Ways To Break Into Philanthropy (even if you don’t have a lot of money)

Originally published on MatthewGorelik.info

You don’t have to be wealthy to be a philanthropist. All that’s required is a generous heart and a willingness to get involved. In fact, some opportunities let you get involved, even if your time is all you have to give.

Every Donation Counts

Every gift counts, regardless of its value. This is especially true of local charities in which a donation of $5 or $10 might be enough to feed a family for a night or buy a student a textbook. Also, many organizations count all donations the same, when they tally everything up at year’s end. When they publicize a list of 10,000 donors, the amount each donor gave typically remains confidential.

Your Time May Be More Valuable Than Cash

Many charitable organizations find it easier to obtain monetary donations than to get physical help. For that reason, your ability to volunteer for a few hours a day may be placed at a higher value. You could volunteer to serve meals to the homeless, help out at an animal shelter, or you might visit the elderly in your neighborhood. Anything you do to help the people in your community will be appreciated more than you may realize.

Organize a Drive

You don’t necessarily have to align yourself with an organized charity. You can help a cause that you feel strongly about by organizing a drive on your own. You can collect non-perishable food for the hungry, clothing for the poor, or holiday cards for people in the military. The most important thing is to take up a cause you feel strongly about because your passion for it will inspire others. Once you collect enough donations, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment in delivering gifts to those in need.

Attend Charitable Events

Large companies often support causes through the purchases of their customers. For instance, they might donate one dollar out of every purchase of their product to a worthy cause, such as breast cancer research. Alternatively, some charities host inexpensive dinners or sponsor theater productions. By attending one of these events or buying one of these products, you can do something you would be doing anyway and help a cause out at the same time.

There’s no limit to what you can do as a philanthropist. Use your imagination and infuse your efforts with some creativity to come up with novel ideas for giving back to your community. You can also look for ways to contribute to broader national or worldwide organizations. Often, if you reach out to an organization that interests you, they will offer ways for you to get involved.

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Fundraising Ethics for Philanthropists

Originally published on MatthewGorelik.info

Giving back to the community isn’t always as cut and dry in practice as it seems in theory. Even charitable organizations with the most well-placed intentions can quickly lose the public trust if poor oversight and organizational infrastructure lead to an inefficient donation pipeline, and a loss in the confidence of the public and your investors can quickly torpedo the opportunity to do good. But there are some steps you can take to safeguard the intent of your philanthropic efforts.

Coming From a Place of Trust

Fundraisers serve as the lifeblood of most philanthropic organizations. They primarily serve as your sales team, fostering trust in the community and pitching your objectives to potential investors and donors. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you rely on fundraisers you can trust. It’s necessary to make sure that your training process is tight and precise, communicating clearly to everyone in your organization what your objectives are, setting clear guidelines, and ensuring that every action they take complies with the law.

Nurturing Your Donors

It’s important to remember that while you may be creating the infrastructure for your charitable group and determining how your funds are allocated, you can’t do any good without the assistance of your donors. You want to ensure that your staff act grateful for any donation received regardless of its size and respectful of any restrictions placed on gifts. Similarly, you want to make sure that the policies you have in place for your donations and allocations are transparent. The clearer you are about where donations are going and the more readily available that information is, the less you’ll have to worry about potential donors being hesitant about contributing to your organization.

Putting Ethics Front and Center

It can be hard for one hand to know what the other is doing, and that becomes even more magnified the more extensive your organization grows. Without a code of ethics in place, your fundraisers might not know how to address potential ethical dilemmas in the field. But codifying the rules provide them with hard criteria they can use regardless of the situations that arise. The Code of Ethical Standards from the Association of Fundraising Professionals is a great place to start, but you may have to make adjustments suited to the particulars of your charitable group.

What is Venture Philanthropy?

