Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Giving Pledge (Nicole Wilken)

The Giving Pledge is a commitment made by some of the wealthiest people in the world to give more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes during their lifetimes. Started by Bill and Melinda Gates along with Warren Buffett in 2010, this initiative is important not only in the amount of money pledged, but also in the creation of a culture more sensitive to the importance of intentional philanthropy in solving some of the world’s biggest problems and the need for greater transparency in this endeavor. In this campaign, the world’s super-rich are setting a great example for both their peers and the rest of us. To read the pledgers’ inspirational stories and personal statements about their commitments, visit the Giving Pledge website.

Although we don’t all have billions of dollars to contribute, we all have the opportunity to be examples for our colleagues, neighbors, children, and others in talking about how we use our money for the good of others. Many people of modest means have pledged to give significant percentages of their incomes (often over 50%) to philanthropic programs. Check out some of their stories at Bolder Giving

Both of these initiatives invite us to think about our own giving and encourage all people to be better stewards of their money in an effort to create a more philanthropically-minded world.


Monday, March 18, 2013

For the First Steps and Everything After (Nicole Wilken)

GiveSmart by the Bridgespan Group is a great resource for donors who are starting the discerning process of where and how to give. Fundraising professionals can also benefit from the information presented in GiveSmart in order to better advise donors about how to find fulfillment in their philanthropic journeys.

This database has countless suggestions for building a long-term commitment to philanthropic organizations that promote positive change and will be fulfilling for the donor as well. I especially like the Philanthropy Toolkit that contains resources about how to move from searching to deciding, from researching to donating. The donor process may be complex over time, with periods of re-evaluation throughout the donors’ lives as their financial situations and priorities change.

As a donor, GiveSmart includes many tips for understanding the risks of your philanthropic investment and defining what achievements you want from your partnership with the non-profit. The website focuses on the due diligence process for donors and how this can aid in the creation of a healthy, rewarding partnership with the non-profits receiving their funds. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What are people learning about you online?

Kathy Sipple, Social Media Strategist
I work with philanthropists first to develop a proactive, clear direction for their charitable giving.  Then we research reputable nonprofits that align with their unique Giving Focus--their philanthropic mission statement--and values. We start with Google, and we use some very basic resources like Guidestar or other charity rating sites in order to do a first pass at research and due diligence. Sometimes, we get great information, and sometimes... not so much. 

But I think that each nonprofit can and should put its best foot forward, ready to be found and appreciated by donors and potential donors. It all comes down to your commitment to transparency and donor-centrism.

So, I am so thrilled to be co-presenting the next Focused Fundraising workshop with Social Media Strategist, Kathy Sipple (look at her over there, on the right). 

I hope you will join us on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, for Reputation Management: Your A+ Charity Profile at Valparaiso University, Harre Union, Alumni Room 269 from 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. You can register

Join us to learn how to manage your non-profit's online reputation, optimize search engine results, and create winning online profiles at charity rating sites like Guidestar.org. We'll discuss common sense best practices like, creating high-quality content, keyword research and usage, connecting quality links, making the most of local and social search opportunities, and much more!