Announcing the GlobalGiving Storytelling Fund winners!

Posted by Sylvia Lorenzini on June 27th, 2014


Many thanks to all who submitted applications to the GlobalGiving Storytelling Fund! We are pleased to recognize the following organizations as recipients of the Storytelling Fund:

  • Center for Peacebuilding
  • Encompass- the Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust
  • Guitars in the Classroom
  • La Reserva Forest Foundation
  • Partnership for Every Child
  • Tanzania Development Trust
  • Vacha Charitable Trust
  • Vijana Amani Pamoja

We are very excited to be working with each of these organizations to support their storytelling and feedback efforts! These organizations will be reaching beyond the constituents they touch directly to field feedback and collect stories from their wider communities, in order to build as holistic an understanding as possible of the needs of their communities and learn how they can better affect change. To explore the story collection and analysis tool, visit the growing database here.

Take a look below to see a short description of each organization, followed by the story prompt they have chosen to drive their story collection.

  1. Center for Peacebuilding (Bosnia): Center for Peacebuilding develops peacebuilding programs to foster peace and reconciliation among different ethnic and religious groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our activities are designed to bring about comprehensive social change focusing on youth.
  • Their story prompt: “Talk about a time when a person or organization tried to help someone of change something in your community. What happened?”
  1. Encompass – the Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust (UK): Encompass works to bring together young people from different cultures and backgrounds, supporting them to become more understanding and tolerant of each other while giving them the skills and confidence to promote intercultural understanding in their communities.
  • Their story prompt: “Please tell a story about a time when a conflict arose because you had to work with someone from a different background (religious, cultural, ethnic etc.) to yourself.”
  1. Guitars in the Classroom (USA): Since 1998, Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) has been inspiring, training and equipping classroom teachers to integrate music making across the academic curriculum through “song-based instruction” so students of all ages have educational, musical access & opportunity at school every day. Our work prepares educators to lead music, employing it as a dynamic tool for reaching all learners, teaching all subjects, and building character, creativity and community. Programs & materials are free.
  • Their story prompt: “We are excited to learn about how your experience with Guitars in the Classroom has affected you personally and, if you are an educator, professionally. We also hope to learn about other experiences you have had as a volunteer or participant with another charity. Thanks for participating!”
  1. La Reserva Forrest Foundation (Costa Rica): La Reserva Forest Foundation is a Costa Rican non-profit working to restore and preserve native tropical forests, dedicated to creating “tree bridges” linking isolated forest islands using volunteers and the local school communities, and fighting global warming through various carbon neutral projects.
  • Their story prompt: “Please tell a story about a time when you had to choose between protecting the environment and maintaining a livelihood. Include if/how individuals or organizations were involved in the conflict.”
  1. Partnership for Every Child (Ukraine): Our vision is the world where every child grows up in a lovely and secure family. Mission. We professionally assist families, communities and governments in their work to ensure the rights of every child to live and develop in safe and secure family environments. Our main focus until 2015 is to prevent separation of children from families and placement in institutional care; support and strengthening parental capacities of vulnerable families; support to children leaving care.
  • Their story prompt: Please tell a story about a time when a person or an organization tried to help someone or change something in your community.
  1. Tanzania Development Trust (Tanzania): The Trust Deed of 1975 says “The objects of the Trust shall be to relieve poverty and sickness among the people of Tanzania by means of the development of education, health and other social services, the improvement of water supplies and other communal facilities and the promotion of self- help activities.” Interpreting the Trust Deed for the needs of the 21st Century we add: “In making grants, the Trust tries to promote equal opportunities and projects which improve the environment”.
  • Their story prompt: Please tell a story about a time when a person or an organization tried to help someone or change something in your community.
  1. Vacha Charitable Trust (India): Our mission is to focus on issues of women and girls through educational programs, resource creation, research, training, campaigns, networking and advocacy. Our vision is of a world without exploitation, oppression, discrimination and injustice against women or any other section of society.
  • Their story prompt: Please tell a story about a time when a person or an organization tried to help someone or change something in your community.
  1. Vijana Amani Pamoja (Kenya): VAP’s mission is to integrate social and economic values through football/soccer by creating a proactive health environment.
  • Their story prompt: Please tell a story about a time when a person or an organization tried to help someone or change something in your community.

