Year in Review: A Look Back at 2015

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Thanks to your giving and support, JustGive sent more than $30 million to charity in 2015!

Our charity gift cards continued to be popular in 2015, showing a 300%+ increase thanks in part to a much-improved process for companies and individuals to order gift cards in bulk through the JustGive website.

This year, we redesigned our Fundraisers product, making it easier to raise funds for charity through a nonprofit campaign or for a special occasion or cause, an upcoming wedding, or in memory of a loved one.

We also improved the Nonprofit Services section of our website to make it simpler for our member charities to use JustGive’s online donation tools to collect and track their donations.

And we’re proud to have helped our many partners by developing and supporting corporate giving programs as part of their social responsibility efforts.

Here’s a glimpse of our impact—and what we accomplished together— in 2015.

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We’re working hard in 2016 to do more good, and continue fulfilling our mission to make charitable giving a part of everyday life.

Thank you for giving!

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

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JustGive’s 15 Years of Philanthropy

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It’s JustGive’s 15-year anniversary! As the year of celebration starts, Founder Kendall Webb took time to talk about how JustGive got started, and reflect on accomplishments.

Q: You started JustGive as a nonprofit when others said it couldn’t be done.  Tell me about that.
Akendall: We started JustGive to create a single technology platform so all nonprofitssmall and large—could have equal access and outreach at a low cost. We thought it was important to operate as a nonprofit to maintain a single mission and build trust. But everyone in the Internet sector literally said we couldn’t do this because of the cost of technology. I didn’t want to “take the poor public” so I found a way. I got the community involved, asking for every kind of support. It was the early Internet days and we had a lot of companies who believed in us and helped by contributing their contacts, money and pro bono services. That made it less expensive for us to launch, and we got high quality services for free.

Q: How has JustGive kept going when it got tough and continued to make things happen?
A:
We’ve sustained ourselves during market crashes and are better suited to do this because we’re a nonprofit. We have more channels of support and capital that are not available to for-profit companies, and there’s no venture capital investment to overextend or distract us.

We’re not doing this for a quick expansion or to go public and make money. Our single goal and focus is to increase giving and we’re 100% guided by our mission.

Our founding team in 2000—Lynda Greenberg, Orla McKiernan, Claire Bowen, Kristin Kennedy, Kay Kirman, Doug Abrams, Kendall Webb, Kirsten Johnson, Jen Chapin

Our founding team in 2000—Lynda Greenberg, Orla McKiernan, Claire Bowen, Kristin Kennedy, Kay Kirman, Doug Abrams, Kendall Webb, Kirsten Johnson, Jen Chapin

Q: In the first five years, JustGive sent $37 million to charity. At 10 years, it was $130 million, and today, it’s more than $450 million. What are the driving forces behind growth?
A: Two key things. One: At first, individual donors were scared to give online. Over the years, they’ve become more comfortable with the Internet, know it’s safe and trust the process. It’s commonplace now and we’re a trusted brand in the sector.  Our products are not just a nice option for online giving—we make giving easier and provide something donors need.

Two: We’ve leveraged our growth through corporate partnerships that help us expand our products and connect with a much bigger audience. Companies are in a great position to offer charitable programs, extending our reach.

Q: Over the years, JustGive has launched a lot of new products, including charity fundraising registries, charity gift cards, rewards points for charity, and more. What new giving are you most proud of?
A: All new giving excites me, because it increases philanthropy.  But I’d have to say I’m most proud of charitable redemption points because it’s a big channel of fundraising that we identified, developed and operated before others did. Individuals and companies were accumulating huge volumes of rewards points, and CEOs felt torn about what to do with this build up of points. We gave them a solution. This got companies to think about their philanthropy more—outside of their foundations—and was a launching pad for corporate social responsibility. Redeeming rewards points for charity helped them connect philanthropy to their products and location, and give back in local communities. That kind of new giving shows JustGive’s uniqueness and creativity from start to finish—and our overall impact.

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JustGive’s 15 Year Timeline

Q: Did you envision JustGive would be what it is today?
A: We’re much bigger in scope than I thought we’d be. It’s been exciting to grow beyond direct, 1-person-to-1-charity donations (where we started) to fundraising, charity gifts, corporate giving and social responsibility programs. I’m thrilled to see how charity has penetrated into so many parts of life, and how multiple products are used in so many different ways!

