Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Non-Profit Resource List

There are many cheap but effective ways for non profits to implement their marketing strategies efficiently. The following is a list of online marketing resources; some are free and others cost a small fee though all help give non profits a voice in the market.

  • Google.com is working to encourage philanthropy as a business strategy. They have implemented a free checkout system that allows non-profits to use this free system to secure donations through the charity website. This free checkout system allows easy log in and makes giving simple for donors worldwide!
  • YouTube.com gives non profits a forum for their voice through their Nonprofit Program. Now partnered with Google, the free checkout system can also be applied to an organizations uploaded videos. YouTube even provides a tip sheet that teaches non profits how to effectively use the website to help their cause.
video

  • MoveOn.org is a website dedicated to "democracy in action." This non-profit organization helps other non-profits lobby for political change by bringing both small and large organizations together from across the country. The organization provides software that helps ease the complications of lobbying.
  • TechSoup.org provides a great learning center on technology for non-profit organizations. Registered members can also use TechSoup to download or purchase discounted computer software and hardware that has been donated to the organization.
  • SimplyTheBest.net allows users to access fonts, shareware, freeware, drivers and demos for every product you might need for your organization. This website is a great test run for organizations that are looking to invest in computer software but would like to sample the product first.
  • InnovationNetwork.org is a non-profit organization that provides consulting services for other non-profits.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekly Spotlight: The ONE Campaign

The One campaign is a revolutionary movement of over 2.4 million people and over 100 non-profit, humanitarian and advocacy organizations; it is the largest anti-poverty campaign in history. With this coalition ONE is dedicated to raising awareness to fight global poverty, hunger and disease and raise monies in an effort to eradicate poverty and fight the global epidemic of AIDS. The ONE campaign believes that providing help to countries in need would transform an entire generation in the poorest countries at a cost that equals one percent of the U.S. budget.

ONE PERSON. ONE VOICE. ONE VOTE AT A TIME. is the ONE campaigns slogan, and the organization believes that each person that voices their concern will eventually lead to a better and safer world for all. The campaign does not ask for monetary donations, but a person's voice and vote.

This campaign absolutely amazes me because its reach is outstanding. The simple fact that the campaign brought over 100 non-profit groups together to work simultaneously to fight for a common cause is ground breaking and should be an example for other causes to work toward.


video

Click here for more information about the ONE campaign.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekly Spotlight: Central Asia Institute

The Central Asia Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to building and supporting community-based education is Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially education for girls. Greg Mortenson, co-founder and Executive Director, started the organization in 1996 after he met the Balti people of Pakistan during a climb of the world's second largest mountain, K2. Inspired by his warm welcome into the village of the Balti, Mortenson promised to build the village kids a school. Today, 78 schools have been built and are supported by the organization, along with 520 teachers, and 18,700 students (10,980 are girls).

Each school built by Central Asia Institute takes extreme risks and involvement due to the remote areas of the organizations reach and the general location. The organization is operating in one of the most volatile areas of the world where outside influence and help is not always welcome.

The organization also operates the Pennies for Peace program that teaches American school children about the world beyond their experience and how their help can make a difference to schoolchildren on the opposite side of the globe. Children are taught the giving can make a difference, even if it is one penny at a time.

The Central Asia Institutes formation and Greg Mortenson's story can be found in the novel titled, Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I read this book in 2007 and even today I remain awed by the sheer determination and risks that Mortenson took to keep his dream alive. Mortenson is truly a inspiring hero and a great example of what a giving heart can achieve.

Click here for more information about the Central Asia Institute and the novel Three Cups of Tea.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Non-Profit Marketing: Being Charitable to the Charity

The Problem:

If a product can’t create “buzz” then it’s not going to sell. If people don’t talk about your product, it’s labeled not good enough. Now substitute this product for a charitable cause and put it in the same problematical situation. This little equation shows the problem 99% of non-profit organizations are trying to battle. They are told by the communications industry to find a voice, to brand their unique cause to make it marketable, but they are having problems finding their loudspeakers. Often, when they do, the volume is stuck on low.

The (non)Competition:

Many people will not agree with above. Breast Cancer, the new “green” movement, AIDS, the Children’s Miracle Network and a thousand others are splattered onto our television screen and computer monitors, chirped into our ear by that “guy” in the radio, and even seamlessly integrated into many of the consumer products we buy. These popular kids within the non-profit class have worked hard for their status and corporate giants have adopted many. Cause marketing has grown exponentially in recent years, and admittedly its nice to see some good among the 4,000 some-odd advertisements a consumer is exposed to everyday.

“What’s the problem?” you may be asking. If donations are up and word is spreading there isn’t one, right? Wrong. The problem is for every one (1) non-profit organization that receives media time, publicity, or donations, 99 are ignored. In a market where the service can’t be considered superfluous, this is a sad statistic.

The Possible Client:

How about the Pamunkey Regional Library? The Firefighters Association? Americantowns? Or Sergeant Santa?

These four organizations are all local non-profit causes in the Richmond area, and all are desperate to find a better way to collect contributions besides calling and begging. No one wants to live without a local fire department or tell our children we couldn’t afford Santa this year. Noelle Weaver explained this situation in her article, “‘Do-Gooders’ Are Brands Too” (AdvertisingAge) by saying, “Nonprofits and foundations are still treated like orphan children in the advertising and marketing industry.” The problem for these organizations is not that people refuse to donate, but that they don’t know the need to donate.

Or more simply, these organizations have no voice.

The Evolving Situation:

The advertising and marketing industry holds the key that can unleash these suppressed voices. Most agencies have a non-profit on their client list. Some work pro bono, others are paid, but 99% (the key number) of non-profit clients are massive causes. This means money to spare, a developed brand and media exposure around the country: basically a win-win situation for both charity and agency.