Congratulations to the winners!
For reflections on their progress so far, click here.

GlobalGiving encourages all of our partner organizations to explore the use of the Storytelling Tool as a way to collect feedback from your community. Please visit this page to learn more about the tool and methodology, and contact Marc Maxson or Sarah Hennessy with any questions!

Partner Rewards Bonus Day – July 16

Posted by Katherine Sammons on June 17th, 2014

Partner Rewards Bonus Day is just around the corner; July 16th to be exact. We can’t wait!  We are throwing in another $10,000 in matching making there $130,000 available in matching ($40,000 more than last year!). And, in an effort to make funds last longer, GlobalGiving will be matching donations up to $1,000 per donor per project. We are offering a $1,000 bonus award for the project that raises the most funds and a $500 bonus award for the project that comes in second. There’s more! We are also offering another $1,000 bonus award for most individual donors and a $500 award for the project that comes in second. Matching begins at 9 am EDT and lasts until funds run out or 11:59 pm EDT.

This is a great way to supercharge your fundraising efforts, reengage your donors, and learn more about your Partner Rewards Level.  GlobalGiving staff is here to assist you with your fundraising strategy and answer questions about the big day.  Read on for more information on the Partner Rewards program, information about the Bonus Day, and opportunities for support.

Matching Percentages

  • Organizations ranked as Partner will have their donations matched at 30% (a donation of $1,000 will receive a $300 match)
  • Organizations ranked as Leader will have their donations matched at 40% (a donation of $1,000 will receive a $400 match)
  • Organizations ranked as Superstar will have their donations matched at 50% (a donation of $1,000 will receive a $500 match)

Accessing Your Organization’s Partner Rewards Level

Your organization’s matching percent is based upon your Partner Rewards Level. This is a great way for you to use Bonus Day as an opportunity to increase your Partner Rewards Level.  Below please find steps on how to access your organization’s Partner Rewards Level:

  1. Log-in to Project Entry (PE)
  2. Access your dashboard
  3. You will see a grey box titled, “Reward Level”
  4. Click “Reward Level”

After you have accessed your Partner Reward Level, you will be able to see the different sub-categories we use to determine your Partner Rewards level. Your overall level is based on the lowest sub-rank. For example, if you are a Partner in any one category, your Reward Level, will be Partner. Any questions regarding your Partner Rewards level must be received by GlobalGiving no later than July 16th.  All matching will be calculated based on your organization’s Partner Rewards Level as of 11:00 pm EDT (time in your city) on Tuesday, July 15th. Be sure that your Partner Rewards Level is secure by this time.

Bonus Days Terms and Conditions

  • Bonus Day begins at 9:00 am EDT on July 16th, 2014 (time in your city) and ends at 11:59 pm EDT (time in your city) on July 16th, 2014
  • There is $130,000 in matching funds available
  • Online donations of up to $1,000 per individual donor per project are eligible to be matched at 30% to 50% depending on the organization’s Partner Rewards Level.
  • Organizations ranked as Partner will have their donations matched at 30%, organizations ranked as Leader will have their donations matched at 40%, and organizations ranked as Superstar will have their donations matched at 50%.
  • The organization that raises the most donations on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving. This bonus prize is determined at 11:59 pm EDT on July 16th
  • The organization comes in second place for most donations on Bonus Day will receive an additional $500 from GlobalGiving. This bonus prize is determined at 11:59 pm EDT on July 16th.
  • The organization that secures the most unique donors on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving. This bonus prize is determined at 11:59 pm EDT on July 16th.
  • The organization that comes in second place for most unique donors on Bonus Day will receive an additional $500 from GlobalGiving. This bonus prize is determined at 11:59 pm EDT on July 16th.
  • Projects must be approved and live on the website by July 14th to be eligible.
  • Only online donations (credit card or PayPal) are eligible for matching. Donations made by check or text-to-give are not eligible.
  • Donations made on or any GlobalGiving corporate sites including  Benevity are not eligible for matching.
  • Funds, such as  disaster funds are not eligible for matching.
  • We encourage you to get donations in early, because matching funds will likely run out before the end of the day.
  • Please note that GlobalGiving will monitor and review all donations made through this matching offer.
  • GlobalGiving maintains the right to make a final decision on all matters concerning the allocation of matching funds.
  • Please note that all donations are final. GlobalGiving cannot change the time, date, or status of a donation after it is processed for any reason.

