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News

Top Nonprofit Trends of 2019

The nonprofit sector is rapidly evolving. Charities that want to succeed in the coming year will need to stay ahead of the curve by studying the list below, which contains the top nonprofit trends of 2019.

Rejecting Tainted Money

Fundraising ethics became a central concern in 2019 amid several scandals involving high-profile donors. For example, many organizations struggled to distance themselves from philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein after he was charged with child sex trafficking crimes.

Similarly, institutions that received millions of dollars from the Sackler family attempted to cut ties after news reports surfaced of the family’s alleged role in the opioid crisis.

Focusing on Diversity

While a lot of progress has been made in regards to hiring more people of color, data collected from the 100 biggest charities shows that white men still make up the majority of chief executives.

Increasing Wages

Earlier this year, more than 2,500 museum workers disclosed their salaries in a crowdsourced spreadsheet that has since gone viral. The results showed that many of the lowest paid workers do not earn enough to keep up with the cost of living. As a result, many organizations are making it a priority to increase wages.

Mass Exodus of Fundraisers

A survey conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in conjunction with the Association of Fundraising Professionals revealed that half of fundraisers are looking to leave their jobs due to low wages, too much pressure to reach unrealistic goals, and frustrating organizational structures.

Fundraising with Artificial Intelligence

Advances in technology have made it possible for charities to more efficiently target donors. There are now artificial intelligence programs that can identify donors’ passions and make appeals to them based on their personal interests. While there is excitement regarding the benefits of this new technology, some experts worry that it will result in fewer jobs for real people.

Why do these nonprofit trends matter? Because in the end, it is the organizations that know how to navigate these changes that will thrive in 2020.

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Donation News

Metallica Raises Money for Charity in WorldWired Tour

Metallica, the 37-year-old heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, is in the middle of their WorldWired tour, a three-year tour supporting their Hardwired… to Self-Destruct album from 2016. The WorldWired tour also saw the creation of the band’s nonprofit foundation, All Within My Hands, named after a song from their 2003 album, St. Anger.

“All Within My Hands Foundation is dedicated to creating sustainable communities by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services,” the foundation’s website reads.

In this globe-spanning tour, the band has been donating some of the funds raised at each concert to local services, such as volunteer fire stations, children’s charities, and food banks. For instance, after their concert at Pennsylvania State College, they coordinated with Feeding America and with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s organization to donate $10,000. That check will provide close to 60,000 meals to the organization, which supports food banks in 27 Pennsylvania counties.

“This donation is really important going into the holiday season,” said Jennifer Sands, communications manager for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “So we’re very excited about it.”

The holiday season is often a particularly difficult time for low-income families, with winter weather causing extra expenses and leaner job opportunities.

Metallica lists five major charities they’ve supported in 2018 on their website, but a browse through their photo gallery shows many more. Since the early ’80s, they have been a band with global impact. It’s heartening to see that impact spread from the art world to good works. They have a nearly infinite platform, coupled with a far-reaching voice. Watching them build a larger table can only have a net positive effect on the world.

All Within My Hands also runs a regular fundraiser, the first Tuesday of every month, over eBay. Unique band memorabilia is auctioned off with proceeds going to help fund the foundation’s donations. The next one will take place on Tuesday, November 6.

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Advice

The Most Costly Mistake That Charities Make

As the nonprofit sector grows increasingly competitive, charities cannot afford to make too many mistakes. Unfortunately, there’s still one mistake in particular that charities are making, and it’s costing them both donors and resources.

The mistake is inundating donors with unwanted solicitations, whether that’s in the form of snail mail, e-mails, texts, or phone calls. It’s costly because it takes up time, money, and assets and in the end it only annoys donors and makes them less likely to donate in the future.

Part of the reason it’s still so commonly committed is because once upon a time, it was considered a best practice. But it is now 2017. People live busy lives. The average American is already swamped with junk mail; the last thing they need is more spam.

Do this instead: ask donors if they would like to receive newsletters and other information pertaining to the charity. Better yet, leave a checkbox on their donation form so that they don’t feel compelled to say “yes” when asked in person.

Believe it or not, there are literally thousands of people who just want to make a one-time donation… and that’s okay. It’s unrealistic to think that sending tons of mail will convert this demographic into life-long donors. If anything, it will have the reverse effect.

Not to mention, due to technology, most donors refer to an organization’s website for all the latest news and updates. Heavily invested donors can also follow the organization on social media as a way to stay current.

In the end, if the person cares enough about the charity and the cause, they will continue to donate. It is the charity’s responsibility to ask donors whether or not they would like to receive additional news or information pertaining to the organization. It’s all about respecting the wants and desires of contributors.

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Organizations Resources

The Next Time You Travel, Pack for a Purpose

pack for a purpose

It’s always interesting to learn about how a particular charitable organization got its start. For husband and wife team Rebecca and Scott Rothney, their organization Pack for a Purpose grew organically from their shared love of travel and giving back.

