Friday, February 22, 2008

Giving Challenge Results are In...

Check out the results of the America's Giving Challenge, backed by the Case Foundation, promoted by Parade Magazine, and implemented by GlobalGiving and Network for Good.

Earlier I blogged about how the Challenge was promoting the democratization of philanthropy. There were many great stories emerging from the Challenge that demonstrated this. Since I love pulling for the underdog, I want to share the following story about the fundraiser who won second place in the global competition:
Erin Kelly, a junior at University of Mary Washington in Virginia,
wrote to GlobalGiving on January 19th asking if she could participate in the Challenge. Erin is a member of Students Helping Honduras, founded by another UMW student after a trip organized by a campus association. Erin wanted to fundraise for a project providing fuel efficient cook stoves, addressing indoor air pollution – the fourth most lethal killer in the developing world (after malnutrition, unsafe sex and lack of safe water and sanitation).

When Erin contacted GlobalGiving, there were less than two weeks to go in the contest. Worse, the leading fundraiser had already mobilized almost 1,000 donors. GlobalGiving team member Manmeet Mehta told her that the odds of winning were slim, but that she was welcome to try if she was willing to pull out all stops.
Erin’s fundraiser was set-up and listed on the site on Jan 22nd, a mere nine days before the competition ended. She and her colleagues responded with amazing enthusiasm, a clear strategy and a flurry of activity. They mobilized their networks and encouraged those networks to reach out to other friends and family.

Erin and her friends rapidly raised hundreds of donations. They constantly refreshed the “Leaderboard” on the GlobalGiving site to check their status. Amazingly, they were soon among the top ten fundraisers. But the deadline was fast approaching, and they needed to be in the top four to win a $50,000 prize. The other fundraisers were collecting donors at an ever-faster clip as the deadline grew near. So Erin and her friends poured it on: they held phone-a-thons for four days straight, emailed all their contacts again, and used instant messenging and Facebook to mobilize students at other campuses including Virginia Tech, William&Mary, and Christopher Newport.

When the final bell rang on January 31 at 3 pm EST, Erin Kelly and her friends were in second place, having amassed more than 1600 donors. They were exhausted but elated: between the donations they raised from friends and the Case Foundation prize, they would be able to provide more than $70,000 in funding to the cook stove project. These funds will improve the health and well being of hundreds of families, especially pregnant women and children. In addition, Erin’s group is now listed with GlobalGiving and can fundraise from around the world on a year-round basis.

Monday, February 04, 2008

We don't have it in stock, but they do.

In the financial markets, there are rules that if a particular exchange is unable to execute an order, they must route that order to a competing exchange immediately.

This is from a nice blog post by Sean Stannard-Stockton. He points out that in the nascent philanthropic financial markets, there is no obligation to re-route donors to another philanthropic exchange under similar circumstances.

At GlobalGiving, we have informal agreements with a number of other exchanges, and we do refer donors to partners when it makes sense. This helps us meet our pledge to donors that they will be satisfied with their experience at GlobalGiving. It also helps our partners grow, and it generates goodwill for all involved, which pays off over the long term.

Together with a loose coalition of other philanthropic exchanges from around the world, we have been exploring whether it makes sense to develop a formal inter-operability framework. This framework might include common standards and the ability to automatically fulfill donations referred by other exchanges.

Sean is right: making the non-profit social capital market more effective means that this type of collaboration needs to be accelerated.

Underdog Giants beat Patriots

In one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, New York shattered New England's unbeaten season 17-14 Sunday night as Manning hit Plaxico Burress on a 13-yard fade with 35 seconds left.
I have to admit I was pulling for the underdog. But still, who would have ever thought?