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Sunny Outlook for Nonprofits in 2009

Tomorrow’s Forcast is cloudy with a 95% chance of economic crisis and unemployment moving in by late afternoon.  Are predictions dark and gloomy for nonprofits or will the sun poke its rays through the gloom?sun062clipart

2009 may be shaping up to be the perfect time for people to give to their favorite cause.  While money is in short supply, the stock market is proving to be a fatal investment option, and businesses are laying-off employees, nonprofit organizations are proving their ability to weather the storm. 

Baby boomer and Huffington Post retirement expert Mark Miller wrote last month, “The business world is crumbling all around us, but non-profits have been growing faster than either the business or government sector–and they’re facing a shortage of talent. Best of all, the non-profit sector is gradually waking up to the potential of encore career switchers–people who want to move into new lines of work with meaning in the second half of life.”

Not only are nonprofits recruiting young talent, the outlook for giving might not be as stormy as predicted.  In a survey conducted by Dini Partners, 34 individual major donors, 14 foundations, and 6 philantrhipic corporations were surveyed about their giving to nonprofits in 2009. 

  • 64% indicate they will be motivated by the existing relationship with the paritcular institution
  • 33% responded that their giving will focus soley on programs that help the poor and those in need
  • 50% said that they will limit their giving to fewer projects 

When asked what single factor will have the greatest wieght in their giving decisions in 2009, the  majority again confirmed that an existing relationship with the agency or institution will be of singular importance.  The second and third factors respectively  include the economic or social need of the asking agency or institution and the vision of the agency. 

The money hasn’t dried-up or blown away – nonprofits will just need to spend a little more time developing relationships with donors and supporters.  34% said their giving will be the same as 2008 giving and 5% said their giving will increase.  At least that’s partly sunny…

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Got Girl Power? Ashley Qualls, Whateverlife.com's 17 year-ol CEO does.

ashleyAt 14 years old, Ashley Qualls created a site to show-off her design work. “I was the dorky girl who was into HTML,” she said in an interview with Fast Company magaine. It attracted zero interest beyond her circle of friends until she figured out how to customize MySpace pages. So many classmates asked her to design theirs that she began posting layouts on her site daily, several at first, then dozens.  The site now recieves 531.1K visitors a month and is making almost $200 a day in adds revenue.

Although Ashley was flattered to be offered $1.5 million and a car of her choice–as long as the price tag wasn’t more than $100,000–she responded, in effect, Whatever. :) “I don’t even have my license yet,” I’m doing what everyone says they want to do, “live like there’s no tomorrow.” –Ashley in her blog, “The Daily Life of a Simple Kind of Gal,” July 1, 2006; 2:43 a.m

“Because Creative Doesn’t Take the Day Off”, Whateverlife.com provides MySpace page designs and attracts a few hundred thousand girls a day. Ashley started the website with $8 and now at age 19, her site grosses more than $1 million a year.  The amazing part is…the website is just downright ugly.  Flashing animation, glittering colors, and a navagation system that will make your head spin.  But hey, Forbes Magazine, Fast Money, and the advertisers beating down Ashley’s virtual door don’t seem to mind. Advertisers are practically drooling over the possibility of reaching a target market demographic of preteen girls who shop at Hollister and read Cosmo magazine.

Whateverlife.com baffles the norms.  A young girl from a working class family graces the pages of the top Entrepreneurial publications in the US with an idea to reach an unmet demand.    A headache of a website with 7 million visitors a year.  Who would have thought?  I wish I would have…


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Reid Hoffman – LinkedIn to Kiva's Mission

Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman

Google “Reid Hoffman” and you might be surprised to discover that not only is he the CEO and founder of LinkedIn, but he is on the Board of Directors for Kiva.org.

Not surprisingly, Hoffman was named as one of the “Top 50 People Who Matter” by CNN Money.  It’s not his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his graduate degree from Oxford, or his Board level position at Mozilla, Facebook, Technorati, and Six Apart that matters the most however.(though a resume like that is sure to weather even the worst economic downturn!) To exactly 449 people across the world, Reid Hoffman is an answer to prayer – empowering them with a small loan to lift themselves and their family out of poverty.

