National Adoption Month. #FlipTheScript

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Honoring and listening to the most underserved  voices in adoption and foster care.

About the author: Katie Stickles-Wynen, MSW, a Colombian adoptee, has a Masters in Social Work. After college, Katie worked at Hyde School in CT where she helped design a program for adopted youth and parents. Katie studied under Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao in Boston before moving to California and joining the Pact staff where she leads groups, works with tweens and teens and provides psycho-educational counseling to pre-adoptive parents.

adoption_month1November is National Adoption Awareness Month. This month originally started as a week in the state of Massachusetts to promote the need of adoptive families for children in foster care and was eventually expanded to a month by President Bill Clinton. The month now recognizes all adoptions, but does continue with a focus on children in the foster care system.

The adoption narrative/discussion is often lead by adoptive parents; the triad member most directly served in the adoption process. The voices of birth/first parents and adoptees is ignored; the triad members most directly affected by the adoption process. Fed up with the shiny, happy, lucky, narrative of adoption, The Lost Daughters began a movement in November 2014 called “Flip The Script.” This movement features the voices of adult adoptees who have lived experience. They share the struggles, complications, loss and trauma of adoption and their personal journeys.

While adoptee voices are becoming louder, the voices of birth/first parents are still being silenced. Birth/first parents are often painted in a negative light as parents who “threw away” their children. If birth/first parent voices were honored as much as adoptive parent voices, the public would know that each journey is different, that the media representation of birth family is not accurate and that the voices of birth/first parents are essential to understanding the adoption process and supporting adoptees.

Adoption is complicated. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. All voices of the adoption constellation need to be heard and honored, especially those of adoptees, foster care youth/alums and birth/first parents.

Check out these 3 non-profit organizations that support the underserved members of the adoption and foster care communities and learn how you can help:

slm-for-web-e1432840609939Silver Linings Mentoring is a non-profit in Massachusetts that empowers youth in foster care to flourish through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. If you live in MA learn how you can become a mentor. If you live out-of-state your donation will help provide services for foster youth. Donate Now »

On Your Feet Foundation empowers, unites, and supports women who have placed a child for adoption.oyff-logo OYFF provides critical services to support and empower birth parents who currently live in California or who have placed a child for adoption in California. Academic and counseling grants are offered to birth parents in addition to Birth Mother Retreats three times a year to provide birth mothers with a unique opportunity to share common experiences, participate in therapeutic workshops and build community. Donate Now »

pact-logoPact, An Adoption Alliance serves adopted children of color by providing not only adoptive placement, but lifelong education, support and community for adoptees and their families on matters of adoption and race. Pact’s adoption placement program serves families of color seeking to adopt, as parents of color are greatly underserved in adoption. Pact also leads support groups for adult adoptees and foster alum of color, birth/first parents of color and hosts two, week long camps that provide support, community, education and empowerment to adopted youth of color and their families. Donate Now »

#FlipTheScript, get involved and donate to these and other organizations whose mission is to serve the underserved in the adoption community.

Katie Stickles-Wynen, MSW
Pact, An Adoption Alliance

Featured Nonprofit FAQ: Customizing your donation button

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Question

Can I customize my donation button for specific programs, amounts or for recurring?

Answer

Yes, you can add specific text to your donation button link so that program, amount, or recurring options are prefilled when your donor arrives art your page. Here are some examples using the sample donation button link https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010.

Program designation

If your organization is running a campaign, has multipleprogram chapters, or is a fiscal sponsor, customizing your donation button link with a specific program ensures donations are easily and correctly designated. To specify what program is selected when the donor arrives at your donation page, add “&designation=Program+Name” to the end of your donation link.

Example: https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&designation=Children’s+Literacy

Custom amount

To ask for a particular amount for events or programs, prefilling the amount for your donor adds convenience and ensures accuracy. Add “&amount=x” where x = the dollar amount to the end of your donation link to prefill a specific donation amount.

Example: https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&amount=50

Recurring donations

Make it easy for donors to support your cause monthly by including a custom button link with the recurring donation option preselected on your website, recurringsocial media, and in email communications. To prefill the recurring donation checkbox, add “&isRecurring=true” to the end of your donation link. They can uncheck it if they prefer not to make their donation recurring.

