Filed under: Campaigns
March 7, 2014
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
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 29, 2014
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 3, 2014
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 17, 2013
How to Choose A Charity This Season Of Giving
Redwood Shores, Calif. – In 2013, an expected $375 billion will be donated to charities. To help donors and volunteers find worthy charities to support this season of giving, GreatNonprofits has just released the 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofits List for San Francisco. (more…)
November 19, 2013
Pine trees. Gilded glass ornaments. Big gold boxes wrapped with shiny red ribbons. The image of the holidays we have is one of people cozying up next to the fireplace stockings in their knitted reindeer sweaters with a plate of gingerbread cookies in one hand and a present in the other.
For most of us, our biggest worry is whether to buy the green scarf or the blue scarf for our mother-in-law, or which Lego kit was the one our son wanted. Yet for many others, presents are the last thing on their minds this holiday season – they’re just thinking about how to last the winter months with enough food and warm clothing.
November 12, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan has left millions of families and children in need in the Philippines. As many as 2.5 million people require assistance. (more…)
October 9, 2013
#GivingTuesday is the brainchild of the 92nd Street Y, a nonprofits cultural and community center in New York. The idea is to inspire giving and help charities nation-wide. How? By creating a daylong national effort to help charities raise money online during the holiday shopping season – and do so right on the heals of Cyber Monday and Black Friday. This is a big deal for nonprofits as last year alone the movement drew donations to about 2,600 nonprofits. (more…)
June 17, 2013
With summer here, we know a lot of you want to learn more about traveling for good! There are many different ways to help out abroad with a small amount of free time over the summer and different nonprofits offer different opportunities. The Top-Rated groups below offer various chances to travel while volunteering. Take a look, and see if one of these nonprofits is a good fit for you.
And if you are scheduled to do some traveling with a nonprofit already, share your story when you get back by writing a review! Your review will help others decide if volunteering abroad is a good fit for them.
2013 Top-Rated Nonprofits Offering Travel Opportunities
Countries/Regions Served: Guatemala
Mayan Families provides opportunities and assistance to the indigenous and impoverished people of Guatemala, through education and community development programs.
“My only regret is that I could not have spent longer in Panajachel with Mayan Families. While there, I was a part of their medical and dental clinics for many different villages, and I also came home with a beautiful puppy that they had rescued through their animal welfare program.”
A Broader View
Countries/Regions Served: Belize, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines
A Broader View Volunteer Corp. was created on the belief that one person can make a difference in the lives of others. The US office is operated by a staff with almost 20 years combined travel and hospitality experience.
“Many of the “volunteer” programs we looked at for our daughter were cost prohibitive and had many time constraints. ABV made it possible for her to experience a different culture and, at the same time, volunteer in ways that she never would have otherwise.”
Global Volunteer Network Foundation
Countries/Regions Served: Africa, Asia, Latin America
Global Volunteer Network Foundation works to empower women and children by providing financial resources to grassroots organizations working with vulnerable women and children in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“Climbing to Everest Base Camp is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life and I can’t imagine better people to have done it with. I will be doing more programs with GVN in the future and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.”
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofits Offering Travel Opportunities
Child Family Health International
Countries/Regions Served: Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, South Africa
Working at 20 different sites in six countries, Child Family Health International partners with universities and medical professionals. The organization aims to help students explore what health care and public health provision is like in developing countries. CFHI also creates social entrepreneur opportunities for local communities that are able to host and teach students from afar about local culture, realities, illness and wellness.
“It was one of the best rotations of my medical school career. Getting the opportunity to perform a number of procedures while also seeing what healthcare challenges another culture faced allowed me to develop tremendously as a doctor and person in the beginning stages of my career.”
Countries/Regions Served: Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Thailand
YouthLINC works to create life-long humanitarians. Rotary clubs, universities and colleges, businesses, professional associations, and individuals who want to encourage service among young people provide sponsorships to students.
“ I felt like the trip had a perfect blend of service and site seeing. I felt like I had a cultural experience along with a wonderful service experience.”
Want to help YouthLINC and Child Family Health International become Top-Rated again for 2013? Write a review of their work!
May 7, 2013
Did you know that GreatNonprofits influences 30 million donation decisions a year (and it’s free)?
We know nonprofits rely on positive word of mouth to do their work most effectively. Online reviews have huge reach, so how do you get your first review?