Philanthropy is a broad field covering an array of topics in an even greater pool of categories. To further complicate the matter, new philanthropic trends have resulted in specific branches where there previously were none. These delineations tend to go beyond writing anonymous checks to whichever organization requests funding and expand into a realm where donors expect proof that their contribution will help to solve relevant issues. Examples include angel philanthropy, impact philanthropy, enterprise philanthropy, and catalytic philanthropy.

Each of the above examples works to accomplish a particular goal in a strategic manner.  Venture philanthropy is the term used to describe the targeted nature of philanthropic branches. Charitable avenues that fall under the venture philanthropy category are required to have more purpose and should be driven by responsibility and results.  Not all venture philanthropy efforts are the same, but most of them encompass the following identifying characteristics.

Strategic Framing – a calculated way of allocating assets like grants or investments so that they stand the best chance of making the most impact on an entire system.

Scales of Intervention – a process that requires organizations to focus on entire sectors or systems as opposed to solitary projects or individualized efforts.

Sector Focuses – several branches of philanthropy incorporate sector focuses. Venture philanthropy tends to overlap focuses and incorporate multiple social levels including government, markets, and civil society.

Blended Funding Mechanisms – A strategic mix of grants and investments that varies by cause but is dictated by the theory of change.

Extended Interactions – a direct, hands-on approach to engagement both with and among grantees.

Long Engagement Periods  – lengthened campaign timelines that account for the amount of time it takes to change an entire system as opposed to a single aspect of said system.

Impact Measurement – continuous monitoring of progress and its effect on the overall impact on the final goal, with the ability to adapt should an effort be proven unworthy.

Branches of venture philanthropy are also said to operate within a culture that better reflects their goals. They are more experimental and innovative, and foster capabilities that demonstrate this culture.

The concept of venture philanthropy is still evolving and with it so are the industry practices. In order for the field to succeed, participants will need to embrace the transparency that younger generations have grown to expect from all of the organizations they encounter.  As consumers gather additional information about the exact impact of their philanthropic efforts, we can expect that they will vocalize opinions on best practices thus shifting the paradigms and forcing a more concrete definition of the field.

This article was originally posted on http://matthewgorelik.info

Understanding Rage Giving

Rage donations are just how they sound. As individuals find themselves up in arms over current events, local issues or politics, they are also fueled by a strong desire to give to whichever missions share their same values. While all donations stand to benefit charitable organizations, nonprofits need to make sure they are prepared for this new trend in giving because this is a different demographic.

Most average donations are fueled by an emotional response to a story, but rage donations are primarily fueled by anger. While it is beneficial for these organizations to receive donations, when anger is involved, nonprofits need to be careful about what story is being told and how donations are being spent.

While rage donations are initially inspired by negativity, these gifts can be welcomed with positivity when organizations focus on what actions to take. Organizations should use the following strategies to create an action plan in the event of rage donations: staff should be trained on what to say when talking to partners and donors, as well as when responding to posts on social media. In order to properly prepare for the attention that rage donation brings along, it’s important that an organization reinforces their protocols on speaking with the media.

Another problem is that far too many organizations fail to update their website, ultimately making it difficult for would-be donors to find out more information about these nonprofits. By keeping their websites updated, these charitable organizations will be ready in the event of a rage donation frenzy. During the firestorm that typically accompanies rage giving, most donors will ask the same questions repeatedly. By having this information readily available on an FAQ page, organizations will be able to streamline the donation process.

Taking advantage of rage donations requires team members of a nonprofit to know how to ask for donations. By detailing what exactly an organization needs, staff members will be able to help donors make an informed decision. There are websites such as RageDonate.com that have done research and compiled various groups to then let people decide which charities they want to help.

Rage giving may be a trend that was originally born out of anger, but it can evolve into an act of giving that can seriously benefit organizations and nonprofits that need it the most. Founders of nonprofits and charities should keep these strategies in mind to make sure they are prepared for this new wave of charitable giving.

This article was originally posted on http://matthewgorelik.info