Nonprofit Champions in the News

Teaching kids charity? Skip the soup kitchen trip

It’s that time of year again.  Many people decide they want to do something for others as the holidays roll around.  And they want their children to be involved.  This CBS story poo-poos the idea of taking your kids to the soup kitchen or other places where they are more a hindrance than a help.  

mesch_debra-photoTalking to children about giving is…an extremely effective way to encourage philanthropy at a young age, according to a new study by the United Nations Foundation and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Debra Mesch, director of the institute, said the research showed that talking to children about giving increased by 20 percent the likelihood that children would give. That held true across race, gender, age and more.

How this impacts you

Start now to make a plan to involve families in your organization’s work.  You are bound to get requests so rather than scrambling at the last minute, think of meaningful activities that will benefit your Mission.  While you are helping to create the next generation of philanthropists you’ll be making the parents happy!

Stop Asking for Money

catiemarronJust a quick post today prompted by an interview in Sunday’s New York Times.

Catie Marron is co-chair of the High Line in New York (I’ll write more about that great nonprofit another day) and past chair of the New York Public Library.  In other words, she’s raised millions of dollars.  Make that a billion – she oversaw a $1.2 billion capital campaign for the Library!  So much for the gloom and doom about the future of libraries.

Anyway, what really caught my attention was a comment by her:

“You don’t go out and ask people for money.  Instead, you create a place where they want to be involved.”

Excellent advice!  Catie attributes it to Andrew Heiskell (former CEO of Time).  It’s true, if you are creating a great organization, TELLING YOUR STORY and inspiring people to care, you don’t have to ask.  You will attract the people you need and want – as donors, leaders and evangelists.

Have you read our free ebook? Learn to tell your story and involve others. Your Million Dollar Story is available now with your subscription to Nonprofit Champion!redarrow2

Merle Benny is known as the Mentor of smart, bold Nonprofit Leaders, ready to change the world. She is a founder of Nonprofit Champion, a company committed to the growth and empowerment of nonprofit leaders around the globe by sharing high-level thoughtful branding and growth strategies – while supporting their work and values to create sustainable success.

After 20 years in a successful corporate career developing technology companies, Merle followed her passion and turned her talents to the nonprofits she loved.  Joining years of nonprofit board leadership with marketing expertise, business savvy with a philanthropic heart, Merle empowers highly successful nonprofit leaders.  

Nonprofit Champions in the News

Good news on corporate giving!  The results of a study released this week* show that international corporate giving is up this year and will continue to rise next year.

park nylifeBut most news stories related to philantrophy are talking about giving that benefits both the nonprofit and the corporation.  Christine Park**, president of the New York Life Foundation, makes the logical connection between the work of New York Life – dealing with families in times of grief – and the work of grief organizations, particularly those working with grieving children.  She believes it benefits her corporation, the nonprofits they support, and the community at large when they step-up and bring this under-served need to the attention of the public.

brandt forbesAnother article, by George Brandt of Forbes***, The Difference Between Value-Creating Corporate Giving And Counterproductive Distractions, makes the case that not all corporate giving is good.  “Checkbook Philanthropy” seems to be going away. The people I talked to…represented corporations far less interested in writing unrestricted checks than in leveraging their talent, technology, and infrastructure to help those in need. This makes total sense. There’s no synergy in cash.”

When corporations give from their own strengths everyone wins.  Good, good and good, as George says: Good for others, Good for me, Good at it.

conant campbellsAnd finally in an article from Doug Conant****, former Campbell Soup CEO,We often measure the impact of corporate philanthropy by counting the number of individuals who are helped by a particular program. In my experience, however, philanthropy can also help companies reduce business risk, open up new markets, engage employees, build the brand, reduce costs, advance technology, and deliver competitive returns.”

While corporations are scouting like-minded nonprofits, it is to your advantage to spend time discovering which corporations share your Vision.  They are potential partners.  Together you can discover how they will contribute to your dream, while meeting their own needs.

 Stories in the news

*Giving Beyond Borders

**Creating Enduring Value at a Corporate Foundation: Bridging the Gap Between Brand and Cause

***The Difference Between Value-Creating Corporate Giving And Counterproductive Distractions

 ****Why philanthropy is R&D for business

In the News: Shopping for Innovation

In the Philadelphia suburb of Chester, a new nonprofit stocks bananas and toilet paper.  But it’s not a food bank. 

fare and squareMany of our east coast cities are “food deserts” – home to a large number of people living in poverty and a small number of grocery stores.  The statistics are alarming.  Hundreds of thousands of people have limited access to groceries, particularly fresh produce.  In Newark, New Jersey’s largerst city, the Central Ward’s 55,000 residents had no grocery store for 20 years.  Living in poverty, many did not have cars so the simple necessity of buying food required traveling on several buses.  Of course, this limits the amount and type of food you can buy.  It took a nonprofit, New Community Corporation, to solve that problem.

A hundred miles south in Chester, Pennsylvania the last grocery store closed 12 years ago.  What makes Fare & Square unique is that it is not only run by a nonprofit but the store is a nonprofit“Any profits get recycled back in the business either as lower prices to the community or additional services,” said Philabundance president Bill Clark.  Those services might include budget training, diabetes screening, nutrition programs, and outreach for educating people about the Affordable Care Act, he said.

Supporters include The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest philanthropy devoted entirely to public health in the United States. According to their statement about the $1 million gift, “The foundation is very interested in supporting innovative models that speak to food inequality.”  It’s a great example of matching the mission of a nonprofit with that of a funder.

Fare & Square opened on September 28.  Philabundance and the first nonprofit supermarket opens the doors to other innovative solutions to our problems.  What’s in your cart?


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Young Board Members?

I was intrigued when this article from The Guardian, a British newspaper, popped up:  We need to do more to attract young people to sit on charity boardsThe image of a board made up of grey haired, wealthy ladies and gentlemen gathered in a dusty library is alive and well.  And with justification, most board members are over 50 years old.


It looks like the makeup of boards in the UK may be a little greyer than ours, according to the article, “18-24 year olds made up just 0.5% of trustees in England and Wales in 2010, and the average age of a trustee is 57.”

The article cites a new survey from Young Charity Trustees that shows “young people who are trustees overwhelmingly find their experience on charity boards a positive one, and the vast majority of young people without board experience would consider becoming trustees.”  They go on to ponder why it is the case.

I think a primary reason that organizations don’t seek young board members is because they are focused on recruiting those who are willing and able to donate.  Historically, both the willingness and the ability increase with age.  But that issue wasn’t addressed in this news article which looked at it from the young adult perspective.

I support board diversity – including age and ability to donate.  Unlike many, I don’t think money is the only gift a boardmember can give or that it should be a requirement. 

Fortunately for me I was asked to serve on a board when I was a recent college graduate.  I learned a lot and believe that my perspective was valuable to the board.  That experience shapes my view on board membership.

What do you think about young adult board members?


Dan Pallotta Speaks Out

Has Dan Pallotta’s message changed your thinking about nonprofits?  Chances are you are among the 2 million who has listened to his TED talk.  Last week he spoke in Fort Lauderdale, next week he’ll be speaking at Harvard (his alma mater).  His talks are riviting.  And controversial.

dan pallottaDan wants nonprofits to work like for-profits: invest money, take chances, reap the rewards.  To make his point, he talked about public reaction to corporate risk, “Disney can make a $200 million movie that flops, and nobody calls the Attorney General.” Nonprofits are held to a different standard and Dan wants to see that change.

When a fundraiser is making news, that’s good.  If Dan Pallotta makes us think and shakes up the status-quo, I’m all for it.  I’d love to hear what you think about his ideas and whether they will impact your work.

PS  He also advocates for higher pay, something we might be able to get behind!