Weaver and Gary Mueller, author of “Cause and Effect” (AdWeek), explain the attraction agencies have to successful non-profits and the difficulty agencies face by taking on “underserved causes” as Mueller calls them. First is that the agency gains nothing but the “warm-fuzzy” when working with non-profits. No agency press coverage, no awards, and rarely any money. Another is that non-profits are unable or unwilling to take creative risks, which leads to “formulaic” work explained by Weaver.

Mueller, quoted in “Advertising for a better world: The nation’s only nonprofit ad agency crafts messages with a mission” by James Diers (servemarketing.com), says, “Many [agencies] don’t even develop a strategy or a plan; they just come up with a creative poster or PSA, pitch it, and don’t worry about its effectiveness.” Mueller thinks differently about the subject, emphasizing the importance of working at the same level of thinking, strategy, and production to create the same outcome for non-profits as agencies do with “real” clients.

Mueller has found an effective and rewarding solution for this problem. Though still working as creative director for BVK in Milwaukee, he also started his own agency, Serve Marketing. Serve is the first and only non-profit advertising agency, a breakthrough in both the ad industry and non-profit world. Working with the “underdogs” of non-profits in the Milwaukee area, Mueller applies the same strategy in developing a message at Serve as he would with BVK, often with very aggressive and unusual creative outcomes.

With only three full-time employees and around 75 volunteers from the industry, Serve donated about $3.8 million in services and media space in 2005. Imagine the impact if for-profit agencies could donate even a fraction of this to local non-profits in their respective cities.

Agencies could also allow employees more volunteer freedom. Serve account executive Sarah Salzer talks about the struggle that industry people encounter when trying to volunteer in Diers article. “It’s not always easy to [use volunteers] because a lot of agencies don’t want their creatives to work outside for anyone else. But people are starting to know us and what we stand for.”

The Simple Solution:

Here are some choices:
1) Become a maverick, start your own agency and have the freedom to take on whatever client you choose *(such as Mueller).
2) Push your agency to break the mold and allow more lenient volunteer opportunities.
3) Work for an agency that puts pride aside and “adopts” a local cause.

The industry needs to realize the importance for small, unrecognized non-profits to have a little marketing guidance, and that they have the ability to help. Every prevalent cause today started out in a low-man-on-the-totem-pole position. Rotation in popularity is necessary to keep consumers interest peaked and donations flowing.

If for no other reason, everyone can use a little boost in the giving sector of his or her life. Feeling needed and knowing your helping a meaningful cause can only be positive, especially in an industry that can be stressful and overwhelming.

As for creative talent, just because it’s not within work boundaries should not mean you cannot use it. Being creative is a way of life, not a work attribute that should be shut off outside the office.

Take the masters advice:

“What would you get out of it? If you’re like me, you’ll get the joy of knowing that you used your skills and your creativity to make a difference- to give a little-known cause hope, a strong identity and the ability to make an impact. It ain’t easy work. But it comes with satisfaction that no paycheck of any size can bring.”
-Gary Mueller, Founder and President of Serve Marketing, evp, cd BVK Milwaukee, author of “Cause and Effect”.

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Cause And Effect

March 27, 2006

By Gary Mueller

Breast cancer. AIDS. Heart disease. Drug addiction. Land mines. What creative person wouldn't jump at the chance to work on any one of these well-publicized, well-funded causes?

But what if the local crisis nursery called? Or the shaken baby association? Or the local epilepsy chapter? How many of us would line up to create awareness for Hmong advancement? Or develop a brochure for the Chrohn's & Colitis Foundation? Or brand a small, intergenerational day care?

There are more than 1.4 million registered nonprofits in the U.S., the bulk of which are nothing more than tiny organizations with little funding, staffed by passionate, committed volunteers who dream of creating greater awareness for their causes. But because they lack the professional marketing experience and star-studded boards, they have little hope of registering even a blip on the public's radar screen.

I must admit that, after 15 years in the trenches as a copywriter and creative director for a wide range of regional and national brands, it's still not easy convincing a dozen inexperienced volunteers of the value of marketing their cause—let alone getting them all to agree on a provocative communications strategy and often very untraditional creative approaches. But there is something exhilarating about being on the side of the underdog, standing by the little guy who doesn't seem to stand a chance against the big, well-managed and well-oiled nonprofit machines. There's something especially satisfying about helping an orphaned cause gain support, or a silent organization find its voice.

Don't get me wrong—I have nothing against large, successful nonprofits. It just seems that while the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. And we advertising folk have a lot to do with that.

Imagine what we could accomplish if every agency donated time each year to one or two relatively unknown nonprofits. Imagine the impact we could have if we chose organizations based on need rather than popularity.

There are 1.8 million Americans who suffer from epilepsy. But nowhere will you see a national campaign to raise awareness or contributions. Every year, more than 10,000 children in the U.S. are injured in riding-mower accidents, but do you think there's ever been a campaign related to that cause? Endometriosis. Gang violence. Living kidney donation. Imagine the change we could effect if we chose to help the most difficult causes.

More than 40,000 women in the U.S. die of breast cancer every year. While that is a very worthwhile cause, there are more cause-marketing campaigns built around breast cancer awareness than any other five causes in America combined. But more Americans die each year from colon cancer. More than 1 million people are devastated by Chrohn's disease, and another 1.5 million by lupus. But how could you know this? Those causes do not have a strong voice. They don't have the biggest and best creatives beating a path to their door.

I must admit that I myself have been guilty of jumping on the bandwagon. Our agency recently created a campaign for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Race for the Cure, as well as the latest Partnership for a Drug-Free America campaign. I am proud of that work. But I also know that, had we not done it, there would have been a raft of agencies lining up for the assignment. That is why we also have made a conscious effort to help less-popular causes.