Q: What other JustGive accomplishments are you proud of in the past 15 years?
A: I’m proud of all the unique channels of giving we’ve built. Like working with Monster.com to use $1 million of charity gift cards as a trade show giveaway. And expanding the definition of a benefit concert with The Dave Matthews Band by letting fans choose the charities to receive money.

2014 Year In Review

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I’m proud of the level of respect and integrity JustGive has built as a trusted leader for companies, nonprofits and donors. I know we’ve earned this through hard work and staying true to our mission.

And I’m incredibly proud of our longevity. Withstanding all the changes in the stock market (2 crashes and recession) and in the charitable market is amazing. It’s strengthened who we are.

I’m proud of our prominent national exposure—from TV mentions on PBS NewsHour and CBS News, to articles in the New York Times, USA Today, and Huffington Post.  Not to mention being recognized as one of the best of the web by Forbes.

I am most proud of our team. Their passion has fueled our growth, and the impact we’ve had on a limited budget is mind blowing. That’s because our team is creative and really believes in what we’re doing.

Q: What are the most important changes you’ve seen in philanthropy in the last 15 years?
A:

  1. The Internet has become a common channel for giving, and it’s given small organizations a louder voice.
  2. Young people are more involved in giving at a younger age. They consider philanthropy part of what they do, who they are, and what they expect from a company where they work.
  3. There’s been a huge increase in peer-to-peer giving, crowdfunding and the social side of giving.
  4. Corporate social responsibility has grown tremendously. Companies used to manage giving through their foundations, and philanthropy was about giving for branding reasons. Now it’s an important way to be good corporate citizens, and they’re becoming more proactive, with strong and directed giving.

Q: What would you like to see companies do to make more of a difference for philanthropy?
A:
I’d like to see more companies invest in the business value of charity – including it in their budget so it’s not funding they have to “find.” I’d also like to see them integrate charity into their large gift giving funds for holidays, incentives and loyalty rewards. And overall, to continue to be open minded and consider more creative ways to make charity an integral part of their business.

Q: Where are your personal hopes for JustGive in the years ahead?
A:
My hope is that JustGive continues to be a leading force for philanthropy, generating new pools of capital for the nonprofit sector.

Q: If there was one message you could get out in the world about charitable giving: What would that be?
philA:
Make giving a part of your everyday life. I’m not just talking about giving money, but about volunteering your time, and helping out in your community or doing something for someone in need. Giving isn’t isolated to a charity. It’s something we can all do every day with little moments of helping make things better for a person, a community, and ultimately the world. These small acts of kindness become contagious, spreading goodness that can make a difference.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

Johnson & Johnson’s Values Guide CSR

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In our household of three boys, Johnson & Johnson is a familiar brand. But what I didn’t know about the company—which may be best known for Band-Aids®, baby powder and Tylenol®—was that it practiced corporate social responsibility long before the term existed.

Caring for the world, one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. In 1943, the company adopted its credo of values that guides decision making and challenges everyone at the company to put the needs and well-being of the people they serve first.

JnJ-Our-Credo-700Crafted more than 62 years ago by Robert Wood Johnson, the son of the founder, the credo is more than a moral compass . . . it’s “a visionary statement of corporate purpose” and the reason Johnson & Johnson has become the largest and most diversified health care company in the world.

In the past two years, Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to social responsibility has placed it among the top three of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens (a list compiled by Corporate Responsibility Magazine). And just this week, CEO Alex Gorsky received The Appeal of Conscience Award as a corporate ­­leader who by “deed and action has advanced human dignity and social justice.”

One simple but powerful idea in the company credo states, “We are responsible to the communities in which employees live and work, and to the world community as well. We must be good citizens—support good works and charities….”

Tradition of Philanthropy

Johnson & Johnson’s record of giving goes back to the early 1900s. Within hours of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the company gave the largest amount of help received from any organization, establishing its tradition of disaster giving and community philanthropy.

Tout-Full-Our-Giving_0Making the world a healthier place is at the heart of company philanthropy, focused in three strategic areas:

  • Saving and improving the lives of women and children
  • Preventing disease in vulnerable populations
  • Strengthening the healthcare workforce

Their approach? Work with partners to deliver community-based solutions.

