Altruism Today


December 19th, 2011  |  Source: CAF America


The United States now ranks the highest in terms of charity in a massive global survey that put the nation in fifth place in 2010, according to CAFAmerica, a member organization of the United Kingdom based Charities Aid Foundation International Network of Offices, providing charitable financial services to individuals, global corporations, charities, and foundations.

According to those surveyed, two out of three Americans said they donated money to charity (65 percent), more than two out of five volunteered their time (43 percent) and roughly three out of four helped a stranger (73 percent).

The new “World Giving Index (WGI) 2011” report is based on over 150,000 Gallup polling interviews with members of the public in 153 countries. The 2011 report looks at three aspects of giving behavior of individuals in the preceding month, asking if they have donated money to a charity, volunteered time to an organization, or helped a stranger.

The top-ranked U.S. was followed in the survey by Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom rounding out the top five. The four new countries in the top 20 compared to the 2010 WGI report are Thailand, Morocco, Nigeria and Liberia. Of these, Liberia has enjoyed the biggest rise from 39th to 14th place, although Morocco’s increase from 33rd to 12th is equally notable. Other major shifts in the rankings include the rise of the United Kingdom from eighth to fifth, and Thailand’s neighbor Laos moving to tenth place.

Read the December 19, 2011 news release.

Read the “World Giving Index 2011” report.

Listen to the December 19, 2011 news event.

AmeriCares & GE Foundation: Health Care for the Uninsured

December 5th, 2011  |  Source:

New online resource to help improve care at free clinics nationwide

AmeriCares and the GE Foundation have teamed up to launch an innovative online resource guide for free clinics and nonprofit health care centers serving the growing number of uninsured Americans. With nearly 50 million people in the U.S. without health insurance, and more families relying on safety net clinics as their primary source of medical care, serves as a comprehensive resource dedicated to improving the care provided by the 1,200 free clinics serving America’s uninsured and underinsured.

The site contains practical how-to guides for clinic administrators interested in better managing volunteers, organizing on-site pharmacies and improving the delivery of health services. It also features a message board where clinic directors can solicit advice from their peers all across the country. The site links to AmeriCares U.S. Access online ordering system that allows free clinic administrators to request donations of medicines and supplies from products in stock at AmeriCares Stamford, Conn. warehouse.

“Free Clinics Today is a one-stop-shop for all of the best and most up-to-date information for health care providers serving the uninsured,” said AmeriCares President and CEO Curt Welling. “Pairing our expertise with our medical aid deliveries is one more way we’re helping free clinics do more with limited resources.”

Free Clinics Today is part of AmeriCares expanding domestic work, which includes ongoing medical assistance to 400 free clinics, nonprofit pharmacies and community health centers nationwide. In addition, more than 100,000 Americans rely on AmeriCares Patient Assistance Programs for free prescription medications to manage their chronic health conditions. In Connecticut, where the charity is based, it operates three AmeriCares Free Clinics that provide high-quality, outpatient medical care for low-income residents without health insurance. Launches Membership-Based Platform

November 29th, 2011  |  Source:, one of the largest U.S. organizations that helps teens take action on causes they care about, launches a new membership model today.

The goal of membership is to build an army of doers 5 million strong by 2015. 

The organization will communicate with its members primarily through text messaging, as 90% of teens have a cell phone by age 15 and the open rate for text message is 100%.

Membership gives teens the chance to make a real impact on social change, cash grants and prizes for school and cause projects, swag teens actually want (like movie tickets), and access to invite-only opportunities like the chance to meet a celebrity. Any young person 25 and under can join by texting “JOIN” to 38383 or joining online at

In addition, the organization is releasing data from their third annualCommunity Service and College Admissions Survey, the only scientific report addressing how community service impacts the college admissions process. This year, the survey reportsadmission officers indicate long-term commitment to a cause or organization is very important.

Sponsored by Chase and conducted in partnership with Fastweb, the trusted scholarship and financial aid resource, the survey interviewed admissions officers from 32 of the top 50 colleges and universities listed in US News & World Report to identify the most important elements of a strong application. Some findings include:

·         “Good citizenship” is instrumental, a skill developed in service activities(76% of officers reported leadership plays a critical role in admissions decisions)

·         Specific language can be more effective: words like “passion” and “initiative,” should be used instead of ”required” and “brief”

·         Applicants should indicate their community service in the specific area of the application and elaborate in the essay)

·         Community service ranked number four in importance of factors considered for admission – above reference letters, interviews and legacy.

For more go to:

Médecins sans Frontières book reveals aid agencies' ugly compromises

November 20th, 2011  |  Source: The Guardian

Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed gives inside account of forced deals with regimes that abuse human rights

A controversial new book produced by one of the world's best-known aid agencies, Médecins sans Frontières, lifts the lid on the often deeply uncomfortable compromises aid organisations are forced to make while working in conflicts.

How humanitarian aid organisations work – and the sometimes unintended consequences of their actions – has been brutally cross-examined in recent years, not least by the critical Dutch author Linda Polman.

Read the review here:

Institute to Alleviate Poverty Launched with $150 Million Gift

November 17th, 2011  |  Source: Stanford University

Stanford Graduate School of Business Launches Institute to Alleviate Poverty with $150 Million Gift

For Stanford's new Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED)  the aim is to stimulate, develop, and disseminate research and innovations that enable entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders to alleviate poverty in developing economies. (Includes Video):

Three Ways Mobile Wallets Could Transform Fundraising

November 14th, 2011  |  Source:

Mobile Wallets are going to dramatically transform how consumers purchase goods and services. Many predict the end of cash and physical credit cards for both point-of-sale and online transactions within the next five years.

