Altruism Today

New platform launched by GiveCorps

April 5th, 2013  |  Source: GiveCorps Foundation

Did you know Michael Bloomberg’s first donation to Johns Hopkins, in 1965, was just five dollars? That was a billion dollars ago! With the millennial generation standing to inherit trillions, it’s important for charities to build relationships with and cultivate small donations from that age group now.

GiveCorps, a Baltimore-based startup dedicated to creating technology to make philanthropy easy and accessible, believes their new GiveCorps Pro platform will equip nonprofits with the tools they need to reach this demographic.

GiveCorps Pro gives nonprofits the ability to harness their supporters’ passions and social networks by allowing them to create their own giving campaigns on the organization’s behalf.

GiveCorps Pro recently launched with four high profile clients, including the United Way of Central Maryland, the Community Coalition for Haiti, Baltimore’s Kingdom Life Church, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

You can see United Way’s use of the platform here:

For the GiveCorps.Pro website go to:

On Gun Control, White House Fails to Tap Power of Nonprofits

April 2nd, 2013  |  Source: NPQ

In his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama urged the Congress to adopt stringent gun control measures, including a ban on assault weapons and large ammunition clips. It was tough talk. Did he really mean it?

Though he has barnstormed parts of the country on the issue, speaking to mayors and police chiefs who were already on the gun control bandwagon, his administration has done little or nothing to mobilize large constituencies that could neutralize the influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful pro-gun lobby that appears to terrorize so many or our congressmen and senators. On March 28, the president once again urged Congress to pass his gun control agenda, yet the White House has not yet taken any action to back up his rhetoric.

Organizing for Action (OFA), the so-called 501(c)(4) grassroots organization founded by White House operatives and led by Jim Messina, was supposed to deliver masses of people, many of them young veterans of the Obama political campaign, to support administration initiatives such as gun control and immigration reform. But, so far, it has turned out to be just a fundraising mechanism to lure big money to White House coffers. Only a strong outcry from watchdog groups like Common Cause forced OFA to abandon its plans for a pay-to-play vehicle for corporate and large individual donors.

Contrary to its promise, Organizing for Action has not launched any major effort to rally the forces needed to win the immigration reform and gun control fights. One is left with a perplexing question: for what action is the OFA organizing?

White House staff have demonstrated an incredible lack of interest and/or incompetence in failing to call out nonprofit sector organizations as activists for tighter gun controls. Surprisingly, they have done no such thing. They haven’t, as one might have expected, convened any conferences or workshops for nonprofits to enlist them as soldiers in the battle for gun control. Nor, as far as we know, have they reached out to individual groups to gain their support for such an initiative.

It is a major missed opportunity. Many large nonprofits, with substantial constituencies, have the money, staff and resources to mount major campaigns. The foundation community also has the money needed to finance comprehensive, sustained efforts. Together, they have the wherewithal to outspend and to politically outmuscle the National Rifle Association. Yet they haven’t been asked to do anything. If they were to join forces with Mayor Bloomberg of New York, who’s had the courage to give millions of dollars and his personal involvement to the cause, chances for much tighter gun controls would be enormously enhanced.

Why, then, has the Obama administration done nothing but talk about gun violence? For an alleged former organizer, the president has either been a poor organizer or a reluctant warrior.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, has yanked the assault weapons and limited ammunition clip provisions from the gun control bill the Senate will consider, claiming there weren’t enough votes to pass it if the legislation included the controversial measures. The president could have pressured Reid to introduce the complete bill, but he didn’t.

One is left with the impression that the president, as in other cases, is satisfied with the rhetoric of toughness and a mild gun control bill, that he has no intention of fighting hard for what he promised. In doing so, he, not incidentally, is helping the fortunes of several Senate democrats facing difficult challenges in conservative states in 2016.

But that is not presidential leadership. He had a chance to enroll a potentially powerful nonprofit sector as his agent of change on the issue, a decision that might have turned the tide of the battle and broken the back of the NRA. What a waste of resources.

And what a retrograde step in helping to solve the problem of violence in American communities.


Pablo Eisenberg is a senior fellow at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute.

