5 Easy Ways to Help the Homeless

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Many of us could be steps away from homelessness. The loss of a job, sudden illness, or family death could be the route to total despair. People on the streets and in shelters across America have lost their homes and been deserted by family and friends. Here are 5 super easy ways to make a difference that you can incorporate into everyday:

  1. Develop lists of shelters. Figure out where your local shelters are and what services they offer, you can find shelters through the Homeless Shelters Directory. Print them on some cards or papers and hand them out to homeless people that want that information.
  2. Carry extras. Keep stuff in your car or a few items in your bag and hand them out to people that need them.
    • Things like hats, gloves, socks, heat packs and blankets can go a long way in the winter. (Knit some stuff for fun instead of buying it!)knitting_unsplash_small
    • Feminine hygiene products are SUPER important, and can be difficult for homeless women and girls to get a hold of.
    • Walgreens or Starbucks gift cards, so they can decide what they need.
    • Keep some food items with you, try to be aware of common food allergies when you decide what to carry. When you pass someone who asks for change, offer them something to eat.
  3. Give them money. You never know a someone’s life situation just because they are on the street. Something you can give to anyone that is useful, lightweight, and portable is MONEY. That money can be used by a number of things. For more information on why money is important check out Lily A Rayne’s response to blessing bags which features a great response from a homeless person about what they really need.
  4. Volunteer. food_line_unsplash_smallThere are so many ways you can volunteer, pick what feels best to you: Shelters, follow-up programs and soup kitchens, can almost always take more help. Find out where you can provide your professional services or your hobbies (no matter what you are good at, you can find ways help the homeless with your talents and skills).
  5. Donate to nonprofits. One of the most direct ways to aid the homeless is to give money. Donations to nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless go a long way.

No matter what, don’t judge people you see on the street, you don’t know why they are there. A little compassion and kindness goes a long way…especially in winter. Go help someone today!

Are People in Your Neighborhood Going Hungry?

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43 million Americans are going hungry. Can you tell who in your neighborhood is going without food? 1 in every 8 people you pass by on the street could be missing meals.

The latest statistics on hunger from Feeding America tell us:

  • 1 in 8 Americans go hungry every day.
  • 1 in 6 children in the United States don’t have enough to eat.
  • 1 in 12 seniors in the U.S. struggle to access enough food.

Feeding America provides an interactive map of food insecurity in the United States. Check out your district to see how you compare to others. Is your neighborhood hungry? What can you to do change that? How can we make this better?

food-insecurity-map

Easy Ways to Make a Difference for Hunger

Donate Food. Find a local food bank that’s collecting food. Check their website or call and ask what food items they need, but them and deliver them to the food bank. Make sure to check their hours for accepting donations.

Start a Food Drive. Move for Hunger has great information on how to set up a food drive in your area. Check out their tops, find a great location and get your community involved.

Fundraise. Create an online fundraiser and get others involved in raising money for charities solving hunger issues. You can set one up in minutes on JustGive and post your appeal on social media to get your friends and family involved. When someone asks what’s on your holiday gift list, tell them gifts of charity for the hungry would mean the most to you.

Volunteer. Find a local food banks, soup kitchen or rescue mission serving meals and collecting food.  Find a few and call around to see who can use the help and set up a time to go. Their need is ongoing; offer to help as often as you can.

Give.  There are a lot of nonprofits doing great work to fight hunger, and your donation gives them the ability to do more. It doesn’t take much to make a big impact. We have a short list of recommended hunger charities on the JustGive site, and here are a few examples of what your gift can do:

Let’s take action today and do something for the more than 43 million Americans who don’t have enough food to eat . . . so no one goes hungry.

 

#GivingTuesday Tips for Success

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Less than 4 weeks to go until #GivingTuesday. Here’s what you need to know.

GivingTuesday, the global day of giving, is November 29th. It offers a huge opportunity to increase awareness for your cause and support for your organization while reaching out to new and current donors. There are many ways to get your staff and the community involved in your #GivingTuesday. The three areas of focus we’re highlighting are fundraising, collaboration and communication.
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Launching a #GivingTuesday campaign helps kick off your year-end fundraising campaign and creates awareness within your community. Customize your donation page and take advantage of our free Donate Now button features. Add a #GivingTuesday top graphic and message on your page, customize your donation amounts and descriptions, and include a special program designation for #GivingTuesday.

The more your donors feel connected to the #GivingTuesday theme and tie-in, the more likely they are to participate in the movement.

Join our webinar: “An introduction to JustGive’s Donate Now button” on Wednesday, November 9 at 2pm ET. We’ll show you how to customize your Donate Now button so you can raise more donations and reduce fundraising fees.

Collaborate
Rally your community and get others involved. Reach out to local businesses for support or collaborate with other local nonprofits and present a united front to the local merchants association. Offering a good word may be enough for a local business to invest in a community board announcing #GivingTuesday and give 10% of net proceeds from sales on the day or offer a matching gift.