GlobalGiving Support Opportunities

  • To learn more about your organization’s Partner Rewards Level and for fundraising support you can sign-up for a one-on-one call by clicking here.
  • Join me on June 26th  for a webinar on how to make Bonus Day successful fundraising day for your organization. Click here to sign-up for a time that works best for you.

The 2014 Photo Contest

Posted by Katherine Sammons on June 17th, 2014

It’s GlobalGiving’s favorite time of the year, Photo Contest time! A photo speaks volumes about your work and it captures the essence of what you do and why you do it. A powerful photo engages an audience and shows them in a matter of seconds all the amazing work that you do.

To promote your photos, GlobalGiving is hosting its fifth annual Photo Contest. We can’t stop smiling when thinking about your photo submissions! Read on for more information.

How to submit your photos:

  1. Upload your organization’s photo submission to your project page by July 22nd, 11:59 pm EDT.  Learn how to upload a photo to your project page here.
  2. Save and submit your project page changes. It will take GlobalGiving staff one to two business days to approve your changes.
  3. Once your project is approved, please submit your photo’s URL to the Photo Contest. You can find your photo’s unique URL by clicking on the desired photo in your project’s photo gallery and copying the photo’s URL.
  4. Submit your photo’s URL to the Photo Contest entry form here.

Photo Contest Terms and Conditions

  • The photo contest submission deadline is 11:59 pm EDT on July 25, 2014. All Photo Contest submission forms must be submitted by this date.
  • All photos must be uploaded to the relevant project page and approved for the GlobalGiving website to be considered for submission.
  • Any new photos that must be approved are required to be submitted no later than 11:59 pm EDT on July 22, 2014.
  • Only organizations that have an active project on may participate. Projects on or any GlobalGiving supported corporate sites may not participate.
  • Only the top 15 photos in each category will move on to the voting page.
  • The five categories are:

o    Give Knowledge

o    Give Hope

o    Give Green

o    Give Relief

o    Give Support

  • Your photo will be placed into the category based on the primary theme of the project for which the photo was submitted.
  • The top 15 finalists from each category will be chosen by a third-party representative.
  • The 15 finalists from each category will be uploaded to for voting and voting will be open to the public.
  • Voting will take place from noon EDT on August 18, 2014  (time in your city) until noon EDT on  August 29, 2014 (time in you city)
  • Votes will be counted based on email address. Only unique email addresses will be counted towards a unique vote
  • Each vote must be confirmed via email. Once a vote has been made, the voter will receive an email from GlobalGiving to confirm his or her vote. Only upon confirmation will that vote be counted.
  • An individual may vote for as many photos as he or she wishes, but only one vote per photo will count. For example, if I vote for the same photo five times, only one of my votes will count towards the final count.
  • Any activity not in the spirit of having unique individuals vote will not be counted towards vote totals and will disqualify an organization from winning any of the prizes.
  • GlobalGiving will be monitoring all voting activity and will cross match email addresses, names, countries, and IP addresses to determine the validity of all voters. Votes that are deemed fraudulent will be removed and may disqualify the organization from winning any prizes.
  • The one photo with the most votes overall at noon EDT on August 29, 2014, will be awarded a $1,000 bonus to be used to support the organization’s project.
  • One runner-up from the four remaining categories will each be featured for a full day on the GlobalGiving homepage and will be highlighted through GlobalGiving’s social media outreach.

If you have any questions, please contact Katherine at

How Photo Themes are Chosen

You will be placed into the category based on the primary theme of the project for which the photo was submitted.

  • Give Knowledge
  • Education
  • Give Relief
  • Health
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Give Support
  • Microfinance
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Children
  • Give Hope
  • Economic Development
  • Women and Girls
  • Human Rights
  • Democracy and Government
  • Sport
  • Give Green
  • Environment
  • Animals
  • Climate Change
  • Technology

Join us for an expert webinar on photo editing

To learn more about what elements make a great photo and to learn tips for mobilizing donors join us for a webinar on July 9th. Check out the details below:

  • Date: July 9th, 2014
  • Time: 9 am EDT or 3 pm EDT
  • Webinar Reminder Sign-up: Click here


  • The one photo with the most votes overall at noon EDT on August 292014, will be awarded a $1,000 bonus to support the organization’s project, will be featured on the GlobalGiving homepage for a full day, and highlighted through GlobalGiving’s social media outreach.
  • One runner-up from the remaining four categories will each be featured for a full day on the GlobalGiving homepage and will be highlighted using GlobalGiving’s social media outreach.

