Nonprofit leaders are accustomed to justifying their need for operating support in appeals to potential donors. In a “proposal letter” written in June 1788, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart makes his case to benefactor Johann Michael Von Puchberg: “If you will do me this kindness, I shall primo (being thus provided) be able to make necessary payments when they are due and therefore more easily, whereas I now continually delay and must then often pay out at once all I have received, and that at the most inconvenient moment. Secondo, I shall be able to work with an easier mind and a lighter heart, and thus earn more.”
In 2012 there were further signs that the once staid tradition of employees taking part in annual workplace giving campaigns has been upended by digital technology, younger workers with new ideas, and the need for more engagement between employers and employees. Those are the preliminary findings from America’s Charities 2012 Snapshot: Trends and Strategies to Engage Employees in Greater Giving, its third report since 2000 about the $3 billion employees donate on the job each year to nonprofits.
At next month’s Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference, consultant Nathan James and I are hosting a session, “Is Family Philanthropy Ready for Adventures in New Giving?” We’ll be discussing potential intersections between family philanthropy and the new wave of giving tools enabled by technology and fueled by problem-solving approaches of millenials, entrepreneurs, and everyday citizens. These pathways for generosity include (but aren’t limited to):
The Northern Virginia region includes Loudoun County, a traditionally rural area that has seen drastic suburbanization and growth in the past two decades. The shift in its focus and population caused those of us at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia to ask an age-old question: How do we engage donors in this area to support efforts that strengthen their own community?
What business does a community foundation have hawking for-profit deals to its donors and other community members? How does it improve the quality of life in their community? How does it promote the spirit and practice of philanthropy and service? Well it turns out, some community foundations think that it has plenty of relevance to both goals.
Let me introduce myself: I’m a young leader and a passionate advocate for social justice. I’m well into my second year as executive director of Social Justice Fund, a regional progressive public foundation. I’m an innovator. Since starting my role, I have implemented a new model of grassroots fundraising, leadership development, and grantmaking, resulting in significantly increased volunteer and donor engagement, interest in replication from around the country, and more than 60 percent revenue growth. I’ve spent time in the streets as a grassroots activist as well as the board room in the corporate sector. I believe that those of us with privilege-race, class, gender, sexuality-have a responsibility to work for equality and name injustice when we see it. I have seen the power of funding to transform society, but I’m deeply skeptical about institutional philanthropy.
I didn’t go to “Foundations on the Hill” (FOTH) but was there in spirit through the data and stories collected by FSG and CF Insights. On March 21-22 representatives of organized philanthropy gathered in Washington, D.C., for two days of face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and their staff.
Ask anyone to name the greatest philanthropists of all time – Jewish or otherwise – and they will invariably identify people known for giving away huge sums of money. From Rockefeller to Rothschild, from Buffet to Blaustein, from Morgan to Montefiore, most of us have come to equate philanthropy with the charitable contributions of people of immense wealth.
On January 9th, Wall Street Journal blogger Veronica Dagher posted an article highlighting the opportunity for philanthropic donors with Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) to create a “double bottom line.” Dagher points out that donors at large national funds, such as Schwab, are increasingly looking not only to create social impact by spending their money in the social sector, but also by investing their money to create a positive impact through impact investing. Like Dagher, we see this as a promising trend, however, we have noticed that large national providers are not the only organizations providing donors with the opportunity to make impact investments. Some community foundations are also excited by this trend and provide donors with opportunities to invest their DAF dollars to create positive social impact while still earning a return on their investment.
A report underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has found that this donor is younger and more likely to be African-American or Latino than traditional donors. Moreover, new donors often use their mobile phones to make contributions through text messaging that is inspired by moving and sometimes distressing stories about people in crisis.