In Foundations

Micronews on philanthropy.

Google.org To Refocus Philanthropy

From The Wall Street Journal blogs:

Larry Brilliant, the executive director of the Google non-profit arm Google.org is stepping aside, as the company said it would narrow the scope of its philanthropic efforts.

In a blog post, Brilliant said that Google has decided to focus on projects that “make the most of Google’s strengths in technology and innovation.” He cited an existing project that uses Google’s aggregated search data to track flu activity and another designed to help produce cheaper electricity as examples. . . .

Megan Smith, Google’s vice president of new business development, will [take on] day-to-day management of Google.org.

Smith will immediately focus on “aligning Google.org more closely with Google has a whole,” wrote Billiant, noting that Google would start by putting more engineers and technical talent on philanthropic problems.

Full article here.

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Filed under: careers, technology

Guide For Malaria Philanthropists Available

New from the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at University of Pennsylvania:

Lifting the Burden of Malaria: An Investment Guide for Impact-Driven Philanthropy

Every 30 seconds a young child dies of malaria. Each of those deaths, however, is avoidable. With an arsenal of cost-effective tools, a consensus strategy, and global partners from all sectors, philanthropists now have an opportunity to help save millions of lives and break the cycle of sickness and poverty from malaria. Your challenge is to figure out how you can best leverage the current momentum against this devastating disease.

Lifting the Burden of Malaria: An Investment Guide for Impact-Driven Philanthropy was written for philanthropists who are interested in going beyond charity by searching for opportunities to maximize the impact of their philanthropic dollars. Our multidisciplinary team synthesized data on effective malaria control strategies, considered funding trends and nonprofit performance data, and interviewed malaria specialists and public health practitioners to help you get to smarter decisions faster. In the guide, the Center provides recommended strategies to address critical unmet needs, in-depth case examples linking cost and impact, and practical advice on evaluating potential investments and assessing post-donation impact.

Full information here.

Filed under: health

Strategist: Most E-Newsletters Immediately Deleted

From Trista Harris at New Voices Of Philanthropy:

Obama’s digital strategist (I love his title) has recently said in an interview that nonprofit e-newsletters are a waste of time. I know you are probably thinking, “they can’t be a waste of time, I just spent six hours writing our e-newsletter and it is a great way to connect with our donors.” As a personal donor and as an foundation representative, I can honestly say that most e-newsletter immediately get deleted. I don’t have time to read the 7-10 that are in my in-box everytime I open it and I don’t feel like they make me feel closer to the organization because I read their 3 short articles about their mission. . . .

[S]tep away from the constant contact website and think about how you can authentically connect with your supporters.

Full article here and source article here.

Filed under: technology

Telephone Fundraisers Take Increasing Cuts

From the Sacramento Bee:

More than a third of California charity telemarketing campaigns sent less than 20 cents on the dollar to the charities during 2007, the most recent year on record. Those campaigns and a smaller number of charity auctions and concerts raised $93 million for commercial fundraisers, and just $3 million for the charities.

In 76 of those campaigns, California charities got no money at all.

Local charities ranging from California Professional Firefighters to Friends of the River were involved in low-return campaigns. But, far from being shocked by the returns, officials at several say they were prepared to eat the losses in hopes of expanding their ranks of future donors.

Full article here.

Filed under: fundraising

Obama Online Guru: Don’t Get Bamboozled By Technology

From The Guardian (UK):

“People have been bamboozled with the technology for too long,” [Barack Obama online fundraising guru Thomas Gensemer] says. “The real questions are, ‘What are your goals, and how can you use technology to achieve them?’ . . .”

[He] wants to demystify online campaigning, and his message is straightforward. “Organisations can build very quickly, if they do the messaging right. They need to be able to answer the question, ‘What can someone do for me today?’ But a lot of these organisations, political and cause-related, aren’t really used to that question. What can they do? ‘Well, they can give me money. That’s what we do. I’m a charity.’ But they need to deepen it. You need first to answer the question of what the money goes for.”

Full article here.

Via @cafedumonde.

Filed under: technology

Firm: Pursue For-Profit Philanthropy

From TriplePundit:

Q: Why do you think it’s important for companies to adopt philanthropy as part of their revenue model?

A: It’s short-sighted to only work with profit-focused organizations, and to only be focused on your own profit. For-profit businesses, especially publicly traded businesses, have a single focus: the bottom line. In fact, that is a fiscal responsibility inherent in public corporations. . . .

Full article here.

Filed under: companies

Connecting Online Play To Philanthropy

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Like dozens of other online virtual worlds for kids, Elf Island offers games; earned points to accessorize users’ customized elfin avatars (complete with hair, clothing and facial features); and the ability to safely chat with players from around the globe.

But Elf Island players also solve mazes, tend to virtual gardens and race vehicles in diversions that might look like other online games but also achieve a real-life result when thousands of players successfully finish them.

For example, when 10,000 Elf Island users completed last month’s home-building GoodQuest game, the outcome was a $20,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity that allowed the nonprofit group to build a real house for a family in Central America.

Full article here.

Filed under: giving, innovation, youth

Arts Organizations Face Challenges

From the Associated Press:

The Connecticut Opera has gone out of business after 67 seasons, the latest arts group to fall victim to the economic downturn and sagging charitable donations. . . .

Orchestras, ballets and opera companies across the country are facing huge deficits. The Los Angeles Opera is laying off 17 people, cutting salaries and will stage fewer performances this year. The Miami City Ballet is cutting eight dancers. The Baltimore Opera has declared bankruptcy.

The nation’s premier opera company, the Metropolitan Opera, this week dropped four productions from the 2009-10 season and slashed salaries because of the economy. The Opera Orchestra of New York also canceled its two remaining performances this season because of the recession.

The nonprofit group Americans for the Arts estimates 10,000 arts organizations could disappear in 2009.

Full article here.

Via @Philanthropy.

Filed under: arts, economy

CNN: Worse To Come?

From CNN:

For some, the downturn may not have hit yet. The Salvation Army, the nation’s second-largest charity, does not yet have projections for the year, but last year’s Christmas Internet donations were up more than 25%, from $7.9 million to $10.1 million, said Melissa Temme, the organization’s public relations director.

“More people are giving, but the size of the donation is going down,” she said, noting that the average donation dropped from $225 in 2007 to $190 last year.

Still, more than 93% of fundraisers said the economy is affecting their jobs negatively, “including 28.5% who reported a very negative impact,” said Una Osili, interim director of research at the Center on Philanthropy, in a news release. “However, just over 21% of those surveyed expect the economic impact to be positive six months from now.”

Full article here.

Filed under: economy

Cohen: Scan Of Nonprofit Recommendations To Obama

From The Cohen Report:

During Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, his staff generated a series of specific proposals (contained in Helping All Americans Serve Their Country, aimed at building, supporting, mobilizing the nonprofit sector as an instrument of change and progress consistent with his overall policy platform.  This memorandum describes what nonprofit sector organizations have done to generate specific policy recommendations addressing, building on, or challenging the Obama/Biden platform (also contained in part in Blueprint for Change). Although some events are moving quickly with the new administration, it has been focused by necessity on generating an economic stimulus initiative.  The Obama Administration is less than a month old, its most significant nonprofit-specific appointments not yet formally announced, and the policy recommendations floated by nonprofit leadership organizations still have currency.  At this point, the question is not what has the Obama Administration done, much less set in stone, regarding nonprofit policy in its first month in office, but what messages and priorities are being conveyed by the nonprofit sector for the Obama appointees’ consumption and action.

Full article here.

Filed under: nonprofits