Imagine if the best and brightest of our profession got together, in every market, and decided they could do more. Then imagine if they acted on it. Here in Milwaukee, a group of creatives, account and PR people and I have started our own nonprofit, called Serve Marketing. The goal: bring the most talented individuals together, volunteering their time to create public-awareness campaigns that elevate the voice of tiny nonprofits, many of which have nowhere else to turn. With support from our agency, more than 75 Serve volunteers last year donated $1.3 million in time and money helping Serve's clients. Media outlets, production and music companies, talent agencies, printers and photographers donated another $2.5 million in media space and services.

Imagine the same model duplicated in city after city. We could lead a renaissance in nonprofit marketing, one that evens the playing field.

What would you get out of it? If you're like me, you'll get the joy of knowing that you used your skills and your creativity to make a difference—to give a little-known cause hope, a strong identity and the ability to make an impact. It ain't easy work. But with it comes satisfaction that no paycheck of any size can bring.

Gary Mueller is evp, cd at BVK in Milwaukee and founder and president of Serve, which helps underserved nonprofits. He can be reached at garym@bvk.com.

http://www.servemarketing.org/

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'Do-Gooders' Are Brands Too
Nonprofits, NGOs Are Spending Big Bucks to Get Message Out in Face of Corporate Cause Competition

May 29, 2008

by Noelle Weaver

Hollywood actors, rock stars and corporate titans are all embracing cause marketing and increasing our perception that we need to act now to "save the world." To do it, we need to buy something. Create something. Use something.

Never before has the world of corporate brands and consumer pop culture been so closely linked to cause marketing and the philanthropic world. But if corporate America is all about effecting change, what about the millions of nonprofits, nongovernment organizations and social foundations that have made it their sole focus to "do good" instead of pushing this season's SKUs off store shelves?

Nonprofits and foundations are still treated like orphan children in the advertising and marketing industry.

Sure, within our industry, agencies have historically adopted causes and helped people in need for a year or two at a time, and maybe lent some creative talent. Too bad if the search consultants won't consider the creative as part of a submission. We know we won an award or two -- and it makes us look good. It also makes us feel good. And isn't our creative, one-off public service announcement helping them generate a little buzz and a spike in donations? But we know deep in our hearts that these organizations could never really be clients.

You know the excuses. As an agency, one could argue that there's no solid business gains to be made. Nonprofits don't feed the bottom line. You won't get press coverage for all your hard work. They're thick with bureaucratic things that never get approved or are focus-grouped to death. Nonprofits don't have the guts (or willingness) to break from the pack. The work is formulaic. And as organizations go, many struggle with the fact that marketing is seen as a dirty world in the nonprofit sector, a necessary evil that no one admits spending too much money or time on. To nonprofits, agencies don't "get" the intricate nature of their brands. Their ideas are too risky for conservative audiences. "Our work and creative strategy is formulaic, and it's always worked for us before," they seem to say.

But lately, things have started to change.

It's simple. In today's market, brands matter. In fact nonprofits, NGOs and social organizations are starting to spend big bucks on marketing, advertising, public relations, research and brand identity to drive awareness across the consumer and philanthropic landscape -- over 7.3 billion by some estimates. And they have to. There's calls to buy green. Support this cause. Threats of a recession. Weekly natural disasters. It's no wonder that donor fatigue is setting in. Organizations have to move beyond mailing out a cute, fuzzy brochure when 223 other nonprofits and corporate cause marketers are competing for the same dollar.

Crispin's rise to fame was through the work they did for the American Legacy Foundation. This past summer, Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Change launched an agency review in which big agencies competed for big ad dollars. And let's not forget brand names like the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, who know who they are, what they stand for and how to capitalize emotionally on their brand.

Many of the successful nonprofit organizations in today's marketplace are recognizing that it is more important than ever to follow the laws of branding. They need to create their point of distinction or risk blending in with their competitive set. They need to know how to better tell their story and who to tell it to. Powerful nonprofit brands and social foundations will raise more money, attract more volunteers and help more people if the public better understands who they are and what they stand for.

While work for these organizations may not be game-changers, as small agencies, we offer the speed, flexibility and strategic insight many nonprofits need. Today, creativity and creative thinking is a powerful driving force (look at the success of UNICEF's Tap Project). More and more nonprofits are using the web and other "new media" tools to find new ways to raise funds, build communities that create lasting relationships, tell their stories and compete against the corporations that are spending three times as much on marketing for that special pink limited-edition whirly-bob.

For nonprofits and foundations, it's all about the "brand." Just like the big consumer giants, their success is determined by the perception consumers have about their products and services.

http://adage.com/smallagency/post?article_id=127361&search_phrase=Noelle+Weaver

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Advertising for a better world: The nation’s only nonprofit ad agency crafts messages with a mission.

December 2006

By James Diers

“I flail around so much—I spill a lot of coffee.”

Gary Mueller sits in his office chair, briskly applying pen-stick stain remover to a fresh coffee blotch on the cuff of his khakis. Tall, tanned, and athletic, he wears a plain gray T-shirt that complements his salt-and-pepper goatee, trimmed extra-close like his hair. What Mueller, 42, self-effacingly calls “flailing around” could be more gently described as restless enthusiasm, evinced by busy hands and a constant readiness to speak. As president of Serve marketing, the nation’s first and only nonprofit advertising and marketing firm, he’s got plenty to talk about.

Based in Milwaukee, Serve provides nonprofit groups—what Mueller refers to as “underserved causes”—with marketing strategies and creative services. While causes such as breast cancer research, AIDS prevention, and drug abuse education enjoy celebrity endorsements and high media profiles among America’s charitable concerns, Serve caters to smaller, more obscure, lesser funded, and sometimes local groups. The Wisconsin-based Shaken Baby Association, the Family Violence Partnership, the Peace Council, and the Brain Injury Association of America are among its clients. Mueller says the agency is a revolutionary vehicle, not only for leveling the playing field among philanthropies, but also for challenging the advertising industry’s uneven approach to nonprofits.