One example of a successful partnership is Safe Kids Worldwide. For more than 27 years, Johnson & Johnson has been a part of the global organization dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries. Safe-Kids-1000x666Through a network of more than 500 U.S. coalitions and partnerships with organizations in 25 countries, Safe Kids reduces injuries and deaths from motor vehicles, sports, drowning, falls, burns, poisonings and other activities. By 2008, this campaign had helped reduce the death rate for U.S. children aged 14 and younger by 45%.

In 2014, Johnson & Johnson’s philanthropy totaled nearly $172 million for organizations around the world, including $14.5 million through its Matching Gifts program (the company double-matched employee contributions last year).

It’s important for the company to evaluate the results of philanthropy, so they’ve set a sustainability goal to increase the number of programs measuring health-related outcomes. 2015 progress: 90 percent of Johnson & Johnson’s 230 philanthropy programs now monitor and report health-related outcomes.

Citizenship & Sustainability Efforts

Theirs is a long and involved history of citizenship and sustainability that this blog can’t really capture. But whether researching and developing new treatments for disease or working to reduce its environmental footprint, Johnson & Johnson conducts business in a responsible way. Most recent efforts include:

OurGiving-Pillar3-thumbnailAdvancing Human Health and Well-Being. In 2014, in response to the Ebola crisis, the company collaborated with the global health community to accelerate and expand production of the Ebola vaccine—to get it to families and health care professionals as quickly as possible.


Leading a Dynamic & Growing Business Responsibly
. 2015 is the first time Johnson & Johnson has established social goals as part of the company’s overall strategy. Energy-Use-Reduction-Efforts-300x200Its Healthy Future 2015 sustainability goals range from environmental sustainability and enhanced supply chain stewardship to greater transparency and commitments to address diseases in the developing world.

We’re not all leading global companies like Johnson & Johnson with a 129-year business history and enough resources to tackle world problems. But every business can examine its values and consider how to make a difference with philanthropy.  Inspired to get started? Contact us today—we can help.

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

IMAGE SOURCE: All images via http://www.jnj.com

A Mother’s Pride: A Daughter’s Giving

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Kids are amazing. They notice everything. They question everything. They are curious.

My daughter J’Nyah is 7. Since she was born, I’ve been amazed as how quickly she learns things. When she was a baby, it was learning to hold her head, smile, or sit up.  As a toddler–crawling, walking, running. It felt like she went from speaking gibberish to full sentences in the blink of an eye.

One of the best things about your child growing up is getting to know them as a person.

Her caring, giving spirit started young

J’Nyah has always been very independent and a leader. The first time I realized what kind of person she was growing into, I was so proud. At 2 years old, on her first day of preschool, we walked in, met the teachers, and she saw  other kids she knew from the neighborhood and local parks. They all went right to playing.  My little girl was very interested in the “house” area and started playing with the dolls.

My DaughterThere was one little girl who wouldn’t let go of her mother and was crying, out of control. J’Nyah asked me, “Mama, why is that girl so sad?” I said she was probably scared because it was her first time in a new place and she didn’t know anyone. J’Nyah picked up an extra doll, took it to the girl and started playing with her. Before I knew it, the two girls were giggling. The other grateful mother gave her little girl a kiss and we slipped out. The girls are friends to this day.

This happened again on the first day of kindergarten and first grade. J’Nyah is always ready to help someone having a hard time and make them feel better. Knowing that she isn’t using her strong personality to bully people and instead, to include and take care of them, makes me proud every day.

One day while walking downtown, we saw a number of homeless people panhandling and sleeping. My curious 4-year-old was staring at people as we passed. I didn’t want people to feel uncomfortable, but I also didn’t want her to ignore them.

As we went into the subway station, her questions started, “Why are those people there? Why are they asking for money? Why do they have a dog? Why are their kids with them?” I explained they probably didn’t have homes or jobs so they ask for money to get food and things they need. J’Nyah thought about this a lot, especially the kids that might not have a house or food. And she decided that she wants to help them.

