Successful Fundraiser Case Studies

Posted by pcreigh on August 5th, 2013

As the September Fundraiser Campaign approaches, we thought it would be helpful if you heard some stories from some successful fundraiser organizers. Nothing helps inspire like a good story! We went ahead and pulled four different fundraisers and had a chat with their organizer. Below are their stories, and some tips on what worked and what didn’t.

Shin & His Birthday Fundraiser
Shin was known in college for his charitable giving. He often made donations in honor of his friends for their birthdays. One year he decided “Instead of spending a bunch of money, let’s do this!” and started a GlobalGiving Fundraiser. At the time he was very interested in Water, so he picked three projects focused on water. He raised $1,100 all on his own. Here are some tips he has:

  • Pick a project that connects with your friends & family – Shin had a lot of friends who played soccer so he picked a project that connects soccer and water. See which of your projects your donors give to and help them think about what they and their network feel most connected with – maybe it’s girls & sports or animals & education!
  • Facebook is a great tool – While you and your donors know GlobalGiving, their friends may not. Creating a Facebook event for your birthday to invite people to can help entice them to give.
  • Find the tipping point  - Shin found that there was a point when enough of his friends were giving that the rest felt inspired to give as well. Have your donors reach out to their friends who they know will feel passionate about your cause and get them excited early on in the campaign to give. They’ll inspire their friends later.

Shin's Birthday

Julia & Her Wedding Registry
Julia was getting married. While in the process of planning, she and her husband decided to make giving a central piece of their wedding celebration and to skip traditional wedding registries. Instead, they themed their wedding around the famine in the Horn of Africa and gave $10,154 for 18 different projects. She also had some interesting insights:

  • Themes work – They picked a theme that people understood, that people suffered from famine in Africa. While your donor may know your organization and cause, their friends & family may not. Have them fundraise for your cause or community instead of the organization.
  • Giving often happens at the ends – As in any giving campaign, people like to put off their giving to the end. She found that it was slow moving to start and towards the end there were more donations. So don’t panic, but work on getting momentum early on.
  • Sometimes too much information is too much – People made donations because it was their wedding and they wanted to support them. With this kind of fundraiser, it was better to not give too much information. Instead, have your donors focus on thanking their friends & family and remind them to give.

Julia's Wedding


Julia & The Pittorinos Help Casa Hogar
Julia always wanted to do development work and help others, so when she went to Mexico to visit some family friends, she started volunteering with Casa Hogar! This past summer, she was unable to go due to a trip to Tanzania to climb the impressive Mt. Kilimanjaro. In order to keep supporting this organization, she decided to dedicate her climb to Casa Hogar, and start a fundraiser. Julia, her family and her friend have raised $16,689 for this project. She has a couple pointers for those looking to start fundraising:

  • Attack on many fronts – It wasn’t enough to just send out an email with a link to the fundraiser. They created a Facebook group, emailed, reminded those who they knew would give eventually, and updated the group with photos and stories from their climb and adventure. Your donors shouldn’t rely on one form of communication, have them try several and see what works!
  • Fundraisers are easy – Using GlobalGiving fundraisers are an easy way for donors to raise funds and track the progress for an organization. Part of what drew the Pittorino’s to our fundraisers was how easy it was to use. Remind your donors that this tool already exists, and it can help them contribute with minimal effort.
  • Keep it simple – Make sure your story is clear and simple. Help your donors create a story with key points from your campaign – almost like a single tagline. If they want to expand on the story, Facebook and email are a good way to do so.

Julia & Casa Hogar


Shelmina & the Amahoro School
For her wedding, Shelmina wanted to give back to the universe that had given her so much. She found a project leader on GlobalGiving and talked with them about helping to build a school in Tanzania. Shelmina was so inspired by this project leader that she created a wedding registry and worked with her loved ones to build this school. Together they raised $29,151 for one project. Here are some insights from her experience:

  • GlobalGiving is your ally – With people who felt nervous about giving to a nonprofit they didn’t know, she would tell them about GlobalGiving and our application process. If your donor’s networks are worried because they don’t know who you are, have them use the GlobalGiving connection. You worked hard to become a GlobalGiving partner – now use it!
  • The story is important – While your donor’s friends don’t know your story, they do know their friend’s story. Shelmina’s story was moving and people wanted to give to a cause that she felt so passionate about. Be sure to have your donors tell their network, and write in their fundraiser, why they support you – it’s also probably a great story for you to know!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your board members and major donors to do a fundraiser – Shelmina knew she was blessed to have the opportunities in life she was given and wanted to give back. This was the way she decided to do it. Your board members and major donors probably know other people who want to give back to the world. Tap into that!