For a dose of inspiration, click here to view the results of the 2013 Photo Contest. We can’t wait to see yours!

YouthSpark Bonus Day on June 25th – 100% match!

Posted by Katherine Sammons on June 11th, 2014

The YouthSpark Bonus Day is right around the corner! On June 25th Microsoft is matching eligible donations to YouthSpark projects at 100%. This is an amazing opportunity for your organization to engage your donors and reach your project’s fundraising goal.

If your project is eligible for the YouthSpark program you will find a YouthSpark banner on your project page. Click here for an example of the YouthSpark banner. You can read the full terms and conditions below.

Terms and Conditions

  • The Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day will begin June 25, 2014 at 12:00:00 PM (EDT) (noon) and will end June 26, 2014 at 11:59:59 (EDT). There are $200,000 available in matching funds from Microsoft.
  • Matching is applied at 100% for every donation from $10 up to $1,000 per donor per project/microproject until matching funds run out.
  • The project or microproject that raises the most funds on Bonus Day will receive an additional $2,500 prize.
  • The project or microproject that has the most unique donors on Microsoft YouthSpark’s Bonus Day will receive an additional $2,500 prize.
  • Unique donors are determined using numerous criteria, including name, email address, credit card number, mailing address, and IP address.
  • Fulfillment fee for donations: GlobalGiving charges a 15% fulfillment fee on donations. The fee will not be applied to matching funds.
  • Both projects and microprojects are eligible for matching.
  • Projects and microprojects must submit their “Eligibility for Microsoft YouthSpark” to GlobalGiving for approval by June 18, 2014, in order to be eligible for the June 25th Bonus Day matching funds and prizes. Eligible projects and microprojects will be identified with a banner on each of their pages.
  • Only online donations (credit card or PayPal) are eligible for matching funds.
  • Donations made on or any GlobalGiving corporate sites including Eli Lilly and Benevity are NOT eligible for matching.  Additionally, donations made by gift card, check, or text-to-give are also NOT eligible for matching funds.
  • New projects/microprojects must be submitted by June 18, 2014 in order to participate in Microsoft YouthSpark’s Bonus Day.
  • Please note that Microsoft and GlobalGiving maintain the right to make a final decision on all matters concerning the adjudication of Bonus Day matching funds and reserve the right to adjust results accordingly.
  • Please note that all donations are final. GlobalGiving cannot change the time, date, or status of a donation after it is processed for any reason.

Bonus Day Tips and Tricks

We recently hosted a webinar about the YouthSpark Bonus Day and shared tips and tricks for a successful fundraising day. If you were not able to attend or would like to listen again you can find the recording and presentation here.

Joining YouthSpark

Does your organization want be part of the YouthSpark program?  In order to qualify, your organization needs to be (1) working with youths between the ages of 6-24 in the areas of education, job training, or entrepreneurship and (2) currently in Leader or Superstar status on GlobalGiving.

You can apply to participate in YouthSpark programs by filling out the “Eligibility for Microsoft YouthSpark” in the Project Entry System using the following two steps:

1. To fill out the section, click “edit project” and go to tab 1 (Basic Information).  Once on tab 1 scroll down to the end of the page. You will then see a field called “Eligibility for Microsoft YouthSpark”.  Answer “Yes”.

2. Enter the number of unique youths that are benefitting from your project.

YS Blog Photo

After you have completed these two steps, you will see that our system has calculated dollars per youth for you. The “Dollars per youth” field is not editable. This field is calculated by taking your requested funding amount and dividing it by the number of unique youths impacted by your project.

Contact Us
If you have any questions about the YouthSpark program, please contact the GlobalGiving team at  We look forward to working with you!