At age 5, she started raising money

jnyah_five_s_256_254Since I work for JustGive, making giving a part of everyday life is always on my mind. So when J’Nyah decided she wanted to raise money for the homeless for her 5th birthday instead of getting gifts for herself, I was SUPER glad to we offer the tools to make that happen.  I’ll admit that I planted the thought to raise money, but since the idea to help others was already there, she agreed right away.

At 5 years old, she raised $376 for a local organization, BOSS: Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficency, which provides resources and housing for homeless families. And the idea stuck with her.  She remembers.

When she was turning 6, they were studying seals and sea lions in school, and J’Nyah heard her teacher say the pups are often abandoned. So she asked, “Can we help save the seals and sea lions this year for my birthday?” I was very proud she wanted to do it again, and together, we looked online for the charities rescuing marine life.  We were lucky to find local organizations, the Marine Mammal Center (which we could visit too!) and Save the Bay.

jnyahsmile_s_259_275While we were looking at these charities, she saw an ad for the ASPCA with an abused dog on it. She was very sad to hear that other animals are homeless and added East Bay SPCA so she could help them too. That year she raised $735 for the 3 charities.

When she was getting ready to turn 7, I wondered what we would do to celebrate. She was going to a lot more birthday parties this year and talking about elaborate plans for her party. As we were planning her party, she surprised me and asked, “Who are we going to help this year for my birthday?”

We talked through her many ideas, and since dolphins are her favorite animal right now, she decided to help them. This year she raised $830 for Blue Voice, The Dolphin Project via Earth Island Institute, and Wild Dolphin Project.

Her giving example

jnyah7_s_259_259This Mother’s Day, I am so proud to have a child that wants to help others every day. I’m glad we’re talking about issues in the world and figuring out that making things better is something we can do together.  I know J’Nyah will grow up to make a profound impact in the world.

If we all had her giving spirit, can you imagine the good we could do in the world?

-Julia Hughes
Product Manager

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

 

 

Five Charitable Causes That Need More Help During the Holidays

image source: flickr

image source: flickr

During the winter months, charities need extra assistance as they work with the challenges of cold weather and the holidays. These five causes need additional help right now, and can do more with your donations of supplies and money.

1. Children

Low-income and foster kids have an especially hard time during the holiday season, when a lack of money can mean no Thanksgiving or holiday meals, and no toys under the tree.

How you can help

2. Animals

This time of year, many animal shelters are overrun with animals, and, cold weather means they face even more challenges. .

How you can help

3. Hunger

In a season that revolves around food, charities that help the hungry are stretched to fill food packages and supply meals.

How you can help

4. Homelessness

The homeless need extra care during the freezing-cold winter months. Help them stay warm and provide the basic necessities.

How you can help

5. Disaster Recovery

Many victims of recent natural disasters lost all their possessions and may have no place to live during a time of year that should bring comfort and joy. Give them a reason to smile this season by helping them recover.

How you can help

Donating supplies may seem like a great idea, but an influx of tangible items is often difficult to handle and to deliver after a disaster, when systems are overtaxed. Donating money is a better choice and allows nonprofits working in the area to provide what survivors need most—even sourcing items locally that can help rebuild their economy.

Donate money to help survivors recover from:

This holiday season, put your money in the hands of the charities making a difference for these pressing causes. That creates a happy holiday for you and for those in need.

Volunteering Makes the World Go Round: How to Help

Working at JustGive, I am exposed to hundreds of people who donate money to worthy causes, and to the nonprofits working for those causes. On a daily basis, this really renews my faith in humanity, and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. People are amazing!

We offer our services to so many incredible charities, and learning about the great work they do is inspiring. Many of them rely completely on volunteer hours, and have few or no paid employees.

Did you know that more than one of every four Americans volunteers? Combined, we volunteer 7.85 billion hours per year. If you’re looking for a way to add meaning to your life or make a difference in the world around you, volunteering is a great choice.

Where To Begin

First, research the causes that are most important to you. Look for a group that works with issues about which you feel strongly. When you feel passionate about a cause, working for free doesn’t feel like work at all.

Consider the skills you have to offer, or skills you’d like to develop. Many positions require a volunteer who has experience with certain equipment, such as computers, or who possesses certain skills, such as an ability in athletics or communications. However, volunteering is a great chance to develop abilities in areas you might not have tried before. Seek out a volunteer opportunity where you’ll learn something new.

