Monday, March 28, 2011

Go Daddy Delivers a Knock Out Punch In Giving

While Go Daddy may the premier domain registry business, it also delivers a knock out punch in philanthropic giving. No wonder that CEO Bob Parsons received the Muhammad Ali Entrepreneur Award for donating over $2.8 million to date, to causes such as Make a Wish Foundation, Starlight Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and many other local groups based in communities where GoDaddy has offices.

At the Celebrity Fight Night charity event in Scottsdale AZ, the company also donated $2.5 million to help fight Parkinson's disease. Along with Muhammad Ali, other celebrities recognized Bob Parsons as an inspiring philanthropist.

Inspiring others seems to be a mission of Bob Parsons in many ways. On his personal video blog site he posts wild, wacky and fun videos that serve as motivational messages and tips for other entrepreneurs. This episode below, #42  is in response to the many questions that Bob Parsons receives from entrepreneurs about how to stay motivated and keep going in bad times. 

His motivational videos don't say anything about giving back to the community as a part of a business strategy. But one gets the sense that giving back, inspiration and helping others is part of the mission of Go Daddy and its founder.

To find out more about Go Daddy's charity work, visit GoDaddyCares.

For related stories about other philanthropic companies that also strive to inspire others.
Charitable Designs
Socks For Happy People 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Attractor Factor in Business Giving

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has written a piece How Giving Has Helped One Business Grow about Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes and his opening presentation at the annual meeting of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. While the story of the beginnings of his inspiration is moving, he also added three key points about why embedding philanthropy into the fabric of a business can help it grow with the attraction of these three essential elements.

We have written lots about why giving is strategic and advantageous for business growth, but here is a different way of thinking about it. 

1. Attracting Loyal Customers
Blake cited a story about a woman he spoke to in an airport who, without knowing who he was, told him that it was the philanthropic aspects of the company that appealed to her. We also know with current research by from Edelman's Good Purpose Study 2010 , that indeed customers not only are enthusiastically supporting  businesses with a social purpose but are increasingly expecting it.
2.Attracting Quality Employees
TOMS shoes was able to lure employees from other well known shoe manufacturers because of the attraction of being part of a cause and having more meaning in their work. Studies have shown that even volunteering can contribute to an increase in employee satisfaction and retention rates.

3.Attracting Participating Partners 
Companies like Ralph Lauren and ATT have joined with TOMS shoes to support their cause. Paul Newman set a trend in this area with Newman's Own, by enlisting other companies to help support his Hole In the Wall Camp for children with life threatening illnesses. CECP which he founded, is based on the principle of businesses helping to support, inspire and partner with each other in their philanthropic efforts.

See related stories about other companies where giving has helped them grow.
Give Something Back which we wrote about last year was recently profiled in the SF Chronicle.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guidestar Will Acquire Philanthropedia and Social Actions



Acquisitions Add Critical Impact Data to GuideStar’s Outstanding Knowledge Base and Further the Organization’s Long-Term Strategy of Helping Donors, Institutional Funders and Those Working With the Nonprofit Sector Identify and Engage with High Impact Nonprofits

Washington, DC—March 17, 2011—GuideStar, the nonprofit industry’s leading resource for nonprofit data, today announced plans to acquire two innovative social impact organizations, Philanthropedia and Social Actions. GuideStar’s addition of both organizations will strengthen its leading role in the nonprofit industry by adding to its growing knowledge base of tools, data and information designed to advance transparency within the nonprofit sector.
Philanthropedia and Social Actions are aligned with GuideStar’s new strategic plan which puts expanded emphasis on increased transparency in legitimacy, reputation and performance information about the nonprofit community.

“The acquisition of Philanthropedia and Social Actions will further our ability to better serve both donors and nonprofits with tools, knowledge and data to inform best practices within the nonprofit sector and to encourage and inspire well-informed giving from donors,” says GuideStar President and CEO Bob Ottenhoff. “GuideStar has built a strong record of growth by expanding our expertise in collecting, displaying and creating tools and services with nonprofit data we gather from a growing list of sources.”

