Celebrating our best year yet

Posted by Alexis Nadin on January 8th, 2015

It’s official! 2014 was GlobalGiving’s best year yet. More than 1,800 organizations raised more than $32 million from individual and corporate donations this past year—wow!

So, before we begin the hustle and bustle of the New Year, we want to pause to say thank YOU. Thank you for the amazing work that you are doing here in the U.S. and in 149 countries around the world. In 2014, you gave hundreds of children a life-changing education in Kenya, Peru, and Afghanistan. You provided crucial healthcare in Liberia, India, and Guatemala. You empowered communities in Cambodia, South Africa, and the Philippines to be financially sustainable. And so much more.

To recognize your great work on and off GlobalGiving, we have put together the 2014 Superlative Awards! Check out the ‘best of 2014’ here.

Superlatives 2014

Your world-changing work inspired more than 60,000 donors to give in 2014!  Your quarterly reports, openness, and transparency gave our 60 corporate partners the confidence to invest in your GlobalGiving projects. Check out some exciting stats from 2014.

2014 in Numbers

  • More than $32 million was donated to projects through GlobalGiving. That’s a 45% increase from the year before!
  • Our Product and Business Development Teams continued to work hard to drive traffic to the site—we had 3 million visitors in 2014!
  • 60,000 individuals made donations on GlobalGiving in 2014. And 52% of donors chose to add-on a portion of GlobalGiving’s fee to their donation, helping to direct more dollars to your projects!
  • Thanks to corporate partners like VMware and EMC, we sent out more than $2.4 million in gift cards in December alone (gift cards can be redeemed on any GlobalGiving project!);
  • Monthly recurring donation volume on the site continued to increase. We processed $1.66 million in monthly recurring donations, that’s 18% more than 2013!
  • 60 companies gave a whopping $22.7 million through cause-marketing, grants management, gift card, and employee giving programs with GlobalGiving in 2014! That’s almost $10 million more than last year.

Blown away? The growth that we experienced in 2014 was no coincidence. The team at GlobalGiving worked hard to attract new donors, develop and manage valuable corporate partnerships, and provide you with a better user experience and more opportunities to reach out to your own networks.

Here are some highlights:

  • Our mission is not only to help you access more funding, but also to connect you to information, ideas, and tools so you can be a more effective organization. So, in 2014, GlobalGiving launched our new Effectiveness Dashboard to help your organization listen, act, and learn on and off GlobalGiving. Visit your organization’s Effectiveness Dashboard and check out our new effectiveness tools!
  • GlobalGiving continued to facilitate Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative on GlobalGiving, making it possible for GlobalGiving Leaders and Superstars providing education, job training, and entrepreneurship opportunities to youth to benefit from incredible matching opportunities. Microsoft offered $350,000 in matching funds to eligible GlobalGiving partners on #GivingTuesday in December. More than 200 projects raised $530,000 (not including matching) in one day!
  • Last year, GlobalGiving’s representatives visited 300 of GlobalGiving’s partners in the field. Site visits make it possible for GlobalGiving to better advocate for our partners in conversations with donors and corporate partners. These visits also help us strengthen our relationships with you, our partners!
  • In 2014, we doubled down on what you told us that you wanted most: Bonus Days. We offered $345,000 in matching funds to all GlobalGiving partners—that’s $145,000 more than the year before! Our partners raised more than $1.5 million in our four Bonus Days and our Year-End Campaign.
  • GlobalGiving has raised more than $3 million to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We are working closely with more than 20 organizations to support local response efforts. Time and time again we’ve found that after a disaster, locally driven organizations are best positioned to respond to the nuanced needs of their communities, and they are the ones most likely to bring about lasting recovery in the area.

Ok, so 2014 was amazing but 2015 is going to be even better!

We are excited to share our 2015 Campaign Calendar. Take some time to explore and identify promotions that are right for your organization.

Want to learn more about our 2015 calendar?

Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, January 14th for an overview of our fundraising campaigns and promotions taking place in 2015. We’ll equip you with strategies for successful fundraising in the New Year.

Date: Wednesday, January 14

Times: 9 am EST (Find this time in your city) and 3 pm EST (Find this time in your city)

Webinar Link: anymeeting.com/globalgivingus1

Sign up for the webinar here.

Failing Forward: 10 Lessons Learned in 2014

Posted by Alison Carlman on January 8th, 2015
AwamakiLoom

Photo by Awamaki, the First Place $1000 winner in GlobalGiving’s Fail Forward contest

There were many incredible things that happened in 2014, but some of the stories we’re most proud of are your failures. You read that right: we’re glad to see how our nonprofit partners are talking about failure (we’re talking about it, too!) because we’re thrilled that we’re all learning and improving.

As you may recall, GlobalGiving held a Fail Forward contest at the end of 2014, offering prizes to nonprofits that submitted project reports telling a story of a failure and what learning came from the failure. We’re proud to announce the winners here! Click on any link to read the Fail Forward story, and follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the next several weeks to see how we’re featuring these stories.

  1. First Place $1000 winner: Awamaki – “It’s so important for the women we work with to fully understand their constitution and bylaws, and that they take strong leadership in their own cooperative business.”
  2. Second Place $600 winner: Mother’s Heart – “To our inexperienced minds, $300 was a small amount to pay if it meant Jana could have the life she wanted as a new mom. However, our haste was our downfall. Our eagerness brought failure. Our good intentions blinded us to the reality of Jana’s situation. We neglected to ask the right questions.”
  3. Third Place $400 winner: Center for Amazon Community Ecology –  “A system used by a similar organization seemed like a great way to empower our artisans to improve the consistency and quality of their crafts for the export market, but it didn’t work in this setting. Our jobs are to respect and support their organic process, culture and vision.”
  4. Honorable Mention: Zahana – “In participatory development requests from the community have priority, or it would not be participatory.”
  5. Honorable Mention: Global Emergency Care Collaborative – “A program that was dependent on one (foreign) individual was in no way  sustainable… so we had to rethink our mission and vision to design a program that is successful, replicable, scalable, and affordable.”
  6.  Honorable Mention: Aasraa Trust – “Battered and  abused children need persistent counseling alone and with the families. The family exerts enormous pressure on the child and cannot be ignored.”
  7. Honorable Mention: ColaLife – “Unless you are equally proud of your failures as your successes, no one will learn.”
  8. Honorable Mention: Days for Girls – “Only an informed design process focused on collaboration, and responsiveness to local feedback will get a result that is culturally, environmentally and physically relevant.”
  9. Honorable Mention: Expanding Opportunities – “State and restate what you can and cannot do clearly and often.”
  10. Honorable Mention: Aravind Eye Foundation — “Free can still be expensive: address all the barriers that people might face in accessing your services.”

The  Fail Forward celebration doesn’t just end just with our nonprofit partners’ learning, we also want to share a bit about what GlobalGiving learned from the contest:

Failure can feel good (eventually). Some of our nonprofit partners talked about how failure could feel good if you’re open and honest about it. Jane Berry from Cola Life said this: “…this change of direction could have been a huge embarrassment. But amazingly, by ‘coming clean’ straight away about the failure, we have won more praise, more friends, and more understanding. One of our award-givers even asked us back to the prestigious event we had won the year before, to hear more about our failure.”

Some of our partners even even attributed their current success to their initial failures. “Had we not learned from this failure, our organization would not have learned the importance of building local capacity through education, and the 25,000 patients that have been treated in the past several years would not have received the life-saving care they desperately needed,” said Tom Neill from Global Emergency Care Collaborative.

Many of us are failing at the same things no matter where we are on the map. Interestingly, we found that the majority of the Fail Forward submissions in our contest fell into one of three categories:

  1. Failing to make a contract. We all want to believe that partners will make good on their promises; but when they don’t, it can hurt everyone involved. Most stories emphasized good communication and formalizing agreements and contracts with partners.
  1. Failing while fundraising. Storytellers were eager to share how hard it is to motivate people to give. The stories on this topic emphasized starting with small endeavors and a trusted team to build early success before holding expensive events that could be major failures.
  1. Failing to meet the expressed needs of the community. This was perhaps the most important type of story that came out of the contest, because it gets to the heart of what it means to be effective. The stories on this topic emphasized the role of involving community members in planning and implementation at a very early stage.

How can you learn from these failures without having to experience them for yourself? Take advantage of some of the tools that GlobalGiving can provide. First, use the network available to you on the GlobalGiving Project Leaders Facebook Group to ask for ideas, contacts, sample agreements and contracts. Next, take a look at the tools available to help you gather feedback from the community you seek to help. You can find worksheets, websites, plans, and software to help you gather constituent feedback.