Before you start, make sure the volunteer hours you want to give fit into your hectic life, so you don’t frustrate your family, exhaust yourself, shortchange the organization you’re trying to help or neglect your job. It’s better to start out slowly than to commit yourself to a schedule you can’t fulfill.

Volunteer Locally

The most common places you may think about volunteering,  are soup kitchens or animal shelters. Those are great places. In fact, we have a whole list of ways you can help your local community on our website. But donating your time to the first place that crosses your mind isn’t the only way to give back—in fact, there are a lot of places that might need a helping hand specifically because no one thinks to volunteer there. For example, consider:

  • day care centers
  • Neighborhood Watch
  • public schools and colleges
  • halfway houses
  • community theaters
  • drug rehabilitation centers
  • fraternal organizations and civic clubs
  • retirement centers and homes for the elderly
  • Meals on Wheels
  • animal shelters and sanctuaries
  • church or community-sponsored soup kitchens or food pantries
  • museums, art galleries, and monuments
  • community choirs, bands and orchestras
  • prisons
  • neighborhood parks
  • youth organizations, sports teams, and after-school programs
  • shelters for battered women and children
  • historical restorations, battlefields and national parks


You can also easily find volunteer opportunities on the Internet. Sites like VolunteerMatch allow you to search for nonprofit organizations in your area that are looking for people with specific skills. If you’re a member of AARP, sign up for to receive their Create The Good newsletter and check their site for volunteering ideas and information. And if you missed it, check out our blog post, 20 Great Ways to Give Locally.

Give Your Digital Skills

We now live in a digital age, where an organization’s website is often the first impression it makes. A good website can go a long way! Many charities don’t have the resources to dedicate to creating a social media presence, either, which is vital for connecting with potential supporters.

If you are good with computers, you can help a lot by donating web design skills, graphic design, illustration (infographics anyone?!), SEO, social media, or copywriting services. For more information about volunteering your digital services, check out this post from Six Revisions. And find charities that need your services through websites like Grassroots or Taproot.

As an illustrator, I donated my services to design invitations for an animal rescue’s fundraisers. It was fun, I met a lot of amazing people, and I helped a lot of wonderful animals. I highly recommend it!

To the millions of you who volunteer and give, thank you. You inspire me, and you help change the world.

Where do you volunteer? We’d love to hear your advice and experiences—comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook!

—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager

Three Ways to Help the Hungry in Your Community

This time of year, most of us are getting ready to sit down to a Thanksgiving feast with our family and friends. We’re ready to stuff ourselves silly with second and third helpings of a delicious meal, and enjoy the warmth of a toasty fireplace (or, in my case, a space heater).

Unfortunately, not everyone is as blessed. In these tough economic times, 1 in 7 American households can’t afford dinner each night. Hunger is a growing issue for every city and in every community in America—in fact, one of the families in need could be your neighbor.

I just took out my holiday decorations, and am planning to get a tree this weekend. But as I prepare my own home for the holiday season, I’m also aware of the people in my community who need help. I know that it’s not always easy to know where to start and how to help, so I’ve done a bit of research.

Here are three ways I’ve found to help the hungry:

1) Donate to a food drive

Right around Thanksgiving, grocery stores, apartment complexes and retail chains begin to organize food drives where you can donate your canned foods. Can’t find one? Consider organizing one yourself! Find your local food bank and ask what items they need most. This guide will help you organize.

2) Volunteer at a local soup kitchen

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Feel like getting hands-on? Volunteer with a local organization helping feed the hungry. Not sure where to begin? With a website like Volunteer Match you can find nonprofits in your area working to end hunger—just search by zip code and the keyword “hunger.” (Many of these charities would be happy to have even a few hours of your help with their Thanksgiving meal, and you’d still have plenty of time for your own family time.)

3) Donate to your local food bank.

A food bank receives food donations and distributes them to those in need. JustGive makes it easy to find your local food bank and make a monetary donation. Just use our convenient search tool—plug in your zip code and keywords “food bank.”

Donate to a Food Bank

 

I hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful, and will consider helping the hungry in your own backyard this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

—Sara Olsher, Marketing Manager