Not one to shy or fear new technology, I’ll be one of the first to ditch cash completely and transfer my credit cards to a mobile wallet service on my iPhone when it becomes available. We do already have the Google Wallet in beta, and the Isis Wallet, the Visa Wallet, and the PayPal Wallet are in the works, and many more mobile wallet services are likely to launch in 2012 – perhaps even the much-speculated Apple iWallet.

Whichever service dominates is a story yet be told, but nonprofits would be wise to familiarize themselves with this technology and be ready to alter and adapt their fundraising campaigns when the opportunity arrives. That said, I don’t know of any wallet service or online fundraising vendor currently building the functionality to donate via wallets, but it’s just a matter of time.

The ideas below are merely speculative, but completely possible.

Read on here:

Can Altruism Be Addictive?

November 13th, 2011  |  Source: Science and Religion Today

Altruism—like all our other finest traits—has its roots in Darwinian evolution. The reflex is strongest toward those who carry our genes, especially our own children. In fact, it’s so strong that we don’t even use “altruism” in that case. But biologists have charted this relationship very well.

What humans have done, however, is take many of these basic reflexes and made them much more complex in our minds and in our cultures. Altruism now extends to sacrificing ourselves for abstract things, like country or ideals or to benefit the stranger or all humankind. Lately, with this circle-expanding reflex I call “otherness,” we’ve seen millions become devoted to helping other species, or even the ultimate palpable-abstraction, a living Earth.

This altruistic outwardness is universally respected as a deeply honorable human desideratum. But it gets more complicated, still. Altruism becomes problematic when the giver and receiver of aid disagree! Or when assistance repeatedly does not have the effect promised, but instead wreaks a variety of harms. It can get political, as when millions on the right resent altruistic measures they deem “politically correct” and when millions on the other side disagree over the altruistic intent and effects of pro-life rage.

Can altruism be “addictive?” Almost any mental state can be, we’ve learned. The human brain is spectacularly good at being self-tuned to release chemicals, on demand, that give the individual various kinds of highs. The biggest come from activities and thoughts that most call wholesome, like love, skill, music, and such. But coming up close behind is self-righteousness! When you see someone who is indignant all the time—whether it’s your crazy neighbor or that face in the mirror—look for the flush responses and repetition rates of an addict, coming back again and again for that self-doped “hit.”

And yes, altruism can be one of the top triggers and excuses for self-righteousness. That part is just obvious.

David Brin is a space physicist and science fiction writer, and the author of the chapter “Self-Addiction and Self-Righteousness” in the new book Pathological Altruism.

Valuing Our Veterans

November 11th, 2011  |  Source: 3

A New Campaign From 3 Generations

Today on Veterans Day we are proud to announce our newest campaign: Valuing Our Veterans.

Created as a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, 3 Generations is producing the stories of Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to highlight the huge challenges this generation of Vets face when they return home. 99 percent of us do not serve in the military, yet the 1 percent who do, risk their lives to preserve security for the rest of us.

Large among the challenges for returning Veterans are disproportionate rates of unemployment, vilification in the media and the stigma of a PTSD diagnosis. Bridging the civilian-military divide through awareness is one way to help. Employing Veterans is another. 

3 Generations helps survivors of mass atrocities tell their stories. Told in their own words, the survivors' stories cross borders, conflicts and generations. By sharing these stories broadly, 3 Generations explores survival and resilience, amplifies and honors survivors' collective voice and builds an avenue for the world to listen and learn from their experiences.

The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying

November 10th, 2011  |  Source:


Abstract: We study the determinants of the dynamics of firm lobbying behavior using a panel data set covering 1998-2006. Our data exhibit three striking facts: 

(i) few firms lobby,

(ii) lobbying status is strongly associated with firm size, and

(iii) lobbying status is highly persistent over time.

Estimating a model of a firm's decision to engage in lobbying, we find significant evidence that up- front costs associated with entering the political process help explain all three facts.

We then exploit a natural experiment in the expiration in legislation surrounding the H-1B visa cap for high-skilled immigrant workers to study how these costs affect firms' responses to policy changes.

We find that companies primarily adjusted on the intensive margin: the firms that began to lobby for immigration were those who were sensitive to H-1B policy changes and who were already advocating for other issues, rather than firms that became involved in lobbying anew.

For a firm already lobbying, the response is determined by the importance of the issue to the firm's business rather than the scale of the firm's prior lobbying efforts. These results support the existence of significant barriers to entry in the lobbying process. 

By: William R. Kerr, William Lincoln, and Prachi Mishra

Complete Text (Acrobat PDF Version)

Saving the Ship by Rocking the Boat

November 8th, 2011  |  Source:


By Mario Morino

In my September column, I implored those who serve on nonprofit boards to “summon the courage to face the music and prepare for the future, even if things are going swimmingly today.” In this column, I will arm you with the six questions I believe every nonprofit board and executive team must ask to prepare for rough financial straits ahead. 

Fair warning: The questions below are not a tame, staid checklist. Wrestling with these questions will require you to challenge long-held assumptions, stir conflict, and venture far from your comfort zone. 

Before I share the questions, allow me to share a good example of the bold thinking that our times require. Shockingly, this story comes from the Ivory Tower of academia, a sector that is notoriously tradition-bound and change-averse. 

Read on here:

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