“Every big ad agency handles some level of pro bono work,” says Mueller, who also works full time as creative director at the for-profit firm BVK. “But not all agencies put the same strategic criteria into developing those campaigns. Many don’t even develop a strategy or a plan; they just come up with a creative poster or PSA [public service announcement], pitch it, and don’t worry about its effectiveness. We need to apply the same level of strategic thinking we would give to any paying client, and the same level of insight and creativity.”

On a late summer Monday in Serve’s sparse downtown office, Mueller is leading a presentation to members of a local group dedicated to thwarting teen pregnancy. He excitedly shuffles through a series of mocked-up ad campaigns. In one set of print ads, photos of shirtless teen-age boys have been manipulated to give them enormous pregnant bellies. An alternate guerrilla-marketing concept involves leaving swaddled dolls on the doorsteps of the city’s most influential civic leaders. As with most of Serve’s portfolio, the key messages are delivered with provocative, attention-grabbing imagery and direct language.

“Because we work with underserved causes trying to get on the radar, we tend to go edgier. It breaks through the clutter,” says Serve account executive Sara Knoll. Currently, she and executive director Heather Aldrich are Serve’s only full-time staffers; the bulk of the agency’s creative work comes from a wide web of volunteer professionals who donate their time, expertise, and production resources. As Serve has garnered more attention within the industry, the number of calls from would-be volunteers has jumped.

“It’s not always easy to [use volunteers] because a lot of agencies don’t want their creatives to work outside for anyone else,” Knoll says. “But people are starting to know us and what we stand for. We’re not trying to hire their people away.”

Mueller’s bosses at BVK provide a solid chunk of funding and support for Serve, but as with any nonprofit venture, there are ongoing struggles. “It’s a big undertaking,” Knoll says. “We don’t look for big salaries. We constantly have to be fund-raising four ourselves in order to pay rent. But it’s always for good causes, and our hope is that other agencies will be inspired to do similar things.”

As for what inspired Mueller to create Serve in the first place, he proudly points to his work with the Shaken Baby Association, a small Milwaukee-area group dedicated to educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of shaking infants and small children. When her own son suffered severe brain damage after being shaken by a sitter, Shaken Baby Association cofounder Margie Stelzel decided to team with other mothers in hopes of raising awareness about a largely unpublicized problem. They eventually sought help from Mueller.

“Here was an organization that had no money, no well-heeled board, no connections, and there was this terrible epidemic in Milwaukee, this rash of shakings,” Mueller recalls. “I thought, if you had only one chance to get the message out, what would you do?”

The resulting campaign focused on a bold radio spot: A baby cries uninterrupted for nearly 60 seconds, followed by a concise admonition that, no matter how tired or frustrated you are, you “never, ever shake a baby.” Mueller helped to organize a so-called radio roadblock in which every major station in Milwaukee broadcast the spot at the same time. Not only did the event generate media coverage for the cause, but it also captured the attention of a state senator who subsequently introduced legislation to mandate education on the topic.

“What Gary is doing is saying, ‘I’ve had a good life and now I’m giving back,’” Stelzel says. “It’s not because of money; it’s trying to make this world a better place.”

http://www.utne.com/2006-11-01/AdvertisingforaBetterWorld.aspx
http://www.utne.com/daily.aspx

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Radical Truths

My Radical Truths

Analysis of Sally Hogshead’s “Radical Careering”

Radical Truth 02: Revolution is the new Status Quo (Change)

Change seems to be an all-important idea these days. From the ’08 Presidential election to Main Street, the common outcry seems to be “CHANGE!” Our older generations are still extremely weary of the concept, implementing tried and true (though dangerous) business practices when they should be tapping out, while us young guns are willing to flip upside down to see if change can bring about a better solution. Remember: Each generation will one day become the future leaders of our country. This fact is my Prozac for unpleasant work situations and a boss who thinks alphabetizing a Rolodex for a work project translates into a meaningful experience. I’m better and more educated then that simple task requires, but I’m willing to put in my “dues”, play the game, and secretly plot my revenge. Ok, so the revenge part I’m kidding about (sort-of) but I understand that change is here, NOW. Though I’m currently at the bottom of the food chain, I know how to adapt to that six letter word and work my way upwards and onwards. We’ve been told that business as it was known is obsolete with no guaranteed raises and nice martini lunches; well I have one word for that, DUH! Though it could be nice, screw martinis and screw comfort. I don’t want to practice the same type of business my father did, I want to CHANGE it for the better.

Radical Truth 08: Work is hard

I wish someone had told me this four and a half years ago when I started college. If I had known then what do now, I would have gone for my MRS. degree and not my bachelors. Seriously, work is hard, I agree. Not only is it hard in the sense that your actual responsibilities are daunting, but the relationships you must make and upkeep, looking presentable, pleasing other people and being on your best behavior in any situation is exhausting. I learned my lesson at PowerPact, LLC during my first internship. Not only was I not used to working ten hour days (most days around lunch time I could have seriously taken a nap on my desk), but the high pressure atmosphere, demanded perfection and the fact that my supervisor was in Ohio and didn’t have much time to direct me was just plain difficult. I learned hard work translates to good outcomes. The internship taught me an extreme amount of self-reliance and gave me the self-confidence to do so. The days that were slow, when some pressure was released, were not as rewarding.

