Thank you and farewell for now!

Thank you and farewell for now!

I am sad to share that after seven incredible years with GlobalGiving, I am leaving this Friday, September 11th to pursue my Master’s of Business Administration at the University of Cape Town. In the time that I have been at GlobalGiving, I have been in absolute awe of you, our nonprofit partners. You have inspired and challenged me and you have taught me lessons that I will never forget. Please let me take this opportunity to say thank you.

You inspired me.

When I first joined GlobalGiving as an intern in 2008, I was a firm believer in local solutions to local problems but, to be honest, I was skeptical about what small, community-based organizations could really accomplish. That year, GlobalGiving launched our first-ever Open Challenge, in which organizations were challenged to raise $3,000 from 75 individual donors to gain long-term access to the website. As I wrote in this 2012 blog post, I thought there was no way that grassroots organizations in developing countries could really mobilize that many donors or raise that much money. But you proved me wrong. That first Open Challenge was a huge success. Twenty organizations from places like Nepal, Madagascar, Philippines, and Sierra Leone secured a spot on GlobalGiving. To date, hundreds of organizations like yours have raised millions of dollars through Open Challenges on GlobalGiving.

Since then, you have continued to blow my expectations out of the water and inspire me with your commitment and drive to make change happen in this world. I have had the privilege to visit many of your projects in more than a dozen countries; and in that time, I have encountered leaders who have brought together their entire communities to find solutions to local challenges. I have met project leaders who are maintaining several part-time jobs to fund their nonprofit’s missions. I have personally spoken with hundreds of people around the globe whose lives have been changed because of you: young women who have found their voice and that are going to college because of you, families that have access to high-quality healthcare because of you, school children who drink clean water because of you, and so many more. And in my time here at GlobalGiving, you have become my role models. You are the people I want to be someday. Thank you for your inspiration!

You challenged me.

When I started full-time in the summer of 2010, I was given the task of working with Britt Lake, our Sr. Director of Programs, to improve the services that we offer our current partners. So, in addition to creating resources like the Project Leader Manual and our annual Campaign Calendar, we set out to collect your feedback about ways that we could make GlobalGiving better for you. And since then, you have challenged me and the GlobalGiving team to be better, to get creative and think outside the box so that we could help you raise much needed funds and become a more effective organization to support the communities you serve.

You told us that it wasn’t enough to be able to see your donations, you wanted a way to learn from your activity on the GlobalGiving website and to be able to interact with your donors. You made it clear that you wanted training and support but our monthly webinars weren’t cutting it, so you challenged us to create our two-month Academies on online fundraising and social impact. And you said money wasn’t enough, so  you challenged us to find ways to help your organization become more effective.

You taught me.

That August when I started my new full-time job at GlobalGiving, I knew that I would be running webinars, writing blog posts, and hosting one-on-one fundraising consultations, and I thought I had to know it all so that I could teach you. But, just like so many times before, you proved me wrong again. It quickly became apparent that you know this stuff so much better than I do. I learned that we, at GlobalGiving, are really just here to facilitate a conversation between our brilliant partners. So, when I set out to create GlobalGiving’s first-ever Online Fundraising Academy in 2012, I turned to you, our nonprofit partners for help. You led sessions on campaign fundraising and donor retention. You taught one another (and me) how to identify and support donor captains and how to develop an effective Facebook strategy. And this year, when it was time to create our new Social Impact Academy, I returned to you for important information on how to define, measure, and talk about your social impact.

In addition to the ins and outs of online fundraising and how to articulate and measure an organization’s impact, you’ve also taught me about the importance of building personal, human relationships. You’ve shown me the value of listening to and engaging your constituents in a conversation. And you’ve given me a glimpse of what it takes to run a successful organization.

In fact, I would say that whether or not you knew it, you were investing in me all along. But don’t worry. Just because I’m leaving, doesn’t mean that your investment is going to waste. I feel confident that with even more knowledge and skills in my toolbox, I’ll be a more valuable resource for the nonprofit sector.

EmmaAnd, the good news is that you will have the opportunity to work with our incredible new Sr. Program Manager, Emma Hersh, who comes to us with years of experience providing training and support to help organizations become more effective. She has a slew of ideas about how to make the services that we provide you, our nonprofit partners, even better and she’s ready to jump right in. Please be sure to welcome her to the GlobalGiving community!

So, with that, I would like to say my final thank you. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with you and I hope that our paths will cross again someday soon. I’ll see you later, Project Leaders!

Final Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day – October 7, 2015!

Final Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day – October 7, 2015!

GlobalGiving is excited to announce the date of the final Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day – October 7, 2015!