We look forward to another year of Listening, Acting, Learning and Repeating with you in 2015!

_________

YOUR TURN: Listen, Act, Learn. Repeat.

LISTEN: You just read a post about failing forward, with several examples from how other nonprofits have learned from their failures this year.
ACT: We challenge you to share a Fail Forward experience with your stakeholders!
LEARN: Be sure to describe what your organization learned from the failure, and share what you’ll do differently in 2015.

 

The Final Countdown: Tips for Successful Fundraising in the Last Two Weeks of the Year

Posted by Alexis Nadin on December 18th, 2014

There are two weeks left in 2014 and there is still time to make it count for your organization! In fact, these last two weeks may be the most important time for your organization’s fundraising because 10% of all online donations made in the U.S. happen on the last three days of the year. GlobalGiving hosted a webinar on Wednesday, December 18th to discuss last-minute fundraising tips. You can view a recording of the webinar here.

Here are some important events leading up to the new year:

  • December 18 – 24: The week before Christmas when retailers traditionally see a surge in sales
  • December 16 – 24: Hanukkah
  • December 25: Christmas Day
  • December 29, 30, 31: Last chance for tax-deductible donations for U.S. donors and the biggest fundraising days of the year

Make sure that you know your audience! Do your donors celebrate Christmas? Hanukkah? This period can be the most valuable time for your organization if you can connect with your audience well.

Multi-channel communication

GlobalGiving is a big advocate of multi-channel communication:

  • Email is still the single largest drive of online giving at 33%
  • Build excitement on social media by:
    • Sharing your goals
    • Keeping donors updated on your progress
    • Inviting donors to comment and share
  • Phone calls to your key donors
  • Get out into the community! Have lunch of coffee with your board members, volunteers, and major donors.

The key here is to be strategic with your year-end communications and use your organization’s resources wisely. Share specific goals with your donors to help them to understand the impact that their donation will make. For example, you could share a story about a particular individual benefiting from your project and remind donors that he/she will need their continued support into 2015!

The Communications Challengecharitywater newsletter

Your challenge this December is to capture your supporters’ attention with concise (no more than three short paragraphs!), creative, and unique  emails.

We know from experience that the typical donor requires multiple appeals before donating, so a single email might not be enough. However, donors will probably see a high number of email donation appeals flooding their inboxes in December from a wide variety of organizations.

Here are some tips to help you make your emails stand out:

  • Capture donors’ attention using compelling subject lines; and a
  • Clear and concise call to action.
  • Convey the impact that a donation would make with a compelling story and photo.
  • Include a direct link to your GlobalGiving project page.
  • Get personal–make sure to address each donor by name. Include a special, personalized note for major supporters.

Here is a great example from Charity: Water!

Extra Incentives

Another way to set your organization apart from the competition is by articulating value or an added incentive to give your your organization.

Here are some added incentives for giving on GlobalGiving this December:

15 days of givingRecurring Donation Matching

In addition, GlobalGiving is offering a 15-day recurring donation matching opportunity through December 31! Learn more about recurring donations on GlobalGiving here. 

Here are the details:

  • December 17 – 31
  • One time 100% match on all new recurring donations
  • Recurring donations must last for at least four consecutive months to qualify
  • New recurring donations count towards the Year-end Campaign

Read complete terms and conditions here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Finally, don’t forget the importance of thanking your supporters as you build your donor base for 2015! You can also appeal to your donors to get involved with your organization in other ways and encourage them to sign up for your own newsletter. Read tips for drafting an effective thank you email here. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at projecthelp@globalgiving.org!

Happy Holidays from the GlobalGiving team!

Tohoku Stories: A Year in Review of the Japan Storytelling Project

Posted by Marc Maxson on December 17th, 2014

We continue our series on story-centered learning with an update on our efforts to hear from those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011.

   

We wanted to understand how people and organizations tried to help communities in Tohoku since the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. From July 2013 to present (December 2014) we have collected over 2,000 stories from individuals about the activities that people engaged in following the disaster in Tohoku, Japan. These stories are being collected in order to further support local organizations that continue to provide needed assistance to the affected areas. The project is administered by the Israeli-based NGO IsraAid (IA) and its Japanese affiliate the Japan IsraAid Support Program (JISP).

