Archives – June, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds “Obamacare” Individual Mandate

Comments (4) June 28, 2012

Obamacare

photo: LaDawna via Flickr

Thursday the Supreme Court upheld the Obama Administration’s individual insurance mandate. Mitt Romney has pledged to appeal the law immediately if elected.

How will the mandate affect you? If an individual chooses not to keep health insurance, that person would be responsible for paying the IRS one percent of his or her income. There will be exceptions made for religious and financial reasons. It will be unlawful to not buy health insurance and to not pay the IRS the additional money.

(more…)

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The Case of the Bullied Bus Monitor

Comments (7) June 22, 2012

bus monitor bullied

Karen Klein is 68. Think she’s past the age of being bullied? Apparently not.

YouTube viewers everywhere were outraged after watching video of four 12 and 13-year old boys harassing Klein while she acted as a middle school bus monitor in Greece, New York. In the video, the kids call Klein vulgar names, curse at her, cruelly make fun of her weight and hearing aid and even go as far as suggesting that her family killed themselves to not be near her. According to reports, Klein’s son committed suicide about 10 years ago. The kids go on for nearly 20 gut-wrenching minutes while Klein tries to ignore them, at one point saying simply, “Unless you have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Throughout the bullying, not one person steps in to help Klein while one of the boys tapes the entire thing. (more…)

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We Pick 5 Service Projects for Lindsay Lohan

Comments (8) June 19, 2012

lindsay lohan photos

avrilllllla via Flickr

With Lilo’s latest legal trouble; a car accident on Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway in a rented Porsche, and reports of partying in Hollywood into the wee hours just after checking in to the hospital, we’re thinking of ways the fallen star could slow down and give back. (Or at least get some of her court-ordered community service hours out of the way!)

1. Helping out My New Red Shoes

This nonprofit helps give homeless children confidence by providing them with new clothes and shoes for the first day of school. Having previously come out with her own clothing line, this is right up Lohan’s alley. And although she recently had a wardrobe malfunction on the set of her latest project, “Liz and Dick,” she should be able to handle picking out clothes for children despite not being able to keep them on herself. And if she is found to have violated the terms of her probation from a 2007 DUI conviction, she won’t be needing her own closet full of clothes anyway—what with her wardrobe consisting of purely orange jumpsuits.

2. Getting  Behind the Wheel for Neighbor Ride

Lindsay could use some slow and steady driving practice. Neighbor Ride, an organization helping seniors with transportation, could be just what Lilo needs. Lohan would be limited to a 900 square mile-area in Maryland, without having to wear an ankle bracelet.

3. Donning some Gloves for a Beach Cleanup

As we mentioned before, Lohan recently crashed her rented car (into an 18-wheeler) in broad daylight in Malibu. Now according to her eHarmony profile featured on Funny or Die, in addition to car chases on the Pacific Coast Highway, Lohan loves long walks on the beach. And alcohol. What better way to give back than pick up pieces of her front bumper while drunkenly stumbling down the shore. Sure she just totaled an $80,000 Porsche…cheers!

4. Donating hair (er…extensions) to a Cancer Charity

Unless her hair is too damaged from her switch from red to blonde to black back to red, Lohan has plenty she could donate to a charity that helps cancer patients get wigs . Just like formerly-troubled pop star Britney Spears did back in 2007 when she hit a rough patch, Lohan could possibly find the whole cutting-off-all-your-hair thing therapeutic. This could really do wonders for reinventing herself, as well as the child receiving her hair, since Lohan’s hair could really bring joy to the life of any young “Parent Trap” or “Mean Girls” fan. I mean, a lot of people wish they had someone else’s hair, but who actually gets to wear their favorite movie star’s hair?

5. Putting on a Tool Belt for Habitat for Humanity

Lastly, in case Lilo can’t get her acting career back on track, volunteer work building houses with Habitat for Humanity can prep her for a new career in construction. She’s already an expert in getting hammered. However, Habitat builds homes all over the world and, given Lohan’s history of drug abuse, it may be best that she not build in countries with a major drug trade.

What would you have Lindsay do? Do you think it’s important for stars to give back?

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SPCA International Going to the Dogs?

Comments (15) June 15, 2012

CNN investigates SPCA International

CNN investigates SPCA International

Is SPCA International going to the dogs? Because the money apparently isn’t. CNN exposed today that while the charity raised $14 million in 2010, only about $60,000 went to local shelters and only about 3% of the $14 million went to a questionable program called “Baghdad Pups,” designed to safely transport home dogs that are used in service by the military.

According to CNN, SPCA’s own communications director admits that only 26 out of almost 500 animals transported were actually service animals, such as bomb-sniffing dogs. Apparently, these 26 dogs were also not affiliated with the military, but were in fact owned by a contractor building roads in Iraq and Afghanistan. The contractor insists that the dogs had been offered homes, SPCA insists otherwise. A representative of the program has previously been investigated by the state of California for questionable spending at another nonprofit specializing in homeless dogs.

You may remember another recent investigation launched by CNN looking into the fundraising practices of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, who claimed to be helping vets, while they gave millions of fundraising dollars to Quadriga Arts, the same direct marketing company that SPCA International owed more than $8 million to in 2010. This sparked a recent senate investigation. Disabled Veterans National Foundation was earning negative reviews on GreatNonprofits.org  well prior to the investigation. Management of SPCA International has run into issues before with Quadriga. In fact, Quadriga has a lien on the US-based charity due to a debt of $2 million from the Montreal SPCA.