In 2012, Microsoft created the company-wide, global initiative to create 300 million opportunities for youth around the world by 2015. In successfully reaching its initial three year goal, YouthSpark will come to a close on GlobalGiving, but will continue on in other ways including opportunities for youth and opportunities for nonprofits. YouthSpark on GlobalGiving has brought together over 30,000 donors to impact more than 300,000 youth through supporting over 1,000 projects around the globe.

The final YouthSpark Bonus Day will run on both and from 12:00:01 pm EDT until 23:59:59 EDT with one consolidated leaderboard on There will be $75,000 available in matching funds, and the matching percentage will be determined based on a pro-rated basis based on the total amount raised that day. So, the matching percentage will be calculated using the following matching formula:

($75,000/Total amount raised) x 100 = Matching percentage

This means that all eligible donations will be matched up to $1,000 per donor per organization during the campaign.

Why is GlobalGiving and Microsoft offering a Pro-Rated Bonus Day?

In 2014, you asked us to come up with a new Bonus Day structure that would prevent funds from running out early in the day. Organizations were hearing from their supporters, who were unhappy when they gave after limited matching funds were exhausted. So, we challenged our Leadership Council to propose alternative Bonus Day structures that would allow our limited matching funds to last longer. After considering several great proposals, the Pro-Rated Bonus Day was born! We are excited to experiment with this new structure and we hope to continue to improve and evolve GlobalGiving’s matching campaigns to help our partners achieve their fundraising goals.

How to Join YouthSpark

If you are new to the YouthSpark program, please submit your eligibility to participate in the final Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day between September 14 – 18, 2015.

Joining YouthSpark

In order to qualify, your organization needs to (1) work with youth between the ages of 6 and 24 in the areas of education, job training, or entrepreneurship and (2) have Leader or Superstar status on GlobalGiving.

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

  1. 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 youth that are benefitting from your project.

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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.

Campaign Details – Terms and Conditions

  • YouthSpark Bonus Day begins at 12:00:00 EDT on October 7, 2015 and ends at 23:59:59 EDT on October 7, 2015.
  • There is $75,000 in matching funds available.
  • Online donations of up to $1,000 per individual donor per organization are eligible to be matched.
  • Matching will be determined on a pro-rated basis. The matching percentage will be based on the total amount raised on YouthSpark Bonus Day.
  • The formula to determine matching funds is as follows: ($75,000/Total amount raised) x 100 = Matching Percentage.
  • Final matching allocation will be determined by October 9, 2015 at 23:59:59 EDT. Before that date, the matching percentage displayed on the leaderboard is not confirmed.
  • The YouthSpark Bonus Day Leaderboard will show the matching percentage throughout the day. The matching calculation will start updating once $7,500 has been raised and will re-calculate every 3 minutes. It will continue to update the matching percentage until 23:59:59 EDT on October 7, 2015.
  • Matching funds for your project will not appear until 23:59:59 EDT on October 7, 2015.
  • The campaign will run on and with one consolidated leaderboard on For the purposes of calculating matching amounts, donations made in GBP will be converted to USD. Currency conversion will be calculated and set at the start of the YouthSpark Bonus day. Funds will be disbursed using the set exchange rate when the donation was made.
  • Projects must be on to participate in the campaign (i.e. projects cannot only be featured on
  • If your organization has a project or projects cross-posted on and, funds raised on both sites will be eligible for the campaign.
  • Only YouthSpark designated projects/microprojects will be matched. YouthSpark projects/microprojects on are identified by a YouthSpark banner on the project’s/microproject’s project page. Eligible projects on will be identified with a YouthSpark Bonus Day banner at the start of the campaign.
  • Projects/microprojects must maintain eligibility for YouthSpark until the campaign start, at 12:00:01 pm EDT on October 7, 2015.
  • For eligible organizations, new YouthSpark projects can be submitted for approval September 14-18, 2015, only. Submissions before or after these dates will not be considered.
  • To express interest in cross-posting your project on you must submit your expression of interest form to GlobalGiving’s Partner Services Team by September 18, 2015.
  • To express interest in cross-posting your project on you must submit your expression of interest form and application materials to the GlobalGiving UK Team by September 18, 2015.
  • Only donations made by unique donors of up $1,000 per organization will be matched.
  • Unique donors are determined using numerous criteria, including name, email address, credit card number, mailing address, and IP address. We are monitoring these and other parameters in our system to ensure that only unique, distinct donors are counted.
  • Only online donations (credit card or PayPal) are eligible for matching funds on Only online donations (debit card, credit card, CAF Online or PayPal) are eligible for matching funds on
  • Online donations made using PayPal or credit card must be made by the PayPal account or credit card holder.
  • Donations made on any GlobalGiving corporate or third-party sites using GlobalGiving’s API are not eligible for matching. Additionally, donations made by gift card, check, JustGiving, or text-to-give are not eligible for matching funds.
  • All matching will be calculated in USD. Donations made in GBP will be converted to USD using the exchange rate set at the start of the day and disbursed by GlobalGiving Foundation as per GlobalGiving’s disbursement policy.
  • Donations made on will be disbursed by GlobalGiving UK as per GlobalGiving UK’s disbursement policy. They will be collected from donors in GBP and sent in the disbursement currency requested.
  • Please note that GlobalGiving will monitor and review all donations made through this matching offer.
  • GlobalGiving will indicate in your organization’s donation manager which donations are eligible to be matched based on the time that the donation was made and the method of payment. This does not guarantee that a specific donation will be matched.
  • Any donor who makes an eligible donation on YouthSpark Bonus Day will be able to see the matching funds for their donation on their GlobalGiving receipt page if he/she refreshes the receipt page after 60 seconds. This does not guarantee that a specific donation will be matched.
  • Please note that Microsoft and GlobalGiving maintain the right to make a final decision on all matters concerning the allocation of matching funds and reserve the right to adjust results if necessary.
  • 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 is a registered nonprofit in the United States. Donations made on can only be claimed as tax deductible contributions on United States tax returns.
  • Fulfillment fee for donations: GlobalGiving charges a 15% fulfillment fee on donations but works to keep the fees you pay as low as possible while providing you great services and resources. During the October 7, 2015 YouthSpark Bonus Day, the fulfillment fee only applies to the donation. The fulfillment fee does not apply to the match. The fee covers all transactional charges such as credit card fees, as well as helps cover the costs we incur to promote organizations and projects, provide them with fundraising training and tools, and maintain and improve our online technology in order to keep you connecting with new donors. With our add-on option, we also offer the donor the opportunity to make an additional donation to cover the fee.