Radical Truth 12: Luck is for wimps

I could not agree more with this radical truth, mostly because I just simply don’t believe in luck. Everything that is labeled as luck has a reasonable explanation behind it. Vegas. The Lottery. They are all statistical chances. I consider luck as what you make of a situation, not what the situation makes of you. People often brand potential opportunities that present themselves as luck, but we have to recognize the potential and act on the opportunity. I think luck is a crutch that people use to explain situations they cannot explain themselves. Friends say I’m lucky to live the very comfortable life that I have. My parents support me financially, I’m about to graduate, and I don’t have a true need in the world. I look at it as my parents were smart with their money, and it was important to them that I had the opportunity to go to college without having to worry about money or graduate in huge debt. I realized that I had this opportunity and acted on it. I’m not lucky; I just have extremely amazing parents who want me to be the best person I can be. Not everyone can say they have it easy, but I also didn’t take advantage of the situation. I’ve worked throughout college to give me a head start when I’m on my own, while maintaining good grades. That wasn’t luck, it was me fulfilling my potential and acting on opportunities.

Radical Truth 15: Aspire to be the dumbest person in the room

This is my favorite Radical Truth from the book. I compare this truth to being a fly on the wall, and who hasn’t imagined or wished to be a fly on the wall in certain situations? It’s not that I’m not smart, I am. I am an avid reader. I am educated. Simply, I was blessed with brains. More importantly I was blessed with street smarts and common sense. This still does not make me the smartest person in any room; it means that I have the potential to be. I think this truth can be taken in many different ways. One is that you should choose a work environment that has the potential to allow you to grow, learn and expand your experience through your co-workers. The other is that you can sit back in any situation, be it work or social, and learn from other people. You might not always learn something new, but a different perspective or thought process to get to the same idea can be an excellent learning experience. I try to do this where my active participation in a conversation is not necessary. You would be surprised what you learn from listening to people converse. I always remember: Surround yourself with greatness and you too will become great!

Radical Truth 18: Invent option C

This truth is one that I must learn to remember. I tend to look at things as pure black and white. I often forget that there are different shades of gray in the middle. In the past, I’ve found that the gray is often the best option with the most creative outcomes.

Radical Truth 21: Honor the karmic circle

What comes around goes around. It’s true. I believe in it wholly. You do not mess around with karma. I may not believe in luck, but karma will always come back to get you. This is why I always try to do the right thing. I strive to do one good deed a day, even if it’s small (like holding the door for someone). Good deeds create good vibes! This is especially true in the workplace.

Radical Truth 23: You “job” is not your “career”

My job right now might be a marketing intern, but my career right now is a higher-learning devotee in promotions. My current job is working towards building my career. Hogshead is correct; a job is a means to and end, while a career is your unique impact on the professional world.

Radical Truth 30: Live in Verbs

My Favorite Action Verbs: (The ones I’ve used today are highlighted)


Solved. Achieved. Executed.

Improved. Led. Motivated.

Organized. Scheduled. Strengthened.

Produced. United. Developed.

Researched. Arbitrated. Defined.

Addressed. Edited. Negotiated.

Promoted. Inspired. Attained.

Spoke. Wrote. Prioritized.

Clarified. Analyzed. Evaluated.

Studied. Communicated. Facilitated.

Informed. Presented.

Radical Truth 33: Work ethic trumps talent

Work ethic is necessary in business. Talent is nice, but unnecessary. I always joke that advertising is the “rockstar” of the business world, and that is one reason I choose it as my major. I’ve found out I might not have much talent, but I do have work ethic. Yes, the business can be glamorous, but at the end it’s all work. Having a work ethic is the key to becoming successful. Without work ethic you have nothing. Some are given talent; I was taught principles.

Radical Truth 34: Applause is approximately .003% of success

Many people think that success is material, monetary, or status related. Each person asked to define it can define success differently. In my version, I have been successful in the obstacles that I have taken on, but others might not think so. The song, “Three Wooden Crosses”, by Randy Travis has a great line that puts a meaning to success for me…

I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you,

It’s what you leave behind you when you go.

Radical Truth 40: Go for nervous

I am probably the most nerve-wracked person right now. I am twenty-two, about to be a college graduate and about to get cut-off financially (all scary situations), now add a horrible economy with failing businesses. Needless to say, I’m nervous. I have endless questions about the future, but with those questions also come endless possibilities. I have my goals to guide me; the rest is just a leap of faith.

Radical Truth 52: It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice

Kill ‘em with kindness. This truth is important to me. I think being nice is the key to good business, and niceness leads to other great traits in people, such as fairness and an even temper. This truth goes hand in had with truth 21: Karma. Wilson Mizner says it best, “Be nice to people on the way up because you’ll meet the same people on the way down.”

Radical Truth 67: Mistakes are tuition

I will be the first to tell someone that I make mistakes everyday. No one is perfect, and I though I try and put my best foot forward I still slip up, but I learn from those mistakes. I bet there are still mistakes in this post even after I spend an hour proofing it (I apologize). Everyone is human.

Radical Truth 68: The most powerful catalyst for success is failure

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Failure is the ultimate kick in the butt. I found this out when I didn’t graduate as planned last semester. I felt totally worthless, even ashamed. Friends who did graduate were moving on to exciting new jobs, different cities, making money. I stayed exactly where I was. I now have myself back in gear and I WILL graduate and move on with everyone else.

Radical Truth 73: Lose early

There is nothing worse then watching someone try to hold on to something when it is already escaped his or her grasp. Again, I did it last semester. Backing away from something for a while does not mean you can never explore it again. I’m now back at school, and making progress.

Radical truth 81: Buck routine

This is one truth that I have mixed feelings about. I am a person that needs some resemblance of a routine everyday. This doesn’t mean I meticulously plan and time my every waking moment. Each day of the week has a different routine, but I get distracted and unbalanced if I don’t have an outline for the day. My need for a loose routine also does not mean that a curveball can’t be thrown and I won’t hit it. I can be spontaneous, I do not follow the same paths everyday, but I do plan my path before I take it.

Radical Truth 94: You are a work in progress

I’ll leave this one to Churchill…

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

-Sir Winston Churchill

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Remember: Be nice to the little guys!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

President Elect Barack Obama and Philanthropy

The following is a great article titled "Priorities for a New President," written by Ian Wilhelm, about experts advice on how President Elect Obama can help improve and change philanthropy efforts. The article was a special report for The Chronicle of Philanthropy's November 13th, 2008 issue.

