Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Strategic Giving in a Down Economy

Today I twittered about strategic giving opportunities that can make an impact in a down-economy. Arabella Advisors – a company which focuses on strategy, insight & analysis to help clients reach their philanthropic goals – produced a report today focused on 7 urgent & under-funded issues in which donors can make a high-impact difference:

1/ POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT (encourage lasting political participation with the Millennial generation)

2/ GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS (Help by improving agricultural productivity, supporting local & women farmers and increasing awareness of agricultural policies in developed countries)

3/ CLIMATE CHANGE (fund green and cutting-edge technological innovations)

4/ CONFLICT RESOLUTION (don’t overlook youth, who have the greatest opportunity to reduce conflict in the future. Consider funding kids programs)

5/ DISASTER RELIEF (Hundreds of millions of people from more than 100 countries each year don’t get enough long-term support after a disaster)

6/ ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (contributions that impact students & community colleges will have an important impact on the local economy)

7/ GLOBAL HEALTH (Some of the most prevalent diseases are highly treatable at a very low cost. Drive awareness to these neglected diseases and help save 1B of the world’s poorest people who are needlessly suffering).

KooDooZ was founded with the purpose of exposing more families to important causes and bring greater awareness to the non-profits and brands that are actively working in the space to make a change for a social good. I am personally welcoming any and all stories of engagement in this capacity and would like to promote said organizations and the leaders at their helm.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Giving Thanks/Back

By Christine Guardia

Now that Halloween is over, we start to turn our focus to the upcoming holiday season. I believe taking time to reflect upon what we are thankful for in our lives is important during this time of year. For example, we recently voted in an election with a black candidate for president and a female candidate for vice president. So I suggest we all take a few minutes this holiday season to focus less on the gifts we are receiving (or not receiving) and focus more on the gifts we already have, such as our family, friends and freedom.

I recently toured
A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City presented by Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization. A nurse practitioner, who has worked in refugee camps in Africa, led me through the camp, explaining how refugees often travel long distances to camps, have to wait for rations of water and food, are susceptible to contagious diseases and traumatic stress, and sometimes spend years in camps. The organization employs over 25,000 employees around the world and relies almost entirely on support from individuals, foundations and corporations.

During these difficult economic times, supporting nonprofits is more important because the need for their services often increases during economic downturns. I realize that many people may not be able to donate as much this year, but there are other ways you can help, such as through your purchasing power. As U2’s Bono said at the Starbucks meeting announcing the company is joining the
(PRODUCT)RED campaign, “This is not charity; this is commerce.” (Andrea James, Seattle PI, 10/29/08) Every time you go to the supermarket, to the mall or online to purchase something, you have choices because of cause-marketing pioneers, including Newman’s Own, American Express and Ben & Jerry’s. The recent PR Week/Barkley Cause Survey found that 66% of the moms surveyed have purchased a product because it was related to a cause. For example, Whole Foods Markets are selling Aquamantra I AM GRATEFUL enhanced water this month and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Nourish America.

In addition to purchasing power, we have the power of web 2.0 to change the world. A new book,
CauseWired by Tom Watson, chronicles the emergence of online activism and philanthropy, such as Causes within Facebook and Kiva, which allows users to micro-finance entrepreneurs in developing countries. Philanthropy is not limited to the Rockefellers, Gateses or Buffetts; we can all have an impact and it does not have to be by writing a large check – it can be by adding a cause badge to your social networking profile, buying an item affiliated with a cause or volunteering at a local nonprofit (you can find volunteering opportunities in your community via volunteermatch).

So please take a few moments this holiday season to think about what you are thankful for and how you can give back, including:

  • Purchasing products associated with causes
  • Raising awareness of causes
  • Volunteering