For more information, check out the recorded Final Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day webinar here:

Have questions? Please email or for UK specific queries.

Fail Forward Contest 2015

Fail Forward Contest 2015

Last year, we held our first Fail Forward Contest to push our Project Leaders to recognize, learn from, and report on failure. The results included a collection of stories dedicated to failures in meeting needs of constituents, making and keeping contracts, and fundraising effectively. Not only did our Project Leaders succeed in acknowledging their failure, but they also reflected on how this failure shaped future actions.

Failure is rarely a one-time occurrence. While our nonprofit partners may have learned from their failures, new failures are bound to happen. Since the last Fail Forward Contest, GlobalGiving has experienced failure a number of times. We are true believers in the power of experimentation. While Listen, Act, Learn. Repeat. is one of our values, we find that we sometimes, do not need to repeat after completing the first three steps. An example of one our recent failures is the Generous Giver Card.

Generous Giver Card

Listen – We’ve heard from our community that it’s important that we are continuously seeking ways to motivate donors to give to the amazing projects on the GlobalGiving platform, and we couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. We knew we needed to find a new way to motivate donors to give.

Act – Last year, we designed a program we hoped  would incentivize  giving behavior. The Generous Giver Card was designed for our repeat donors who did not yet want the commitment of a recurring donation to the same project. We hoped to motivate and incentivize repeat donors to give monthly to different projects, and we hypothesized that the Generous Giver Card would motivate donors to give on a monthly basis. The idea of the Generous Giver Card was inspired by Frequent Buyer Cards,  also known as Loyalty Cards, which you may have used before at  some of your favorite local establishments. Frequent Buyer Cards work to create a sense of loyalty with customers and provide an incentive to come back. The idea is to reward you for choosing that establishment. At your local coffee shop you might sometimes get a regular cup of coffee and might at times get a Latte, but the point is that you got it there. So, we gave this concept a try. The Generous Giver card included four areas for checkmarks. If a donor returned each month to give to a project then he or she would receive the next checkmark in the series. At the end of the trial period, a randomized set of donors with all four checkmarks would have their donations matched.

Learn – 98% of donors who were randomly entered into the Generous Giver Card program did not return to give after the first month.  When the experiment ended, only one donor successfully checked all four boxes. While we had expected the Generous Giver Card to be an excellent option, the proof was in the numbers. The Generous Giver Card was not a success.  We were definitely shocked! How could something that we really thought was going to motivate donors fail so clearly? Now, it was time for us to learn.  First, we examined the results. And, we found some design flaws. One being, experimenting with the Generous Giver Card during the months of November – December. At GlobalGiving we’ve found that most givers during these month are one-time givers, so we began to question the donor set that we were working with. If we conducted this experiment in say May, would it have been more successful? We also questioned our requirement of four months. If we had designed an experiment with two check boxes, would it have yielded more success?

