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Earthquake in Italy: How to Help

On August 24, 2016, Italy was hit with a devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 250 people. In addition to the tragic fatalities, hundreds of civilians have lost their homes, leaving a huge demand for housing, food, water, and clothing. The following organizations are reputable charities that are dedicated to helping the victims of Italy’s recent earthquake.

All Hands Volunteers

Based in the U.S., All Hands Volunteers is one of the world’s largest disaster relief programs. Their vision is to “demonstrate the power and value of volunteer service through the tangible work done, the hope it brings to suffering communities and the transformative experiences it provides for volunteers.” With over 35,000 volunteers, the organization is estimated to have impacted at least 500,000 people from all over the world. NGO Advisor ranked All Hands Volunteers as one of the top NGOs of the year. Just this past May, the Traveler’s Institute awarded All Hands Volunteers with its 2016 Community Resilience Award. To make a donation to All Hands Volunteers, click here.

GlobalGiving

Established in 2002, Global Giving leaves its mark as the world’s first and largest crowd funding organization for nonprofits. Since its inception, GlobalGiving has raised an impressive $229,446,593 from over 500,000 donors. 85% of every donation goes directly towards supporting causes. The remaining 15% is reserved for servicing charges, including administrative costs and credit card transaction fees. To donate to GlobalGiving, click here.

The National Italian American Foundation

With a mission to “serve as a resource for the Italian American community,” the National Italian American Foundation funds scholarships, mentorship programs, and travel grants. Commenced in 1975, the organization is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that seeks to improve relations between America and Italy. Due to Italy’s recent earthquake, the organization is currently accepting donations to help with disaster relief efforts. To donate to the National Italian American Foundation, click here.

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Do Contests Really Drive Philanthropy?

Do Contests Really Drive Philanthropy?  Leaders in the philanthropic sector are constantly trying to find new ways to inspire others to give to worthy charities. Similarly, nonprofit organizations are not only posed with the challenge of putting their cause out into the world, but also innovating their own methods of giving. Designing public prizes or contests is one strategy that some organizations have used to inspire philanthropy.

According to Mayur Patel of the Knight Foundation, contests can absolutely help improve philanthropy. Here are the 6 main reasons why:

  1. Contests bring “new blood and new ideas.” According to Patel, “A key part of a foundation’s role is looking for new people and good ideas. Contests open up unique avenues for meeting people you would otherwise not know,” which also expands and refreshes a company’s networks, and draws in more passionate individuals.
  2. Contests create value that extends beyond the winners. One example of this is the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. When Marie-Josee Kravis (formerly Marie-Josee Drouin) presented Dr. Sakena Yacoobi with the $200,000 prize in 2009,  it not only honored one recipient’s dedication to humanitarianism, but has inspired countless others to aspire to that level of giving.
  3. Contests can help organizations spot emerging trends. An organization’s contest judges are put in a position where they can easily spot trends from participants. Taking advantage of this opportunity will allow charitable organizations to find emerging trends in their industry.
  4. Contests can help an organization change its routine. What better way to revamp an organization’s routine than by introducing a fun public contest for a good cause? These kinds of “prizes for a purpose” events are thoughtful, incorporate innovation, and are lighthearted reminders that giving can be really fun and interactive.
  5. Contests fit nicely with existing strategies. According to Patel, “The most successful [contests] are embedding in existing program strategies,” of the way that tackling a foundation’s key area of focuses in a new way could be really beneficial and encourage new levels of philanthropic giving. If an organization doesn’t overthink it, and designs a contest that aligns with preexisting strategies, it has a good chance of being successful.
  6. Contests thoughtfully engage the community. Perhaps most important, depending on the kind of philanthropic organization, is the ability to further engage with its community. Contests and prizes are a phenomenal way to achieve further engagement through social media, and remind an organization’s community of how innovative and passionate it is.

What do you think? Are contests a great way to inspire philanthropy?

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Charity Navigator Helps Donors Know Who to Support

charity-navigator
IMG: via charitynavigator.org

Charity Navigator is a website for philanthropic people to investigate whether a charity is financially sound, has accountability and is transparent with donors.  The aim of Charity Navigator is to create a more efficient way of charitable giving, and provide a place for donors to monitor the progress of organizations they report.  The organization uses a star rating based their findings, with a four star rating as the highest possible award.  Only about 25 percent of organizations receive a four star rating, with less than 10 percent of organizations receiving the highly respected award more than two years consecutively.

In thirteen years of operation, Charity Navigator has become the top agency for reviewing charitable organizations.  Methodology not only includes the percentage of donations used directly for the cause but also the ability to sustain its programs over time.  Only seven charities have earned 12 consecutive four star ratings since the inception of the project, including the Carnegie Institute for Science, Compassion International, and Goodwill Southern California.  Four star rated charities score a 60 or above out a total score of 70 available points.  Recently, the Colon Cancer Alliance became one of the elite organizations with its third consecutive 4 star rating.  CEO Jasmine Greenamyer said they were honored by the rating, and will remain committed to bringing the best possible use of funds contributed by donors.

Charity Navigator’s website also gives users the ability to seek reputable organizations assisting in disaster relief.  By clicking on the “Hot Topics” page, visitors to the site will be shown a list of recent disasters with links to how to help.  Users can also search by categories of a cause; such as animals, the environment or education.  Overall, it is a useful site and respected organizations for anyone looking for more information on how to give smartly and effectively.