Example: https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true

Multiple items

The above appends can be combined to prefill more than item. For example, if you want to encourage donors to set up a recurring, $20 donation, you would set up the donation link like this:

https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true&amount=20

Perfect for ongoing programs, you can even combine all three customizations to ask for recurring donations of a specific amount for a specific program:

https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true&amount=20&designation=Urban+Homelessness

When your donor visits a link like the one above, they will see the amount, recurring and program designation prefilled as in the highlighted screenshot below:

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Note: If your organization is using a custom shortcut url like https://npo.justgive.org/justgive, the first symbol of the appends above should be changed from “&” to “?”. For example:

To preselect the recurring option, add “?isRecurring=true”: https://npo.justgive.org/justgive?isRecurring=true

The offer donors a recurring, $20 donation link, add “?isRecurring=true&amount=20”: https://npo.justgive.org/justgive?isRecurring=true&amount=20

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

Amanda Chun
Account Development Manager

5 Easy Ways to Help the Homeless

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

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

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

Featured Nonprofit FAQ: Personalized Donation Receipt

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Question

Can We Customize Our Donation Receipt?

Answer

Your donation receipt can be customized with your organization’s logo. If you uploaded a logo when you customized your donation page, that same logo will be used in your donors’ email receipts. To upload your logo and customize your donation page, visit our nonprofit resources: Edit your Donation Page

Below is an example of a donation receipt email.

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All donations made to your Organization through the Donation Site are processed and disbursed through JustGive’s DAF. If goods or services are provided, you shall provide the donor with the estimated value of goods or services provided in return for their donation.

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

Andrea Lloyd
Business Development Director

Are People in Your Neighborhood Going Hungry?

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

The latest statistics on hunger from Feeding America tell us:

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

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

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Easy Ways to Make a Difference for Hunger

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

#GivingTuesday Tips for Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrea Lloyd
Business Development Director

JustGive and JustGiving join forces: what this means for you

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We at JustGive are excited to announce we have joined JustGiving, the world’s largest social giving platform.  JustGiving operates the website www.JustGiving.com.

Both organizations were founded at about the same time over 15 years ago, with an identical goal: to grow charitable giving by connecting people with the charities and causes they care most about.

Headquartered in London, UK, JustGiving has helped 27m people in 165 countries raise $4bn for NPOs and grassroots projects since its launch in 2001. The company has built a solid reputation for its commitment to technology innovation and the early use of advanced analytics to grow charitable giving.

kendallOur CEO Kendall Webb said: “In the US, JustGiving is one of the non-profit world’s best kept secrets. Our new collaboration aims to change that. We are proud to be joining forces to grow our positive social impact by combining JustGive’s unique experience and knowledge with JustGiving’s ground-breaking platform.”

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Zarine Kharas, co-founder of JustGiving said, “Our belief is that giving is global, and we cannot wait to grow our community of users, NPOs and corporations in the USA, and help them raise more money together for the causes they are passionate about.”

What will change for donors?

Nothing about the website or donor accounts will change, apart from the changes to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. www.justgive.org will still be the place for donors to make contributions to their favorite charities, and to search for and donate to over 2 million U.S. charities. JustGive.org will also continue to offer charity gift cards, charity fundraisers (including wedding fundraisers), and all the other helpful features that make it easy to donate to charity.

What will change for the Nonprofits that use JustGive’s services?

Nothing at all will change, apart from the changes to our NPO Terms of Use, Donor Terms of Service, and Privacy Policy. In particular, our fees are not changing.  If you are an NPO you will continue to receive donations through JustGive.org, your npo.JustGive.org donation page (if you have set one up), and our various other partner programs. When a donation is made to your organization we’ll still send you a check on the 10th of the following month for the donations that were made in the previous month.

Please take a moment to review our updated terms which reflect the fact that your JustGive service will now be provided by JG US, Inc, JustGiving’s US subsidiary: You can find our updated terms here:

We are excited for this new chapter for JustGive, and continuing our mission to increase charitable giving by connecting people with the charities and causes they care most about.