Ch-Ch-Changes: Nonprofit Sector Predictions for 2013

December 26th, 2012  |  Source: NPQ

The most insightful statement about predicting the future comes from Nobel Prize-winning chemist Neils Bohr, who reportedly once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said roughly the same thing, though he also said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

Berra and Bohr seem to be describing the future that faces nonprofits and foundations in 2013, based on dozens of predictions we received from smart people in and around the Nonprofit Quarterly orbit. It would take several columns to reprint all of them, so this Cohen Report excerpts some telling commentaries that lay out thematic predictions for the coming year. In some cases, we hope that they are on the mark. In others, we hope that some of these Cassandras (the mythic Greek character who knew of the future but couldn’t change it) are mistaken.

Relationships with Government

Heading toward the precipice of the fiscal cliff, people with predictions for the sector were notably absorbed with what will happen to nonprofits at the hands of—or in bed with—government. With “organizations such as Robert Egger’s CForward endorsing candidates, and with other thought leaders calling for more political involvement, DePaul University professor John Ronquillo observed, “expect nonprofits and government to get even more intimate.”

To read Nick Cohen’s predictions go here:

A Tale of Two Nonprofit Messages on U.S. Gun Violence

December 17th, 2012  |  Source: NPQ

In 2010, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave President Barack Obama an “F” on gun control based on his administration’s “extraordinary silence and passivity.” That was after the killings in Fort Hood, Texas in 2009 but before the Obama administration’s statements of concern (followed by no action) after the attempted assassination of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) in Tucson in 2011, the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo. in 2012, and the gun violence at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., also in 2012.

In the second 2012 presidential debate, the president said something to the effect that while he supports some unexplained interpretation of the Second Amendment, he doesn’t think weapons meant for warfare belong on the streets of American cities. Still, the Obama administration didn’t do anything about it, which presumably didn’t improve his grade from the Brady Campaign. But after the horrible murders of elementary school children in Newtown, Conn., the president has indicated that now, at last, is the time for “meaningful action.”

Facing off against the nonprofit Brady Campaign is a much larger nonprofit, the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA has been almost completely silent since the Newtown shootings, even cancelling a “Tweet and Greet” with country music rapper Colt Ford. Several sources are citing an unnamed NRA spokeswomanwho said, “Until the facts are thoroughly known, the NRA will not be making any comment.”

You can all imagine the comments that the NRA will be offering members of Congress. Think about the pending legislation in the 112th Congress that would limit the capacity of large ammunition feeding devices, close the gun show loophole, keep guns away from federal events (like the one that resulted in the shooting of Gabby Giffords), and prevent people on terrorist watch lists from obtaining guns. Not one of those bills moved an inch during the past two years. How about the legislation to reinstate the assault weapons ban? To our knowledge, a bill to that effect wasn’t even introduced. The NRA essentially tells lawmakers to see no evil, do no gun control legislation. The Brady Campaign gives lawmakers—and the White House—a failing grade for doing exactly what the NRA wants.

Will the president and his Democratic allies finally take the meaningful action that the president said he would pursue? Will it happen in the wake of 20 dead kids in an elementary school in Newtown, or the 87 gun deaths that occur every day in the U.S.? Will something be done to address the more than 18,735 suicide deaths, 11,493 homicide deaths, 493 unintentional deaths, and 73,505 non-fatal injuries attributed to firearms in a year? Launched by CAF

November 29th, 2012  |  Source:

Today, Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAFAmerica) officially launched, a streamlined approach for corporations, foundations, families, and individuals to support important philanthropic efforts both at home and abroad with confidence.

These new services are a comprehensive response to new proposed Treasury Department regulations, announced via advance notice of proposed rulemaking on September 24, 2012, which may be relied upon now and until final regulations are issued. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted these regulatory changes in September when she spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative and called for a simpler system for investing in legitimate foreign charities. is the nation’s first response to the urgent need highlighted by Secretary Clinton, emerging at a time when austerity budgets on many continents have raised the needs of vulnerable populations, placing at risk public health, education, economic development, and disaster recovery efforts.  The increased need for assistance, coupled with a tough economic climate for even the most charitable institutions and individuals, makes it even more pressing that America’s deep commitment to helping others is matched with equal dedication to ensuring donated dollars are used meaningfully by credible and impactful organizations.

