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Changing the journalistic climate: What role does philanthropy play in reporting news? | The Guardian, 21 aug 2019
Does lived or learnt experience matter in social enterprise? | Pioneers Post, 21 aug 2019
Reduce Your Tax Bill, Help A Charity, And Get Income For Life | Forbes, 20 aug 2019
Fidelity Charitable Study Reveals How Geography Affects Donor Giving, Highlights Differences | Business Wire, 20 aug 2019
How To Implement Corporate Philanthropy | Thrive Global, 20 aug 2019
Nonprofits Face Collateral Damage from Sometimes Unsavory Benefactors | Nonprofit Quarterly, 20 aug 2019
Benefits Outside the Box: Using a Charitable Foundation to Enhance Your Culture and Community | The National Law Review, 19 aug 2019
How Corporate Leaders Can Align Their Values And Maximize Impact On A Nonprofit Board | Forbes, 19 aug 2019
India Inc's expenditure on CSR activities still isn't enough | The Hindu, 18 aug 2019
OPINION: Where Social Entrepreneurship Meets Public Education | Pagosa Daily Post, 16 aug 2019
Finance & Fundraising
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jul 2019
Experts' views are divided on how non-profit hospitals benefit communities. In US, non-profit hospitals received tax-benefits valued at over US$ 24 billion annually in 2011. In exchange for tax exemptions these hospitals provide 'community benefits' like free and subsidized care, investments in public health, community-based health initiatives intended to address the social determinants of health, such as food or housing insecurity. But, many observers argue that hospitals avoid making sustained community investments in favor of counting millions of dollars of 'discounts' to low-income patients as community benefits while aggressively pursuing unpaid bills. Krisda Chaiyachati and Rachel Werner, Senior Fellows at LDI University of Pennsylvania, have recently written two research to add information to this debate. They provide detailed estimates of how much hospitals spend on different types of community benefits, whether community benefits are matched to local need, and what effects community benefits have on health outcomes. Mr. Chaiyachati and Ms. Werner analyzed IRS tax data from over 1600 non-profit hospitals. By law, hospitals report total spending on community benefits, broken out by health care-related spending (e.g. free care), community-directed spending (e.g. anti-smoking initiatives or funds for local community organizations), and research and educational activities. To standardize comparisons, the authors measured all spending as shares of total hospital expenditures. Researchers find out that hospitals still rely on discounted charity care to meet community benefits requirements. In 2014, non-profit hospitals reported that they spent an average of 8.1% (US$ 17 million) of their total expenditures on community benefits, more than 80% of which was health care-related. On average, 6.7% (US$ 11 million) of expenditures were on health care services, compared to 0.7% (US$ 1.2 million) for community-directed contributions. The remainder of community benefits were on educational and research initiatives. The results are disappointing in light of a second study from Ms. Werner and Mr. Chaiyachati, which suggests that community-directed spending could improve health outcomes, specifically, 30-day readmission rates. Readmissions rates are a useful measure of health care quality-capturing in-hospital care, discharge planning, and follow-up. Since the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have been financially penalized for high readmission rates. The evidence from research suggests that increased investment in the social determinants of health, rather than simply writing off free care, has a significant impact on measurable health outcomes. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jun 2019
Technology is enabling charitable and philanthropic organizations to perform better in many ways - (1) Donations have just become a click away with expanded reach through online financial payment systems. Moreover, online transactions provide anonymity to donors who prefer it. (2) Crowdfunding has become a great tool to gather funds from all kind of donors, big or small, for the causes that one suppports. Crowdfunding websites are convenient to use and make it easy to reach out to prospective donors. (3) Technology has brought transparency and accountability. Donors are now more aware about how their contributions are utilized. Moreover, financial management tools provide charity organizations ways to efficiently and effectively track their funds. (4) Social media has proven to be effective to spread a charitable cause and seek support. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 feb 2019
According to the most recent 'State of the Nonprofit Cloud Report' by NTEN and Microsoft, cloud technology has become routine enough that many organizations have adopted new services during the past year or are considering adding new services. Three of four respondents indicated current use of cloud services for at least three purposes. The average number of services used is about six. Nonprofits are using cloud not just to store data, but in many other ways. Emily Dalton, VP of product management at Omatic Software, says, 'The thing that people are abuzz about is AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and how can we take all the data being generated and harness that into intelligence. It's applying more of the science of fundraising...There are patterns and insights that could be found in the data, pointing to a segment that's ripe for a major giving ask. Having your database and CRM system in the cloud, allows fundraisers to do some pretty incredible stuff. They have access to all their donor data in real time when going to a meeting or on a road trip. Instead of setting up a meeting with a donor, running a report and printing out a donor profile to bring along, fundraiser instead walks into a meeting with the most relevant data possible. They access it quicker and it's not duplicated because the cloud is faster.' Nathan Chappell, CFRE, SVP philanthropy at City of Hope, says, 'We send fundraisers to lunch with people we know have wealth...The data can help determine how best to deploy the workforce in the best way possible...We're very diligent about testing models...The starting point for any nonprofit, even a small one, is ensuring they're capturing all the data possible. The model will be only as good as the quality and consistency of data.' Rodney M. Grabowski, CFRE, VP for university advancement at the University of Buffalo, says, 'In reality, I've been using forms of AI throughout my entire career. Twenty years ago we were calling it data analytics, then machine learning, now it's AI.' Steve MacLaughlin, VP of data and analytics at Blackbaud, says, 'The technology is largely invisible. If your organization is taking online donations, then you're using the cloud. There's no way to take donations without using some cloud. For fundraising and donor management, a larger percentage of nonprofits are using the cloud than not...We're well past the tipping point. Now, it's going to be about what happens next, how does the cloud enable more effectiveness.' Eric Okimoto, COO at boodleAI, says, 'AI and cloud computing are buzz words. But at the end of the day, cloud computing is just the ability to rent capabilities rather than spend heavily on capital, people and security.' Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN, says, 'Fundraisers can benefit from the same elements of efficiency and access as program or communications staff...Let the robots do the work to tell you that someone just made a donation...instead of running a report to check. Nonprofits still must use the cloud in whatever way makes strategic sense for them...What's likely to become more of an issue this year and beyond is data access, security and privacy. It's going to happen anyhow but things like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and data breaches accelerate it...What nonprofits value about cloud tools is that staff can access data and systems to do their jobs from wherever, but security is important when they evaluate such tools. When we talk to nonprofits about security, it's usually an amorphous, shadowy fear. It's not a specific security concern...Often, it's probably safer to work with a cloud vendor or partner on security than for a nonprofit to try to maintain that security on its own.' Read on...
The NonProfit Times:
Cloud Is Raining Data, Flooding Fundraising With Information
Author: Mark Hrywna
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 dec 2018
Prof. Dean Karlan of Northwestern University does evidence-based research to evaluate what works and what doesn't when it comes to helping lift people out of poverty. He is the founder of the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action and advises donors and institutions on the best use of their charitable dollars. Prof. Karlan says, '...in 2002 I started a nonprofit out of my living room, dedicated to creating high-quality randomized evaluations of global anti-poverty programs. Today, Innovations for Poverty Action has a US$ 42 million budget, most of which goes directly into research. We're now in 22 countries, but we've worked in 52 countries. We have some 500 permanent staff and have done almost 800 randomized evaluations of anti-poverty programs and initiatives. We apply rigorous economic theories and research to evaluating which global anti-poverty initiatives are working.' He suggests following tips to evaluate whether your charitable dollars are being used effectively: (1) Don't evaluate a charity based on its overhead. (2) Don't be swayed by marketing materials with moving heart-wrenching photographs. (3) Look for evidence of impact. (4) If you are wondering where your money will have the most impact, it's likely in poorer, developing countries. (5) Don't be afraid to give to large organizations. (6) Email the charity for evidence of cost effectiveness. (7) Consider giving to meta-charities. Read on...
