Community Giving = Good Business

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If you’re hesitating to make community service part of business, a few minutes with Alison Roessler will change your mind. She’ll inspire you to make it your culture and get you fired up about the benefits of giving back in a heartbeat.

I talked with Roessler the other day about what making an impact means to her and why it’s important. As CEO and Founder of the Oakland, California fitness and wellness center Truve, established in 2014, she can’t imagine doing business any other way.

How did you start giving back?
I got started at a young age by my Mom. She was in charge of a holiday gift drive for an Oregon-wide credit union, and I went with her to deliver gifts to families. In high school I chaired a canned food drive, and helped with a pageant to raise money for the ICU at a local hospital. In college, through my sorority, I worked with the blind. Then I went to Costa Rica on a fluke trip, saw the poverty there and wanted to see how I could help. (The nonprofit she started in 2008, The Stars of Tomorrow/Las Estrellas de Manana, is working to break the cycle of poverty one child at a time.)

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Did you build community service into the business when you created Truve?
Yes. It was a driving factor for me in creating the business. I was doing some pro bono work – helping people with diabetes and more – at other fitness places and they were charging me to use the facility. I thought that was crazy! I wanted to make fitness accessible to everyone.

How are you making volunteering and giving back part of the business?
11036916_1635034656718468_2763814053344646237_nWe have a big event every month to give back. Anyone who is part of the Truve family – practitioners, members, and anyone who drops in to attend free classes – can suggest something that’s important to them and we’ll organize a class, run, fundraising drive or event to raise money.  Last month, we taught classes at the Lion’s Center for the Blind, just 2 blocks up the street. This month, we’re giving a drop-in class discount for anyone who brings in a non-perishable food item or arts and crafts supplies for the Lafayette Elementary School.

I made it a requirement for practitioners who are part of the Truve family to do 30 minutes to an hour every week, or 2 to 4 hours of pro bono service a month. Many of us teach free classes (we have 8 to 10 a week), including acupuncture and Reiki. Our Esthetician helps cancer patients and is involved in feral cat rescue. A Spin teacher reads to kids.

What would you say to business owners who think it costs too much to make volunteering a part of their work?
The benefits so outweigh the costs. It’s totally worth it; it comes back to you tenfold. The return my practitioners get from it and the change they’re making in the world. . . they’re happier afterwards, so glad they did it and ready to do it again!

Vitruvian ManGiving back to the community brings the whole culture of the business together. It should be a part of every business model.

What’s the best way to get over any hesitations about it being too hard to get started?
Dive in – head first – for something you’re passionate about. Once you do, it grows from there. You don’t have to be a Microsoft of the world to do this. (Truve is a small business.)

Truve’s name is inspired by Leonardo DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man, an illustration that shows a person’s wingspan is the same as his height,  with the human body in perfect balance. The fitness classes and services Truve provides, and its community service, actually puts all of life in perfect balance.

np_btn_donate_nowIf you’d like to help the Costa Rica nonprofit, The Stars of Tomorrow, donations are happily accepted.

Ready to incorporate giving back into your business? Just contact us.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

Your Donation Button Options

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

To answer your frequently asked questions, we’re including them in our nonprofit blog. Subscribe to the blog and use it as a place to check for answers. Each month, we’ll feature a question we get asked on a regular basis.

Featured Nonprofit FAQ
Your Donation Button Options

When you’re researching online donation options, of course you want to know what the JustGive Donate Now buttons look like, and how they can be used. We offer you choices:

  • You can add our buttons to your site, emails and more. We have easy-to-copy-and-drop-in-place Donate Now and Donate Monthly buttons. No programming skills required! (With the Donate Monthly button, you can inspire supporters to conveniently and automatically make monthly gifts, giving you a steady stream of money to count on.)
  • You can use your own button design and add a customized JustGive link.

Question
Can I see some examples of organizations using JustGive’s Donate Now buttons?

Answer
Here are several examples of what the buttons look like on our partner nonprofits’ websites:

JustGive’s Donate Now and Monthly Donate buttons:

Visit this nonprofit's website and c lick through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

A nonprofit’s own button with a JustGive link (General Operating Fund) and our Monthly button:

Visit this nonprofit's website and click through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

A nonprofit’s own button with a JustGive link:

Visit this nonprofit's website and click through for the full experience.

Visit this nonprofit’s website and click through for the full experience.

Just log in or sign up today to start using the buttons or links and raise more money for your work.

For more nonprofit FAQs, visit our Help Center

– Alex Mechanic
Service Team Manager

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:

Click to view full size

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.

Charity Gift Cards: Company Gifts with More Meaning

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Gift Cards. They’re the ubiquitous, go-to gift in our modern age. They work for the person who has everything, or for that hard-to-gift friend or family member. They’ve even become common rewards in the corporate world for employees and loyal customers.