Press Release: GlobalGiving to Hold Its First Summit on Social Media & Online Giving

Posted by Alexis Nadin on June 11th, 2014

GlobalGiving, the organization behind charitable giving websites and, will hold its Summit on Social Media & Online Giving on July 1-2, 2014 in New Delhi, India. The Summit is produced in partnership with Social Media for Nonprofits, the premiere global event series on social media for social good.

The first-ever, two-day in-person event from GlobalGiving will bring together representatives from global technology services and leading South Asian NGOs to share insights, trends, and best practices for effectively engaging supporters and donors online. Fundraisers, executive directors, program managers, and communications staff from more than 100 organizations are expected to attend.

Confirmed speakers at the 2104 Summit on Social Media & Online Giving include:

See the complete agenda here.

India’s NGO community plays a large and active role in social change in India and around the world. More than 120 Indian organizations are actively fundraising on the website and more and more organizations are joining GlobalGiving every year. The 2014 Summit on Social Media & Online Giving is an opportunity to provide hands-on training to GlobalGiving’s existing partners and to introduce online tools like GlobalGiving to organizations that are interested in the fundraising platform. GlobalGiving is excited to host its first event of this kind in New Delhi.

“India’s NGO community already has the passion, creativity and people to tackle the extraordinary needs of its local communities,” said GlobalGiving’s Chief Program Officer John Hecklinger. “With this Summit we’re bringing some of the best online tools and smartest practices into the mix.”

Since it was founded in 2002, GlobalGiving has enabled more than 4,000 nonprofit organizations to access technology, training, and visibility to raise funds for more than 9,000 projects in 144 countries. In January, the Washington, DC-based organization announced it had reached $100 million in total donations providing through its platform.

The event will take place at Habitat World at the India Habitat Centre. Staff from GlobalGiving partner NGOs and other nonprofit organizations are encouraged to attend. Regular registration is Rs. 4,500 with discounts provided to organizations that are members of GlobalGiving.

The 2014 Summit on Social Media & Online Giving is generously sponsored by Ford Motor Company Fund.

For more information about the 2014 Summit on Social Media & Online Giving, visit:


About GlobalGiving

GlobalGiving is a registered nonprofit organization with the mission of catalyzing a global market for ideas, information, and money that democratizes aid and philanthropy. Its online fundraising platform,, is creating new possibilities for everyday philanthropists, effective nonprofits, and innovative companies around the world. For more information about GlobalGiving, visit:

About Social Media for Nonprofits

Social Media for Nonprofits is a nonprofit committed to providing nonprofits quality and accessible education on leveraging the power of social media for social good. We are the only series in the world dedicated to Social Media for Social Change. We provide capacity building training to nonprofits in this area with programs focused on fundraising, awareness, and advocacy.


Vijana Amani Pamoja’s Learning Journey

Posted by John Hecklinger on May 16th, 2014
VAP Training Session

Nancy Njeri (VAP Program Director), Zipporah Sangiluh (GlobalGiving Storytelling Coordinator), and Enouce Ndeche (VAP Founder and Executive Director)

At GlobalGiving we get excited when we see an organization coming up with new attempts to address real problems that the community itself has identified.   Generally, GlobalGiving believes that this spontaneous generation of possible solutions is what’s missing in how development generally happens.  We get excited when we can observe an organization evolving solutions over time after listening to the people it serves, acting on that feedback, learning from the results, and repeating the process.

In May of 2010, I visited a great organization in Kenya called Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP) which means “Youth Together in Peace” in Swahili.  It started as a football club in 2003 and has evolved into an instrument for social change.  We originally met VAP through a Nike-sponsored sports for social change network and conference held in Nairobi in 2007.  VAP works with youth in the Eastlands area of Nairobi, which can get pretty rough.  Eastlands is home to a large community of Somali refugees, and has been a fertile recruiting ground for terrorist groups linked with the Somali Al Shabaab organization.  Eastlands is the perfect place for a great organization to make a huge impact on a very vulnerable youth population.  VAP uses soccer as a tool to engage youth in programs relating to life skills, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health with a focus on helping vulnerable girls.