GuideStar to Integrate Philanthropedia’s Expert Review System into Offerings

Using an open source technology platform and a team of skilled professionals, Philanthropedia’s network of over 1,400 experts has evaluated 1,700 nonprofits in 15 different cause areas. The organization’s proprietary research methodology was created to help direct funding to groups of high-impact organizations in specific mission areas. GuideStar’s acquisition will keep the Philanthropedia team intact to scale their expert review system and integrate it into GuideStar’s existing data platforms.

“We are very excited to become a part of GuideStar and help further the missions of nonprofits all over the country,” said Deyan Vitanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Philanthropedia. “Integrating our expert review system into the GuideStar solution set will help realize Philanthropedia’s vision of empowering donors to pick a cause with their hearts and then an organization with their minds.” Howard Bornstein, Philanthropedia Chair of the Board and Co-Founder, adds, “At the end of the day, giving to charity is about people coming together to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Philanthropedia is excited by the possibilities of this merger to make it easier for people to come together in their charitable pursuits.”

Under the integration plan, Vitanov will become Manager of GuideStar Data Assets, and will supervise TakeAction, GuideStar’s cause-oriented website launched last year, as well as overseeing the integration of GuideStar’s acquisition of Social Actions. Until the integration is complete, Philanthropedia will operate as a separate organization, working primarily out of its Silicon Valley headquarters, which will also serve as GuideStar’s new west coast office.

Social Actions Acquisition Enables People to Make More Informed, Targeted Funding Choices

Social Actions is the leading aggregator of peer-to-peer giving opportunities and other actionable resources from dozens of high-quality online philanthropic platforms. Social Actions has pioneered and continues to oversee the development of an open database that supports a thriving ecosystem of innovative web applications and widgets, connecting donors and volunteers with unique opportunities to make a difference. GuideStar launched the micro-site TakeAction, created with similar open-source technology, in March 2010 with the goal of continuing to aggregate all kinds of nonprofit data that both the general public and professionals can use to make more informed and targeted funding choices. Adding Social Actions allows for seamless data aggregation and broad distribution that helps people to make and take action on philanthropic decisions.

“Since 2007, Social Actions has striven to redefine what it means to be an informed and proactive philanthropist in a world transformed by social technology,” said Peter Deitz, Founder and Co-Director of Social Actions. “We view this acquisition as an incredible opportunity to embed Social Actions’ mission into the sector’s leading repository of philanthropic data. At a more practical level, we’re excited to see the GuideStar and Philanthropedia teams take Social Actions to the next level by supporting our partners, engaging the developer community, and activating all kinds of donors in new and creative ways.”

Over the next several months, Deitz and his fellow Co-Director, Christine Egger, will support the integration of Social Actions and related programs.

The Social Actions acquisition will be complete later this month, and the Philanthropedia acquisition is slated to be complete by mid-April.

Nicole Bestard
Gabriel Marketing Group
Cell: 310-863-0308 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              310-863-0308      end_of_the_skype_highlighting!/GabrielMarketing

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Businesses Turning Lights Off To Support Earth Hour

Businesses all around the world are turning off their lights and urging others to do so for Earth Hour 2011, Sat March 26th.
As a consumer, I think it's great to do simple everyday tasks and encounter businesses that are contributing to important causes and creating public awareness. While getting money at my local Wells Fargo ATM,  I saw their message about the actions they will take in support of Earth Hour 2011.

For the last two years in March we have been posting a message about Earth Hour urging individuals organizations and businesses to participate.

This is such a simple and easy way to have a company show social responsibility without a huge outlay of expense or even effort, yet it sends a message to employees and customers that every little bit of effort can help the planet.

                   Here are some ideas for your company can adopt for Earth Hour 2011.  
  • Power off all your computers for the weekend so that they are not running during Earth Hour.
  • Set your timers for your lights to turn off in your place of business at that hour.
  • Turn off any outdoor electrical signage for that hour.
  • If your business is normally open during those times, host a special candlelight event for customers and clients during that hour.
  • Raise awareness through your website and other social media.
  • Post a virtual lantern on your facebook page and on your website. (See how to get your lantern below)
  • Collaborate with other businesses to sponsor a candlelight vigil in your community.

