Altruism Today

Police charge 90-year-old man, 2 pastors with feeding homeless

November 6th, 2014  |  Source:

Arnold Abbott says he intends to take Fort Lauderdale to court

Fort Lauderdale police charged three men -- including two pastors and a 90-year-old man -- for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday, the first such cases made by the city after the a new ordinance effectively banning public food sharings took effect Friday.

The first to be charged was homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, 90, who has been feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale for more than 20 years. Also cited were two Christian ministers -- Dwayne Black, pastor of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs.

All three men face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

"One of the police officers said, 'Drop that plate right now,' as if I were carrying a weapon," said Abbott, who runs a nonprofit group called Love Thy Neighbor, Inc. "It's man's inhumanity to man is all it is."

In 1999, the city tried to stop Abbott from feeding the homeless on Fort Lauderdale Beach, prompting a lawsuit from Abbott, which he won. Now he said he will fight the municipal ordinance charge and be forced to take the city back to court.

"I’m going to have to go to court again and sue the city of Fort Lauderdale -- a beautiful city," said Abbott. "These are the poorest of the poor, they have nothing, they don't have a roof over their heads. How do you turn them away?"

Abbott said he won't turn them away and is planning to bring food to the beach this Wednesday evening with the expectation that he may be hit with another charge.

"I don't do things to purposefully aggravate the situation," said Abbott. "I'm trying to work with the city. Any human has the right to help his fellow man."

Charities Won’t Take Porn Money Unless They Can Keep It a Dirty Secret

November 5th, 2014  |  Source: NY Observer

Charities must carefully manage their reputations, which is why it only takes a whiff of scandal for them to turn down money. Rejecting donations from hate groups or mobsters? Makes sense. But when it comes to companies peddling porn, some nonprofits like to swing both ways. It’s not that nonprofits won’t take money from the adult entertainment industry. Oh no, they simply wish the whole affair to be discreet. Exhibit A: In the week-long run up to Arbor Day this year, Pornhub launched its “Gives America Wood” campaign in which the website vowed to plant a tree for every 100 videos watched in the “Big Dick” category. The promotion led to the planting of 15,473 trees. You’d think that a preservation society or arboretum would desire this kind of attention. After all, deforestation isn’t an issue that gets as much public attention as other just causes, such as cancer awareness or animal shelters (which can pull in donations from emotionally exploitive ads provided they pick the right soundtrack). Unless you’re a card-carrying member of the Earth Liberation Front, it’s unlikely you know the date Arbor Day falls on (trick question: it’s the last Friday of every April). Still, when Pornhub cut a more tha $15,000 check to pay for the trees, it was all done quietly. The smut site’s VP Corey Price refused to name its planting partner; the nonprofit, he explained, “politely requested” not to be identified. Pornhub ran into the same reluctance when they ran their “Save the Boobs” campaign to battle breast cancer in 2012. The company offered one penny to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for every 30 views in breast-related porn categories, and stacked those pennies $75,000 high. Instead, Susan G. Komen, the nation’s largest breast cancer foundation, publicly rejected the money. The foundation asked that Pornhub not associate such a salacious brand with their hallowed name (let’s not bring up Komen’s controversial decision to end its support of Planned Parenthood and then change its mind when public pressure mounted). Instead, Pornhub split the cash between three smaller unidentified organizations that fight breast cancer. The trouble was, Pornhub had made it a point, loud and clear, that they’d be donating to Komen. The organization has major corporate partnerships with companies like Bank of America, New Balance and Walgreens. It’s unlikely a foundation that takes in money from large multinationals also wants to list Redtube next to Ford on their list of corporate donors—not when it might alienate big benefactors who back all of those high-profile walkathons. Read more at Follow us: @newyorkobserver on Twitter | newyorkobserver on Facebook

Outside groups' Return on Investment:

November 5th, 2014  |  Source: Sunlight Foundation

After a 2012 election that left big Republican money reeling, the biggest players on the right have a lot to celebrate. According to our tabulation of outside spenders' return on investment, the comeback kids of 2014 turn out to be the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Crossroads fundraising combine. Results for the Democrats: not so impressive.

The chart below shows the top 20 highest spending outside groups in the midterms and their success rate so far.

Two years ago, when we took the post-mortem of the presidential-year elections, powerhouse conservative spenders like Crossroads GPS, American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had almost nothing to show for the tens of millions of dollars they funneled into that campaign. In 2014, conservatives turned the ship around, drubbing their liberal rivals in a year in which independent groups on both sides dropped unprecedented amounts of money.