 	Fazil Khuseinov

Fazil Khuseinov

One of Hoffman’s first loans was to a man named Fazil Khuseinov from Baku, Azerbaijan.  Fazil is a Displaced Person from the occupied Agdam district of Azerbaijan. He fled to Baku in 1993. He is married, and has two children. He started his business in 2001.  On April 26, 2007, Hoffman loaned Fazil $1,200 (through Kiva) to expand his textile business.  The 12-month loan has been repaid in full, and since then, Hoffman’s generosity has been recycled time and time again.

Reid Hoffman loans because, We should approach the future with hope and optimism. Entrepreneurship helps build our future. Help good people; it improves the world.”

Why do you loan? check out www.kiva.org

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E-enabled Micro-philanthropy Adds Up In a Big Way

Please select the best answer for the following question. What pattern in fundraising is adding up to the biggest gains for philanthropic organizations?
a) Big donors contributing $1K or more
b) E-enabled micro-philanthropy,
c) Robin Hood and his band of Merry Mengive

The correct answer is b. E-enabled micro-philanthropy is a technical term  that simply means online giving by many people in small amounts.  For example, the Obama campaign raised 150 million last September, but the average contribution amount was $86 according to Obama aid, Dan Pfeiffer.

One way that e-enabled micro-philanthropy is conducted is through person-to-person fundraising. “Person-to-person fundraising” refers to the social media tools that permit individuals to raise money on behalf of nonprofits, independent projects or specific outcomes. Some examples of this include:

1) fundraising pages – FirstGiving

2) fundraising widgets – ChipIn or SixDegrees

3) fundraising applications for social networks – Causes or Change.org on Facebook

After the NonProfit Technology Conference in New Orleans, there has been debate as to whether peer-to-peer fundraising is dead or not.  Much of this dissension is due to the failure of fundraising applications for social networks, namely the Causes application on Facebook.  Its not all bad news though, and the numbers are adding up for those organizations that choose to use the e-enabled micro-philanthropy.  According to ePhilanthropy Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonprofit research and education organization, online giving has increased to more than $4.5 billion in 2005 from $250 million in 2000.   Since 2003 the charitable flow in Great Britain, due to JustGiving’s online donation site, has increased from approximately £2 million to an expected level of over £70 million in 2006.

In response to a blog entitled “A Fortelling of the Birth of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising”, a woman named Stacey Monk tells a story that demonstrates that e-enabled micro-philanthropy is adding up in a big way.

“I too have read of the supposed demise of peer-to-peer fundraising and, from where I sit, it couldn’t be more clear: e-enabled micro-philanthropy works. So far, fundraising primarily through online tools has enabled Epic Change, my very new organization, to raise nearly $40,000. While we’ve had about five “outlier” gifts over $1K from founders and ardent supporters, we’ve also had over 350 individuals from various economic backgrounds “pitch in” smaller contributions. During America’s Giving Challenge, for example, our average gift was $25.34.”

Online giving has made its mark.  Is micro-philanthropy changing the rules of fundraising once again?

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A Second Look at Twitter and StumbleUpon's Benefits

Don’t dismiss these tools too soon!  Tech Savvy leaders in the business world are maximizing Twitter and StumbleUpon to enhance their businesses and get-head. Here are a few ways that you can benefit from using these internet applications.

TWITTER

Twitter is the “water-cooler” of the internet.  The social networking tool connects individuals that may feel isolated behind a computer screen both professionally and personally.  Tech Savvy leaders are using Twitter to:

  • network with other professionals or experts in their field
  • make little connections that may lead to big leads (called networking in the business world)
  • spread the word – ReTweet allows a message to be spread to millions of users in a relatively short amount of time

StumbleUpon

The best leaders don’t always have all the greatest ideas, but they certainly know where to find them.  StumbleUpon is definitely a tool that they great leaders are turning to more often.  StumbleUpon is a…

  • good way to reward people for content on their site (give the site a thumbs-up if you like it!)
  • creative way to find solutions for unique problems
  • helpful resource tool for SEO (search engine optimization)  – find sites to link to or from
  • encourager of best practices for conversion (on websites).  StumbleUpon directs people to a site, but only the best sites will keep a user there and encourage them to take the desired action.

There are many other benefits to these internet tools.  Try picking one today and seeing how it may revolutionize your business or website!

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