My visit in 2010 was in connection with VAP’s participation in GlobalGiving’s Storytelling Project.  We approached them to be a part of our early experimentation, and they were enthusiastic and engaged.  I attended a session for coaches getting trained up in collecting short narratives from program participants.  In the end VAP collected over 100 stories from girls participating in their program.  From those stories VAP learned that sexual violence was an even more prevalent problem than they had imagined and that girls were willing to talk about their experiences.  In response, VAP launched a program to enhance girls’ self-esteem – the Miss Mrembo Tournament – a combination soccer tournament, beauty pageant, and educational program involving peer educators and counselors from Nairobi Women’s hospital.

VAP continues to demonstrate its commitment to learning and improvement.  I recently became aware of the scorecard VAP created to monitor and evaluate its programs.   They worked with an umbrella organization called Grassroots Soccer to establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to capture changes in behavior among the girls participating in their programs.  The scorecard is engineered in Salesforce and captures metrics in a way that helps VAP move from counting outputs to capturing outcomes.

VAP continues to evolve its programs based on feedback and community needs.  They launched a vocational training program in 2013 to help girls obtain marketable hairdressing and beauty skills and they consistently look for ways to validate their approach.  In a recent newsletter to donors VAP described how it is linking up with researchers evaluating the potential of HIV oral self-testing.  Yet again, VAP is demonstrating its commitment to experimentation and learning.  They are considering including HIV oral self-testing in its annual Kick & Test soccer event and they are willing to work with evaluators to maximize learning and to share results.

Currently VAP works with more than 2,700 participants in its HIV “Skillz” program and 1,200 girls in its “Mrembo” program.  They have participated in various funding opportunities with GlobalGiviung, but they are still a small organization with modest funding needs.  GlobalGiving’s existing Partner Rewards system ranks them as Leader – one step below the top ranking of Superstar.  In GlobalGiving’s new Effectiveness Dashboard, VAP ranks very high in Listening, Acting, and Learning.  In early 2015, GlobalGiving will link these two ranking systems in a way that creates more visibility and status for organizations like VAP that demonstrate a commitment to the Listen, Act, Learn, Repeat cycle.

GlobalGiving has helped VAP at various points in its learning journey, but VAP independently seeks out learning opportunities on its own.  VAP provides a great example of the organizational behaviors that GlobalGiving believes will ultimately lead to better human outcomes.  While we don’t know for sure what kind of lasting change VAP causes in its community, we do know that more and more individuals are being helped with issues that the individuals themselves have identified as problematic, and those efforts link nicely with what development experts believe to be key levers for improving human development.   GlobalGiving is placing its bet on organizations like VAP to be the drivers of real change.

Improve your fundraising with GlobalGiving Analytics

Posted by Alexis Nadin on May 15th, 2014

You asked and we delivered! Based on your feedback, GlobalGiving has developed the Analytics Dashboard, a new feature designed to provide insight into your GlobalGiving project and report activity. Check it out here to see how many people are visiting your project pages, reading your project reports, and donating.

Why is data important?

Your organization is providing lifesaving services and advocating for world-changing causes and I bet you’re doing it all with limited staff and financial resources. That’s why data is so crucial to your organization’s decision making! Data allows you to determine how to best allocate your precious time and resources. It makes it possible to maximize the effectiveness of your communications and campaigns to generate more funds for your work. With data, you can set more accurate fundraising goals and measure progress so you can maximize funds to support your mission.

Analytics Dashboard Guide – Visit your Analytics Dashboard here.

Analytics 2The Analytics Dashboard includes the following information:

Date Range: Data is available since the beginning of your account with GlobalGiving! Use the slider to set the date range that you would like to view.

Number of donations: The total number of donations received during the selected period of time.

Number of pageviews: The total number of times your project(s) was loaded on a device during the specified period of time.

Average time on page: The average amount of time that a user spent on your project page(s) before clicking away. Average based on pageviews during the specified period of time.

Number of donations: All the donations received in the selected period of time. Read the rest of this entry »

Tell your story from a better point of view – theirs

Posted by Marc Maxson on May 9th, 2014


GlobalGiving has always required its partner organizations to send progress reports to their donors. And for good reason: sometimes these donors click the “give’ button when they read a compelling update. In fact, between 2007 and 2014, global givers gave $1,077,000 through progress reports.


Because of my work on the GlobalGiving Storytelling project, I’ve been long interested in whether I could write a computer algorithm that would be able to tell the difference between a “good” story and a “poor” one. Last week I figured out how to detect a story’s point of view, and it appears to have a huge effect on whether people are inspired to give.