But what if a gift card could also give back? That’s exactly what our GiveNow charity gift cards do. When you give a JustGive charity gift card to someone, they can redeem it on our site to donate to any charity (more than 1.8 million online). It’s the ultimate pay-it-forward gift.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

We’ve helped dozens of companies incorporate charity gift cards into their employee and customer programs. On our site, it’s easy to purchase large quantities of charity gift cards in just a few minutes. You can send them via email to your recipients, or download gift card claim codes and use them into your own communication.

BONUS: Gift card purchases are tax-deductible donations.

You can turn a gift-giving or reward opportunity into one that makes your employees or customers feel good, and empower them to make a difference for causes they care about. Here are several ways companies have done just that.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Work Anniversaries

A major tech company purchases JustGive charity gift cards every month to give to their employees on their annual anniversary with the company. Employees then visit a website we’ve branded with the company’s logo and messaging to redeem the gift card and donate to a charity of their choice.

Gift with Purchase

An online retailer wanted to run a promotion offering a free gift with purchase, but wanted a gift with more meaning than cash back or additional merchandise.

They decided to offer our GiveNow charity gift cards to customers who made an online purchase of $100 or more. As soon as their purchase is completed, the customer receives a gift card claim code in their order email and visits a branded website on justgive.org to redeem it.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Tradeshow Booth Giveaway

Job website Monster was looking for a unique incentive to attract customers to their tradeshow booth. JustGive supplied charity gift cards to hand out at the booth, and designed a branded donation website where attendees could redeem their cards. After entering a unique code, attendees selected a nonprofit to support from an approved group of charities.

Nearly 20,000 people participated and more than $1 million dollars was donated to charity. The program also raised Monster’s brand awareness among its most valuable enterprise customers.

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Client Gifts

A portfolio manager at a large financial institution was looking for a meaningful gift to give to his clients for key milestones in their lives, like the birth of a new baby, a new home purchase or other celebratory moment.

He discovered JustGive charity gift cards and now purchases them in bulk to keep on hand as gift opportunities arise. Clients have reacted positively to the cards and he feels like this gift helps him build stronger relationships.

On-Package Promotion/Giveaway

For its 100th anniversary, Life Savers candy wanted to create a way for its customers to donate online through a Connect for a Cause campaign. JustGive provided claim codes that were printed on Life Savers packaging, and customers visited a Life Savers-branded website to redeem the code for a donation to one of the featured charities in numerous cause areas.

The program ran for 4 months, brought in thousands of donations from Life Savers customers, and raised nearly $60,000 for charity.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Holiday Gifts

SEER Interactive wanted to find something besides the standard gift basket to give clients for the holidays. SEER purchased our charity gift cards, which were personalized with the company’s logo and custom message, and emailed directly to clients. With just a few clicks, they could quickly donate online to their favorite charity through justgive.org.

After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from clients, the company now purchases charity gift cards as their meaningful holiday gift every year.

Want to incorporate JustGive charity gift cards into your employee or customer program? Purchase gift cards online or contact us to find out more about how we can help.

– Sarah Bacon, Director of Product

P.S. To receive the latest news and trends in company philanthropy, subscribe to our newsletter.

Time to Act: Prevent Sexual Assaults

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Image Source: Flickr

When we hear the term sexual assault, most of us think of rape by a stranger. The reality is that about 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. Sexual assault isn’t just limited to rape, either—it includes child abuse, sexual harassment, teen relationship violence, date rape and domestic violence. Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year, the campaign focuses on preventing sexual violence on campus.

Some starling statistics

Recent news stories of the alleged fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia (Rolling Stone reporting snafu aside) and the Stanford University athlete caught mid rape have certainly fueled the conversation about sexual assault on college campuses.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

The campus sexual assault study revealed:

  • 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college
  • 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college

The majority of these college victims never report the assault. In the big picture, sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes: 68% of assaults in the last five years were not reported to the police. And only about 2% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.

What can we do about it?

Educating our children about this is imperative. While it’s a tough and awkward topic to tackle, we need to talk about it. That’s one of the best ways to truly protect them.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

RAINN, the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, suggests ways to get the conversations started: teaching your child to say no, and to come to you with questions and concerns.

The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center booklet, He Told Me Not To Tell, is another good parent’s guide. It includes specific ideas about storytelling and playing the What If game.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s What is Healthy Sexuality and Consent fact sheet contains great information for teenagers.

What else?

Help charities who are addressing the issue of sexual assault do more outreach, create educational materials, and provide the services for victims that make a difference. Give today so they can speak with a louder voice and help prevent sexual assaults.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center is the organization behind Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and offers a wealth ofbutton_give_now_small information for preventing sexual violence. It is operated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and operatesbutton_give_now_small the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country.