Set a goal and ask a board member or corporate sponsor to match donations for the day. You can use this to incentivize new or larger donations during your campaign.

Communicate
Social media is the key to making sure your message is received and shared to new audiences. Build momentum with your supporters in advance and communicate a consistent message across several channels, including email. Starting with your email list, get the word out about #GivingTuesday and don’t forget to encourage your #GivingTuesdayaudience to share.

Make your posts compelling and share-worthy. Give donors a clear message and encourage them to tweet, post, snap and share.

For more tips and tools, #GivingTuesday offers free toolkits, sample messages, promos, and more.

Don’t miss out on other helpful tips and tools: To automatically receive an email when we post more, subscribe to our Nonprofit Blog.

Andrea Lloyd
Business Development Director

Patagonia’s Unconventional CSR

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Image source: Patagonia.com

California-based Patagonia, which specializes in outdoor apparel, has taken an unexpected and untraditional approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Sustainability, giving back and caring for the planet are firmly connected in a company conviction that’s clear for customers and the business world to see. That’s supported by Patagonia initiatives to buy and consume less.

A family business owned by Yvon and Malinda Chouinard, Patagonia’s mission is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”BtheChange.jpg

Yvon wrote in the company’s biography, Let My People Go Surfing, “Patagonia exists to challenge conventional wisdom and present a new style of responsible business.” True to form, in 2012, it was one of the first companies in California to become a Certified B Corporation.

Social & Environmental Activism

Knowing the resources it uses and waste it produces, Patagonia believes it has a responsibility to give back. Rather than thinking of what they do as charity or traditional philanthropy, the company calls it “our Earth Tax,” and considers it part of the cost of doing business.

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Image source: Patagonia.com

For the past 30 years, through its membership in 1% For The Planet® (an alliance of businesses), Patagonia has given 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. To date, the company has donated $70 million in cash and in-kind services to 3,400 grassroots groups. A few stats show how the company supported environmental and social initiatives this past year:

(For a detailed look at Patagonia’s work in 2015, check out its Environmental + Social Initiatives booklet.) 

Sustainable Clothes & Supply Chain

Patagonia is determined to create “the world’s most socially and environmentally responsible supply chain,” and has steered the clothing industry into a more sustainable direction through its actions.


With products and suppliers.
In 1993, Patagonia was the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to use fleece made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic soda bottles. And in 1996, it switched to using organically grown cotton in all cotton products.  It was also one of first major outdoor companies to work with Fair Trade USA on its Fair Trade Certified apparel.

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Image source: Patagonia.com

In 2007, to be more transparent about its supply chain, the company started publishing the environmental impacts of articles of clothing in The Footprint Chronicles® as well as including it on Patagonia’s product pages.

Within the industry. As a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition—an alliance of 30 companies in the clothing and footwear industries formed in 2010—Patagonia and member companies measure their environmental and social and labor impacts, benchmark performances against each other, and publish the results in a social and environmental performance index.

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Image source: GreenBiz, collateral at the Yerdle-Patagonia event in SF

The company’s belief in environmental conservation and corporate responsibility is integrated into its anti-consumption advertising. Maybe the most recognized of these ads ran on Black Friday in 2011 with the surprising message: “Don’t Buy This Jacket”, encouraging consumers not to buy what they didn’t need.  Patagonia has echoed this message over the years in its “buy used” marketing with eBay, and most recently, through its Worn Wear initiative about repairing clothes. While many think these messages fly in the face of why the company exists, Patagonia firmly believes it’s just the right thing to do.

Making a Bigger Difference

Patagonia’s commitment to inspire and implement environmental solutions reaches beyond the industry. In 2013, the company launched $20 Million and Change, through a holding company, Patagonia Works. It’s dedicated to a singular cause: using business to help solve the environmental crisis. With this fund, Patagonia helps like-minded, responsible start-up companies which want to work with nature rather than using it up.

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Image source: Patagonia.com

Humble about its CSR accomplishments, Patagonia states: “We have a long way to go and we don’t have a map—but we do have a way to read the terrain and take the next step, and then the next.”

If you’re inspired by Patagonia to take steps and give back through your company’s CSR efforts, we’re ready to help. Just contact us.

For more philanthropy news and CSR insights, subscribe to our Company Blog and follow us on LinkedIn.

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

Need volunteers? VolunteerMatch has them.

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As a nonprofit, every dollar counts. When you’re trying to accomplish your mission and efficiently get all the work done to support it, volunteers can help make things happen.

Finding good volunteers can be a challenge—whether you need them to:

  • assist with an event
  • help with a key fundraising drive
  • provide office support
  • be advocates to champion your cause
  • or more

teen environment volunteer 11578647sqJustGive’s partner, VolunteerMatch, can be a great resource for your organization. They’re a nonprofit whose mission is tomake it easy for good people and good causes to connect.”

Since 1998, VolunteerMatch has connected nearly 10 million volunteers to organizations they care about.