It turns out that there are 7 points of view that a story, narrative, or progress report could have:

These range from cool to warm, from personal to collective. But which of these is points of view is best if the goal is to get people to give again?

The Results

I ran the “point of view” detector on all GlobalGiving progress reports to date and all of our East African community effort stories. For contrast, I included 812 examples of great storytelling from, which has been emailing me a “story of the day” for the last two years. These Cowbird stories are manually curated, and thus they reflect what points of view people find most emotionally compelling.

How common is each point of view?

The fraction of reports with each perspective is shown in the box. Multiply by 100 to get percents.

GlobalGiving Project Reports (N=25,337) East African Community Stories (N=61,946) Story of the day (N=812)
fourth “this org” 0.35 fourth “this org” 0.29 first singular “I” 0.514
first plural “we” 0.268 third plural “they” 0.197 third singular “he” 0.112
third plural “we” 0.126 None (no pronouns) 0.18 fourth “it” 0.108
third singular “he” 0.098 third singular “he” 0.117 None (no pronouns) 0.078
second “you” 0.069 first plural “we” 0.084 first plural “we” 0.07
first singular “I” 0.046 first singular “I” 0.078 second “you” 0.057
None 0.04 mixed 0.049 third plural 0.033
mixed 0.003 second 0.007 mixed 0.028

People who talked about community activities in our East African storytelling project tended to focus on “it” stories, mentioning “this organization” much more than any person, including themselves. Project leaders on GlobalGiving were even more likely to talk about themselves. 51% of Cowbird’s “story of the day” collection is told primarily from a first person perspective.

Only 5% of all reports told their story using a “mixed” perspective. An example of a “mixed” perspective is where the organization reminds the reader who they are and why what they do matters, then shifts to letting a beneficiary tell his or her own story (an “I” story), then wraps up by acknowledging that donors helped make this happen (a “you” story).


We’re gearing up to head to Uganda! By the time you get this, we’ll be gone. Thanks to your support we will be taking additional fabric that they can not purchase there (and exploring further with dignitaries how to mnake that fabric available in Uganda). We’ll distribute kits…

You should see the girl’s faces when they receive kits. I hope you can come someday. They are so grateful. The last time we were there a girl in Gulu, Uganda said when she was asked if her kit would really change anything, “I will no longer have to fear.” Thanks to you more girls will have more dignity, more safety, less distraction at school and yes, less fear. For that matter, without your support, she might not have been able to stay in class at all. It never ceases to amaze me that such a simple, direct solution improves so much for girls around the globe. Thank you for being an important part of the solution.

The “mixed perspective” does best:

 Effectiveness of project reports in raising money None third plural (they) fourth (this org, it) first plural (we) third singular (he) first singular (I) second (you) mixed
Total $$ raised 78 220 267 292 302 329 421 567
Donations per report 0.9 2.5 2.8 3.1 3.5 3.8 4.8 6.5
Average $$ per donation 24.9 46.7 53.9 55.8 52.4 51.9 58.0 60.5
Number of reports (N) 611 2519 7413 5881 2184 1056 1449 98


Notes: N = 25,337 published reports. Data includes cases where nobody gave any money after reading reports (23% of the total).

Project reports with a “mixed” perspective raise 111% more money and get 160% more donations than reports with “fourth” org-centric point of view.

The Gap

There is a huge gap between how most organizations speak and what donors respond to. The green line near the center shows what fraction of stories have each of 6 points of view. The blue and red lines represent more donations and more money raised from a “you”, “I” and “you and I” mixed perspective:


Other factors:

  • High GlobalGiving staff progress report ratings correlate with more money raised. What we consider a five-star report raises more than the four, which raises more than a three, etc.
  • Women who write progress reports raise 30% more money, 30% more donations, and 5% larger donations than men do. (We inferred male/female from author names using
  • It’s the setup, not the ask: Most reports include an explicit plea for more funding, with words like give, support, giving, or donate. Including this “ask” in your report helps donations a little, but far less than including a story from the people you are trying to help. Donors can see the big shiny orange give button and know what to do without being told.

