year’s Golden Globes are passionate volunteers, advocates, or founders of their own nonprofit organizations. Here are some of the 2014 Golden Globe nominees who are dedicated to causes far away from the lights of Hollywood.
January 3, 2014 at 07:03am
Think about the last time you bought something online. Did you look at Amazon or Google reviews first? Did you use Yelp to find a great local restaurant? Did you use TripAdvisor to help coordinate your last adventure? Or go to CitySearch to find a hotel?
December 31, 2013 at 12:43pm
For many of us, ushering in a new year means a chance to transform aspects of our lives. We do that by resolving to do things – lose weight, quit a bad habit, increase physical activity, call our moms more frequently and so on. While they are all great aspirations, all of which are on my list, there is something else that makes for a great resolution – doing good and helping others. (more…)