The three conservative organizations mentioned above all had success rates under 20 percent two years ago. This year? Each group batted .800 or above. With several races remaining to be decided, the National Republican Senatorial Committee also boasts a 94 percent success rate.

No matter what its ideological leaning, outside money is definitely not bullish on politicians. In the chart below, the size of the circle represents the size of the expenditure — and by far the most money went to negative advertising. Hover over each circle to get more information on the spender.

For the CHARTS. Read on here:

Ebola crisis highlights China's philanthropic shortfall

November 5th, 2014  |  Source: Reuters

China has contributed over $120 million to fight the spread of the Ebola virus, but its billionaire tycoons - it has more than anywhere outside the United States - have, publicly at least, donated little to the cause, underscoring an immature culture of philanthropy in the world's second-biggest economy.

As the ranks of China's wealthy and the success of its corporations grow, donating to good causes has yet to take off in a significant way. China sits toward the bottom of the list of countries where people give money to charity, volunteer or help a stranger, according to The World Giving Index, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation.

Donations to charities totaled 98.9 billion yuan ($16.1 billion) in 2013, according to Chinese government data, recovering from two straight years of declines. For comparison, Americans gave more than $335 billion, according to the National Philanthropic Trust website.

Many big Chinese companies have invested in Africa - China is Africa's leading trading partner - and some 200 operate in West Africa, where Ebola has been at its most lethal, killing close to 5,000 people. These include construction, infrastructure and telecoms firms such as Huawei Technology Co Ltd [HWT.UL], China Henan International Cooperation Group and China Communications Construction Co Ltd.

A Huawei spokeswoman said Africa was an important market, but declined to comment on philanthropy or specific ventures in Ebola-hit countries. China Henan and China Communications Construction did not respond to requests for comment.

The World Food Programme (WFP) last month called on Chinese firms and tycoons to donate more to fighting Ebola. "No one's been willing to do anything big yet," said Brett Rierson, the WFP's China representative.

The Ministry of Commerce said Chinese firms and industry associations had pitched in to help transport medical equipment in the region and donated around $600,000 in cash, food, oil and motorcycles to local governments.

The state-owned China-Africa Development Fund plans to contribute $450,000 to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - the three countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak, said Fang Aiqing, vice minister of commerce.

Don't Be the Only One Without an "I Voted" Sticker

November 3rd, 2014  |  Source: Rock the Vote

Find Your Polling Location and Make Sure You — and Your Friends — Vote!

Voting is important — it's one of the ways that we can help influence the course that our country will take. Who will lead, what initiatives will become law, what our government will look like at the local, state and national levels.

Whether you're stepping into a booth, sending it in the mail or dropping it off, make sure you have a plan to get your ballot in by tomorrow, November 4 

(find your polling location and who's on your ballot).
Share this image on Facebook to let your friends know that you will vote, and to remind them to do the same! 

The Value of Intentional Influence

October 30th, 2014  |  Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Influence is potentially the most valuable—yet least utilized—currency a social sector organization holds. While the potential of influence clearly resonates with leaders, the path forward is less clear. This six-part series will explore why organizations should pursue influence with intentionality, how they can think about focusing their efforts, and what barriers of their own creation they must overcome to use influence effectively.

Curated by contributing authors Amy Celep and Sara Brenner of Community Wealth Partners, the series will include perspectives on influence from Jamie Merisotis of the Lumina Foundation, Kathy Merchant of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and Ralph Smith of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.


Integrating Intentional Influence into Your Strategy

Five practical considerations for organizations that want to use intentional influence to achieve a bold social goal.

By Amy Celep & Sara Brenner

Redesigning Higher Education Through Intentional Influence

To create system-level change, we must use influence to both work within the system and disrupt it.

By Jamie P. Merisotis | 1

Strategy’s Missing Link

Influence is an underutilized tool for organizations that want to achieve bold social goals.

By Amy Celep & Sara Brenner | 3

Defensive Overworking Means Least Vacation Days in 40 Years

October 28th, 2014  |  Source: NPQ

CNN reports on a study released by the U.S. Travel Association that shows Americans are taking fewer vacation days now than at any time in the past 40 years. In 2013, workers forfeited 169 million days of paid time off, or about $500 per worker. (Even if the worker recovers the money for the annual leave not taken, they have given up the opportunity to take a break from working.)

The travel industry is concerned about the economic impact of vacation-related spending on its members and the travel industry as a whole. However, the study also has broader implications, as it reflects increasing anxiety about workers’ ability to keep a current job or find a new one. It also indicates possible psychological consequences from work-related stress and sacrifice of work-life balance.

While workers report concerns about being thought of as “slackers” for taking all their vacation days, Travel Association president Roger Dow says, “It does them no good whatsoever. People who take more time off tend to get more raises and promotions.”

Other worker concerns include facing the piles of work awaiting them after a vacation and the effects of “device addiction,” where workers evaluate their own productivity, and believe others evaluate their productivity, based on their timely access to email and other technology-based communication.

Breast Cancer Action campaign

October 24th, 2014  |  Source:

25% of chemicals used in fracking increase our risk of cancer. So what's a breast cancer organization doing partnering with the oil & gas industry to produce "pink drill bits for the cure"?

Tell Susan G. Komen to stop fracking with our health before they accept Baker Hughes, Inc.'s check on Oct. 26th:

Breast Cancer Action campaign leader

Year-End Fundraising: The Not-So-Magnificent Obsession

October 24th, 2014  |  Source: NPQ

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

That’s the sense of hysteria I get with all this talk of year-end fundraising.

I don’t mean to be contrarian. Wait. Yes, I do. If you know my work at all, I can be quite contrarian.

Here’s my perspective: I’m not much interested in talking about year-end fundraising.

I’m more interested in talking about all-year-long fundraising. Because if you’re focused on year-end fundraising (and not so focused on year-round), you’re in trouble.

What have you been doing all year? Why are you so focused on year-end? Are you mopping up the mess your organization made because it wasn’t doing the right stuff the right way all year long? That’s the falling-sky hysteria of the Chicken Little family.

Fundraising is year-round. Fundraising is 52 weeks a year. There’s the relationship-building part, and the asking part, and the relationship-building part, and the asking part, and the…

Your fund development program

With this in mind, your organization (led by the development staff, or the executive director if there is no development staff) designs a comprehensive, integrated fund development program. Your fund development program incorporates various solicitation strategies (personal face-to-face solicitation, direct mail, proposal writing, fundraising events, and so on) directed at various sources for gifts (like individuals, foundations, corporations, government, civic and faith groups).

Your organization prepares a written fund development for every fiscal year. I use the fund development planning process to test the proposed budget. I finalize both budget and plan for board action prior to the start of the new fiscal year.

Your written plan

The written fund development plan is more than a calendar. The plan is a strategic document that guides strategies and tactics for the year.

The plan belongs to the institution, not the development office. Every board member has assignments within the plan. And the development director (and members of the Fund Development Committee) negotiates commitments with each board member through a menu of choices.

The fundraising plan carefully integrates relationship building (donor-centered communications plus extraordinary experiences) with asking. The fundraising plan ensures that donors experience non-solicitation touches multiple times per year. And the plan ensures that donors experience gift requests multiple times per year.

From a timing point of view, the organization makes sure that the fiscal year fundraising plan spreads asking (and hence giving!) throughout a 12-month period. You ensure that cash flows throughout the fiscal year. You ensure that all your eggs aren’t in one basket, e.g., the last few months prior to the end of your fiscal year or the donor’s fiscal year, mostly known as December 31st in the U.S.

Requesting gifts

Every organization can (and should!) do personal face-to-face solicitation for “major gifts” for annual operating/core program support. And always remember that the donor decides what is major.

Your organization identifies prospects for this solicitation, both individuals and corporations. And you continue to grow this segment over the years. As a chief development officer, my organization eventually conducted 500 individual and corporate face-to-face solicitations each year—with 75 volunteers (10 of whom were on the board)—to raise annual operating support.

I recommend doing this personal solicitation at the start of the donor’s year (in other words, the first quarter of the calendar year). I want my donors to have the chance to pay an operations pledge over a multi-month period.

For your direct mail segment, you do multiple solicitations each year, even to those who’ve already given. For example, I have clients who send:

·       Direct mail letter #1 in February

·       A ticket solicitation in March for the April event

·       Direct mail letter #2 in May

·       Direct mail letter #3 early in September

·       Direct mail letter #4 in early December

All this is part of a comprehensive fund development program. No Chicken Littles scurrying around at year’s end.