Kendall Webb
Founder and CEO
www.justgive.org

Patagonia’s Unconventional CSR

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Image source: Patagonia.com

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

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

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

Social & Environmental Activism

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

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Image source: Patagonia.com

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

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

Sustainable Clothes & Supply Chain

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


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

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Image source: Patagonia.com

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

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

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

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

Making a Bigger Difference

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

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Image source: Patagonia.com

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

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

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

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

Fundraising Professionals: Tools, Tips & Services

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Borrowing from a familiar saying: the proof is in the pudding. As a development/fundraising professional, you know all too well that’s how your work is evaluated. For each client or organization you work with, you’re expected to produce tangible results—after identifying the best fundraising channels and crafting messages, executing campaigns, and improving efforts based on results. Your effectiveness is measured by how well you attract and build supporters, and raise more money for the organization.

JustGive offers several valuable resources to help you generate fundraising results that pass the pudding test.

Donor Acquisition

You want the best tools to recommend to nonprofit and foundation clients. Are there ways fundraising can be done for less—saving money or lightening the administrative load for you or an organization’s staff? The simple answer: Yes. Here are a few from JustGive:

FREE Donate Now buttons. Collect donations online cost-effectively, with a low 4.5 processing fee.  No programming required, and no monthly or annual fees. It’s a button you can easily use in emails too. If an organization already has a donation button, comparing what it costs with what JustGive provides may instantly reduce fundraising expenses.

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Mobile-Optimized, Brandable Donation Pages. Here’s a sample of the page which can be customized with a logo, list of programs, donation amounts and information about what gifts accomplish. Since the page is already mobile-optimized, it allows organizations to accept donations anytime, from any device (snagging those millennial donors). And it includes an ongoing monthly donation option which offers the opportunity to promote year-round giving and build a base of steady donations. (Check out 5 ways to customize your Donation Page.)

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Fundraising Pages for Specific Campaigns. You can conduct any number of timed, special Fundraising Campaigns online with this tool, whether or not you’re using JustGive’s other services. Works well for capital campaigns, short fundraising drives to fill a program need, GivingTuesday campaigns, and more. Last year, JustGive improved the fundraising product to make it better and easier to use.

If you’re looking for planning tips, want to know best practices for fundraising efforts like emails, check out the JustGive Nonprofit Blog. Better yet, subscribe, and we’ll send an email every time a new one is posted. And for more news and insights, follow the latest from JustGive on LinkedIn.

Donor Database & Management

JustGive’s detailed Donation Reports are accessible 24/7 and track the complete donation activity for an organization. They’re easy-to-integrate into an existing CRM system, and downloadable in Excel, CSV, PDF or XML files. These updated-in-real-time reports supply information that helps you expand an organization or client’s database by capturing donor names, emails and mailing addresses. Here’s a Sample Report.

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Tip: You can mine these Donation Reports to better understand supporters and build stronger relationships. For example: When the reports show donors who consistently give for a specific program, you know what they’re most interested in. You can put this information to work for an organization by communicating more with them about that program, and considering other ways to engage them in it.

Measuring Fundraising Success

With JustGive’s Donation Reports, you have stats that quantify the results of your fundraising efforts for any organization or client.  Reports give you numbers that quantify outcomes: changes in the donor ranks and size of gifts, increases in monthly donors, and data about how engaged supporters were for a particular fundraising campaign.  So you can say: Here’s the proof!

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

Who receives the tax deduction for a company giving program?

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Featured FAQ:
Tax deductions for a company giving program

With JustGive’s platform and products, your company can run a variety of different giving campaigns to engage employees and customers. All helping you make an impact and meet your corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals.11746126673_99c795bc97_m

As a nonprofit organization, we take care of compliance and offer ways for you to easily conduct a charitable donation or disaster campaign or year-round giving program (matching optional) to inspire giving. We also can partner with you to process donations for an existing campaign. And then there’s our customizable charity gift cards which you can use to reward and thank employees and customers.

Now, when it comes to tax deductions…

Question
Who receives the tax deduction when a company runs a giving program with JustGive for employees or customers?

Answer
5734698907_2021017b24_mIn most cases, your company is eligible for a tax deduction for all donations made through a giving program powered by JustGive. This can depend on the program, though, so contact us for more information.

If your company purchases charity gift cards or claim codes to give to employees or customers, you receive the tax deduction. That deduction cannot be passed along to the recipient.

So giving programs benefit your company in several valuable ways:

4141454994_e86daae7cc_qTo keep up on all the latest philanthropy news and insights, Subscribe to our blog, and follow us on LinkedIn.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant