Multiple Funding Philosophies

February 29, 2008

As I’ve started to ask how can we fundraise differently I’ve found many different ideas and strategies that organizations are using. As we think about how to do what we do better I thought it might help for you to hear a few ideas.

Person-to-Person Fundraising: Peter Diaz runs a website called Social Actions that exists to help individuals and organizations with peer-to-peer fundraising. I watched a video by him when I first started blogging that I wanted to share. In many ways the internet has made the world a smaller place. His idea is for individuals to create, “blogs and essentially establish themselves as the guide to a specific issue.” This is an interesting idea because it in some ways could replace the community foundation. Donors could essentially be sponsoring an individual to give the money you give them away toward a specific cause or issue.

Friendraising: Advanced Solutions International is taking peer-to-peer fundraising to new levels. They are doing a lot of thinking about how to cultivate and grow a connection to online donors.

Transformational Giving: The Mission Increase Foundation is pioneering this idea. Eric Foley describes transformational giving as, “giving that arises from a transfer of ownership from ministry [or non-profit] to donor—a transfer of vision, responsibility, and equipping.” This is a whole new way of looking at the donor as a partner instead of simply as a donor. Using this model a non-profit can distribute their message out a lot faster and with more ownership.

Many of the above ideas involve person-to-person fundraising or using social networking to connect directly with new donors. Have you have heard of any ideas or had an experience working with any of them? Do you have any new theories or ideas of your own? If you ever have a topic or a question that you want to read about or me to look into please let me know.


Giving Carnival: Motivation

February 25, 2008

This Month’s Giving Carnival is about what motivates giving? Why do donors give money away? You can see my thoughts in my posting, What Motivates Giving. We have a number of wonderful articles from bloggers on this topic this month so make sure to check out their site and possibly leave a comment.

Some other great articles about giving: Seeking Grant Money Today’s, What Motiviates Giving?; Donor Power Blog’s, How to have Kiva’s problem; Nonprofit Leadership Innovation and Change’s, What Motivates Giving?; Dollar Philanthropy’s, Excitement in the Inbox; Look to the Stars’, Editorial: What Motivates Giving? Thanks for reading. If you want to be on a list to receive updates about the next Giving Carnival send me an email at and I will add you to the list.


February 22, 2008

The (Red) Campaign is evidence of something even bigger going on here than just cause marketing. If our shopping in even a subtle tiny way can begin to make a difference, it makes me ask, “What else can?” I think that we are being provided the opportunity to look at fundraising and giving/donating as a lifestyle. The products we purchase the places we go can affect the world around us in a profound way.

One thing that (Red) has shown us is that businesses can do social good. I’ve been reading Bill Clinton’s book, Giving, and he has a chapter discussing this very issue.

“There are enormous opportunities for businesses to increase profits, and for NGOs to make contributors’ money go further, by organizing and enlarging [public good] markets.”- Bill Clinton, Giving

When businesses see a direct benefit to social good they start mass-producing this social good to a wider audience than the non-profit world has the ability to do. Look at the work that World of Good is doing. They have set up two organizations one that is non-profit and one that is for-profit. The non-profit organization sets up standards that any business can use to enact social good. The for-profit organization acts out those standards in a profit-making environment. They currently have a partnership with eBay setting up a community to highlight social good business ventures.

My point is that we live in a different world today where non-profits are having an impact in business. The (Red) Campaign in some ways is the forerunner of what I think the consumer world is going to demand more of. Already consumers tend to favor a product that is connected to benefiting a charity or cause in some way. As businesses continue to see this trend it could force them to take a real look at how they are giving. I think there is a real opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors based on how they run their foundations and charitable giving.

(Red) Wrong or Right

February 20, 2008

Have you heard of the (Red) Campaign? You have probably seen them partnering with huge organizations like GAP, American Express & Motorola. Basically the way the campaign works is you buy a (Red) product and they donate a percentage of that sale to the (Red) Campaign. They have received some negative press recently and I wanted to hear from you what your take on it is. For more details read:
The February 6, New York Times article
Joe Waters’, Selfish Giving, recent post
Susan Hyatt’s The Business Coach, Posting 1, 2, 3

One argument is that these organizations are spending more money marketing these products than they are giving money to Africa. Many say that shopping as a response to human suffering is disrespectful. Businesses need to be careful about how and why they get involved in cause marketing. I agree many businesses could do a lot more than they already are and that more money could be given than already is. It is important that businesses are transparent about how much they are actually giving.

Cause marketing is about more than just financial donation it is about raising awareness. The amount of air time, publicity, and recognition that (Red) has received is invaluable for The Global Fund. If no money was ever donated many charities will spend millions of dollars to receive the community recognition that (Red) has provided. Is shopping for a (Red) product disrespectful? If buying a (Red) product is all that you do and you think you are making a radical difference, maybe.

Ben Davis has started a movement called Buy (Less) CRAP and his idea is that instead of buying a computer to benefit Africa you should give directly to the non-profit and then all the money goes to the charity instead of just a percentage. Great idea, if we want to make a difference in our giving lets give to the source. However, we need computers, we need shirts, we need credit cards. Why not make a difference when I’m purchasing an every day product that I need in addition to my other giving.

Why did this issue make people so mad? I think that there is a larger question here. The problems in the world are bigger than our answers and often times we have a feeling of guilt that comes with our inability to save a life or make a difference. I’d love to talk to you more about the response I’ve found—send me an email and we can chat offline.

Org of the Month: SEDA

February 18, 2008

Org of the Month is an opportunity to highlight some of the amazing things that organizations like yours are doing globally (I want to sign-up).