For more ideas on how your business can support Earth Hour check out and make your own lantern below.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Earthquake Aid

If, like me, you're watching the devastating images coming out of eastern Japan in the wake of Friday's earthquake and looking for ways to help, Lili Ladaga over at Yahoo News has a simple catalogue of links to just that effect, which I have inserted below:

AMERICAN RED CROSS: Emergency Operation Centers are opened in the affected areas and staffed by the chapters. This disaster is on a scale larger than the Japanese Red Cross can typically manage. Donations to the American Red Cross can be allocated for the International Disaster Relief Fund, which then deploys to the region to help. Donate here.

GLOBALGIVING: Established a fund to disburse donations to organizations providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Donate here.

SAVE THE CHILDREN: Mobilizing to provide immediate humanitarian relief in the shape of emergency health care and provision of non-food items and shelter. Donate here.

SALVATION ARMY: The Salvation Army has been in Japan since 1895 and is currently providing emergency assistance to those in need. Donate here.

AMERICARES: Emergency team is on full alert, mobilizing resources and dispatching an emergency response manager to the region. Donate here.

CONVOY OF HOPE: Disaster Response team established connection with in-country partners who have been impacted by the damage and are identifying the needs and areas where Convoy of Hope may be of the greatest assistance. Donate here.

: Putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities. Donate here.

SHELTER BOX: The first team is mobilizing to head to Japan and begin the response effort. Donate here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cause Marketing for Your Cause First , You Second

Cause Marketing has been booming and along with it has come some criticism and objections to using it as selfish self promotion rather than as an opportunity to give back to a favorite cause, to the point of even suggesting that it is "dead". But there are many examples of companies that  have been exemplary in representing a true giving partnership.  Joe Waters of Selfish Giving, defined cause marketing as: "a partnership between a non-profit and a for-profit for mutual profit", to which he has added several categories amongst which includes: message promotion.

But whose message? One would think the partnership would be one of somewhat  balanced messages about the cause and the business that is giving back the cause. Here are examples of cause marketing via message promotion that  puts the charity squarely in the forefront and outweighs the time allotted to the for-profit's message.

I spend a lot of time in my car, as many Californians do, where I first heard what was presumably another ad on the news station. It sounded more like a public service piece, the kind when stations offer free air time to charities. This ad provided information about the plight of foster children in our local communities. A foster child spoke about the challenges they face on a daily basis, and the kind of the support that they need for their well being. For the longest time there was no mention of any business associated with this ad, this was for most part a campaign to build  awareness for this cause. I knew which company was sponsoring this as I had  featured Sleep Train on this blog last year.
Towards the end Sleep Train did make known their sponsorship, by requesting that customers help support their program for foster children with their donation of shoes, clothing, backpacks and other necessary items at their participating stores. They also directed listeners to find out more about foster children on their link on the Sleep Train website.
No mention of mattresses, or of their stores, no sales pitch or special offers. Only at the end you heard their recognizable little jingle and the toot-toot.

Another ad I heard not too long ago began in a similar way, putting the cause first. The president of the Peninsula Humane Society talked about the work they do to help save stray and forgotten animals. Towards the end, the sponsoring company Pet Food Express mentioned their ongoing support of this organization with funding, volunteering and in-kind donations of pet food and supplies.You can check out on their giving back page other causes they support.

It's expensive to pay for media advertising, ( I know, I used to sell advertising space). As a result it is rare to hear and learn about local charities and causes on radio. They cannot afford to pay for this kind of  marketing. By sponsoring media ads for the charities, businesses have give back to the cause the great gift of increasing awareness and presumably generating more donations to the cause.

Yes, the business gets a bit of the air time for the brief mention of their name.  But the most positive thing they that have received out this partnership is a great big "Toot-toot" and hurrah, for giving the cause the opportunity for promoting their important message.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An International Women's Day Salute To Women Entrepreneurs Who Give

While the percentage of women to men that own their own small business in the United States has grown to 36%  social venture businesses may even have a higher percentage.  Social venture experts like Christina Jordan, an Ashoka Fellow, consider social entrepreneurship to be an exceptionally suitable fit for women as they tend to be more caring about issues and more philanthropic, and see their work as an extension of  how they think and feel.