Priorities for a New President

By Ian Wilhelm





As Barack Obama prepares to enter the White House, he comes to power

during a turbulent period in American history, with the nation facing a financial meltdown, two wars, and an increasing number of people struggling to meet basic needs.

But nonprofit leaders see opportunities in the crisis. They say the new president should work more closely with charities and foundations to solve the country's big problems

— and help philanthropy grow during an economic downturn.

To explore what the incoming Obama administration means for nonprofit groups, The Chronicle interviewed numerous charity officials and experts, asking them what the new president can do to strengthen philanthropy, fund raising, and volunteerism during the next four years.

Of utmost importance for many of them is the need for the president to spur economic growth to trigger greater giving. But they also called for a more prominent role for charitable groups in the administration, a White House Office of Civic Engagement, for example, or a National Institute of Philanthropy, which would offer prizes for effective giving and promote collaboration among donors.

Others called for new government policies to aid cash-strapped charities, such as making financial assistance available to them from the Small Business Administration or allowing donors to food banks and other social-service charities to receive greater tax benefits for their gifts.

Still other nonprofit leaders argued that, despite the problems Americans are experiencing at home, Mr. Obama should not ignore the need in Africa and other impoverished regions of the world, urging him to increase foreign aid and reduce barriers to international giving.

The following are excerpts from the advice nonprofit officials have for the next president.

Create a Cabinet-Level Philanthropy Position

President Obama needs to be a consensus builder because he is undertaking challenging work during especially challenging times. To solve the many intractable issues facing this nation, he must recognize that only by bringing the three sectors together — government, the private and nonprofit sectors — can we begin to find solutions. He has to forge new alliances and bring them together focused on a common purpose to help Americans in need.

For the first time in a long time, people who haven't been interested in elections are extremely engaged this year, especially young people who are voting for the first time. People have turned out in unprecedented numbers for early voting. The next president must capture that passion and energy at the polls and convert it to a lasting commitment to make our society a better place. He must motivate and inspire people and our youth in particular — to act, whether it's through volunteerism or more active civic participation in our communities.

Resources are becoming more scarce and precious given the economic turmoil. Any way the president can rally the nonprofit community to align their efforts with his vision would amplify the impact.

The next president can get off to a good start by appointing a high-level individual to his cabinet, which would acknowledge, recognize, elevate, and most importantly, coordinate the vital work that philanthropy and nonprofits do to help the neediest Americans. Only then would ideas like engaging volunteers and renewing AmeriCorps or a similar public-service program create urgency for nonprofits and the citizenry who are battling hard times.

— Antonia Hern├índez, president of the California Community Foundation, in Los Angeles

Transform Political Giving Into Charitable Giving

This presidential campaign benefited from more than $1-billion in political contributions, the largest in our nation's history. Mr. Obama should capitalize on this momentum and encourage giving to continue, only now to philanthropy.

It will send a strong message that philanthropy can create solutions and empower individuals and corporations to tackle issues that were often discussed on the campaign trail. By making philanthropy part of the president's personal agenda, he can bring a national presence to the power of philanthropy as a catalyst for change.

Spearhead a national counterpart to the Clinton Global Initiative that brings together corporate and philanthropic leaders to address issues in the United States. To quote Larry Brilliant of Google when describing leadership, he suggests that "you may be successful as the president ... but if you do not think of philanthropy as part of your job description, you are not cool, you are not good, you are not doing your job, you are not modern." This modern president can establish a philanthropic agenda as part of his national leadership.

Embrace new civic engagement models for soon-to-retire baby boomers. Prepare our country to reap the rewards of this activist generation. Creative thinking could include a new twist on AmeriCorps that allows scholarship dollars for a grandchild or a reverse G.I. Bill to pay for second-career training, with a repayment made through service in industries with predicted labor shortages such as teaching and nursing.

— Linda B. Carter, president of the Community Foundation of Broward, in Florida

Provide Federal Assistance to Nonprofit Groups

In the past decade, government has outsourced huge segments of human services to nonprofit organizations, and we have been exhorted to behave more like private businesses.

Successful nonprofits have taken Sarbanes-Oxley seriously; we have high-functioning independent boards, strategic plans, measurable outcomes, and fiscal transparency. We are ready to meet the challenges presented by the economic crisis; indeed we already are meeting them.

Here in the South Bronx we have extended the hours of our food pantry to deal with the growing lines that start forming hours before we open. We are counseling families on debt management and how to avoid eviction and foreclosure. We provide training to the jobless in how to start their own microenterprises.

Yet we remain seriously undercapitalized, which will make it almost impossible to keep up with the skyrocketing demand for our help in preventing evictions, providing food and shelter, creating business opportunities, and caring for children. The success of our work will keep more families from homelessness, hunger, illness, and violence.

The federal government could do a number of things:

  • Expand the definition of "small business" to include nonprofit organizations, making them eligible for any assistance the Small Business Administration eventually provides.
  • Make loan funds and capital infusions available to high-performing organizations with track records of serving low-income communities.
  • Create a loan-guarantee program for nonprofits so that loan funds obtained from a nonfederal source would be guaranteed by the federal government.

It will take coordinated work among government, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector to stanch the losses in our nation's poorest communities.

— Nancy Biberman, president of the Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation, in New York

Create an Institute on Philanthropy

President Obama can support philanthropy and service by creating a National Institute of Philanthropy, along the lines of the National Institutes of Health, that would:

  • Draw national attention to opportunities in giving and volunteering.
  • Convene donors and promote collaboration.
  • Collect and disseminate information from community foundations and communities.
  • Showcase philanthropic initiatives that are succeeding.
  • Develop national standards for philanthropy that address transparency and equity.
  • Present a national award, like the Malcolm Baldrige Award for quality or the Ron Brown Award for corporate citizenship.
  • Establish procedures that would facilitate international giving.
  • Promote the use of mission-related investing to leverage philanthropic resources.