Convinced yet? If so, then maybe you understand why GlobalGiving has been so effusive about organizations that listen to their communities and share this feedback through our story-centered-learning paradigm. The smartest way to fix your point of view is to talk to others and share their stories, instead of only writing from your perspective. Not only are reports with a “mixed” perspective better for the community (who have very few ways to speak to the people who influence money), they also are better for organizations (because GlobalGiving donors clearly appear to be listening).

Try before you publish!

I created a simple demo tool. Paste your text into the box and it will analyze your point of view:

This is just one more way that Globalgiving helps organizations listen, act, and learn  more, faster. In fact we’re giving away money through our storytelling fund to encourage everyone to do this.

How to Collect Stories from Your Community

Posted by Alexis Nadin on May 5th, 2014

Last week, GlobalGivng staff Britt Lake, Marc Maxson, and Sarah Hennessy held a webinar on the recently announced Storytelling Fund. We reviewed some definitions and background on feedback, learned more about using the Storytelling Tool, and finally learning about applying to the Storytelling Fund.

Watch the recording here.

What is Feedback? Why is it important?

Collecting feedback is an important way for you to gather information from your community to improve the services you offer to your beneficiaries or constituents. Closing feedback loops helps you move beyond simply collecting data in community surveys- by acting on that information, and communicating those actions back to your constituents, you can engage your community in a more impactful cycle of learning and improving your work. You’ve heard us talking about listening, acting, and learning- closing a feedback loop helps your organization do all three.

Collecting and acting on feedback from your constituents is analogous to conducting consumer satisfaction surveys in a for-profit setting. These surveys help businesses measure their performance and adjust their activities accordingly. The same principle applies to collecting feedback from the community in which you work. This type of “bottom-up” information helps you adjust your programming to ensure that you are meeting the needs of your community, and amplifying your impact as much as possible.

There are a variety of effective ways to collect and act on feedback- and, with the new GG Effectiveness Dashboard, we are giving you credit for doing it! One method of collecting feedback from your community is through the GG Storytelling Tool. This tool guides you through the collection of stories from your community about the issues that they find most pressing, and then helps you analyze that qualitative data in order to help you discover how best adjust your programming. In short, this tool helps you make sense of a large amount of qualitative information (stories) by turning it into quantitative information (like more traditional M&E approaches).

What is the GG Storytelling Tool?

So how does the tool work? Here’s what the Storytelling Cycle looks like:

Storytelling lifecycle

Find information on the tool, as well as a step-by-step guide, here.

After building your storytelling form online, you can train a group of volunteers to take those forms into your community (using a computer or via paper) and collect stories. We call these volunteers “scribes”. We have found that using volunteers from your organization, rather than staff, can help in obtaining the least biased and most helpful stories. Remember, you should not just collect stories from your direct beneficiaries, but also look to your community at large for feedback. While it may seem like your direct beneficiaries would give you the best information about your programming, the most useful feedback will actually be both from those closest to your work, as well as those tangentially affected: parents, neighbors, and friends of your direct beneficiaries, who are all, in one way or another, effected by your organization. Read the rest of this entry »

Announcing the GG Buddy Program

Posted by Katherine Sammons on May 5th, 2014


We have been hearing feedback from Project Leaders, saying that they are experiencing fundraising fatigue. Fundraising can be hard and tiring, so we are looking for ways to help. GlobalGiving is excited to introduce the GG Buddy Program to help your organization get ready for the Partner Rewards Bonus Day on July 16th! The GG Buddy Program is meant to link your organization up with another nonprofit hosted on GlobalGiving in order to provide you with peer support while prepping for the July 16th Partner Rewards Bonus Day. After linking up your organization, we will ask that you and your GG Buddy create a communication calendar, and we will provide you with a helpful fundraising worksheet. Apply by May 26, 2014.

Partner Rewards Bonus Day Highlights                       GG partner Rewards    

Date: July 16, 2014

Start Time: 9:00  am EDT (time in your city)

End Time: 11:59 pm EDT (time in your city)

Matching Funds: $120,000

Matching Percent:  A project’s match is based upon the organization’s Partner Rewards Level. Partners will be matched 30%, Leaders will be matched 40%, and Superstars will be matched 50%.

Application Highlights

Application: Click here

Application Due Date: May 26, 2014

GG Buddy Match Notification: June 2, 2014

If you have questions about the program or application please email Thank you!