Repeat? – Sometimes, when you fail, you can have even more questions than you started out with, and this is where repeat comes in. Perhaps, a card designed for less than four months would have been more successful. This year, we are deciding if we want to try out the Generous Giver Card experiment again but with different variables. What we do know is we are not going to move forward with the Generous Giver Card as it is now.  

We now ask you to reflect on a time when your own organization has failed and share it with us and your supporters in GlobalGiving’s second Fail Forward Contest.

September 17th through October 16th, organizations that submit Fail Forward stories via GlobalGiving project reports will be eligible for cash prizes and social media promotion.

Need some inspiration? Check out this website for more examples and information about why this is important. Looking for more ideas? Take a look at last year’s winners here and read through and complete the failure worksheets here.

How does the Fail Forward Contest work?

  1. Submit a GlobalGiving project report for your donors featuring a story about a time that your organization tried something that didn’t work, but that allowed you to learn something that ultimately helped improve your work. Make sure that you include the word “fail,” “ failed,” or “failure” in your project report title in order for the report to be eligible.
  2. Once you’ve submitted your report, use this online form to send us your project ID and the date of your report between Thursday, September 17th and 5 pm EDT on Friday, October 16th.
  3. GlobalGiving will review all submissions, and the top three Fail Forward stories will be featured in GlobalGiving’s social media outreach; plus, these organizations will receive a monetary prize to be used for their work.  First place will receive $1,000; second place will receive $600; and third place will receive $400.
  4. Those who participate will also be eligible for GG Rewards points for two DIY cycles. More information about this will be sent to each Project Leader who submits the submission  form.

What is GlobalGiving looking for in a Fail Forward story?

A clear and compelling story that includes the following:

  • What your organization was trying to achieve and why
  • What the idea or method was that you tried
  • Why the idea or method failed – admit responsibility!
  • What your organization learned from the experiment
  • How your organization is using that experience to improve its work

Don’t forget — the most important part of failure is learning from it, and in order to learn from it we need to talk about failure. We’ve shared one of our failures, now it’s your turn. Together let’s create a culture where failure isn’t the end of world, but rather a cycle of learning that allows us to move forward and ultimately succeed even if it’s in a way that surprises. us.  

If you need guidance on how to recognize and learn from failure, check out our Social Impact Academy session on failure, featuring a failure expert and last year’s Fail Forward Contest winner, here.

Still have questions? Email us at

Simplifying Social Media Metrics

This is a photo I found on GlobalGiving of four women holding four buckets. Cheeky, right? Find out the real story behind the photo here:

This is a photo I found on GlobalGiving of four women holding four buckets. Why the buckets? Read below. Or find out the real story behind the photo here:

For as many social media platforms as there are out there, (hundreds,) there are equally as many social media metrics you could track to figure out if your content works.  How do you break it all down so that you’re only keeping track of the most important stuff (ehemmeasuring what matters)? I’ve found that most important metrics for the content we create can fall into four buckets:

  • APPLAUSE: do people like the content of your post?  
    • Examples: Users click on a URL in your post to read an article, or they like your photo on Instagram.
  • AMPLIFICATION: do your followers share your content with their personal networks?
    • Examples: Twitter users re-tweet your content, Facebook users share.
  • CONVERSATION: does your content spark engagement through back-and-forth conversation?
    • Examples: Twitter users reply to a tweet or Facebook users comment on your post.
  • CONVERSION: does your content move people to act, ultimately helping you meet your objective?
    • Examples: Readers donate, purchase, or sign up as a result of seeing your content.

These four buckets help me make sure I’m looking at the whole picture when measuring the success of my social outreach. Sometimes I just want to focus on one element, amplification, for example, if I’m just trying to get my message seen by as many people as possible. If success seems heavily weighted in one of the buckets, (if I got a lot of likes for example, but no donations) it’s an easy way to see whether I’m meeting my overall goals or not.

The interesting thing about the two middle buckets (amplification and conversation) is that while it’s easiest to track quantitative measuresthe number of likes, or re-tweets, for exampleit’s harder and more interesting to track the quality of the amplification or the conversation. We all know that a thoughtful, engaging reply is worth a lot more to your brand than someone’s cut-and-paste self-promotion on your Facebook wall, (or even a negative reaction to your content) but each response simply counts as one comment if you’re only tracking engagement rates. That’s why I recommend keeping a record of engagement quality with your content using a tool like Storify that can provide color to your numbers.