Love is Respect is a great resource to for engaging, educating and empowering young adults about how to prevent and endbutton_give_now_small abusive relationships. Brought to you by Break the Cycle.

– Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

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

Nonprofit Spotlight: Bubble Foundation

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

At first blush, the Bubble Foundation seems like an unusual name for an organization that helps kids live healthy and happy lives, but then again…. Not wanting to pigeonhole their holisticbubble_logo efforts or be heavy handed about wellness, the name was chosen to keep it fun and focused on kids.

Funders ask about our name, says Executive Director Lizzie Redman, but never the kids. In fact, it’s a contagious echo in school halls where kids are heard chattering about “Bubble, Bubble.”

Bubble’s mission

Bubble believes every child in the United States, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have access to activities, food and information that helps them live healthy and happy lives. To accomplish this in New York City, they partner with schools in underserved communities, supplying core curriculum and program activities to fill a gap. They provide – free of charge – information, food and activities for schools, students and families who would otherwise get little or no health and wellness education.

School programs that deliver

The power of going directly into schools is how Bubble succeeds. Not just with kids, but their parents and school leaders too. Redman explains, “We reach kids while they’re young and expose them early on. We also bring in parents for family meals and workshops where we work with them about how to make healthy changes at home. We plant the seeds for healthy habits and empower school leaders to carry it forward.”

Bubble’s programs make “food, fun and fitness float”:

 

Bubble EATS is nutrition education delivered through weekly classes, cooking demonstrations and more from volunteer teachers. For instance, “kids may never have seen broccoli before, but they learn about it, cook it and find it enjoyable to eat,” describes Redman.

Bubble GROWS teaches the science of how food grows and basic farming and irrigation principles, and includes visits from farmers and to community gardens. Bubble brings portable grow boxes into classrooms and starts outside or rooftop gardens where there’s space available.

Bubble MOVES connects the school to other organizations and experts for fitness classes, recess programs, sports clinics, and special programs like yoga and African dance.

Results

Started in 2010 as a small organization to help one school – the Mott Haven Academy in the Bronx – Bubble will partner with eight schools during the 2015-2016 academic year. A few stats:

  • Bubble programs teach 1,200bubble2 students each week
  • Around 50 volunteers work for Bubble each semester – 30 teach weekly and 20 others support special programs
  • School partnerships last for 2 years (with support afterward)
  • Impact: 5 schools are successful program graduates, 6 schools are currently partners, and 4 more are being added next year

Giving practices

JustGive is proud to help the Bubble Foundation raise money online. “The ability to have a platform we can easily use is huge,” comments Redman. “And from a data perspective, to know where the money is coming from is valuable.”

Following best practices, Bubble has its Donate button built into every page of its website, and has customized its Donation Page, telling donors exactly what different size gift can do.

Check out how you can help the Bubble Foundation do even more.

– Candy Culver

Marketing Consultant

P.S. If you’d like to be featured in the JustGive Blog, submit your nonprofit!

KonectIDY: Bracelet Fundraising, Personalized

Image Source: KonectIDY

Image Source: KonectIDY

At JustGive, we help many large corporations incorporate philanthropy into their workplace or customer programs.

But we also work with many smaller organizations that have great ideas for driving more philanthropy. Like KonectIDY, one of our latest partners to use JustGive’s products to make charitable giving  part of their business.

Taking bracelet fundraising to the next level

KonectIDY takes the trend of fundraising bracelets and turns it on its head, breathing new life into what was once a one-size-fits-all movement.

On the KonectIDY website, consumers can create a personalized bracelet with various color beads representing the cause, loved one or organization they want to support. They can purchase one bracelet for themselves, or create a bracelet that others can buy in support of their cause.

Image Source: KonectIDY

Image Source: KonectIDY

Every time a bracelet is purchased, 20% of the proceeds go to the beneficiary organization.

“It’s like a hashtag that you wear,” says KonectIDY co-founder Tony Peluso. “Each bracelet has a story that needs to be shared.”

The IDY in the KonectIDY name stands for “Identify Yourself.” Instead of wearing the exact same bracelet as every other supporter, KonectIDY gives consumers the chance to personalize their wearable statement while showing solidarity with a cause.

As a small startup, founders Tony Peluso and Peter Ettenborough knew they wanted their sales to benefit charity, but didn’t know how to make that a reality. If you’re not a nonprofit organization, how do you ensure donations reach the charities?

Donation Processing Solution

That’s where JustGive came in. As a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), JustGive is set up for a very specific purpose: to distribute charitable donations from individuals and companies to nonprofits.

For KonectIDY, that simply requires providing JustGive with the data each month about which charities should receive donations and for how much. We take care of disbursing funds to the charities, and making sure the nonprofits know the donations are coming from KonectIDY customers.

“JustGive seamlessly facilitates the entire process so we can focus on our business and our purpose,” Peluso said.