During their first trip to Africa, the Rothneys realized that there was plenty of extra space in their luggage, and decided to fill that space with supplies and provisions for the communities they visited from that point forward. “Since then, we and a few of our fellow travelers have made several trips to other countries in Africa and have been able to deliver an estimated 1,000 pounds in donations of clothing, school supplies and medical supplies,” explains Rebecca.

The mission of Pack for a Purpose is to “positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to bring meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit.” Essentially, Pack for a Purpose encourages those lucky enough to travel the world to give back to the places they travel to, rather than take from them for their own enjoyment. This organization fosters cultural appreciation, but also encourages participants to take on a more active role in being responsible, humanitarian-minded travelers.

pack for a purpose

“There is need everywhere in the world; however, it is sometimes difficult to identify specific needs in places far from home. We believe people fortunate enough to travel to other countries often wish they could make meaningful contributions to help meet the needs of the places they visit,” says Rebecca of the intention behind starting Pack for a Purpose. “Our goal is to assist travelers who want to expand their generosity beyond their own communities,” she explains.

Pack for a Purpose was founded in 2009, and has already earned may accolades including the 2012 Travel and Leisure Global Vision Award, and the 2014 National Geographic Travelers of the Year honor. Learn more about this fantastic organization and how to get involved by visiting www.packforapurpose.org.

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Resources

HBO Helping George R.R. Martin Raise Money for His Charities

George R. R. Martin
George R. R. Martin. IMG: Flickr via Gage Skidmore.

HBO is exercising its philanthropy bone, helping to spread the word of the latest initiative from George R.R. Martin to help support two charities near and dear to him and his wife Parris McBride. The Prizeo website now has a fundraiser running with proceeds going to support the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and the Food Depot of Santa Fe, Martin’s hometown.

The initial $200,000 goal was quickly met and the goal increased to $500,000. As of Monday, June 30th, over $441,000 of the stretch goal had been raised—and the fundraiser doesn’t even end until late July. All those who donate are entered into a chance to win an exclusive prize: a trip for two to Santa Fe, New Mexico (from anywhere in the world), to meet George, have dinner with him, and join him in a helicopter flight to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary where you’ll get a chance to meet the dire wolf pack.

If you win this grand prize, you will also have plenty of time to discuss the show, A Song of Ice and Fire, direwolves, and basically anything you have ever wanted to ask George R.R. Martin. A minimum $10 donation will get you two chances to win, with larger donations gaining up to 20 total contest entries. On top of that, there are tons of other prizes to win for various amounts of donations.

The largest set donation amount of $20,000 grants donors a choice of two options: appearing in the next book (already claimed by 2 individuals), brunch with George, or meeting GRRM at Comic Con. To see a full list of donation amounts and prizes, visit the fundraiser page.

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Profiles Resources

4 Fantastic LGBT Charities

LGBT-Charities
4 Fantastic LGBT Charities. IMG: via Shutterstock.

“All…people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.” – Harvey Milk

June marks the celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) Pride, an annual month-long observance of LGBT history, culture, and progress towards gaining equal rights. In honor of LGBT Pride, here are four incredible nonprofit organizations that work hard to provide resources, care, and support for LGBT people.

PFLAGPFLAG

Parents, Families, and Friends, of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has been serving the LGBT community and straight allies for decades. According to its mission statement, “PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.” Its history of being especially supportive of families is something that sets PFLAG apart.

National-Gay-and-Lesbian-Task-ForceNational Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Often called simply, The Task Force, this organization is committed to building the grassroots power of the LGBT community, and does so by training activists, reaching out to local and national organizations, and running campaigns that center on equality and rights for LGBTs. A forerunner of the broader social justice movement, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is one of the best resources out there for LGBT activists and allies.

HRCHuman Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is one of the leading LGBT rights organizations in the country. This nonprofit strives to end discrimination against LGBT people, and has always attracted celebrities, high profile figures, and prominent LGBT activists to stand united against social injustices. HRC focuses on advocating for the LGBT community at work, under the law, and in society at large. HRC and organizations like it have taken on a huge mission, but their work is incredibly valuable.

lambda-legalLambda Legal

Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal serves as a national civil rights organization that seeks to achieve LGBT equality through “litigation-based advocacy.” According to the organization’s mission, Lambda Legal “imagines a world without discrimination and inequality,” and “works to achieve that vision every day.” Often advising clients free of charge, the nonprofit is dedicated to earning justice, equality for the LGBT community.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of other nonprofits and charities that are committed to improving the quality of life for LGBT people in this country and abroad. What LGBT charities do you support?

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Organizations Resources

Phony Charities

Scam
IMG: via Shutterstsock

How many times have you gotten that annoying email from a “Nigerian Prince” who just has to give you millions of dollars?  If you just send him your bank account and social security number and some DNA from your first born child, the deal will be sealed.

Unfortunately, scams are everywhere.  As much as we would like to think that people are all good, honest citizens, there are plenty who will not hesitate to fool you.  In the process, they will try to take your money and even your identity.

So, how do you spot a phony charity?  There are several things to look for.  Be wary of giving out any personal information over the phone.  It’s easy for someone to call you up and impersonate a legitimate organization.  How do you know if they’re really from the Red Cross if they are on the phone?