The year-end opportunity

Sure, you can do something extra in the final few months before the tax year ends for your donors, whatever that tax year might be. But my suggestions can (and should!) be incorporated into your comprehensive fund development program at some point. Even these are not really dependent upon this year-end hysteria.

1.    How about a lovely anniversary letter before the end of the donor tax year that says, “Thank you”? A special thank-you that tells me how many years I’ve been giving? Maybe you even tell me my lifetime value: “In 2014, we’re celebrating your 10th year of giving to this cause, Simone. And over those 10 years, you’ve given a total of $1,500!” 
Or maybe you don’t want to tell them their cumulative giving. But at least celebrate the years of giving. (Of course, you could send out the anniversary letter in the actual anniversary month.)

2.    How about a donor thank-a-thon (by board members!) sometime in November or early December? Think of this as a “Thanksgiving,” or maybe it’s a “Happy New Year.”

3.    Maybe you send to all donors, including those you solicited face-to-face, a special year-end letter. It looks different. It’s not part of your direct mail program. A special thank-you letter—the “Heroes’ Award thank you” to all donors. And you actually mention the soon-to-end tax year and request an additional gift.
Maybe a donor signs this letter. (Of course, the letter is actually written by your direct mail letter writer!) But the idea is that the donor is saying something like, “I’m writing you today because I just gave a special year-end gift to XX, a favorite charity of mine. And as one of our wonderful donors—a hero to everyone in this organization and everyone served by this organization—I wanted to invite you to join me. Soon, we will all have fun putting together our details for the tax people. And maybe you just want to give one more gift…”

4.    How good are your thank-you letters? Have you ever done one of those really cool thank-you videos? Maybe you make one now, during this annual tax year-end frenzy.
Maybe this becomes an annual activity—collect them all! Of course, sent to every single donor, no matter the gift size. And posted on your website and on YouTube.

The bottom line

Enough with the year-end frenzies. Don’t put all (or even lots!) of your chicken eggs in the year-end basket. In fact, eliminate the Chicken Little sky-falling frenzy altogether.

Strengthen your fund development program. Use each month well—all twelve of them.

Just do really good fund development always. And then you can smile—and even snicker—at those organizations that focus on year-end.


October 22nd, 2014  |  Source:

Which World Series baseball team fans have bigger hearts?

Baseball fans step up to the plate and participate in a challenge for kids health.

As the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants compete for the title of World Series Champion, Children’s Mercy Kansas City and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford have teamed up to throw out the Baseball Fan Challenge: Step up to the plate for children’s health. Patients at both children’s hospitals love their local baseball teams, so we challenge fans to show their support of the Royals or Giants by making a donation in their team’s honor to one of our children’s hospitals.

Visit the Children’s Mercy YouTube Channel to watch the Royals’ biggest fans from Children’s Mercy cheer on their favorite baseball players, the same players who have cheered them up all season long with hospital visits and gift deliveries. Fans can show their support for the Royals by making a donation in their honor online at today through Friday, October 31.

Donations for the Royals will go to the I Love Children’s Mercy fund. Meeting the goal of $25,000, fans will permanently honor their 2014 (hopefully World Series Champion) Royals with a plaque on the new I Love Children’s Mercy wall, on display at the hospital’s new gift shop opening early next year.

About Children’s Mercy 
Children’s Mercy, located in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the nation’s top pediatric medical centers. The 354-bed, not-for-profit hospital provides care for children from birth through the age of 21, and has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of “America's Best Children's Hospitals.” For the third time in a row, Children’s Mercy has achieved Magnet nursing designation, awarded to fewer than seven percent of all hospitals nationally, for excellence in quality care. Its faculty of 600 pediatricians and researchers across more than 40 subspecialties are actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research, and educating the next generation of pediatric subspecialists. For more than a century, Children’s Mercy has provided the highest level of medical care to every child who passes through its doors, made possible through generous community support. For more information about Children’s Mercy and its research, For breaking news and videos, follow us on TwitterYouTube and Facebook.

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is the heart of Stanford Children’s Health, and is one of the nation’s top hospitals for the care of children and expectant mothers. For a decade, we have received the highest specialty rankings of any Northern California children’s hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals survey, and are the only hospital in Northern California to receive the national 2013 Leapfrog Group Top Children’s Hospital award for quality and patient care safety. Discover more at

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