Filed under: Nonprofits
April 3, 2014
Earth Day is coming up. Spring and spring fever are in the air. Kids are getting anxious for summer to come. Why not start planning outings that combine awareness of our fragile environment with the joys of the great outdoors? GreatNonprofits provides information about environmental organizations with great programs for kids. What captures the imagination of your kids? Is it caring for animals, learning about whales, looking at fossils? (more…)
April 2, 2014
Amid the woods and swamps of rural Citrus Country, Fla., Mission in Citrus—a small nonprofit offering homeless shelters and services—has garnered a whopping 178 reviews on GreatNonprofits. Despite the fact that it operates on a shoestring budget with two paid employees, Mission in Citrus also receives an average rating of five stars (the highest rating possible). We inquired with its founder, Pastor James Sleighter, to learn more about how Mission in Citrus earns such high marks from those it serves. (more…)
March 18, 2014
Top Rated Awards: Coming April, 2014
The GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Awards has been running since 2009. Think of the program like a people’s choice awards where volunteers, donors and people served by the great work of each and every nonprofit can cast their vote in the form of a review to express their appreciation and potentially win nonprofits a spot on the List. Read about the previous Top-Rated winners.
March 14, 2014
Four Ways Your Spring Cleaning Can Be Used For Social Good.
Housebound by bad weather? Why not do a little pre-emptive spring cleaning. Start small; maybe you have a linen closet or a bookshelf that could use some pruning. Don’t think of it as chore, but as a way to pass along items you no longer need to someone in need. Here are four things you can do: donate books, linens, clothing, or if you’re selling on eBay, donate a portion of the proceeds. You’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel and how much you can help. (more…)
March 13, 2014
Fifth-grader Oskar walks around his schoolyard with an overstuffed backpack and a big grin. He’s smitten with his new, white-as-snow sneakers and having a fine day… that is, until his friend Frank accidentally steps on his shoes. Instead of stopping to say how it makes him feel, Oskar reacts harshly and starts bullying Frank.
Thus enfolds the introductory scene to “Oskar and the Big Bully Battle,” an anti-bullying play for students in grade K-5. Produced by TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley’s professional theatre, this traveling show is set to visit at least 20 elementary schools in the Bay Area on its next tour, which runs through March 28. The play’s goal is straightforward: to build awareness of bullying in elementary schoolchildren so that when they reach middle school—when bullying behavior often peaks—they’ll be prepared. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
January 30, 2014
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.
January 30, 2014
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. (more…)
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.