Second, ask for credentials.  Ask for a number you can call to verify their legitimacy.  Get their website address, supervisor’s name and EIN number (a number filed with the IRS). Call the Better Business Bureau to see if they have ever had any complaints filed against them.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Avoid pushy people.  If they seem to be pressuring you to make a donation right away, run away.  What’s the rush?  Why do they need your money this instant?  That’s a red flag that something is not right.

Today’s fraudsters can look like anybody and everybody.  They may be well-spoken, well-dressed and may even claim to know your relatives.  Don’t fall for it just because they look and sound good.

Be aware that scams can take place over the phone, in the mail, via email or in person.  The perpetrators of this type of crime will make every effort to look, sound or seem real.

We’re not saying you should lose all faith in humanity.  Just be smart about your charitable giving.  Doing a little research to find out if an organization is legitimate will give you peace of mind in the long run.

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Organizations Resources

Study Reveals Most Athlete Charities Not Up To Par

lamar odom
IMG: carrie-nelson / Shutterstock.com

A recent investigation by “Outside the Lines” has found that nearly three quarters of charities founded by high-profile male and female athletes do not meet the financial management standards of nonprofit organizations. Guidelines for efficient and effective use of money were set by Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy—guidelines that 74% of the nonprofits failed to meet.

Charities founded by top-earning athletes were found to have missed one or more of the standards. Outside the Lines found a variety of causes for the issues, which included both deceptive or unethical methods and simple mismanagement or neglect. Many were behind on filing IRS tax returns, and those that had been filed were often error-ridden or full of omissions.

About one third of the charities had total assets above $500,000 (including those run by Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Andre Agassi, and Richard and Kyle Petty). But others operated at losses, paying far too much money for administrative or for-profit endeavors and not nearly enough on charitable causes. Lamar Odom’s charity, Cathy’s Kids, was found to have spent no money on cancer-related issues in its eight years of existence, instead spending money to pay for AAU traveling basketball leagues. Other big names have started foundations only to let them fizzle out, sometimes leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars unaccounted for.

I think the philosophy needs to be, ‘If I’m a professional athlete I should give back to my community.’ Whether I need to have a charity of not is a different question,” says Andrew Bondarowicz, who heads the Aregatta Group, which advises athletes on charitable giving.

“If you’re not going to properly support an organization, why have it?” he asks. “There are hundreds and thousands of qualified organizations and many, many people who are legitimately trying to do good things. Why not help them as opposed to letting some flounder?”

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Organizations Profiles

Mayor Bloomberg Performs Final Inner Circle Charity Dinner

Inner Circle Charity Dinner
IMG: James Keivom/New York Daily News

On Saturday, March 23rd, Mayor Michael Bloomberg performed his final rebuttal during the annual Inner Circle charity dinner. The show, which began in 1923, is a yearly roast of City Hall journalists and politicians put on by 100 of the top New York reporters (retired and active). It began as a five-act musical parody, and though these day’s it’s down to two acts, it’s still just as wild.

In a 2005 article, Shelly Strickler described it as “an elaborate musical parody written, produced and performed by members of the media—otherwise serious characters who get to let their hair down just once each year… It is a major charity event and a must-see production for New York’s political players.”

At the end of every show, the Hizzoner—an irreverent translation of the title “His Honor,” given to mayors of large cities and NYC in particular—has his/her say, too, though. The mayor appears, generally in an outlandish costume, and gives a “self-deprecating rebuttal.”

This year was Mayor Bloomberg’s twelfth and final performance in his three-term run as Mayor of New York City. He appeared on stage with four separate Broadway show casts: “Rock of Ages,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Annie,” and “Phantom of the Opera.” For the show, Bloomberg put aside his suit and tie in favor of various costumes that included jeans, sneakers, a blue zip-up hoodie, an embellished leather jacket, and an electric guitar.

The charity dinner raises money for over one hundred New York City-based charities. This year’s show was titled “Last Gulp” and featured the character Mayor Mike, who time travels through history to meet important figures looking for the right successor for him. Check out some pictures from the NY Daily News here!

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Profiles

J.K. Rowling Profile

J.K. Rowling
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

J.K. Rowling’s story is one filled with strife and struggle and ending with stunning success. She’s someone we look to for inspiration when it comes to overcoming hardships and proving that hard work really does pay off. She is best known for authoring the renowned Harry Potter series, which propelled her from poverty into fame and fortune. But that’s not why we’re profiling her.

You see, J.K. Rowling gained billionaire status from the Harry Potter franchise’s success. As of 2011, she was estimated to be worth about $1 billion, enough to put her on the Forbes list of richest people in the world. But last year she lost that status—and not because of mismanagement.

J.K. Rowling is no longer a billionaire—because she donated so much money to charity. In 2011, she gave away about 16% of her net worth, or $160 million dollars. Perhaps it’s the fact that Rowling knows exactly what it’s like to be poverty stricken—she lived off of welfare at one point—that makes her more likely to give her wealth away.

When she spoke at Harvard’s commencement in 2008, she addressed poverty, saying that it “is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression. It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardship.”