What you can do

SPCA International has no reviews on GreatNonprofits.org, however, many other local and national animal organizations are highly recommended on our site, where you can browse and review top-rated animal nonprofits. Similar concerns were voiced by reviewers of the ASPCA. We urge you to read through reviews of an organization before you select one to volunteer at or donate to. Many of these organizations devote their time and resources to helping homeless dogs in innovative ways.

We would love to hear your comments about how to best help homeless dogs.

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San Francisco Fights Panhandling with Puppies

Leave a Comment June 15, 2012

homeless puppy san francisco panhandling

Trading homeless puppies for panhandling in San Francisco

San Francisco is bringing new meaning to the phrase “begging for a puppy.” In fact, the city is hoping that its panhandling population will trade one for the other. The city has long battled its panhandling problem with everything from outlawing sitting on the sidewalk to local employment programs with not much luck. Now that already overpopulated  local animal shelters are seeing a huge influx in surrendered dogs due to the economic downturn, a new program pairing problem pups with certain panhandlers might be part of the solution. (more…)

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10 Easy Ways to Get Kids Involved in Nonprofits

Comments (2) June 8, 2012

easy ways to get kids involved in nonprofitsWant to instill the values of compassion, kindness and giving in your kids?  Teach them to have a positive impact in their community and the world; check out these ideas.

1. Join a Community Cleanup

Too much time in front of videogames and not enough time outside? Find a nonprofit organizing a beach, creek or park cleanup in your area. Spend some quality time outside while teaching kids to take pride in their community and local environment.  Check out ACTERRA. Find environmental nonprofits in your area.  

2. Walk to Fight Disease

Get some exercise and make some new friends by walking to increase awareness and raise funds for research and treatment. If your child is too young to walk a few miles, you could push him or her in a stroller. Find health organizations in your area.

3. Find a Toy Drive

Teach generosity. Many organizations hold toy drives for needy children. Got some unused toys that your kids aren’t going to use? Find a donation location in your neighborhood. While you’re at it, clean out the closets and then check out our number 8 recommendation.

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Storytelling = Fundraising

Comment (1) June 5, 2012

Numbers numb, jargon jars, and nobody ever marched on Washington because of a pie chart. If you really want to reach people and change the world, tell them a story.” – Andy Goodman, Storytelling Best Practices: Websites

We’ve selected these three articles to show how storytelling is an essential element of successful fundraising. Stories are effective because they connect emotionally. And as Roberta Falkner writes, memorable stories can make the stats compelling and take on a life of their own through retelling:

“…Data presented with a compelling story, on the other hand, is inspirational, motivational, and, most of all, memorable. Inspirational and motivational stories compel your prospects to support your cause in some manner. Memorable stories make it easier for supporters to spread the word about you and your cause.” Read more in Non-Profit Fundraising and Storytelling.

In 7 Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit Storytelling Katya Andresen and Macon Morehouse describe how to find stories: (more…)

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Storytelling for Good

Comment (1) June 5, 2012

storytelling for fundraisingEver been caught up in a friend’s personal story? Frequently, we come across moving personal accounts of nonprofits literally changing lives. Here is a recent review from a client of CHERUBS (The Association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research):

I was only 10yrs old when I first learned about CDH. My family was super excited about another baby coming into our family. I was hoping for another sister and my brother was hoping for a brother. I knew something was wrong, when the tech ask my dad to take us out of the room. I had no idea what to think. What seemed like a life time, was only a few minutes. My dad came and brought us back. Mom was crying and now the doctor was in there. The first thing they told us, was it was a girl. I was so excited. But I knew there was a long pause and when my parents did that there was something bad coming. All I recall was that the baby would need a lot of work. I told the doctor I would help and do as much as I could. He smiled and just shook his head. (more…)

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Small Nonprofit Makes the Most of Green Awards 2012

Leave a Comment June 5, 2012

Thank you to the Conservators’ Center for this great email about how they made use of Greatnprofits:

“For a small nonprofit, it’s a big deal to be featured as the Top Local Green Nonprofit of the Month on Huffington Post. When the GreatNonprofits campaign began we encouraged our Facebook fans to post reviews on our two pages (http://www.facebook.com/ConservatorsCenter and http://www.facebook.com/ArthurTheTiger), and added a similar request to our e-newsletter and to the thank-you email we send new visitors after their first tour of our facility. We were blown away by how many responded!
We love to hear about how  your organization is using GreatNonprofits as a resource. If you have a success story to tell, email it to Haney@greatnonprofits.org and we’ll consider it for the next newsletter.

We love to hear about how  your organization is using GreatNonprofits as a resource. If you have a success story to tell, email it to Haney@greatnonprofits.org and we’ll consider it for the next newsletter.

The reviews literally brought some of our hardworking employees and volunteers to tears. More important, they highlighted what people most enjoy about the Conservators’ Center, which has helped us better refine what we do to ensure visitors walk away determined to tell others about us. Thank you for challenging us with a campaign that has brought us a lot of good!”
-Mandy Matson
Communications
Conservators’ Center

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Disabled Veterans National Foundation Investigation Sparked by Anderson Cooper

Comment (1) June 1, 2012

anderson cooper veterans disabled veteran's national foundation

photo: brittanylynae on Flickr

Following  an incendiary CNN Anderson Cooper 360 report accusing the charity Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) of misusing millions of dollars, a Senate Finance Committee  investigation has been launched to take a closer look at the nonprofit’s financials.

Well before this scandal however, starting in 2009, GreatNonprofits members were already negatively reviewing the veterans’ charity, giving it the lowest rating of only one star. Reviewers cited concerns about how donations were spent and the many useless “gifts” received via direct mail through “guilt-based” marketing. (more…)

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