Shelmina's Wedding


We hope this was helpful for you! Some big takeaways from these cases were:

  1. Donors can use Facebook to get more support by creating groups and events. This is a great way for them to thank their supporters and update on the progress as well.Using GlobalGiving’s connection to prove you’ve been reviewed and are in fact a legitimate organization is a good idea for those who are not familiar with your work.
  2. Having donors reach out to their networks in multiple ways – like Facebook, email and by phone – helped get more support and greater donations.
  3. Telling the story of why they created the fundraiser worked – donors can share photos and stories to inspire more giving.
  4. Get creative! People gave donations as gifts to inspire giving and reach their goals or climbed mountains. Have your donors think outside the box for what they do with their fundraiser – maybe they’ll run a mile or put in volunteer hours. There are a thousand ways to inspire others to give!


How to conduct a storytelling evaluation

Posted by Marc Maxson on August 2nd, 2013


If you work at an organization and have done an evaluation before, you probably followed these steps:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Design the survey
  3. Collect data
  4. Analyze data
  5. Form a conclusion
  6. Change project direction, apply for new funding, etc.

Our process has pretty much the same steps, only in the opposite order:

  1. Analyze existing data
  2. Form a hypothesis
  3. Design a different kind of survey
  4. Collect more data
  5. Compare your new data against the existing data
  6. Form a conclusion
  7. Define the problem
  8. Change project direction, apply for funding, etc.
  9. Go to step 3; repeat.

This “different kind of survey” uses qualitative stories in a quantitative way by combining text analyiss with questions about the story in the follow-up survey. These questions help define the ambiguity hiding in our preconceptions of the problem, mapping out power relationships in communities, conflict aggressors and victims, problems, solutions, innovation, and understanding what could have happened if things had worked perfectly. We provide a distributed data collection method that ensures many voices are heard. Every response begins with a story – a brief personal narrative – and the phrases in the story are an essential part of forming a hypothesis (step 2).

  • Aggregate power: With tens of thousands of stories in the reference collection, most organizations can find hundreds of stories related to their mission among the >58,000 we already collected in Kenya and Uganda from 2010-2012.
  • Filtering: Stories “at scale” makes it possible to validate the numbers and filter out misleading information.
  • Exploration: Broadness of the narrative prompting question and the scope of indivual perspectives we’ve already heard from allows the analysis tools to reveal unexpected connections between issues, peoples, locations, and organizations.
  • Benchmarking: Another major advantage is that our survey data can be combined with results from surveys conducted by others, as well as with your previous survey data. The analysis tools are built for pooling data and comparing subsets to each other, so that data trends become more reliable over time.
  • Durable, perenial data: Traditional evaluations usually create a new survey each time or lack the technology to merge new results with old ones done by others. Our story form builder is a compromise between design flexibility and instant benchmaring. And because our design makes it easy for you to change your questionnaire while adding to your growing data collection, you can form conclusions based on all of the data (past and present!).

Analyzing existing data

Note: there is a webinar recording for this tutorial. You can access it via

storytelling tools webinarWebinar: Storytelling tools explained (with Britt Lake and Marc Maxson) July 2013

Our process as a series of 9 steps. This tutorial covers the first three steps:
(1)    Analyze existing data — use the story search and story phrase bubbles tools
(2)    Form a hypothesis — based on what you see
(3)    Design a different kind of survey — story form builder
(4)    Collect more data — attract a group of young people, train them, given to papers, and send them out
(5)    Compare your new data against the existing data — in the same analysis tools as step (1)
(6)    Form a conclusion
(7)    Define the problem — informed by a new perspective
(8)    Change project direction, apply for funding, etc.
(9)    Go to step 3; repeat.

Explore the story search tool at


Go to and either type in a word or phrase (in quotes, like “school fee”) to see stories that contain those words. Or you can click on one of the suggested search links below.

Build a good topical story collection with at least 200 stories.


I entered some words and phrases that relate to women entrepreneurs. But note that the word “entrepreneurs” was only found in ~50 stories (out of over 58,000). Instead, words like “micro loan” and “start business” are better choices. You can add several phrases and it will combine results for all stories that contain any one of those phrases.

Example: “micro loan” “start business” “started business” entrepreneur= 159 stories with any one of these phrases
Example: ugali bread “grow food” maize rice = 1485 stories with any one of these grain crop food words
Example: women and group and business = 290 stories with all of these words

Note that there is no way to combine words with AND and OR at this time, but you can usually find hundreds of stories with the existing search.

Understanding the visual summary icons


When hundreds of stories match, the search results include a visual summary of who told these stories and what they talked about. The icons of girls, boys, women and men will appear different sizes and colors depending on how prevalent that demographic group is in the group of matching stories, compared to the number of people of the same age/sex in all 58,000 stories.

A larger icon means that the demographic group is overrepresented.
A green icon means stories from this group are more positive in tone than the overall sample.
Red means more negative.
Yellow means about the same as the whole set of stories.

Note that you can mouse over these icons and see absolute numbers for the percent of stories that came from each demographic group, or relate to one of the ten story themes.

When is a trend in the icons important?


That is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the context. What are YOU trying to learn? If you have no questions about what your community thinks and feels about a subject, and no doubts about the work you are doing, this tool is not for you. But for me, speaking as a scientist, I am constantly asking myself if I am doing the right thing for the community. This reality check helps.

In this example, the overall sample of stories that mentioned “election” (n=724) was negative. But those about recent events in the last six months (from when the story was collected) from people who felt they played a role in the story were a mix of positive and negative. By selecting a more recent timeframe I was able to see that the trend is towards more examples of respect growing (green, positive icon), yet actual freedom remains negative.

If you were wondering how I was able to reduce the 724 stories to just 24 interesting ones, I was using power search, explained next.

Use Power Search to filter stories


Check boxes next to the things you want to see in your stories


By default, the checkbox for the words you searched for will be selected. Uncheck it if you want to lookat all the stories.
Check other boxes to narrow stories by outcome, demographic group, point of view, or related topics, and git [Generate a custom report now]

Note that within a set of answers to the same question, such as type of story, you can check more than one box and it will return MORE stories than checking just one box, because it will match ANY of the answers you select.

Power search lets you filter by any criteria in the questionnaire and export as CSV.


In the example shown, 1485 stories related to types of crops people grow in Kenya have been reduced to 55 stories using filters. The POV (point of view) filter excludes stories that sound like they are from the organization’s perspective (and not a personal one). The story needs to be focused on a problem (not a solution) and about economic opportunity (not social relations or physical well being).

A quick scan of the visual summary reveals that older men tell more possible “success” stories and women share more negative stories. The themes appear to focus on food and shelter, and to a lesser extent, on self esteem. Oddly, several categories are far less represented or absent: freedom, creativity, knowledge, respect, and family.

Export as CSV


If you want to analyze these stories in any other way, feel free to grab them.

What the export contains: Everything!


age_of_story_when_told, city, country, date_transcribed, felt, group_in_story, id, latitude, longitude, need_prob_soln, net_heirarchy_topic_score, num_stories_told, org, org_type, original_organization_name, other_information, outcome, pov, pov_avg, project_focused, quality_score, revised_organization_name, sex, soc_phys_econ, story, story_char_length, story_connection, storyteller_age, storyteller_contact_sms, title, topic_creativity, topic_family, topic_food, topic_freedom, topic_fun, topic_knowledge, topic_physical_needs, topic_respect, topic_security, topic_self_esteem, translated, url, who_benefited,

You can compare a story to other stories told by the same person


This is a “within-subjects” comparison – a quick way to find out if you are deceiving yourself about how much diversity is in the viewpoints you are listening to. If a person only talks about one issue, and nothing else, they are probably not giving the full story, and possibly not the most honest one.