Today is International Women's Day celebrating the advancement of women around the world in all facets of their life. This year's specific theme is: Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women. There are many events scheduled all over the world and throughout all of March that focus not only the designated topic for this year but on celebrating many topics about women.

For my topic, I choose to honor my favorite women entrepreneurs who have started businesses with the intent of giving back to either local or global causes. 

Tonia Irion co-founder of e-Cycle which buys cell-phones from companies, recycles and restores them for re-sale. In addition they offer companies the opportunity to give back their proceeds to a designated charity. 

Molly Taylor  founder of The Sweet Trucks, an LA bakery on wheels which donates a portion of profits to local charities such as Meals on Wheels and others. A Sweet Victory For SweetTrucks

Two women, Lauren Bush and Ellen Gustafson who founded FEED, have created fun, canvas bags as well as an expanded line of accessories. that help provide children with healthy meals in collaboration with the UN WFP and Unicef. FEED Keeps Its Promise.

Michelle Abrams of Inspire Notes, an online retailer of stationary items with inspiring messages. with Proceeds of sales are donated to cancer research a cause of personal importance to Michelle. 

Karen Trilevsky uses the profits from her baking company, FullBloom Bakery, to help students who primarily come from immigrant parents and are the first ones to go to college. Baking Company Helps Kids Bloom

Kathy Miner, started a philanthropic business, A Miner Miracle Shop to support  and house its namesake non-profit. A Miner Miracle. helps dress low-income men and women  and helps support them in job search. A Miner Miracle on Union Square.

Janae Jaynes creator of  Brokers for Charity , a referral service that pairs commercial and residential with with the goal of donating 10% of the agent’s commission to a charity of the client’s choice.  Brokers For Charity Helping to Change the World One Property at a Time 

 WebsitesGiveB@ck  a mother and daughter company, Elena Patrice and Linda Saker that offers creative and affordable web design for small businesses, donate  20% of the proceeds of each  project to a designated charity of the client's choosing . Charitable Designs

Help support these women in their endeavors to change the world and give back on this International Women's Day, this month, or any day of the year.


Friday, March 4, 2011

How To Start a Local Business Volunteer Council

Here in the SF area, across the bay, lies a group of communities called the East Bay where businesses care about by giving back through volunteering and donations. As an example, last year we referred to an article, that emerged from the East Bay, Why Giving is Good for Business.  Now we get to see a role model of a group of businesses that have joined forces in the mission of volunteering for local charities in their community.

East Bay Business Volunteer Council (BVC) was founded by individuals from companies such as AAA, Charles Schwab, Safeway and others, as a coalition of businesses with the common purpose of community engagement and business volunteering. At their regularly scheduled meetings,  they provide the opportunity for members to exchange information and recognize best practices as well as identify and learn about the volunteering needs in the community. With membership there is free consulting provided by the staff to members on how to develop a volunteer program. Their programs include listings of volunteer needs, student volunteering, volunteer opportunity calender, holiday volunteering events, and organized disaster response. They are affiliated with HandsonNetwork. This organization is a terrific model for any community of businesses to follow.

How to start a similar business Volunteer Council in your community or area.

  • Brainstorm together with a few like minded business leaders on how to start such a group.
  • Tie in with a local community foundation, or Chamber of Commerce to set up an organization. This helps offset any start up costs of creating a non-profit on your own.
  • Develop a mission  and vision statement that reflects the needs of your community and of what your organization wants to accomplish.
  • Create an affiliation with a volunteer opportunities provider such as Hands On Network, or with a local organization such as a community foundation. 
  • Develop a database of all the non-profits in the area and their volunteer needs
  • Develop relationships with local non-profits, with links to their websites.
  • Structure monthly meeting times at opportune, breakfast, lunch, or after hours, that is convenient for most and serve food!
  • Publicize your organization in local media or through direct marketing though the business community, to encourage more businesses to join.
  • Invite local non-profits to come to the meetings or better yet, create a membership category just for them.
  • Let businesses know what the benefits are to their business for joining the organization.
  • Offer members free consultation to help with developing an employee volunteer program.

What are the benefit's?  BVC describes this well on their website. But the benefits are much the same as described in the article cited above. Basically, giving back whether in time, money, services is good for your business because it helps build your community and in the end the community helps your business grow.