Too Many Nonprofits Confusing Donors; Collaboration a Must to Solve Big Problems

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Kay Sprinkel Grace

There are way too many nonprofits.

That was the blunt observation fundraising consultant and best-selling author Kay Sprinkel Grace made to a couple hundred nonprofit leaders and staff people at Nonprofit Boot Camp, last week in Mountain View.

Her point, that donors are confused by the large number of nonprofits surrounding similar issues and challenges. Donors want to know that their money is going toward solutions, not toward supporting an organization’s existence.

The answer, she said, is in collaboration between nonprofits, government, and business.

“Nobody thinks we can do it alone anymore. We’ve got to partner, we’ve got to collaborate,” she said. “One of our problems is—and I’m here to tell you at a Nonprofit Boot Camp—we have way too many nonprofits. Way too many nonprofits, I’m sorry. And I’m not saying that any of you are not of value. But I’m saying that for our donors it is totally confusing, because donors behave in a “both/and” way, not an “either/or.” [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in June

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Child-Advocates-Silicon-ValleyIt’s warm in the Bay Area this weekend, a preview of the summer ahead. After school is out, and graduations are over, think about helping out  to make our communities just a little nicer and friendlier during this season. Here are five suggestions for the month of June.

1. Speak Up for Children: The nonprofit group  Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers who are willing to stand up and aid children in the foster care system. More than 100 children are currently on the waiting list for advocate services. Orientations for interested or new volunteers are taking place throughout the month at locations in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Milpitas, and San Jose. See the group’s orientation page for more information.

2. Enjoy Some Music, Dance, and Food in SF: Kick off your summer with some great music and maybe some dancing in The City. Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, tap your feet to the beat of the Golden Gate Band Festival, at the Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden [Read more…]

Fundraising Help for Nonprofits

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globalgiving-nonprofits-fundraising-pamela-lee-good-neighbor-storiesEditor’s Note: I’m happy to welcome Pamela Lee as a guest blogger. I first met Pamela through Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, which she leads and works for tirelessly as a volunteer. She’s now a GlobalGiving Ambassador for the San Francisco Bay Area, with a goal of helping even more nonprofits.

Ever wanted to boost your fundraising with more online tools, or expand your donor base?

GlobalGiving has helped 7,858 projects, non-profits and social entrepreneurs grow their community of donors and volunteers to raise a total of $85 million since 2002. GlobalGiving works with non-profit organizations registered anywhere in the world to upgrade their fundraising strategy in many ways:

  • Expand your donor networks and access resources to develop your fundraising strategies.
  • Connect to corporate giving campaigns at companies like Ford, Nike Foundation, Dell, and more.
  • Non-US organizations can get tax-deductible donations for US-based donors.
  • Each week, about 40,000 individuals visit GlobalGiving’s website, offering great exposure for our nonprofit partners’ projects! [Read more…]

Silicon Valley Solidarity Run for Boston on Monday Evening

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Picture 3Members of Silicon Valley’s running community are gathering in Mountain View on Monday, April 22, to run in solidarity with victims of the Boston Marathon bombings last Monday. A local running store is hosting the event, and will be taking orders for t-shirts as part of a fundraiser for The One Fund Boston.

The “Runners for Boston Solidarity Run” will take place at 6:30 p.m. along the Stevens Creek Trail. Anyone interested in participating in the four-mile fun run/walk is encouraged to meet before 6:30 p.m., by the Burger King in the Mountain View Shopping Center, 177 W. El Camino Real. [Read more…]

The One Fund Boston Launches to Help Bombing Victims

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Picture 2Within hours of the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, government officials and business people conferred together to create The One Fund Boston, to raise money to help approximately 180 victims of the attack. By Friday the new nonprofit had raised $10 million.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help; The One Fund Boston will act as a central fund to receive much needed financial support,” Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said in a press release. “At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people.”

According to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, support from the business community was immediate.

“Within an hour, I had calls from business leaders and local philanthropists who, like me, were heartbroken by the impact this hideous tragedy has had on individuals, their families, and friends. And they want to do everything they can to help these people physically and psychologically in the future,” the mayor said. [Read more…]

Rural Chinese Children, Schools Prosper With Help From Bay Area Volunteers

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President Steve Ting and one of the students Shin Shin Educational Foundation is helping. Photo courtesy of the foundation.

“A group effort will bring prosperity,” goes the old Chinese saying. In the case of the Shin Shin Educational Foundation, a group effort by volunteers in the San Francisco Bay Area is bringing educational prosperity to rural Chinese school children in the form of sturdy buildings, books, access to computers, and better-trained teachers.

It started in 1997 with a trip back to China for some elders who had settled in the U.S. Noting that schools in their home villages were in poor condition, they returned to their new country, determined to raise money to build new schools for the children of those villages.

Over the past 16 years that small group of elders has grown to hundreds of volunteers, and the Bay Area-based Shin Shin Educational Foundation (“Shin Shin” means “prosperity” in Mandarin) now helps more than 120,000 elementary school children and educators in 333 schools throughout rural provinces. [Read more…]

Second Harvest Food Bank CEO Celebrates Supporters, Urges End to Childhood Hunger

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Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, and co-chair of the Second Harvest Food Bank 2012-13 holiday drive.

‘Good work! Keep going to end hunger!’, was the general message at Second Harvest Food Bank’s 22nd annual recognition event, this year called the “Make Hunger History Awards”, held Thursday, April 4, at the Computer Museum in Mountain View.

“We may not be able to end poverty, but let me tell you what we can do, we can ensure that every single person in Silicon Valley that needs a meal can get one,” said Second Harvest CEO Kathy Jackson. “We can make hunger history tonight.”

She asked the few hundred of the food bank’s faithful present to “double down” on fundraising this year to end childhood hunger, by doubling cash donations, holding food drives during both the holidays and the summer, or involving more friends and colleagues in drives.

Earlier the crowd was celebrated for raising $12.1 million worth of food and cash from October 2012, to January 2013, during the annual Holiday Food and Fund Drive for the nonprofit that covers Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The men of the hour on April 4 were co-chairs Dan Campbell, a COO at EMC Corporation, B.J. Jenkins, CEO of Barracuda Networks, and the crowd favorite Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, last season’s National Football Conference West champions.

The holiday food drive actually fell $300,000 short of it’s original goal of raising $12.4 million, the equivalent of 600,000 meals, but it was announced at the event that after a March 14 public announcement of the shortfall, locals responded by chipping in an additional $431,000.

In her remarks, Jackson put the size of the local hunger problem in a way people could relate to. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in April

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Earth-Day-ways-to-be-a-good-neighbor-April-2013As the weather warms up, so does the calendar: there are an increasing number of activities going on in the Bay Area in April. Lots of opportunities for cleaning up the environment, charity walking, service projects, community events, and more, are available.

Every month I list five ideas of how you can get involved in the community and make a difference to those around you and the rest of the world. Consider incorporating at least one of these suggestions into your calendar.

Speaking of calendars, check out my new Kindness Calendar, which lists special service and awareness days/weeks/months that happen annually. There are eight listed for April alone! And for even more community events, keep an eye on the GNS Community Calendar (or list your own events there!).

1. Love Your Mother (Earth): April 22 is Earth Day, but the entire month of April is in essence, Earth Month, with all the events happening around the Bay Area designed to beautify, build awareness of, and celebrate, the care and protection of our planet (it is, in fact, Keep America Beautiful Month, and Arbor Day is April 27). The first weekend in April kicks off Earth activities. Saturday, April 6, the City of Cupertino is [Read more…]

The Push is On: 2,000 Habitat Volunteers Needed for Carter Work Project This Fall

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Mike Rico of Americorps and Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley readies a volunteer project.

Former President Jimmy Carter could use some help on an important “To Do” list of community work projects in Oakland and San Jose this October, which is why the Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley staff is busy at the moment rounding up approximately 2,000 volunteers.

Carter, who will turn 89 on Oct. 1, and his wife Rosalynn, 85, are coming to Oakland on Sunday, Oct. 6, to kickoff Habitat’s Carter Work Project (CWP),an annual major service and fundraising event now in its 30th year. This is the first time a CWP has come to the San Francisco Bay Area.

After an opening ceremony in Oakland on Sunday, the Carters will work with volunteers on Monday at the nonprofit’s Brookfield Court Development in Oakland, and on Tuesday in the Dorsa-TOCKNA neighborhood of San Jose. They will then fly to projects in Denver, and finally New York City, where the first CWP took place in 1984. Work will continue on projects in the Bay Area through Friday, Oct. 11. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in December

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It’s December, which means it’s holiday time, when many people feel that tug to spread good cheer to others. We’ve got five ways you can indulge in the spirit of giving this month. If you’ve got additional ideas, please share in the comments!

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Jacob Goeders, a.k.a the Leukemia Slayer, in December 2011.

1. Give to a Holiday Drive:Some people love the tradition of giving at the holidays, others are looking for an end-of-year tax deduction. Whatever the reason, you can help a lot of people in need have a brighter season by contributing to a holiday drive, either with goods or cash. One of our favorite fundraisers, Jacob Goeders, a.k.a. The Leukemia Slayer, is raising money for the second year in a row for his Santa Slayer Project. This young man uses money donated to the project to buy gifts for other children on the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital cancer ward, where he himself is being treated for leukemia. But you need to hurry, Jacob needs to finish up shopping soon. Other charities are collecting items like socks, bedding, or coats. Still others could really use gift cards to give to clients, or cash donations to buy what is most needed. Look for food donation barrels at stores and other locations to help local food banks combat hunger at the holidays. Or donate to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Our goal is to raise $1,500 by Jan. 1, 2013.

2. Give the Gift of Time: If you’re low on cash and items to share, consider volunteering your time this month. The United Way of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers to help spread holiday cheer to the children of East San Jose. Every child at four schools will receive presents from their wish list, along with a book to encourage reading skills. Younger siblings will also receive gifts. Sign up for a shift today before all the spaces are filled. Find more volunteer opportunities at HandsOn Bay Area, and One Brick Silicon Valley.

3. Consider Giving Alternative Gifts: If you’re scratching your head wondering what to give as gifts this year, consider alternative gifts that both honor those you are giving to, and make a difference in the world. Alternative gifts range from donations made in the recipient’s name, to items purchased from nonprofits and companies focused on social justice. A great place to shop for gifts in person is the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto (I’ll be there selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook!). Or, “shop” online at Alternative Gifts International, which has been providing gifts of food, shelter, trees, animals, medicine, and more, since 1986. Pick from 30 different projects located all over the world (including the U.S.) to support in honor of your friend or loved one. [Read more…]