Summary of hypothesis generating tools


You explore a large collection of anecdotes in order to get a feel for many perspectives on around an issue. Here are some strategies, with case studies to follow:
(1) Pick a general search phrase (e.g. “street child”) and then change the filter options around demographics and point of view. Save screen shots for each perspective and look at them side by side.

(2) Build a set of stories exactly related to your work, then broaden your search and look at how the trends change as you adjust your search words.


As you can see, choosing words that are more likely to be used by regular people will lead to stories that have less positive bias. Stories from farmers and that use the NGO phrase “food security” are more positive than those about “grow food” and bread, ugali, etc. — yet stories about these foods are true “food security” stories.

(3) Compare stories related to your work with any other topics that matter to these same people


In this example – over 5000 stories related to farming and agriculture and “food security” there is a reference group of 1106 stories NOT about these subjects but shared by people who gave these stories. The ability to do a “within-subjects” comparison on the fly is unique to this approach. We will be building more tools that make this easier to visualize. For now, you can begin by browsing these stories.

Bubbles: A more abstract comparison tool


The “bubbles” tool attempts to merge and parse all of the narratives in a single view. Words that are common and interesting appear in bubbles. The location of the bubble above or below a line is determined by the meta-data for each story. So far, the types of comparisons this tool allows are:
(1) is the story related to a known NGO or is it some unmet need, (or work by people not NGOs?)
(2) comparing success vs failure stories
(3) how does the number of stories a person shares relate to what is said?

Our process as a series of 9 steps. This tutorial covers the third step:
(1)    Analyze existing data — use the story search and story phrase bubbles tools
(2)    Form a hypothesis — based on what you see
(3)    Design a different kind of survey — story form builder
(4)    Collect more data — attract a group of young people, train them, given to papers, and send them out
(5)    Compare your new data against the existing data — in the same analysis tools as step (1)
(6)    Form a conclusion
(7)    Define the problem — informed by a new perspective
(8)    Change project direction, apply for funding, etc.
(9)    Go to step 3; repeat.

Go to, log into your project leader account, then click on the ‘stories’ button on your dashboard


If you are not currently a project leader you can use this secret link: to collect stories, but you should join officially. The GlobalGiving Organization application page is at

Read the stories page overview


Understand the “scribes” model for collecting stories before you build your form


(1) Engage a group of local people. We find that girls who have just graduated from high school do the best work, and provide you with a broad sample of both men and women, both young and old.
(2) Invite them to a 1 hour training. You want to end up with about a dozen, but you may have to invite 20 or 30 as some will not be interested.
(3) Have them fill out the one-page story form you are building during the training.
(4) Give them blank printed story forms and a goal: interview 10 people in the next 2 weeks. Ask each one for 2 stories. And return all the papers.
(5) Provide them with an incentive to participate – this can be a small payment (in East Africa we found that 10 cents per story was sufficient) or a privilege, or additional skills training.
(6) Collect the stories and scan them using an Android camera phone or iPhone.
(7) Analyze, and share your findings with the scribes. They will want to know what the community is talking about. Then repeat this every 6-12 months.

Customize your own storytelling form. The first questions are selected for you. They are required.


You will see that two of the required questions are scribe’s phone number / email address and the storyteller’s phone number / email address. These will be kept confidential and are used for tracking how many people are actually filling out the forms, and which stories were told which whom. We prefer that you tell your scribes to choose one kind of data (phone OP email) and ask for that one kind of information for everybody.
If somebody (i.e. a scribe in training) tells his or her own story and there is no scribe involved to write it or collect it, then put the same phone number in both boxes.

The next questions, in yellow, are optional. You may add them to your form by clicking on the checkboxes to the right.


Which questions you choose is up to you. It will NOT allow you to add more than front and back of one page worth of questions.

Each of the optional questions are best used with one or more other questions in the set, depending on the kind of stories that interest your organization.


The choices may seem overwhelming at first, so below are a few examples of an organization with a specific goal and which questions they chose.