The storytelling team held workshops at over 20 schools and universities. After, participants conducted interviews among themselves or completed paper forms. The storytelling team also volunteered in everything from debris removal to being a camp counselor for children. Participating in volunteer activities enabled the scribe to earn trust. Volunteering together with people in the disaster region, the Storytelling Project both assists people in the disaster region and collects information about how to assist them further. Please read the translated blog about some of their activities: ameblo.jp/japanstorytelling. They also have a Facebook page with routine updates about their activities: www.facebook.com/jpstorytell. As a reward for participation, respondents were given a cute bendable pen.

The stories discuss 803 different organizations/people. Individual people and local organizations accounted for the majority (55%) of efforts captured in stories. Here is a word cloud of everything discussed. These words are translated from Japanese:

Further analysis using GlobalGiving’s tools on storylearning.org revealed 10 themes: mental health activities, children’s activities, community center activities, temporary housing activities, school based projects, radiation concerns, disaster stories, volunteer activities, internet-based activities, fundraising, and donations.

Using these themes and others, Prof. Takehiko Ito of Wako University and the Japan Storytelling Project director, Keith Goldstein, are preparing a publication for the March 2015 International Society of Life Information Science Conference in Tokyo. The paper is entitled: “Tohoku Stories: Identifying Happy Themes of Disaster Relief”.

We gathered lessons from many perspectives to create a multi-faceted view of the disaster recovery.

Employees:

  • The majority of activities are organized by a small circle of staff and large circle of volunteers. Organizations are primarily based in Tokyo or Tohoku. Often staff in Tohoku are originally from Tokyo, Kansai, and other regions.
  • Organizations that continue to be effective succeed by collaborating with other organizations. Collaboration with pro-bono legal teams is especially important, as foreign fundraising has exponentially decreased and domestic support is contingent on bureaucratic regulations.

Volunteers:

  • Many people from outside Tohoku (especially from Tokyo) would like to participate in future volunteer activities but lack information on where to volunteer and what they can do.
  • Volunteers often spend their personal expenses to make trips to Tohoku, which cost about 30,000 yen ($300) per weekend. More support is needed to alleviate these personal costs to enable them to volunteer more.

Recipients of aid:

  • Greater advocacy and lobbying work is needed to represent the interests of locals who feel that government policy is not working in their best interests. Current construction projects and future initiatives to rebuild often contradict the wishes of local residents (sea walls, community centers, etc.)
  • More long-term projects in education, economic development, and psycho-social support are needed. A large number of projects ceased working after the first year. Many organizations burned through funding that was slated on a yearly basis with the hope of getting a renewal. After 3 years the majority of programs were discontinued.

Witnesses:

  • Support for the elderly is one of the most pressing needs in Tohoku at the moment. Temporary housing units are populated primarily by elderly, whose physical, mental, and emotional conditions are quickly deteriorating.
  • Discrimination is a big problem felt by residents of Fukushima. People don’t want to visit Fukushima, buy products from there, or have relationships with people from there. Local residents feel this is unfair, as there are radiation checks and other neighboring prefectures are often equally affected. While internal solidarity is expressed by locals, subliminal comments hint at high levels of anxiety and growing frustration. Numerous mentions of suicide by local farmers and others were discussed.

See for yourself:

http://storylearning.org/c/s?group_range=307 (Note that because this form was translated from Japanese and uses slightly modified questions, not all story analysis tools on storylearning.org will work with this data set.)

Tell us a story:

In order to further facilitate data collection, the storytelling team also developed a DIY survey.

Have you heard about an interesting project that helps people in Tohoku? If so, please fill out this short online 3 minute questionnaire to tell us about activities that you know about: http://www.basileis.org.

Postscript:

We at GlobalGiving believe that effective disaster relief begins by hearing from the people most affected by the earthquake, flood, storm, civil war, or other catastrophic event directly. We are grateful to IsraAid for their effort to help the people of Japan speak, and hopeful that all future disaster recovery efforts will include a mechanism for voices from the ground to inform what happens.

Storytelling and peace building in Bosnia to build trust

Posted by Marc Maxson on December 16th, 2014

This is part 2 of our blog series – stories of story-centered learning. The next story comes from the Center for Peacebuilding in Bosnia.