— Melissa Berman, chief executive of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, in New York

End America's 'Me First' Mentality

American society has existed for a long time with a "me first" mentality. President Obama should lead by example, taking opportunities to support programs that care for others above oneself and championing individuals who demonstrate leadership in philanthropy, volunteering, and civil society. By encouraging Americans to return to a time when success was judged more by how many you helped and less by how much you helped yourself, the president can improve philanthropic and volunteering rates.

Students choose to enter public service for a variety of motivating factors. Some feel a strong loyalty to community. Others truly believe in the mission of one particular program. Still more identify with a special-interest group or policy goal.

Mr. Obama should fund programs that develop these motivations in high-school and college students, informing them of their options in the public and nonprofit sectors. He can also increase interest in public-sector careers by increasing the amount of scholarship money offered to students seeking higher-level degrees in public affairs.

Working in the private sector is often more attractive to students than working in the public sector due to the increased likelihood of paying off student loans in one's lifetime in the private sector. Increased funding for public-affairs students would level the playing field for students entering public careers.

— Susan Puskar, a first-year student at Indiana University working on a master's degree in public administration with a focus on nonprofit management and policy analysis. She is also a former AmeriCorps member.

Help Students Pay for College

The No. 1 source of stress for teens in America isn't getting into college, it's paying for it. The banking crisis wasn't caused by these kids, but they are certainly feeling the credit crunch as institutional college loans are more difficult to secure, more expensive to pay back. And loan forgiveness is a distant dream for most.

America is also going to need to depend on the strength of volunteers as organizations and causes fizzle without funds. We need to stop thinking about young people as leaders we're grooming for tomorrow and start thinking of them as powerful thinkers and doers right now.

My suggestion? Marry these two needs. Pour money into AmeriCorps and create loan-forgiveness programs tied to volunteer action.

— Nancy Lublin, chief executive of Do Something, in New York

Don't 'Bankrupt the Future'

It is vital that we not let the urgent demands of today bankrupt the future. It would be easy to cut investments in our future — the environment, energy retooling, basic scientific research, and the arts. These are critical to the strength of our future economy and the well-being of future generations. Please don't give in to the pressure to spend only on the "now," thereby sowing the seeds for a future subsistence society in America. Three specific areas of action to consider:

  • Emphasize prevention and positive social outcomes in government contracting. We are becoming an incarcerated and institutionalized nation, wasting lives and talent and burdening taxpayers. Our current system has strong financial incentives for keeping people in beds, or cells, or long-term care rather than as healthy, productive members of society. Focus on the outcomes we want: prevention, readiness, and rehabilitation. Create financial incentives for better outcomes, instead of tying reimbursement simply to numbers served. Emerging business models, new technology, and innovative partnerships between government, business, and nonprofits can all play a role in resetting the focus on the most important social outcomes.
  • Mend — and use — the social infrastructure. It's invisible, but much of the infrastructure of civil society is as battered as New Orleans's levees. Use executive power to improve operating conditions for nonprofits, reforming counterproductive contracting procedures, and rules. This will ultimately strengthen our social front lines and increase social value for the taxpayers' dollar.
  • Use existing programs to serve community goals. Many nonprofits with great programs fail to reach their potential. As a sector, we episodically launch, build, prop up, and reinvent organizations that, if properly invested in, could thrive. One exemplary program that currently exists to bolster organizations is the network of local and national Community Development Financial Institutions, certified by the Treasury Department. For decades, they have successfully partnered with banks, foundations, corporations, and government, leveraging and deploying private and public money successfully to help low- and moderate-wealth communities.

— Clara Miller, chief executive of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, in New York

Don't Overregulate Donors

If I had a few moments of time with our new president, I'd say this:

One of our nation's most valuable assets, especially during these tough economic times, is philanthropy.

When this nation is challenged by natural or man-made disasters, acts of terrorism or dismal economic times, it is the charitable sector that is first in line to respond, to calm fears and to restore a sense of order. It helps map a course of restoration. It navigates that restoration and stays on track long after the television cameras have moved on and the nation recalls the traumatic events as memories from months or years past.

President Obama should encourage charitable giving to grow. We should make certain that charitable giving can reach as many people and help as many causes as possible.

Philanthropy thrives and operates productively precisely because it is not heavily regulated. It is an enterprise in which passionate individuals are free to rely upon their good judgment, experiment with new and sometimes unconventional ideas and strive for success.

We must not establish roadblocks and restraints on the generosity of the American people. We must avoid the temptation to impose change before analyzing effectiveness, to regulate what doesn't need to be supervised, or to divert resources toward bureaucracy in Washington or toward prescribed causes instead of allowing charitable givers to use their discretion in donating generously.

— Sue Santa, senior vice president of public policy, the Philanthropy Roundtable, in Washington

Non-Profit Recession Tip List

With an economic recession looming, many non-profit organization experts are giving advice and suggestions to cut-costs and remain efficient. The following is a compilation of tips that I think will help non-profits to remain on top of the game:

  • 1. Do not remain silent about funding problems. Many non-profit organizations think that silence is the best answer to limited finances, and continue to sustain spending at the same rate as they do during stable economic periods. This behavior makes non-profits weaker, not stronger; put simply, heroic behavior is damaging. Asking for help is the best answer; let boards and loyal donors know that their help is needed during this time. With economic recession comes extra need for non-profits, necessitating extra funding for the near future. Put pride aside, and ask for continued support.
  • 2. Announce your organizations importance. Many people will suffer financially during a recession, forcing their focus on their own financial situation and not those of others. Many people, though hurt by the recession, are not destitute. Showing the local community the importance of your services reminds potential and often distracted donors that help is important, and that others are far worse off them themselves. A friendly reminder about important services rendered by your organization will help fundraising efforts.
  • 3. Ask for more then just money. Many people are currently financially strained, and unwilling to loosen their purse strings, but have other resources that your organization could utilize. Use creative problem solving; actively search out non-monetary donations that can help your organization. Many people are not openly willing to give you cash, but are eager to help in other ways. Asking for supply donations or volunteer time still gives you resources. Cash is a sensitive subject for many during recession, so asking for items you need directly instead of raising cash makes your organization more sensitive, and creates a situation that allows more people to contribute.
  • 4. Seek out government funding. If the services provided by your organization help lessen the negative impact of an economic downturn, seek out government funding. Services that provide housing, job training, or food distribution can receive government funding to expand their reach during recession.
  • 5. Piggyback with a local business. A partnership with a for-profit business and non-profit organization is beneficial for both parties involved. Businesses that pair with non-profits create positive leverage within their community that can draw customers to the for-profit and donations for the non-profit organization. Including your cause in the businesses advertising gives your organization more reach, just make sure your services and their business pairs well together, a missed-matched partnership can seem awkward.
  • 6. Cut in-house costs. Research and analyze your organizations in-house business costs, cutting back and eliminating some of these costs can significantly raise revenue. For example, cutting back on your organizations energy costs by lowering thermostats during off-hours, using energy efficient lighting, and generic supplies are small things that can save money. Using free computer programs, such as SKYPE, for videoconferencing to communicate cuts back on travel expenses. In short, become aware and eliminate unnecessary business expenses.
  • 7. Find and use better marketing and advertising tools to reach donors. This is another way to cut costs. Instead of sending direct mail, utilize the Internet to contact donors. If your organization does not already have a website, creating one allows the organization a presence that is relatively cheap. If direct mail is essential to your organization, use cheaper paper and a more efficient printing process. If this makes you uncomfortable, make sure to note on these tools that the reason your organizations communications tools have changed is to utilize donor’s money to expand and better your services. Actively contacting and asking public relations firms and advertising agencies to volunteer their services can also help increase your reach to potential donors.
Operating a successful non-profit organization during a recession can become challenging, especially when your projects need expansion. Focusing on your expenses and eliminating superfluous expenses is critical to open up monies needed for expansion.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Top 10 Non-profits for 2008

Each November, the Non Profit Times releases a special report on the top 100 non-profit organizations by revenue for the previous year. This year, the non-profit industry saw a aggregated total revenue of $59.94 billion, down 6.7% from last years record breaking $64.24 billion. It is easy to say that Wall Street and its radiating hardships had an impact on the non-profit sector, especially due to non-profits raising monies through investments. This year was surprising for some organizations, with a couple top-hitters disappearing entirely from the list and others making leaps and bounds up the revenue ladder. With the economic meltdown and people in financial trouble, who knows how this fiscal year will result for the industry; organizations have already seen a large drop in donations and support as people prepare themselves for a recession. All top ten organizations have over $1 billion in revenue. Here is a list of the top 10 with a short description of their services following:

Non-Profit Organization Total 2007 Revenue
  1. YMCA of the USA $6,053,285,000
  2. Catholic Charities USA $3,884,724,373
  3. The Salvation Army $3,709,839,000
  4. Goodwill Industries International $3,168,385,029
  5. American Red Cross $3,155,280,471
  6. Boys and Girls Club of America $1,501,560,998
  7. Habitat for Humanity International $1,426,182,676
  8. Easter Seals $1,183,482,000
  9. American Cancer Society $1,151,367,000
  10. Food for the Poor $1,034,887,370
A Southeast Asia Tsunami victim and his family
in front of their Habitat for Humanity home.

1. YMCA of the USA: The YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the nation's YMCAs. The YMCA of the USA exists to serve YMCAs. Due to different needs in communities across the nation, all YMCAs are different; the nation currently has 2,686 YMCA locations that respond to critical social needs.

2. Catholic Charities USA: Catholic Charities USA serves people of all faiths, denominations and ethnicity by providing a wide range of services such as: housing, emergency services, health care, childcare, and adoption.

3. The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army helps to meet the needs of individuals and families in crisis with emergency material assistance (food, clothing, etc.). The Salvation Army also provides Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance, Good Neighbor Energy Funds, nursing home and hospital visitation, Bridging The Gap (program for teens at risk) counseling and referrals. Programs include after-school programs for children, tutoring programs, basic computer education, recreational activities, groups for girls and boys, senior citizen clubs, adult day health care, child day care centers, shelter for homeless, feeding programs for homeless and needy families, as well as spiritual programs such as Bible Studies and Sunday worship services.

4. Goodwill Industries International: The Goodwill Industries International is a leading nonprofit provider of education, training, and career services for people with disadvantages. Services include welfare dependency, homelessness, and lack of education or work experience, as well as those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

5. American Red Cross: The American Red Cross is the nation's premier emergency response organization. The American Red Cross offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war and aid to victims of natural disasters.

6. Boys & Girls Clubs of America: The Boys and Girls Club of America aids communities nationwide with youth programs. Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence while providing a safe habitat.

7. Habitat for Humanity International: Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian housing ministry seeking to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.

8. Easter Seals: Easter Seals Central Pennsylvania provides children and adults with disabilities and special needs services designed to meet their individual needs with a staff of therapists, teachers and health professionals. Easter Seals helps each person overcome obstacles to independence so that they can reach personal goals.

9. American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.

10. Food for the Poor: Food for the Poor serves the poorest of the poor in 16 countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Food For The Poor is an interdenominational ministry that provides food for the starving, builds small houses, digs water wells, provides medicine and medical equipment, supports orphanages and education for children.

To see the complete list of the Non Profit Times Top 100 non-profit organizations please see the list of links to the left.