Find the specific volunteers you need

To get started, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, schools and other types of community organizations register for free on VolunteerMatch and then post opportunities to attract volunteers in your local area (or from afar if it’s a project they can work on remotely).

volunteer_recycle_man_21430890Volunteers find nonprofits by searching for opportunities by cause, location and even age group. When a volunteer is interested in your organization, you’re notified and can respond directly to them through the VolunteerMatch website.

Not only can the experts at VolunteerMatch help you find good volunteers, but a new book they recently published, “Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World”, can give you a more inventive approach to volunteer engagement:

This insightful collection contains actionable advice on strengthening volunteering. Among other things, you’ll learn how to attract millennials and baby boomers to your cause, the best ways to partner with corporate and pro bono volunteer programs, why micro volunteering may be the future of online giving, and why your supporters are a largely untapped goldmine of fundraising success.

Win this new bookvmgraphic

We’ve partnered with VolunteerMatch to give away a copy of “Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World”. Click here and enter by September 30, 2015 for a chance to win the book. You can also purchase it here and save 25%.

Holiday help

As you head into the busiest giving time of year, don’t forget to tap VolunteerMatch to find volunteers that care about your cause and are eager to help make a difference.

Looking for more resources to help your organization? Check out the rest of our Nonprofit Resources partners and their offers. And to keep up on the latest tips, tools and resources, subscribe to our blog.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Corporate Giving: Latest Trends

Image Source: Flickr
Image Source: Flickr

The CECP Giving in Numbers: 2014 Edition looked at what’s happened in corporate philanthropy and employee engagement programs since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. The report, created in association with The Conference Board, analyzed trends and giving behaviors (from 2010 through 2013) for 261 of the world’s leading companies.

Key finding: 66% of companies increased giving as a percentage of revenue, demonstrating that engagement is widely considered sound business strategy.

10 Takeaways

Ten valuable stats from the report to see how your company measures up:

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Click to view full size
  1. Corporate giving increased for 64% of companies post-recession – with more than a third of companies increasing contributions by 25% or more (This reflects overall increased confidence in the U.S. economy by consumers and CEOs)
  2. Giving and business performance increased together: profits increased for 59% of companies that gave 10% or more since 2010
  3. 86% of companies match employee contributions to qualifying nonprofit organizations
  4. Three primary cause areas dominate company giving:
    • Education @ 28%, including K-12 and Higher education
    • Health & Social Services @ 27%
    • Community & Economic Development @ 14%
  5. Corporate giving to Community and Economic Development initiatives grew the most of any cause area (by 34%)
  6. A majority of companies (76%) measured social outcomes and impacts in 2013, showing corporate funders want to know the value created by giving
  7. While 79% of companies operate a corporate foundation, there’s a shift afoot, and recent cash contribution growth have come predominantly from Corporate Community Affairs budgets
  8. From 2012 t0 2013, in kind gifts (product donations and pro bono services) drove the largest increases (10%+) in total giving
  9. The median total giving per employee for all companies was $644
  10. Fortune 100 companies are starting to better align their giving focus with their business strategy and transitioning away from partnership that don’t match up

And, in this National Volunteer Week, it’s worth mentioning that giving professionals who

Image Source: Flickr
Image Source: Flickr

attended the CECP Summit last May ranked Volunteer time off as the most effective motivational tool for increasing employee satisfaction.

How does your company’s giving match up to these findings? Do any of these trends surprise you? Leave us a comment below with any thoughts you have.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to explore new ideas or discuss your giving programs.

For more Giving in Numbers details, download the 54-page report.

– Andrea Lloyd

Director of Programs

To keep up on the latest trends and news in company philanthropy, subscribe to our newsletter.

Reviews Show Your Impact

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Our partner, GreatNonprofits, started in 2007, has become the Yelp of the nonprofit world. With a database of more than 200,000 reviews, GreatNonprofits is the leading provider of reviews and ratings for nonprofits throughout the United States.

Their story

It all began when Hurricane Katrina hit and GreatNonprofits founder Perla Ni was publishing the Stanford Social Innovation Review. She wanted to write about nonprofits doing a great job providing supplies and help for great-nonprofitsvictims, but had a lot of trouble identifying them. It struck Ni that there needed to be an online “Zagat” for nonprofits, where people could tell first-person stories and share reviews about the work and impact of organizations.

Today, on the GreatNonprofits website, users can rate more than 1.8 million nonprofits – and these reviews are widely shared through partner sites like JustGive and GuideStar.

Making the most of your reviews

It’s clear reviews make a difference. According to Neilsen, 70% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

So, as an organization, how do you:

  • Engage your supporters
  • Collect more online reviews
  • Use reviews successfully

Tara Verner, Vice President of Marketing for GreatNonprofits, recently spoke about how to do just that. We’re sharing the slides from her presentation that provide great examples and tell you how. Enjoy!

 

If you’d like to watch the recorded session, here’s the YouTube video of the presentation.

– Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant