Tag - givelist

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A Confession: Am I A Charitable Person?
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Qui Diaz is Getting Her Give On
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NY Times Shout Out to the GiveList!
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Back to Voting Today
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LA Chamber Orchestra Supports GiveList
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The GiveList is Launched!

A Confession: Am I A Charitable Person?

I saw a little paragraph in the sports section today that said, in essence, , ” The players union has discovered that at least 22 teams require players to make donations. . ”

The Dodgers signed Manny Ramirez to a $45 million contract and he then donated $1 million to the Dodgers Dream Foundation. At the signinf, the owner of the Dodgers said, “every future Dodger” would make a donation.”

The players union took umbrage at their overpaid players being required to give to causes. I began this post to mock the players union for this stance.  In a time of such great need, with baseball players continuing to make enormous salaries, it doesn’t seem too much to ask that they give back in proportionate amounts.

A publicist friend of mine who worked with a lot of famous actors and athletes would lament that they were often the cheapest givers she knew. They often didn’t follow up on their pledges, skipped out on events and didn’t give nearly as much as they could have if they were generous people.

It was in concert with what I’ve been thinking for weeks now that there don’t seem to be any grown ups left on Wall Street. Isn’t anyone at Goldman Sachs or AIG or whoever else is left concerned about putting the country as a whole back on track — or are they only interested in their own bonuses? None of the smartest guys in the room will take “only” six figures, not the seven they think they deserve, to fix the system that they broke?So, that’s where I started. And then I read a terrific op-ed by Jean Strouse this morning about J.P. Morgan’s contribution to the country in the recession of 1907.

But then I stopped my ranting for a second and remembered to get back to basics. The rants against ball players, starlets and AIG is so very easy to do, it’s coffee shop harangues that really don’t add up to anything but the fact that “those guys” have done us wrong. But isn’t that the same conversation that we had for years about “those guys” meaning the government and politicians that kept getting elected and not listening to us and taking us down the wrong pathways drunk on big, fat campaign contributions?

Finally, last year, with the add of social media, we figured out how to do it differently. We figured out that each one of us could contribute a little time and money, we could each connect to our own social network to create one huge one and elect a president who is trying to do the right thing for the good of the country over the long haul.

Now, we know full well that the corner office doesn’t really exist any more, and we can’t wait for the smartest guys to bail out my local community.  With so many people suffering in the economic downturn, with so many organizations, like symphonies and food banks, facing such hard times, we should be focused on doing what we do best; a lot of people contributing in small ways that adds up to a big difference.

And then I looked in the mirror, not a good idea on a Monday morning, but I looked anyway. Am I doing the best I can for the causes and communities that I care about?  I am on several boards; my synagogue, One Web Day, Hope for Henry.  We give a significant amount of money to our synagogue both in dues and in contributions throughout the year, we have given to Hope for Henry, but not enough, and I have never written a check to One Web Day.

Through many board experiences over the years, I have come to really dislike being on boards. It seemed like the pinnacle of success when I was younger. Sitting around the big boy table and making decisions about where and how to spend money, to generate ideas for the cause, generally being the decider. Then I sat on a few and llearned that nothing much happens on boards except for the repeated request for board members to write a check or ask others to write a check. Most of the major decisions have already been made by paid staff and the chair, the structures don’t allow for real participation by nonboard members in governing issues, and the same problems just keep getting passed from meeting to meeting, year after year. [Note: I don’t feel this way about my current boards otherwise I wouldn’t still be on them.]

As David Renz has smartly observed, “boards are a structure, governance is a function.” The function has changed, the structure hasn’t.

I use my professional time to encourage others to give and have really enjoyed creating efforts like the GiveList with my friend, Marnie Webb. GiveList was a great opportunity to showcase ways that people can contribute to causes without writing a check. It was fun, it was a great opportunity to try out networked activism mainly through Twitter and it didn’t require any fundraising.

Here’s my confession.  I didn’t actually do anything on the GiveList. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been relying too heavily on my work to substitute for making meaningful personal contributions that could positively affect people’s lives in my community.  Perhaps I feel too great a need to separate out what I do professionally; research, write and pontificate on social change using social media, from my personal life before it all feels too much like work. Or maybe I’ve spent too much time evaluating efforts and have developed an vaneer of cynicism that comes from finding out that far fewer programs have as great an affect as we hope they do. Or, maybe, sadly, that’s all just an excuse for not being as charitable as I should be.

The 80:20 rule definitely applies to philanthropic giving and volunteering. It may even be 90:10, meaning that only 10% of us are really doing heavy lifting and 90% are watching. Does my work count as part of the 10%?  Perhaps. But I have the means and know-how to be doing much more than I am right now. I live in a very wealthy county that still has tens of thousands of people hungery and thousnads homeless every day.

I’m going to try to start today to stop spending so much time worrying about what the smartest guys in the room aren’t doing to help the rest of us, and start doing more locally to help one person at a time. I’m going to start by talking to my kids about it over dinner tonight about how we can contribute locally to help people who are less fortunate than we are.  Unless I’m too busy yelling at them for poking one another, or not doing their homework, or using a vulgar work, and in that case I’ll do it tomorrow — but I’m going to do it!

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Qui Diaz is Getting Her Give On

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A fantastic post from Qui Diaz on 50+ ways to give to causes for the holidays.  A few of my favorites:

  • Feed A Need with Reddit – Add your qualifications to Reddit’s “Database of Awesome” and be ready to give 2 hours of your time to one of the project’s partnering charities.
  • SocialVibe – Select your charity (e.g., One Laptop Per Child), your sponsor (e.g., Apple), grab and display your badge on your social profiles, and earn points for donations to your charity.
  • Instant Message for Good – The more messages you send, the more ad revenue Microsoft Live Messenger kicks to the charity of your choice (American Red Cross, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and more).
  • Just Be a Geek Who Gives – This Slideshare presentation from Beth Kanter – a leading voice for nonprofit tech/social media – will illuminate and steer your online influence in new ways.

And, of course, the GiveList!  Thanks, Qui, for the great list!

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NY Times Shout Out to the GiveList!

parenting_postHard to imagine the GiveList getting much hotter than this! On the Motherlode blog today on the Times website, Lisa Belkin (yes, my dear friend, but also an indefatigable reporter!) wrote about the GiveList:

This year money doesn’t seem like enough. (And given that I face college tuition next year, with 529s that have turned to dust, there are limits to what I can give.) But, to quote the blog of Allison Fine “just because I’m poor doesn’t mean I have to be stingy.” And it’s time to expand the giving tradition at our house to embrace the giving of time.

Right on, Lisa B!  The ideas keep flying in.  This past weekend, Marnie created the first list of 71 great ideas and you can rank ’em and vote on ’em on Squidoo, too!  Much more to come

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Back to Voting Today

Took a quick break from the GiveList today to attend the Pew Center on Voting’s conference called Voting in America- The Road Ahead.

There was a really terrific lunchtime panel moderated by Pam Fessler of NPR with six state election officials and directors:  Robin Carnahan, Missouri, Trey Grayson, Kentucky, John Lindback, Oregon, Chris Thomas, Michigan, Brian Newby, Kansas and Warren Slocum of Mateo County, CA.

The most fun was hearing Lindback, who has been the leading administrator for that state’s conversation to all mail-in voting, ask, “Why do we keep doing what we have done?”  This was in the context of a discussion about voting registration.  Lindback fearlessly suggested that we should all have a number assigned to us when we are born as part of our birth certificate that has three purposes only:  for use as part of the census, for voting and to certify your death.  This idea was met with a surprisingly positively reaction from the crowd of mainly state election officials — and a cheer from me, of course!

There was a great deal of discussion of the need to unify voting procedures without federalizing them . Meaning getting all of the counties and all of their states to agree on a set method of voting – a Herculean task, but one worth undertaking.

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LA Chamber Orchestra Supports GiveList

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Whenever people ask me why I am so wildly enthusiastic about the Internet and all things social media, I point to content like the blog post from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra on Friday about the GiveList. (True confession: I was an enthusiastic but awful french horn player in high school.) Blogger, Lacey Huszcza, saw the tweets on GiveList and began to think about ways that people can support the arts without writing a check. Here is the list of sixteen ways to give to arts organizations from Lacey:

  1. Volunteer your time – arts organizations need docents, people to help with administrative time, and people to help with events. Your time can be worth even more than money
  2. Call a friend and tell them about your favorite concert or piece of art. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the mission of an organization
  3. Write a letter to the editor of the opinion section of your local paper to tell them about the importance of the arts in your community
  4. Have a listening party in your home (can be around a broadcast of your favorite symphony or your favorite recording). The holidays are a great time to get together and share great music with friends.
  5. Write or call your congressperson to thank them for the increase in the NEA budget for this year, and to encourage them to continue supporting the arts. Find your Congressperson here.
  6. If you are a musician or an artist, teach a lesson to a child for free
  7. Send CDs of your favorite music to the troops overseas (ok, this one costs a little, but it is a great gift to give someone far away from home)
  8. Someone you know probably loves the arts, but is unable to drive. Offer them a ride to his/her favorite concert or museum and see how much joy that brings!
  9. Serve on a city level or neighborhoods arts council to help direct funds to arts organizations in need
  10. Call your favorite arts organization and offer to distribute brochures to a local coffee shop or bookstore
  11. If you are a café/restaurant/bar owner, create a signature dish or drink and name it in honor of your favorite organization
  12. Create a wish list of your favorite arts organizations, and ask people to make donations in your name rather than buying you presents for the holidays
  13. Attorneys can call California Lawyers for the Arts and offer his or her services
  14. Write a blog post about a cause/charity that you are passionate about. Include a link to the cause/charity (OK, I borrowed this great idea from @rogercarr but it’s a good one!)
  15. Contribute, audition, comment on or follow the YouTube Symphony Orchestra project
  16. If your favorite arts organization has a blog, a facebook page, or some other form of social networking – leave a comment, post on their wall, or just send them an email telling them what you love about that organization.

Thanks, Lacey, and thanks to the many other folks generating such lovely ideas to support people, organizations, and communities!

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The GiveList is Launched!

The GiveList was launched yesterday as a resource for supporting causes in a year when many of us won’t have the means to write a check (although if you do have the means, please do so!)

The site is a really simple way to aggregate great, creative ideas for supporting causes. Just use the tag #givelist on Twitter or de.licio.ous for ideas on ways to give and support communities and causes and they’ll pop up on the site. Of you can post a comment on the site of a great idea that you have.

The most creative ways of supporting causes without have to spend, buy or donate any  money  (as determined by, well, me!) will be listed under the favorites category. So, start thinking and pinging and tagging!

The idea for the GiveList began to crystallize when my colleagues and I at the Case Foundation began to think about reviewing last year’s Guide to Good Giving for this holiday season’s giving. But, sadly for the world, this year feels very different from last year.  We began to think about providing more alternatives for people to support causes in a really tough economy.

In partnership with my friend, Marnie Webb, the co-CEO of TechSoup Global (really, global!), we did what good Social Citizens do — we put up a WordPress blog overnight, started to populate it with the tag givelist, and away we went.

As I posted on the site last night – wow, what an immediate response!  Here’s more from that post:

In the few hours that GiveList has been up and running, we are delighted and thrilled with the enthusiasm and excitement with which our idea has been received.  Thanks to Beth Kanter for so creatively adding GiveList to an upcoming presentation in Boston, and Lucy Bernholz

for posting about it so quickly.  Thanks to the tens of tweeters using the #givelist hashtag and sharing ideas and helping to spread the word.  Here’s my favorite tweet of the day from Missashe, “swoon #givelist (Hat tip, everyone I follow on twitter…) love, love, love this idea!”

So, thanks again for giving our idea oxygen and love, as someone said to us this afternoon, Just because I’m poor doesn’t mean that I have to be stingy!”

I’ll provide updates here on the great ideas we’re receiving, but, please help spread the word and put on your thinking cap ’cause it’s going to take a lot of creativity and elbow grease to help our causes and communities through the winter.

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