More of KonectIDY’s story

The idea behind KonectIDY started close to home for Peluso, when a young girl named Aine in his community died suddenly, devastating the family and neighbors. They produced 600 bracelets to memorialize Aine, and sold out of them at a fundraiser for the foundation created in her honor. Now Aine’s supporters wear the bracelets around town, displaying their support and shared experience.

KonectIDY, launched in the summer of 2013, has already powered bracelet fundraisers for some significant causes like The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Fund. Every “Legacy of Hope” bracelet helps support Nelson Mandela’s final wish to open a children’s hospital in South Africa.

Image Source: KonectIDY

Image Source: KonectIDY

Proceeds from the “Ghandi for Children” bracelet support the Ghandi Worldwide Education Institute, fighting childhood labor in India by advocating for children and supporting education.

So that’s how KonectIDY is making a difference. Want to talk about ways to make charity part of your business? Just contact us.

– Sarah Bacon

Director of Product

P.S. Visit KonectIDY to create your personalized bracelet and tell your story while supporting your favorite cause, right from your wrist.

 

Disaster Giving: American Express

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Image Source: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images

When natural disasters strike, generous people around the world open their wallets to give to organizations helping victims. Here at JustGive, we are lucky to partner with companies like American Express® who enable their cardholders to quickly provideAmerican Express Logo support.

After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, American Express reached out to JustGive to find a fast, easy solution for their cardmembers who wanted to help.

Timely Disaster Campaigns

Within 24 hours of each disaster, JustGive launched online fundraisers so American Express cardholders could donate to charities directly providing victims with emergency services, shelter, healthcare and food.

Cardholders simply visited the American Express MembersGive website to donate using their American Express credit card or their Membership Reward points.

JustGive helped American Express identify and vet the key charities aiding victims for each disaster, whether they were U.S.-based organizations offering aid (like the American Red Cross), or other charities local to the region where the disaster took place.

American Express supported its cardholders’ generosity by covering all credit card processing fees. That meant that 100% of each donation made it to the charities making a difference.

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

The result? Hundreds of thousands of dollars from American Express cardholders were donated to organizations helping disaster victims recover and rebuild.

In its one year post-report for the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, the American Red Cross recognized American Express as a member of its Disaster Responder Program for contributing at least $250,000 annually.

In the last decade American Express has provided assistance for more than 50 disasters in 35 countries, through such leading disaster relief agencies as the American Red Cross and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and the United Nations World Food Program.

We’re proud to make it possible for American Express and its cardholders to respond quickly and effectively to tragic disasters around the world. It’s one way JustGive helps companies make an impact with charitable giving programs for their customers or employees.

– Sarah Bacon

Director of Product

 

 

2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference Highlights

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Image Source: Flickr

I remember attending an annual NTEN conference for the first time, in San Francisco. The sharing between very large companies like Blackbaud through individual IT consultants working for a cause demonstrated the tremendous resources offered—not just for nonprofit organizations (NPOs), but to the broad community serving them.

Launched in 2000, NTEN, The Nonprofit Technology Network, aspires to a world where all nonprofit organizations use technology skillfully and confidently to meet community needs and fulfill their missions. The organization serves scores of volunteers, tech workers, IT managers, “progressive geeks” – all resourceful individuals striving to keep philanthropic operations viable.

It’s fair to say that in 2015, we are reliant on IT resources for operations and outreach more than ever. NTEN’s impact in galvanizing our essential, cause-based community as we seek ways to integrate the best technology for our organizations is immeasurable.

Print

Image Source: NTEN

NTEN held its 15th annual conference in Austin recently. Featuring a roster of collaborative workshops and information, session tracks included Communications, Fundraising, Leadership, IT, Product Demos, and more.

If you weren’t able to make it to the conference this year, or would like a recap from a few valuable sessions, here are three highlights.

Leadership. The Challenge of Making your CEO’s Visions an IT Reality – Read thoughts from the CEO and IT decision makers and get an Executive Director’s perspective.  (More about the session and panel of presenters here.)

Communications. Is it Worth it for Nonprofits to Build Branded Apps? Notes from this session detail what it takes to build and promote a successful app from scratch.  (More about the session and panel of presenters here.)

Fundraising. 50 Fascinating Nonprofit Statistics – See all the stats, covering everything from a global nonprofit perspective to giving trends, including a wide variety of stats about mobile giving, retention rates and more. (More about the session and Blackbaud Director of Analytics presenter here.)

To read more about the wide variety of topics covered in discussions, take a look at the entire 15NTC Community library here.

NTEN, like JustGive, is celebrating 15 years of dedication to its mission this year. Congratulations NTEN! If you’re not a member yet and would like to join visit their site to sign up.

– Roxanne Gentile

Director of Technology