It's the Season of Giving. How to Choose Charities Wisely
Author: Andrea Guthmann
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2018
Recent passing away of Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen (b.21 jan 1953 - d.15 oct 2018) brings to the forefront his contributions, not only to technology and entrepreneurship, but also to education, arts, culture etc as part of his philanthropy. After leaving Microsoft's management in 1983, his philanthropic activities focused on the city of Seattle (US), his hometown. He endowed a separate school for computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. His investments in Seattle's South Lake Union locality has recast the city as an increasingly popular destination for young technologists. Some of his cherished contributions to the city's scene and skyline include artistic and athletic monuments to which he devoted a substantial portion of his wealth. He commissioned Frank Gehry to design a pop-culture museum. He also developed a children's center at the Seattle Public Library, funded an off-campus studio for the beloved public-radio station KEXP, and established a military-history museum outside the city. He was an ardent advocate of environmental protection, computational bioscience, and space exploration, donating millions of dollars to regional nonprofits. He invested in sports and acquired Seattle Seahawks at the time the team was planning to leave the city. In his memoir, 'Idea Man' (2011), responding to criticism that his philanthropy lacked focus, he wrote, 'At times, I cast my net too widely. But my choice of ventures wasn't arbitrary.' In 2000, the chairman of the architecture department at the University of Washington likened him to a modern Medici (an influential banking and political family of Florence, Italy). His contributions to entrepreneurship and technology are public knowledge. He recounted in his memoir regarding the initial mission of his venture with Bill Gates was, 'A computer on every desk and in every home.' Mr. Gates recently wrote, 'Paul foresaw that computers would change the world.' He influenced the technological innovations like point-and-click computing, word processing, and multi-button mouse. Mr. Allen attributed his entrepreneurial ambition and imagination to a wide-ranging autodidacticism and a natural passion for art and literature. Even though a technologist and part of a cut-throat and highly competitive industry, he understood that the products he designed were complements to preexisting lives, all of them rich and varied. He wrote in his memoir, 'That's a core element of my management philosophy. Find the best people and give them room to operate, as long as they can accept my periodic high-intensity kibitzing.' Read on...
The New Yorker:
The Rare Humanism Behind Paul Allen's Technological Vision
Author: Eren Orbey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 oct 2018
Indian corporates that fulfil the conditions of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 relating to mandatory spending of 2% of last 3 years average profit on CSR are making a difference in vulnerable communities in India. According to the latest India CSR Outlook Report published by NGOBOX, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, Wipro, Tata Steel, NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation & ONGC spent more than their prescribed CSR budgets in FY 2017-18. The report analyzed CSR spends of 359 companies. The prescribed CSR budget of these 359 companies was Rs 9543.51 crore whereas the actual CSR spend was Rs 8875.93 crore (3/4th of total CSR spend in India). There is an increase in the prescribed CSR from 6% to 8% in the actual CSR spend from FY 16-17 and the number of projects have also increased by 25% from the previous year. REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat together received over 1/4th of India's total CSR fund. North-eastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have received least funds; Public sector contribution is over 1/4th of the total; Oil, refinery and petrochemicals account for alsmost 1/4th of the total while healthcare and pharma contributes the least with just Rs 294 crore; CSR funding on education and skill increased by 50% from last year and is 1/3rd of the total CSR spend; Over 1/4th is spend on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and healthcare projects. Read on...
Corporates spend 50% CSR funds in education, skill development: Report
Author: Sonal Khetarpal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 sep 2018
According to the 2011 research study published in The American Journal of Medicine, 'Success in Grateful Patient Philanthropy: Insights from Experienced Physicians' (Authors: Rosalyn Stewart, Leah Wolfe, John Flynn, Joseph Carrese, Scott M. Wright - Johns Hopkins University), 'Facing challenging economic conditions, medical schools and teaching hospitals have turned increasingly to philanthropy as a way to supplement declining clinical revenues and reduced research budgets. One approach to offset these diminished returns is to commit efforts to 'grateful patient' programs that concentrate on satisfying patients and their families, especially families with significant assets. Support from grateful patients is the single most important source for substantive philanthropic gifts in medicine.' According to the latest 2018 research published in the Journal of American Medicine, 'Navigating the Ethical Boundaries of Grateful Patient Fundraising' (Authors: Megan E. Collins, Steven A. Rum, Jeremy Sugarman - Johns Hopkins University), 'Health care institutions in the United States receive more than US$ 10 billion annually in charitable gifts. These gifts, often from grateful patients, benefit physicians, institutions, and other patients through the expansion of clinical and research activities, community-based programs, and educational initiatives.' The topic of 'grateful patient philanthropy' raises some ethical issues in patient-physician relationship. There is general agreement that donation related interaction with patients shouldn't happen during the course of their treatment and should be discussed once patients have fully recovered from their medical condition. The study finds that although physicians consider fundraising as their duty but find it difficult to have a conversation with their patients regarding donations. Read on...
Grateful Patient Philanthropy? Some Fundraising Ethics Shouldn't Need to Be Taught
Author: Ruth McCambridge
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2018
Considering the large number of competing nonprofits in a big town with their limited budgets, it's always challenging for them to reach out and attract donors and manage fundraising effectively. There are more than 2300 nonprofits operating in Philadelphia (USA). According to a research report 'The Financial Health of Philadelphia Area Nonprofits', funded by The Philadelphia Foundation, more than 40% of the nonprofits in the area are working at a loss, operate on margins of zero or less and fewer can be considered financially strong. With more than half the nonprofits operating on slim-to-none budget with limited support staff, fundraising is a challnging task. But Drexel University professor, Neville Vakharia, created an online tool, ImpactView Philadelphia, that uses publicly available data on nonprofit organizations from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in combination with the most recent American Community Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau to present an easy-to-access snapshot of Philadelphia's nonprofit ecosystem. The tool intends to help nonprofits streamline their fundraising process. It makes information about nonprofit organizations, and the communities they're striving to help, more accessible to likeminded charities and the philanthropic organizations that seek to fund them. Prof. Neville says, 'Through the location intelligence visualizer, users can immediately find areas of need and potential collaborators. The data are automatically visualized and mapped on-screen, identifying, for example, pockets of high poverty with large populations of children as well as the nonprofit service providers in these areas. Making this data accessible for nonprofits will cut down on time spent seeking information and improve the ability to make data-informed decisions, while also helping with case making and grant applications.' Since the tool is open-source it can be easily replicated in other cities. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 mar 2018
Corporates often fund nonprofits to fulfil their commitments and responsibilities to the communities they operate in, and also to enhance their brand value and achieve a positive public relations. But, since the funds are limited and there are number of competiting nonprofits, corporates seek best value and return on their giving and investments. Nonprofits have to find ways to differentiate themselves and give an attractive proposition as part of their corporate fundraising effort whether they are considering cause sponsorship, 'pin-up' or point-of-purchase campaigns, corporate volunteering/employee engagement or cause marketing. Chris Baylis, president and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective in Ottawa (Canada), suggests ways to consider for successful corporate fundraising - (1) Corporate partnerships are not just philanthropy. Think beyond the good cause, clearly define your audience and understand the value of your brand. Determine the interest and buying power of your audience. (2) Use your cause to attract (and define) your audience and your audience to define and attract prospects. Use the cause as a valuable link to connect your audience and prospects. (3) Make your value known to the prospects and list every single asset you have to offer. Estimate the cost of similar exposure and services that prospects can avail elsewhere. Understand the value of your audience. (4) Logo placement, although more visible to the public, is just a small component of cause partnership. Think more of real value and outcomes. (5) Share fulfillment report with your partners and how it is tied to their goals. It explains the value they got in return, satisfies internal decision makers, helps in renewal of contract and build long-term partnerships. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 feb 2018
Charity requires commitment through time and money. But in the new world of technology there can be ways in which effortless charity has become a possibility. Here are few options that can be explored - (1) Amazon Smile: Buying through smile.amazon.com automatically contributes 0.5% of every eligible purchased made to a charity of choice. (2) Altruisto: A Chrome extension that works with over 1000 partner stores to make charitable donations from a portion of your purchases. Currently, the donations are distributed between three charities, Against Malaria Foundation, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and Give Directly. (3) Charity Miles: An app that converts activities into charitable donations. It logs miles, transforms them into money and donates to valuable causes. (4) CheckPoints: A rewards app that provides points when one engages in various activities like scanning barcodes, watching videos, taking surveys etc. The points collected can be redeemed and made into charitable donations. (5) Donate a Photo: A free app through which every photo submitted, limited to one per day, transforms into one dollar by Johnson & Johnson that can be donated to a cause or charity of your choice. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 nov 2017
Nonprofits have big ideas for social good but limited resources to accomplish them. Nonprofit-corporate partnerships can be a solution to match the vision and commitment of nonprofits with the resources and practices of corporates for making a better world. According to Danielle Silber, director of strategic partnerships at American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 'Whether it's tackling the Muslim ban or protecting green spaces, nonprofits have products and services that many companies realize they need to create a healthy business environment, and to contribute to a world their stakeholders - employees, investors and customers - want to live in.' Jessica Scadron, founder of Social Harmony, explains ways to make nonprofit-corporate partnerships successful - (1) A Shared Vision: Although companies and nonprofits have different reasons for partnering, both should agree on the partnership's purpose and outcomes. (2) Define the Partnership: Make sure each organization knows who is responsible for what, how decisions will be made, and which organization will lead the project; Appoint individuals to fulfil commitments; Cheryl Damian, SVP of Ketchum Social Purpose, says, 'Partnership terms are negotiated like any other contract. Not only does it drive accountability, it provides a clear understanding of roles and expectations...' (3) Monitor and Evaluate: Measure progress and figure out how to align metrics with disparate entities; Measurement is critical to the success of the project in order to quickly build on what works, learn from what doesn't, and keep momentum. (4) Communicate: Open dialogue will strengthen your collaboration and lead to better outcomes; Establish processes for communicating with your partner, and your internal team; Create a project work plan, schedule weekly check-in calls, and use technology to communicate. (5) Flexibility: Organizations have their own culture and they evolve and grow, and so do partnerships. Be flexibile and accomodating in approach and resolve conflicts with patience and understanding. Read on...
5 Ingredients to Make Your Nonprofit-Corporate Partnership Succeed
Author: Jessica Scadron
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2017
Data can be gold for those who can mine and transform it into a valuable form. Mastercard is giving a new meaning to it and evolving a concept of 'data philanthropy.' Shamina Singh, president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, explains the idea of data philanthropy and how data can be utilized for social good and social impact. She says, 'The initiative first came up through a partnership with DataKind in the United States. They were set up to galvanize data scientists from around the world and plug them into social impact work. And so a number of our Mastercard data scientists signed up to DataKind programs, and this gave us the opportunity to form a much more lasting and strategic partnership between the organizations. It opened a new conversation about data for good, what it could look like, and who was doing what in this space. It was also around this time that we had the United Nations opening up to data and data initiatives, and companies like Microsoft thinking about data for good.' Explaining some of the elements of data philanthropy Mastercard is focused on, she says, 'One is working with actual Mastercard data and trying to figure out if there are uses with anonymized and aggregated data that will not only respect the rules of the road around privacy, but can be used for research. We first opened our data for use by Harvard University, who approached us with a proposal to use the data to understand how economies grow, with a specific focus on tourism data and understanding how tourism dollars move in a country. Using Mastercard transaction data, we were able to provide new insights into this area...The other area of data philanthropy is around data analytics. What we have found is that many social impact organizations or NGOs do not need Mastercard data at all. Instead, they need to understand their own data, but often don't have the capacity or resources to help themselves. In those instances, we provide either a grant to hire a data scientist, fund an expert consultant, or provide our own data scientists to build their capacity and ability to learn. The inspiration for this element of data philanthropy came from our work with an organization called DoSomething...' Providing information on how Mastercard data scientists are internally looking for insights, she says, 'We started something called the charitable donations insight, and that is something that one of our colleagues is doing where she is using Mastercard data and drawing insights to help nonprofits understand charitable giving. We asked what a spending poll would look like for not-for-profits and social impact organizations, and insights is the first attempt at that...What she realized is that a lot of the not-for-profits have to raise their own funds, but there is not a lot of science behind potentially where and how they should be doing this. So she thought if she could unlock some of the data around the charitable contributions that we know of, she could offer insights to assist them. The other thing we did, which was very interesting, was we created a dataset that organizations could pull down if they want to, and mix it with your own data to self-regulate your own work.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 aug 2017
Rapid pace of innovation is the defining feature of the current era. According to the World Economic Forum, 'The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent.' Financing industry now have innovative lending platforms, both for-profit and nonprofit, for small businesses. But there are concerns regarding many products as they may trap small businesses in a cycle of debt. Gina Harman, CEO (U.S. Network, Accion), explains the challenges that nonprofit lenders face due to rapid innovation happening in the industry and shares insights from the conversation between industry experts - Kate Mirkin (Salesforce.org, Salesforce's nonprofit social enterprise); Prashant Reddy (DemystData); Patrick Davis (CRF, Community Reinvestment Fund); Shaolee Sen (Accion). Myth 1 - The only barrier to scale is the absence of technology: Technology investments get wasted if there are no capable people to deploy it internally and manage the necessary changes in business processes. Challenges are even more when multiple organizations are involved in the project. Establishing and maintaining discipline is essential. Right technology with right data is required to maximize its utility. Myth 2 - For nonprofit organizations, passion to serve more people outweighs fear of change: Nonprofits must overcome lack of investment in talent, knowledge and resources required to drive technological innovation. Nonprofit organizations in business lending industry must consider change necessary to better serve their stakeholders. Collaborative approach to manage technological change must be adopted between the organization and the key stakeholders. Myth 3 - Only organizations with large technology budgets can innovate: Small investments in incremental improvements can add real value to organizations. Even effective data utilization can bring transformative changes at low cost. Within the social impact and mission-driven space, an approach with shared purpose and collective interests can help organizations collaborate and pool resources to implement and utilize costly technological innovations to provide value to the group. Read on...
3 Innovation Myths that Nonprofit Lenders Should Abandon
Author: Gina Harman
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2017
2017 'Consumer Email Habits Report: What Do Your Customers Really Want', a study of 1003 online respondents commissioned by Campaign Monitor and conducted by Market Cube, finds that nonprofit email marketers are lagging behind peers, and the preferences of constituencies, in their ability to provide personalized, relevant messaging. 81% of consumers in the report want touches of personalization in emails they receive from nonprofits. In terms of relevancy of emails to supporters and potential supporters, nonprofits lag behind substantially with only 42% respondents stating that they regularly receive relevant emails. Andrea Wildt, chief marketing officer for Campaign Monitor, says, 'Email personalization can be based on either personal demographics or behavior - how an individual is interacting with an organization...personally relevant emails resonate better with recipients - building a trust that is sometimes hard to foster when recipients are bombarded with so many contacts from so many senders.' According to Ms. Wildt, 'Nonprofits struggle to provide personally relevant emails due to overall lack of ability to capture data and use that data to segment. Resources available to nonprofits are often far more modest than those of retailers.' Further complicating matters for nonprofits is the disparate ways various age groups interact with emailed material. Ms. Wildt suggests, 'Nonprofits must take a multi-pronged approach to marketing (using different tactics/strategies/technologies to target specific age groups)...They are just not quite as mature at leveraging some of the technology. There is so much noise that nonprofits really need help cutting through. The competition for donors' wallets is still fierce.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 apr 2017
Sometimes a simple idea or a message can provide a direction and approach that leads to great long-lasting results. Same happened with Alan McCormick, a partner with a Dubai-based investment firm Legatum, when he was seeking investment ideas for philanthropic funding. He came across a simple message from Alan Fenwick, professor of tropical parasitology at Imperial College London - 'For a fraction of the amount being donated to treat HIV and other potentially fatal infectious diseases, the annual distribution of basic existing drugs to schoolchildren could help prevent widespread infection by a parasite that causes stunting of growth and malnourishment, and limits access to education - with life-long consequences.' The quote inspired Mr. McCormick and his firm to fund pilot programs in Africa to tackle neglected tropical diseases and finally create their own health-focused funding vehicle, The End Fund, with a small staff to co-ordinate and support programs. The programs have provided impressive return on investment and inspired others searching for ways to donate for maximum impact. According to Mr. McCormick, 'It's relatively tough giving away money and doing it well...Ideas need champions, so you need to create an organization...The End Fund model is about the ability to have people come together and collaborate, and bring their expertise.' Read on...
The Financial Times:
Philanthropy - The search for the best way to give
Author: Andrew Jack
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2017
In recent years, more than 50 countries have increased their restrictions on foreign aid to non-government organizations (NGOs). One of the concerning aspects of the trend is that it's happening not only in authoritarian regimes but also in democracies. The research paper, 'Globalization Without a Safety Net: The Challenge of Protecting Cross-Border Funding of NGOs', by Prof. Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer of University of Notre Dame Law School, identifies this problem faced by NGOs and explores options for countering the restrictions. Some of the new restrictions are - additional registration and reporting obligations, requirements to obtain government approval before seeking or accepting funding and mandates that funding be routed through government agencies or used only for specific activities. Prof. Mayer cites three factors that led to crackdown on cross-border funding - (1) A steady rise over the years in the amount of money flowing from Western donors to NGOs in other countries. (2) An increase in funding designated for human-rights protections and pro-democracy efforts. (3) An overall swelling of nationalist feelings in many countries. Prof. Mayer says, 'I think it's part of the larger trend we see globally of countries becoming more suspicious of foreign influences and the influences of outsiders, and more suspicious of attempts to empower and encourage minorities within countries. They are concerned about the importation of foreign values and views.' The challenges created by restrictions may require alternate strategies. According to Prof. Mayers, 'It creates a huge burden on both the funders and domestic NGOs that seek to challenge these restrictions, because the landscape is constantly changing, and they have to customize their response to every country where they're involved.' Read on...
Notre Dame News:
Professor offers options to counter escalating crackdowns on NGOs
Author: Kevin Allen
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2017
As crowdfunding becomes a mainstream strategy for individual fundraisers and nonprofit organizations, it becomes imperative to understand the industry trends that provide best fundraising results, and have potential to continue into the future. Christopher Moore, Marketing Mixologist at Floship, shares important trends shaping the industry and shows how to incorporate these ideas in crowdfunding campaigns - (1) Diverse Crowdfunding Platforms: Assess crowdfunding needs. Select the right platform to get specific target audience. Niche platforms are now available. (2) Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaigns: Many crowdfunding websites are specific to nonprofits. It's easier for nonprofits and charitable organizations to meet their fundraising goals through crowdfunding. The benefits include - Expanded social reach; High speed fundraising; Low-risk giving. (3) Fully Customizable Fundraising Experiences: Fundraising process is becoming more customizable. Campaigns could be specifically designed and promoted. Ways it is happening is - Brandable campaign pages; Fundraising model flexiblitiy; Variety of sharign options. (4) Crowdfunding Campaigns Paired with Events: Events add a real-world component to the online campaign. It boosts the fundraising potential. Following ideas can be used - Pick the perfect theme; Include a variety of fundraising activities; Simlify event registration. (5) Highly Visual Campaigns: To make an impact on online donors include videos, photos, graphics and to-the-point campaign story. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jan 2017
Creating long-term and sustainable partnerships between businesses and nonprofits, can play a valuable role in tackling social challenges facing communities. Hussein Farah, founder and executive director of New Vision Foundation, explains how nonprofits can build partnerships with corporations and derive benefits from these meaningful relationships for the communities they serve - (1) Have a strong and relevant mission that provides distinctive value to the community and relates to the values of a corporate partner and identifies it as a significant contributor. (2) Leadership of nonprofits should effectively and compellingly communicate the mission to the corporate partner. Strong marketing effort is required that embodies the mission and displays business sense. (3) Nonprofits should create a solid board that assists in dissemination of its value proposition on a peer-to-peer basis. Boards that include corporate members would be more effective in negotiating the terms of partnerships. Moreover, nonprofits must be clear in their expectations from corporate partners, who should beforehand know their resource commitments. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2016
According to the recent report by Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), 'Impact Investing Trends: Evidence of a Growing Industry' (Authors: Abhilash Mudaliar, Aliana Pineiro, Rachel Bass), impact investors have demonstrated strong growth, collectively increasing their assets under management (AUM) from US$ 25.4 billion in 2013 to US$ 35.5 billion in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 18%. The report provides compelling evidence that impact investing industry is growing, both in terms of size and maturation. More than 60% of AUM was allocated to emerging markets each year, and the top three sectors receiving the highest proportions of AUM were microfinance, other financial services and energy, respectively. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2016
Philanthropic giving continued to thrive in US and exceeded US$ 373 billion in 2015. Educational institutions got 12.86% (US$ 48 billion) of the total. As public funding to education gets reduced, colleges and universities are realigning strategic objectives and development goals to suit the funding priorities for donors and organizations. Donors have their own criteria to determine the funding goals that make an impact. According to Charles Koch, businessman and philanthropist, 'It is simply identifying organizations which want to make life better by empowering free will and enterprise. I decided that I wanted to give as many people as possible ideas so that they could transform their lives. That's been my motivation.' Michael Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF.org, recently shared his views on the potential for social modeling between UNCF and Charles Koch Foundation, and their US$ 29 million partnership for tuition assistance and career development. He says, 'The success of this program lies in our shared vision that a mind - and a life - is a terrible thing to waste. It is why our partnership's ultimate goal is to give students the opportunity to explore the values and skills of an entrepreneur, and better understand how an entrepreneurial mindset will benefit both them and their communities.' Nicholas Perkins, Founder and CEO of Perkins Management Services Inc, explains about his support to Howard University, 'Anytime that a minority company has an opportunity to partner with an historically black institution, that partnership should be the base from which growth and progress for that particular campus comes. So we always try to fit ourselves into that puzzle.' Educational institutions often find funding success by proactively tapping into the goodwill of graduates and stakeholders. Miami University of Ohio invested a substantial amount from its fundraising campaign towards enhancing academic programming in media studies, writing and gerontology. It launched 'Miami Plan', a 36-credit hour course mandate for all students to be immersed in and appreciative of the impact of liberal arts across all career paths. Gregory Crawford, President of Miami University of Ohio, says, 'For me, people don't expect a physicist to have such a passion for the liberal arts, but it had such a big impact on my life, my leadership style and my interests. I couldn't be more enthusiastic in sharing how it helped me to learn about human flourishing and in thinking more holistically, which was super important to me in the physics world.' He adds, 'Many of our own alums and donors understand the value of the education provided to them, and they love what we're doing with the Miami plan, so they freely invest in that vision.' Read on...
What inspires people, corporations to give to higher education?
Author: Jarrett Carter
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 oct 2016
In the world of charitable giving, generally 20% givers use techniques and expert knowledge to maximize their effectiveness, while the remaining 80% are unaware and together pay millions in taxes that would otherwise be used for charitable work. Robert G. Collins, Tampa Bay President of NCF (9th largest US charity), provides specialist philanthropic advice and shares some valuable tools and techniques to enhance value of giving - (1) Use a donor-advised fund (DAF): DAF works like charitable account where the giver gets a charitable deduction when assets are contributed. It is also similar to private grantmaking family foundations without the work and expenses of running a corporation. DAF enables the giver to give when it's convenient for them and decide the amount, timing and recipient of the gift at a later date. (2) Stop writing checks: Giving with cash are after-tax dollars exchanged for a charitable giving. Gift appreciated assets to gain a fair market value deduction, but avoid the capital gains taxes embedded in the asset. This way you get a double benefit i.e. giving pre-tax dollars and still getting the charitable deduction. (3) Plan ahead for tax events: Capital gains taxes are optional taxes - you don't have to pay them if you don't want to. If you are charitable and you have a taxable event expected in future, explore your charitable options today. (4) Have a charitable shareholder: Consider gifting a partial interest in your business or income-producing real estate to your DAF. It is critical that the DAF or charity you are giving to has expertise in taking in business interests. (5) Give generously through your estate: Check out givingpledge.org to find out reasons why many respected business leaders are leaving a charitable legacy. A DAF is a simple, easy solution for a family foundation legacy, but ask the fund sponsor whether they have rules about appointing successors. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2016
According to the conditions set forth in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Law in India, all companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or revenue of Rs 1000 cr or net profit of Rs 5 cr should spend 2% of last 3 years average profit on charity work. CSR management firm, NextGen, studied the annual reports of the top 100 firms by market capitalizations on NSE (National Stock Exchange) for 2014-15 & 91 firms for 2015-16. The total spend on CSR activities for 91 firms is Rs 6033 cr for FY16, while it was Rs 4760 cr by 100 companies in FY15. According to Abhishek Humbad, co-founder of NextGen, 'More and more companies are realizing that not meeting 2% makes them look bad, and for large companies, it can turn out be a reputational risk.' The energy sector accounted for nearly 26% of the total CSR spending. Reliance was the largest spender in FY16, using 2.3% of its profit (Rs 652 cr) on education, health and other social activities. Jagannatha Kumar at chairman's office of RIL says, 'The amount spent on each of the focus areas varies on an annual basis depending on the scope of work for the year.' In FY16 RIL spend on healthcare halved to Rs 314 cr while on education it increased to Rs 215 cr from Rs 18 cr in FY15. According to Parul Soni of Thinkthrough Consulting, a CSR consultancy, 'Manufacturing companies like automotive have been well poised to do CSR because they focus on communities around their plants and it helps build engagement with local communities. Also, many of them are working in skill development.' Some of the top causes that corporates spend on are healthcare, poverty eradication, education, skill development, rural development, and environment. Noshir Dadrawala, CEO of Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, says, 'Skills have been trendy. These causes have seen an increase because many of the skilling initiatives instead of being classified as an education initiative is being put under providing employment and reducing poverty. Also when it comes to healthcare, conducting blood donation camps is a popular way of doing CSR as it is easy and effective.' Ravi Chellam, ED of Greenpeace, points out that environment is not a priority issue for most Indian corporates. He says, 'On environmental issues, companies seem to prefer to focus on either their own campuses or areas immediately surrounding their locations.' According to Loveleen Kacker, CEO of Tech Mahindra Foundation, '50% of all our CSR capital goes into empowering women and another 10% for the disabled. We believe that any development can happen in any of the areas - from nutrition to sanitation, only when women are empowered. And we feel only economic empowerment of women can bring about social empowerment.' The top geographical regions that were beneficiary of CSR funds for FY16 are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Vinod Kulkarni, head of CSR at Tata Motors Ltd, says, 'It is part of our policy to invest CSR funds in geographies in close proximity to our area of operation. It amplifies the outcomes and impact.' Arun Nagpal, co-founder of Mrida Group, comments, 'The reasons for firms to select geographies close to manufacturing plants or areas of work are valid but this leads to an imbalance in the division of CSR funding.' Read on...
Firms ramp up CSR focus on healthcare, poverty, hunger
Authors: Arundhati Ramanathan, Moyna Manku
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 aug 2016
Social media provides ease of connecting and sharing information with ones network and communities. Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising works towards bringing the supporters and their networks together for financial contributions. Social media can be an effective tool to reach donors and networks to fulfil nonprofit's fundraising goals. Following 8 strategies can be utilized to successfully implement social media into P2P fundraising campaign - (1) Optimize online components - Ensure that all fundraising pages are functional, user-friendly and mobile responsive; WHY: Strong online fundraising gives a positive signal to supporters. Social media is an extension of online fundraising. Having a strong online background is needed to support individual fundraisers that may lack technological expertise; WHAT: A clear, straightforward, and simple fundraising page. A platform that allows individual fundraisers to create their own giving pages. Active social media accounts. (2) Tell a cohesive, simple story - Telling a story about the recipients of your aid is the perfect way to engage with social media while reaching your donors; WHY: Compelling stories add value to your nonprofit. They connect people to people, generating an emotional response that can lead to action; WHAT: An individual or a community to focus your story. An interview with your chosen subject. An accompanying photo. A short, postable format. (3) Use a multimedia approach - Pictures, videos and sound, capture our attention. They offer the user a diverse, vivid experience, one that can connect supporters more directly to the cause; WHAT: High-quality content. A posting schedule. (4) Strategize for each platform - Nonprofits often post the same content to each site with little adjustment. For maximum effectiveness the approach should differ for each platform; WHY: Different social media platforms offer different opportunities for engagement, and likewise, different opportunities to reach your donors in meaningful ways; WHAT: Hashtags. Character-limit copy. The right language. Specific calls to action. (5) Post, share, tag, and like - Active social media presence gives positive signals. It also helps in tracking the online conversations regarding the campaign; WHY: Liking and sharing supporters' fundraising milestones and accomplishments shows supporters that you're engaged with their work and appreciate what they've done for your mission. Posting the campaign's success at regular intervals inspires individual fundraisers to keep working toward long-term goals; WHAT: A social media coordinator. Tracking tools. The rules of operation. (6) Set goals for your fundraisers - Set goals in a way inspires your supporters and anyone who stumbles upon your campaign; WHY: Clearly displayed goal will show the supporters the level of progress they have made and how much more is needed. Similarly, an individual goal establishes each individual fundraiser's role in the campaign. Setting clear goals is the only way for your supporters to meet your expectations; WHAT: Fundraising metrics. Fundraising thermometers. Integrate fundraising goals into user-friendly pages for clear communication at different stages. (7) Provide toolkits to supporters - Right materials and tools helps to keep message consistent and clear for supporters and their networks; WHY: Providing toolkits helps supporters create the most effective tasks. Provide templates to easily relay the message; WHAT: Suggested copy. Images. Suggested posting schedule. Background information. (8) Generate friendly competition - Needed to push the campaign reach its goal within time and even go beyond its goal; WHY: Competition inspires to work effectively with vigour. It's easy for family and friends to get caught up in the fun and donate more to see their own reach the goal and get on top; WHAT: Leaderboards. Badges. Recognition. Read on...
8 Social Media Strategies for Nonprofit Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Author: Abby Jarvis
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2016
There are almost 50 million people living in poverty in the United States, almost 15 percent of the population. Although there are continuous efforts by governments, organizations and individuals to eradicate poverty, but the challenge is huge and at times results are not what are expected. Sometimes there is also lack of coordination between nonprofit agencies and difference in approaches to tackle poverty, even in same locations and dealing with same people. Kavitha Cardoza of WAMU shares her views on poverty with Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey. She says, 'As someone who grew up in India, where you interact with tons of poor people every day. But here (US), poverty is so hidden. Think of people who work minimum wage jobs - office cleaners come in overnight; if you have a maid at home, she comes in when you're at work. And if you think of say, a McDonald's, everyone is wearing a uniform and looks the same. We have sanitized poverty.' She explains, 'We tend to see poverty as fixed when it's really fluid. Of course it's about not having enough money, but we tend to forget all the challenges that go along with that. It becomes about food and housing and transportation and healthcare. And each of those problems leads to more problems.' Moreover, owning a cell phone, a TV or a kid having fancy sneakers, shouldn't be questionable in a poor situation, as they may serve a purpose contrary to typical perceptions. She quotes Greg Kaufmann, Editor of Talk Poverty, who says, 'Put yourself in a poor parent's place. People don't want their children to seem poor, they don't want to seem poor. Clearly, we have so much stigma attached to poverty. Kids get teased. Again as a parent, you can't get what middle class kids get - the sports camp or the music class, and so wouldn't you want to try to do something for your kid? And maybe actually that pair of sneakers is the cheapest thing you could do.' Speaking on lack of coordination and cooperation among charities that are helping poors, she says, 'There isn't a lot of incentive to collaborate...Part of it is each has different ideas about tackling the same problem, they want to do it their way and they all have different governance structures. And different ways of measuring success.' She quotes Bruce McNamer, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, which works with lots of human services organizations throughout the area, who says, 'The biggest challenge is charities compete with each other for funds. And that does sometimes create incentives for people not to work as closely or to be jockeying among themselves for the attention of funders...And the funding models that are in place to fund nonprofits in some sense encourage that inefficiency.' She quotes Katherine Boo, author of 'Behind the Beautiful Forevers', a book about poverty in Mumbai, who says, 'Journalists often cover poverty by going to a nonprofit and doing a story on someone who is doing well, they've had challenges, now they're fine. The story ends with everything tied up in a neat little bow. That's doing listeners a disservice because then they think that's how it is. There are no relapses, no challenges, no one who doesn't make it. And that's just not true.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2016
According to the survey by U.S. Trust (a subsidiary of Bank of America), of 684 high net worth (HNW) individuals, all with investable assets of US$ 3 million or more, there is increasing interest and activity in social impact investing, particularly among women, Millennials and Gen Xers. The survey also found the 7 out of 10 HNW Americans have more confidence in the private sector to solve social and environmental problems than the public or nonprofit sector. Moreover, another 6 in 10 believe that private capital invested in social and public programs can produce superior outcomes, all while ownership and interest in impact investing climb. Jackie VanderBrug, Managing Director of U.S. Trust, says, 'Understanding how and why individuals make impact investments is an increasingly important component of nonprofit management. I think that nonprofit executives that look at impact investing as a trend to be welcomed and embraced are going to be the ones ahead of the curve. Impact investing is not going away. It's fundamentally changing how investments are being made by individuals and fund managers. Understanding that and what it means to your donor base, constituency and board members is an important part of a nonprofit executive's job.' The survey report also finds that, environmental protection and sustainability is the issue that matters most to HNW investors, followed by healthcare equality and access; disease prevention, treatment and cure; access to education; and assistance for veterans. Ms. VanderBrug further adds, 'This is not about confusing philanthropy. Our clients are extremely philanthropic and we don't think that that should stop. My experience is that most individuals who are interested in impact investing are also very philanthropic. They understand that all sectors of the economy need to work.' Read on...
The NonProfit Times:
Big Donors Losing Faith In Charity To Solve Problems
Author: Andy Segedin
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 mar 2016
Gender equity and women empowerment are issues that are often discussed at various forums. Women are trying and working hard to make their mark in different fields and professions. Philanthropy and nonprofits are getting women in leadership roles. 'Inside Philanthropy' has created a separate section on their website where it exclusively covers developments related to women and girls. Recently the website listed influential women in U.S. that are making an impact by participating in various different capacities in the field of philanthropy, charity and nonprofit sector. The categorised list currently includes the following women - MEGA-DONORS: (1) Karen Ackman, Co-founder, Pershing Square Foundation; (2) Jody Allen, Co-founder, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; (3) Laura Arnold, Co-chair, Laura and John Arnold Foundation; (4) Connie Ballmer, Chair of Philanthropy, Ballmer Group; (5) Jennifer Buffett, Co-president, NoVo Foundation; (6) Susan Buffett, Chair, Sherwood Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and Buffett Early Childhood Fund; (7) Priscilla Chan, Co-founder, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; (8) Alexandra Cohen, Co-founder, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation; (9) Barbara Dalio, Co-founder, Dalio Foundation; (10) Susan Dell, Co-founder and Board Chair, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation; (11) Melinda Gates, Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; (12) Lyda Hill, Founder, Lyda Hill Foundation; Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective; (13) Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective; (14) Pam Omidyar, Co-founder, Omidyar Group; (15) Barbara Picower, President and Chair, JPB Foundation; (16) Lynn Schusterman, Chair, Schusterman Family Foundation; (17) Marilyn Simons, President, Simons Foundation; (18) Cari Tuna, Co-founder and President, Good Ventures; (19) Diane von Furstenberg, Director, Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation; (20) Alice Walton, Walton Family Foundation and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; (21) Shelby White, Founder and Trustee, Leon Levy Foundation. FOUNDATION LEADERS: (22) Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; (23) Patricia Harris, CEO, Bloomberg Philanthropies; (24) Carol Larson, President and CEO, Packard Foundation; (25) Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; (26) Clara Miller, Director and President, F.B. Heron Foundation; (27) LaJune Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO, W. K. Kellogg Foundation; (28) Sally Osberg, President and CEO, Skoll Foundation; (29) Judith Rodin, President, Rockefeller Foundation; (30) Julia Stasch, President, MacArthur Foundation; CORPORATE FUNDERS: (31) Suzanne DiBianca, President, Salesforce Foundation; (32) Deb Elam, President, GE Foundation; (33) Sally McCrady, President, PNC Foundation; (34) Kathleen McLaughlin, President, Walmart Foundation; (35) Kerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation; (36) Michele Sullivan, President, Caterpillar Foundation; THE CATALYSTS: (37) Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Founder and President, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Foundation; (38) Melissa Berman, President and CEO, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; (39) Jean Case, CEO, Case Foundation; (40) Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State and Candidate for U.S. President; (41) Amy Danforth, President, Fidelity Charitable; (42) Kriss Deiglmeier, CEO, Tides; (43) Kim Dennis, President and CEO, Searle Freedom Trust; (44) Jane Greenfield, President, Vanguard Charitable; (45) Donna P. Hall, President and CEO, Women Donors Network; (46) Ruth Ann Harnisch, Founder, Harnisch Foundation; (47) Vanessa Kirsch, Founder and CEO, New Profit; (48) Kim Laughton, President, Schwab Charitable; (49) Michele Lord, President, NEO Philanthropy; (50) Teresa Younger, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation; (51) Jacki Zehner, President and Chief Engagement Officer, Women Moving Millions. Read on...
Meet the 50 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy
Authors: David Callahan, Kiersten Marek
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 oct 2015
According to a recent report by Commonwealth Fund, 'U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective: Spending, Use of Services, Prices, and Health in 13 Countries', based on data by OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and other cross-national analyses, the US spent US$ 9086 per person on healthcare in 2013, which corresponds to 17.1% of GDP. This was about 50% more than the second highest spender (France-11.6% of GDP) and almost twice of what UK (8.8%) spent. In US if the patients are unable to pay their healthcare bills, it either becomes a bad debt for the patient or is written off as 'charity-care', adding up to US$ 57 billion in uncompensated care. To study and analyse this aspect of healthcare, researchers from Northwestern University - David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite, and Christopher Ody - as part of The Hamilton Project by Brookings Institution, argue that there is room for efficiency improvement in the charity-care system and the supply and demand for charity care are not geographically inclined. This means that hospitals that have more resources available for charity-care, ones mostly located in high-income areas, are not located in the places where people most need it, i.e. the low-income areas. To rectify this situation, researchers propose a 'floor-and-trade' system, in which all hospitals are required to provide some charity-care to low income patients. One of the researcher, Craig Garthwaite, comments 'As the Affordable Care Act has rearranged the flows of patients to hospitals and decreased the number of uninsured Americans, it's a good time to reconsider how hospitals commit themselves to serving their surrounding communities.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 oct 2015
According to Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), 'Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return...The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world's most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, clean technology, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.' The recent report by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 'Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investments', based on the evaluation of financial performance of 53 impact investing equity funds that include 557 individual investments, explores the two most important aspects of impact investing - financial returns and long-term impact. The study suggests that - in certain markets segments - investors might not need to expect lower returns as a tradeoff for social impact. According to authors of the report, Wharton finance professors David Musto and Chris Geczy, certain market segments of funds in the sample yield returns close to those of public market indices. Prof. Geczy explains, 'Our research fills a near-void of rigorous analysis of private investment and social impact outcomes and most importantly the link between the ideals of doing well and doing good. The study examines the tension between profits and purpose, also bringing to bear analyses characterizing relative performance as well as statistical certainty about the result. It represents an exciting initial advancement in our ongoing social impact research agenda.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2015
Nonprofits and charitable organizations need to evolve their processes, systems and strategies alongwith the technology-driven changes that are happening in businesses, governments and the world in general. Effective, efficient and timely fundraising and financing of projects is critical for the survival and success of nonprofits. According to the report 'The Business of Nonprofits: Amplify Your Fundraising Success With New Technologies and Proven Business Practices' by 121Giving.com, based on the survey of 450 nonprofit executives and program directors in the US that was conducted in July 2014, '54% of nonprofits raised less than 25% of an intended goal during their last online fundraiser. Additionally, more than 1/3rd of those surveyed describe their adoption of technology as "struggling" and 74% state that they collected less than US$ 5000 in valued goods from a donation drive.' The survey also found that fundraising, donor solicitation and financing of daily operations are challenges for many nonprofits. Moreover, the results of the survey indicate that most nonprofits still rely on traditional processes and outdated technologies that fail to deliver fundraising outcomes required to succeed in today's competitive digital-driven environment. Other main findings of the report are - 54% of nonprofits do not ask retailers for discounts on products; Only 2% of nonprofits raise money online to buy products in stores or online; 22% ask the community to donate products; 68% of nonprofits pursue grants to cover expenses for their programs; Only 7% of nonprofits use online crowdfunding tools to raise funds. Liz Deering, co-founder of 121Giving.com, says 'Nonprofits are wasting precious time, dollars and resources to raise funds and procure the products they need to run their operations.' The report points out that nonprofits are indeed making attempts to improve their operations through proven business practices (33% of nonprofit leaders upgraded hardware or software in 2014 to improve programs). The report also highlights the opportunities for nonprofits to reach their campaign goals through - Adopting latest business practices; Focusing on project-specific funding needs while seeking grants; Ask, negotiate and bargain like a business to obtain product discounts; Using data and analytics for measurement; Utilizing social media connected individuals and communities to publicize initiatives and programs; Investing in technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce labor intensity of core operations. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2015
Timely access to funds is one of the critical component for the survival of nonprofits. Their funding sources are limited and mostly include endowments and grants. Moreover, to obtain funding from traditional sources like banks and financial institutions is difficult. They should find innovative ways to raise and create funds and achieve long-term sustainability. According to Ryan McCrary, founder of Great Outdoor Adventure Trips (GOAT), 'Most nonprofits see rapid growth right away but quickly stagnate. GOAT, a youth development organization for at-risk students, followed that format. To continue growing, nonprofits must innovate like any other company.' He suggests creating a side revenue stream, that may be in the form of a business, which can support the nonprofit. Creating a monthly donor group is another approach that he suggests. Moreover he argues that nonprofits shouldn't shy away from generating profits and should re-invest them in the company. Individuals who have ideas and solutions to do social good can also model their startups as for-profit social enterprises. Moreover, they can also join board of existing nonprofit and share their ideas and assist it to innovate and grow. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 sep 2015
Collaborative approaches in tackling healthcare can play an important role in reducing costs and also lessen burden on already overstretched healthcare systems. In such a collaborative setting niche and focused nonprofits can share some responsibilities of healthcare providers and lessen their loads. The disruption of healthcare and enactment of Affordable Care Act have forced hospitals and physicians to evolve new ways of imparting efficient healthcare and redirect patient care from the acute care setting to primary care 'medical homes' that focus on prevention and coordinate patient care. The New York State Medicaid reform is a step in this direction and intends to bring nonprofits and government together to address issues that influence healthcare like food, housing, finances etc. Such coordinated preventative measures are expected to reduce emergency visits to hopsitals. Medicaid funding to such programs that have been undertaken by nonprofits would enhance their capabilities and they can more holistically work towards providing solutions to residents to live healthier lives. Moreover similar partnerships will also help in tackling chronic diseases. Shoshanah Brown, executive director of a.i.r. NYC, an organization that helps asthmatic children in poor neighborhoods, says 'Community-based organizations like ours that are close to the ground and are very much in the community can keep patients healthier.' Montefiore Medical Center in collaboration with YMCA conducts a program to prevent pre-diabetic patients from full-blown diabetes with a 16-week class. Patient with mental illnesses or substance abuse issues will also benefit from this reform for collaboration as healthcare providers can work with a housing group so that they have a safe place to live and stay out of hospital. Read on...
Could Collaborations Mean Better and Less Costly Healthcare?
Author: G. Meredith Betz
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 aug 2015
According to a report, 'Resourcing Social Enterprises: Approaches and Challenges', lack of standard definition and limited knowledge and awareness about 'Social Enterprises' among financiers and general public are the key sourcing challenges. The report focused on assessing the resilience of social enterprises in Western Australia. Lead author of the report, Professor Jo Barraket of Swinburne University, says 'Social enterprises are a hybrid form of business. It's still a relatively new concept to the market, and mainstream financial providers don't necessarily understand it...We don't have any consistent standard for social-financial accounts in Australia. So the tools that social enterprises have to communicate their business operations to external financiers are still underdeveloped and that makes it challenging.' Moreover Prof. Barraket adds that most social enterprises look towards generating funding internally similar to small and medium businesses. Accessing external equity is constrained depending on their legal form thus limiting external finance opportunities. Report also identified the governance structure as a further challenge, with financial resilience not considered as a top priority particularly in case of social enterprises that work within larger not-for-profit structures. Prof. Barraket explains, 'The boards in those contexts are quite rightly having to juggle requirements of larger charitable concerns, and therefore not always able to respond in the same sorts of ways that a small business that's not governed by such a large governance structure would do.' Prof. Barraket suggests that communication has to get effective between the supply and demand, those in the business of social finance understand the needs of social enterprises, and these enterprises have right tools to explain effectively to financiers. Moreover this change will take time and requires culture change and different thinking, both within the social enterprises and organizations that intend to support their development. Read on...
Pro Bono Australia:
Social Enterprises Misunderstood - Financial Resilience Report
Author: Ellie Cooper
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jun 2015
Diversity in nonprofit boards and leadership is an essential element of governance. It helps in bringing different perspectives and expertise in the decision-making process and affects the culture and dynamics of the nonprofit boards. Team of researchers led by Professor Garry W. Jenkins of The Ohio State University undertook the study to understand the ways in which the composition of the nonprofit boards has evolved in recent years in US. They examined the biographies of governing directors in 1989 and 2014 of three sets of nonprofit organizations: major private research universities, elite small liberal arts colleges, and prominent New York City cultural and health institutions. According to Prof. Jenkins, 'The most striking finding was the sizable presence and growth on charitable boards of those whose primary professional background and skill set were drawn from the financial services industry. The tally indicates that the percentage of people from finance on the boards virtually doubled at all three types of nonprofits between 1989 and 2014.' Another important takeaway from the study is the presence of high percentage of board leadership positions from the finance sector (Liberal Arts Colleges - 44%, New York City Nonprofits - 44%, Private Universities - 56%). Prof. Jenkins while mentioning the 2012 figures for finance sector contribution to GDP (7.9%) and employment (6% of private non-farm workforce) explains, 'If nonprofit boards were composed of a representative group of people from society, one would expect trustees with a finance background to represent roughly 6 to 8 percent of board members. Instead, according to our research, trustees with professional backgrounds and skills primarily from the financial services industry represent about four times that number.' While answering about this shift in composition of nonprofit boards, Prof. Jenkins says, 'Nonprofit organizations are simply following the money. Driven by the heightened pressure and expectations to raise ever larger sums, nonprofit boards and managers are selecting new board members with an eye toward those with the greatest capacity for making "transformative gifts."' The dominance of financiers in the nonprofit boards also influences the working dynamics of the board with inclusion of specific practices, approaches and priorities (Data-driven decision making; Emphasis on metrics; Prioritizing impact and competition; Managing with 3-5 years horizons and plans; Advocating executive-style leadership; Compensation etc). Although these practices do have benefits for nonprofits, but at the same time too much financial and business-like emphasis in the functioning of the board may have adverse impact on charitable goals and objectives. For the long-term success and effectiveness of the nonprofit boards the need would be to balance the composition of the board with inclusion of individuals that have expertise and skills in different fields alongwith consideration of racial and gender diversity, minority representation etc. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2015
To get a for-profit social enterprise started and make it self-sustaining requires different types of fundraising at different stages of the venture's growth. Lisa Curtis, founder of Kuli Kuli Foods, suggests the following stepwise process to effectively finance the enterprise - (1) Put the idea for an enterprise on paper and participate in business plan competitions to win prizes and also to learn, connect and promote it to increase the chances of future funding. (2) Join an accelerator program as it helps to build the necessary funding network or sometimes it provides funds directly. (3) After business plan competition and refining the idea through an accelerator program, get on with crowdfunding campaign. But before the launch of crowdfunding it is important to know exactly how much money is required and what the final product will look like. (4) Once the product is ready for the market, it becomes important to sustain the business without running out of money. At this stage acquiring a loan will be an important financial strategy. (5) Once the business starts to grow and idea has got 'proof-of-concept' from the market, the next step is to seek angel investors. One way is to do an accredited-only crowdfunding campaign. Moreover join an investor network, prepare a solid executive summary and keep on pitching to prospective investors. (6) Keep the focus on the main purpose of the social enterprise i.e. to make a positive impact on the world. This will provide the strength to carry on during the challenging times. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 mar 2015
In US charitable giving was about US$ 335 billion in 2013. Recently released '2014 Charitable Giving Report' by Blackbaud covers a sample size of US$ 16 billion in US-based giving. The report shows 2.1% increase in philanthropic giving in 2014 (Total Growth in US economy was 2.4%). The main highlight of the study was the rise in digital-based giving, which increased a total of 8.9% from the previous year. This points towards the digital future of fundraising. Moreover there is clear indication of use of digital strategies by smaller non-profits due to its lower costs as compared to traditional methods of fundraising like postal mail, phone calls etc. Todd Cohen, founder of Philanthropy North Carolina, provides insights on the importance of peer-to-peer fundraising in the digital age. Read on...
Fundraising Insights for Smaller and Mid-sized Nonprofits - From a Blackbaud Report
Author: Steve Boland
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 mar 2015
One of the most challenging tasks for nonprofits is to attract donors and obtain funds for their operations from external sources. Lack of funds can bring great causes and social movements to a halt. To raise money needs specific talent and skills. According to Dan McGinley, director of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University in San Diego, 'A more effective technique to seek money is to approach a philanthropist the same way a salesman approaches a client... We're adopting the already proven practices of professional selling. The process includes building relationships and getting to know a person's interests, then showing that person how a particular product or nonprofit can meet those interests.' T. Denny Sanford, a successful businessman and philanthropist, advices to keep the process of asking for money simple and says, 'I want everyone to tell their story as if it is to their grandmothers and no more than a 10-story elevator ride. Short and sweet and easy to understand. Because (with) some of the technology people get too technical and talk way over everybody's head.' Read on...
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