Social & Economic Development Association (SEDA)

What is your non-profit about? And what areas do you serve?SEDA-Laos is working to bring social and economic development to the people of rural Laos. We are a non-profit, non-government, Laos-based organization, dedicated to providing a long-term and sustainable solution to poverty in Laos.Based in the capital city of Vientiane but serving outlying rural communities, SEDA is currently operating several projects aimed at upgrading schools and medical training facilities, increasing HIV/AIDS education and prevention outreach, developing eco-friendly agriculture and plantation skills, as well as an understanding of sustainable business so the people of Laos can earn a stable income for their families.What major fundraising programs do you have?SEDA is still small, so at this stage we have no major fundraising programs. We have recently started collaborating with Global Giving and intend to expand our online fundraising presence. We are currently looking for support and partnership from any organizations, individuals or companies who would be interested in helping SEDA.What sector do you raise money for and how is that different from raising money in another sector?SEDA is raising money for agriculture development, health (HIV/AIDS) and education in Laos PDR. However, in these sectors there is lot of competition for available funds which means never ending grant applications and fund sourcing. Also, SEDA has to look all over the world for funding, rather than just in its own community.What geographic area does your charity serve and where is it located?Over the next seven years, SEDA will focus on remote rural communities in Vientiane Province and southern Laos. For phase two, the projects will extend to central and northern Laos. For those who don’t know, Laos is a small South-East Asian country nestled between Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and China.

Any tips on how to approach donors in your area?In Laos, finding local donors has been the single biggest obstacle for SEDA. Local businesses do not understand how they can really help, or why, and INGOs operating in Laos have their own projects and are not willing to donate to small local projects. Met with this kind of response, the director of SEDA recently spent eight months in America raising awareness about the organization. For many of those months, it was difficult to get the word out and be recognized. But over time, people began to recognize SEDA as an organization. It took a lot of contacts, networking and persistence, but now the profile of SEDA has been raised considerably and the future looks brighter.Any pointers on organizations in your area that help non-profit professionals?Get in touch with big international bodies that can help in a professional manner, such as sectors of the UN, ASEAN and others, and stay in touch with them through updates about your charity or NGO. These organizations often provide conferences, training workshops and impart valuable knowledge that you can pass onto your team.For more information about SEDA, please visit our website:

What Motivates Giving?

February 13, 2008

Why do donors give money?  What makes their gifts increase?  Donors give for a wide variety of reasons.  Some give because they are passionate about a cause or an issue, others give because they want to do good in their community, many because they feel like they should, some give because they were taught, others because they believe they should, and some out of self interest.

First time giving.  Many things draw a donor to give a gift for the first time.  Sometimes it is a new campaign that is specific to their interests, they came into new money, or a friend personally asked them.  Getting someone in the door for many non-profits is the hardest part.  The first gift will come either out of a compassion for the cause or because they have found a new connection to it.  What have you found motivates a first time gift?

Renewed giving.  Donor loyalty is all about relationship and interest.  Gifts will continue to come if donors are properly stewarded and solicited (with exceptions of course).  Make sure that your donors are a part of a regular program, that you are bringing them into tour the facility, talking with them about the organization, and sending them newsletters and such.  If you take time to build the relationship a donor will usually keep giving and sometimes upgrade their gift.

Upgrading giving.  This is the area everyone always wants to talk about, but this conversation cannot begin if you do not know how to renew a donor.  You need to have a regular cultivation processes in place to even begin to talk about upgrading your donors. It is something like three times as expensive to secure a new donor than it is to keep an existing one.

What is it that motivates a larger gift is it volunteerism, relationship, solicitation, donor research?  What do you think?  I think that donors upgrade their gift based on an understanding that the organization needs it and can use it better than it was used before.  This looks like explaining what a larger gift means in terms of persons helped, in terms of new services provided or old services improved.  Donors want to know that the upgraded gift is actually making a difference to improve the organization.  When a donor is already invested in your organization you can no longer use compassion as an appeal for more money.  You need to know that your volunteers, monthly donors, long-term major givers already have a strong compassion for your cause.  These people want to know what more of their money will mean for the non-profit.

Starting a Cause Marketing Program

February 11, 2008

Cause marketing is all the rage now days. I have heard many organizations talk about how they are doing or want to do cause marketing. But what is it and how can you do it at your non-profit? Fortunately for us in the non-profit world we have Joe at Selfish Giving. He is an expert in cause marketing and he as offered to help us out and get us started.

What is cause marketing?

Cause marketing is a partnership between a for-profit and a non-profit for mutual profit. When I say “mutual profit” I mean two things: visibility and money. Both parties are trying to enhance their brands and generate revenue from the relationship. –Selfish Giving

How does it work? At the organization I’m a part of we have been doing cause marketing & marketing partnerships formally for about a year. We have had some little success and some medium size ones. I wrote Joe and he provided me with some great ideas I wanted to share with you as to how you can grow or build your existing program.

  1. Create partnerships with businesses that directly benefit from the work your organization does.
  2. Use your existing partnerships to create new marketing relationships and to branch off to working with other businesses in the same industry.
  3. Approach some local organizations and pitch an idea to their senior management.

Joe has created some great cause marketing tips to get you started check out his blog:

Have a few more questions? Feel free to ask Joe a question, visit Selfish Giving and post a comment. Go ahead and talk with some local businesses and get a program started. Let me know how it is going or post a comment about a marketing partnership you have at your organization right now. Some places to start could be your local grocery store, bank, or bookstores. Many of those organizations have existing programs to help out their local community.