Our programmes involve storytelling as a means of dealing with the past in Bosnia and Herzegovina, yet we never documented it. We joined storytelling because we needed to save this data.

The trade-off between spontaneous storytelling and pre-arranged testimony

The beginning of the project was not without challenges. One challenge was collecting two stories from one person. People seem to find it ok to think of a story, but for two they need more time. Some volunteers have been told they would get interviews from various people, though they would need to wait for them to have two stories ready.

When we went to Fenix (a local organisation that provides social services for people), we also faced challenges. One thing we learnt from this experience is that trying to be more spontaneous did not give as good results as when we would schedule interviews with one person at a time. From a quantitative point of view it was better, but the quality of the research was not as great as in the past. The stories were very heavy, and seeing how much people rushed to us to tell us what had happened to them was very sad and exhausting. We were literally drained of all energy after just two hours. I also noticed that the amount of information decreased. The stories, as important as they all were in content, got shorter the more we stayed there and the more people we interviewed.

The fact that we started collecting stories during Ramadan meant that it was harder to meet up collectively to follow the progress.

From skeptic to advocate

In the beginning a lot of people seemed to think it would be impossible to collect 100 stories. In the end, it was probably the more skeptical people that helped us reach out to their connections, and always tried to help us find more people to interview. They became a part of the project. What resulted from this, was that there is now a large group of people in Sanski Most, not affiliated to CIM, who know exactly what the project is about and they now believe it is something more people should take part in. That is great considering it was through networking and people recommending the interviews that we managed to collect a lot of the stories.

Incentives and building trust

People involved in the project, directly or indirectly, don’t do this because they have an incentive, but because they now believe the GlobalGiving storytelling project is very interesting.  Some people specifically think it is a great idea to gather data and are impressed by the method used.  The secret ingredient to gathering these stories was trust, and people buying into it. It wasn’t necessarily about locals or foreigners doing it, but about people getting used to the project itself.

In a way I do believe there is not one specific way to collect stories in our case, and after reflecting on challenges we’ve encountered and feedback from people, we will in the future focus on two methods. One is the relaxed method, which a lot of the people prefer and it’s more organic: collecting stories by just living here. That means, whenever volunteers hear a story they believe needs to be documented to kindly ask if they could do it. If the people trusted you to tell you that story in the first place, they will most likely trust you to write it down as well. I also believe that this could potentially lead to the sustainability of the project, and documenting stories and data collection becoming part of our organisational culture.

The second method is the approach GlobalGiving recommends: giving people good incentives to collect stories. I do believe though that for the future we have to consider greater incentives, whether that is something material, or not. Or perhaps reach out to those people for whom the same incentives we offered at the beginning of the summer would make a much greater difference.

Finally, the storytelling project motivated us to use a more story-centred approach in our programmes, be it though social media, our newsletters, or grant writing. We have already used some of the data we’ve gathered for reporting purposes, and we will continue to make the best use of it in future relevant contexts.

Lessons

When all our stories were analyzed as one collection, two separate maps emerged. One had language about projects about the government, local government, and the Red Cross flood relief. The other map had the bulk of stories, mentioned many local issues, but did not mention government. Deeper analysis with BigML revealed that the “What is needed to address this problem” question was the most divisive one.

Strategic planning

This year we are revising our programmes, and developing a new strategic plan for the next five years. Therefore, storytelling will help inform us not just about the needs of the community, but also how they perceive problems, and why people are inspired to contribute to grassroots change. In this way, we can consider the results of the analysis when deciding what projects we will keep, and what projects we will focus on developing. By the end of the year, we also hope to share the results of the storytelling collection with the local community.

See for yourself

Read more:

Adelina, the project leader for this organization, has shared her stories of change in a series of posts.

https://almondsasdiamonds.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/storytelling-project-update-almost-there/

https://almondsasdiamonds.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/globalgiving-storytelling-project-visit-to-fenix/

https://almondsasdiamonds.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/storytelling-collection-developments-week-ii/

https://almondsasdiamonds.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/globalgiving-storytelling-project-bosnia-edition/

https://almondsasdiamonds.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/globalgiving-evaluation-programme-in-cim/

https://almondsasdiamonds.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/small-steps-to-get-somewhere-not-just-anywhere/