For more go to:

Version 11.0 of ResultsPlus released

November 19th, 2012  |  Source:

—ResultsPlus, a constituent relationship management (CRM) and fundraising software provider, releases the eleventh version of its fundraising software solution – ResultsPlus 11 – to assist nonprofit organizations and professionals manage donations and memberships, as well as track CRM and fundraising efforts.

Serving more than 3,500 nonprofit organizations and professionals for the past 27 years, ResultsPlus has helped clients like Cancer Support Community, the Ronald McDonald House and regional Boys and Girls Clubs of America manage their individual fundraising efforts. ResultsPlus was one of the first fundraising applications offered in the Microsoft Windows marketplace and is one of the six original fundraising software companies still in market due to the company’s technical updates and enhanced features made over the years.

By partnering with Moneris, a payment processing company, ResultsPlus’ newest edition of software is integrated with simplified online giving, credit card and ACH donation processing. New interactive graphs and features also allow for versatile reporting and processing, granting customers the freedom to focus on donor cultivation and segmentation.

For more go to:

The disruption of education: How technology is helping students teach themselves

November 2nd, 2012  |  Source: Giga Om

Even with no teachers, students taught themselves

One example: At a recent conference on emerging technology at MIT, Nicholas Negroponte — the former head of the MIT Media Lab and founder of the OLPC project — talked about what his group noticed about the villages in Ethiopia, where some devices were dropped off. The Motorola Xoom tablets, which were distributed along with a solar-charging system, were delivered in boxes to two isolated rural villages about 50 miles from the capital of Addis Ababa, where Negroponte said the children had never before seen printed English words — not even packaging or road signs with printed letters.

Although the OLPC founder says the group expected most of the children to spend their time “playing with the boxes,” in a matter of minutes they had powered up the devices and, within days, they were using a number of apps included with the system. Even more remarkably, within weeks, they had figured out how to “hack” their way around restrictions built into the software to change the laptop’s display background. Thanks to the tablets, they were singing ABC songs and even spelling words in English. Said Negroponte:

“Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera.”


October 30th, 2012  |  Source: Mobile Giving Foundation/BBB

Great initiative from the Mobile Giving Foundation and the Better Business Bureau 

List of Available Short Codes to Donate in the U.S. & Canada

What: The quickest way to provide monetary relief to those affected by Hurricane Sandy is mobile giving.  By texting a keyword to a designated short code via a mobile phone, you can make a donation of $10 to aid the millions of people affected by this disaster.  100% of your donation goes to the recipient charity, and the donation appears as a charge on your carrier bill (standard rates may apply).

Who: There are several organizations that are responding to this urgent need with mobile giving efforts, including the following national charities that meet BBB Wise Giving Alliance standards:

Text : “STORM” to 80888 to donate $10

On behalf of the Salvation Army


Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate $10

On behalf of the American Red Cross


Text “HUMANE” to 80888 to donate $10

On behalf of  American Humane Association


Text “GIVEUSA” to 777444 to donate $10

On behalf of World Vision


October 9th, 2012  |  Source: Dani Dalesandro

A new PSA featuring Kevin Bacon, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Meryl Streep, Sandra Bernhard, Lisa Kudrow, and so many more in support of The Center for Reproductive Rights. Today, the organization launched a new campaign called DRAW THE LINE through which they are calling on women and men across the country to fight against attacks made on a woman’s fundamental and constitutional rights by signing the Bill of Reproductive Rights (language below) at

You may view the PSA at this link:

Nonprofit’s “Meatless Mondays” Sparks USDA Controversy

July 29th, 2012  |  Source: NPQ

Source: New York Times

The July edition of the USDA’s internal “Greening Headquarters” newsletter had included a pitch for USDA employees to participate in “Meatless Mondays” at the agency’s cafeteria.

The newsletter has since been taken down, though you can still find it here. Why the retraction of support for the nonprofit campaign? It seems the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) didn’t take too kindly to the suggestion that Americans should abstain from eating their main product at least once a week. The beef industry trade association posted a statement on its website declaring, “This move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”

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