And one last thing. There’s actually an important fifth bucket that I also use that’s almost purely qualitative. You could call it Brand, or if you’re a nonprofit, perhaps you’d call it Alignment. It’s about how well your content reflects your overall mission. Don’t forget to keep track of qualitative feedbackor even your own gut feelings about how well your content reinforces your ultimate purpose. Did you create a hilarious .gif that virtually went viral, but makes some of your staff feel kind of icky inside? Or are your metrics driving you to create generic inspirational quotes that distract from your mission or doesn’t reflect your organization’s voice? That question is important to consider, too, when determining whether your content is working. So don’t forget to ask for feedback from your own team to make sure that doing what works is still doing what’s best for the people you serve, helping move them and your organization forward.

DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage: A GlobalGiving Success Story

DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage: A GlobalGiving Success Story

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Case Study_Daktari_Blog_1_Image 1DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage, DAKTARI for short, is an organization that connects local youth with the environment around them. Located in Hoedspruit, South Africa, DAKTARI hosts students from local schools each week and teaches them about the wildlife in nearby game reserves. DAKTARI’s founders, Michèle and Ian Merrifield first set out to create a backyard operation which cared for a few animals, but that vision grew when Michèle saw a gap in the education that local youth were receiving in school. Michèle recognized an opportunity to combine conservation with education.  “We noticed that none of them had any environmental or wildlife education although they are surrounded by game reserves,” said Michèle. Since that moment, Michèle and Ian have worked to fill the environmental education gap in their community and in 2006 they opened DAKTARI. By investing in the next generation of environmentalists, the DAKTARI team ensures that their local environment will have many advocates for years to come.


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Case Study_Daktari_Blog_1_Image 2Ian and Michèle saw success in their students and program early on. One of their unforgettable students, Mina, went on to study environmental education after her time spent with DAKTARI and now has a career in environmental conservation. Students like Mina, inspire Ian and Michèle to keep DAKTARI’s doors open and their programs running. But in 2008 the organization began to struggle financially and the organization was on the verge of closure. When researching funding opportunities Ian came across GlobalGiving and Ian and Michèle decided it would be a good way to expand their current network. “We chose GlobalGiving for fundraising because we needed to be present on the American continents,” shared Michèle. Though online fundraising was new to them it was time to try something different  in order to keep DAKTARI open. “We were in a critical situation at the time of the Open Challenge. We were just stagnate if not going backward,” said Michèle, so the two decided GlobalGiving was worth a try and in 2008 they joined GlobalGiving’s Open Challenge. Without much experience in nonprofit management or fundraising, the Merrifields knew they would need support in order to succeed in the Open Challenge.


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Case Study_Daktari_Blog_1_Quote 1_Version 2Though Michèle and Ian were newcomers to crowdfunding, they  were able to lean on GlobalGiving for support. “We had no strategy heading into the Open Challenge,” says Michèle, but, “GlobalGiving was very present and gave us the support to help us develop the technique and knowledge of fundraising that we didn’t have.” During the Open Challenge, the DAKTARI team surpassed their expectations, by raising almost $8,000! This spike in funding allowed DAKTARI to continue operating fully and provide educational opportunities to their students. Michèle and Ian credit GlobalGiving for helping DAKTARI to learn how to become a more effective organization, and being there to support them every step of the way. “GG gave us heart-warming support. leopardNot only the staff we were in contact with but the webinars and toolkits they offered. We didn’t feel alone in managing our nonprofit. DAKTARI is alive today because we managed to raise funds on GG in the Open Challenge,” shared Michèle.


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Case Study_Daktari_Blog_3_Photo 4In January 2016, DAKTARI will celebrate 10 years of operation! Since 2006, more than 3,000 students have participated in their programs. As the DAKTARI team approaches this impressive 10 year milestone the team continue to host local students each week teaching them about the environment in which they live and ways in which they can help keep it safe to enjoy for years to come. The DAKTARI team hopes to continue inspiring more students like Mina, to be lifetime conservation advocates by pursuing careers in environmental preservation.

Case Study_Daktari_Blog_2_NumbersToday, the DAKTARI team continues to successfully fundraise on the GlobalGiving platform. In 2014 DAKTARI raised more than $18500 alone!  Michèle considers GlobalGiving to be an extension of their organization, I am very attached to GlobalGiving because it saved the future of DAKTARI. GlobalGiving has taught me how to fundraise effectively and given a new dimension to our organization.”  The DAKTARI team can’t wait to celebrate another 10 years and GlobalGiving looks forward  to celebrating with them!

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All photo credit to DAKTARI

Written in collaboration by Karis Ailabouni, Jenn Bell, and Katherine  Sammons

Designed by Emma Park