Example: Story-based program monitoring for a girls’ after school program


Vijana Amani Pamoja runs the mrembo project in Kamukunji, a Nairobi slum. Mrembo (“beautiful girl” in swahili) aims to give adolescent girls ages 8-15 life skills for deal with boys and other threats in their daily lives. This organization collects stories from girls before and after each 10-week session to keep track of what issues are coming up in their girls’ lives that need to be addressed in future sessions.

I’ve highlighted the optional questions in red. This organization chose to focus on the who, what, and why of the story, along with two questions about power and hierachy.

Example: VSO’s Valuing Volunteering community research project questionnaire


Two VSO volunteers (Jody in Philipinnes and Simon in Kenya) are gathering community feedback about what would make volunteerism more effective in developing countries. They’ve included a lot more of the conflict and power mapping questions, and some less structured open-text questions, like “what else would have made a difference in this story?”

Even though few of these questions overlap with VAP, both will be able to benchmark their answers against the other on these questions and story elements:
1. All words in the actual story — you build a set of relevant stories by searching the text first.
2. topics
3. age
4. sex
5. role
6. authority figures
7. why it happened
8. who benefitted (outcome)
9. types of solutions

That’s nine different criteria even though these two groups have never coordinated on which questions they’ll ask. And there are many more people collecting, so that everyone will eventually have comparable data for every question they could ask.

Choose your questions and submit the form.


You can mouse over the tooltip (?) symbol for more information about the context for each question.

Your form is ready – check your email for instructions


The email will contain unique URLs to your specific story form. There are two links. One is a web form where you can enter data. Our free transcription service will use this when you scan your stories with a camera phone and email them to us ( or The other link is a printable PDF that you should print and photocopy many times so that scribes can collect stories anywhere without needing any technology.

Scanning stories with a smart phone


We have an instructional video to demonstrate this. Basically, there are many android and iPhone apps that do repetitive document scanning faster than a conventional scanner. We recommend you download one of these:

Scan to PDF (free on android)
Genius Scan (free on iPhone, $2 on android)

These apps will create a PDF and attach it to a gmail message for you. If you address it to us at GlobalGiving, we will do the rest and email you back when your group of stories is available online for analysis (at and

Ready to begin?

– marc maxson (mmaxson at globalgiving dot org)

September Fundraiser Campaign

Posted by Alexis Nadin on July 22nd, 2013

This September, we’re hosting GlobalGiving’s first-ever Fundraiser Campaign, designed to help you harness the fundraising potential of your supporters using GlobalGiving’s fundraiser tool. We’ll be offering awesome prizes (JetBlue tickets, a flip cam, and more!) for your supporters who create fundraiser pages and raise money on your behalf. We’ll also be offering $3,500 in financial bonus awards to the organizations with the most successful fundraisers!

The GlobalGiving fundraiser tool makes it easy for YOUR supporters to raise money on your behalf! The tool empowers your supporters set their own fundraising goals, reach out to family and friends, and track their fundraising progress.

Last year, our tech team made some snazzy improvements to the fundraiser tool, making it even more attractive and fun to use! Check out this great example from Jacqueline’s birthday fundraiser:

Fundraiser Example

Jacqueline isn’t alone. Over the years, we’ve had individuals create fundraiser pages to celebrate nuptials, commemorate an athletic event, or just to support their favorite cause.

We know that fundraisers are a powerful tool for raising money on GlobalGiving. The Fundraiser Campaign was created to help you motivate your supporters to create a fundraiser page and raise funds for your organization this September.

How does it work?

  1. You identify supporters in your network who are passionate about your cause and ask them to create a fundraiser page.
  2. Your supporters create a fundraiser page on GlobalGiving.
  3. Fundraisers that raise at least $500 from at least 10 donors receive an additional $50 match for the project from GlobalGiving and become eligible for prizes—JetBlue tickets, flip cam, and more!
  4. The top three organizations with the most fundraisers that raise at least $500 from 10 donors will win bonus awards of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 respectively.

Terms and Conditions

  • The Fundraiser Campaign begins on September 1, 2013 at 12:01 am EDT (This time in your time zone) and ends on September 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm EDT (This time in your time zone).
  • Fundraisers must raise at least $500 from at least 10 unique donors in order to qualify for the $50 match, donor prizes, and financial bonus awards.
  • JetBlue tickets are for domestic travel only. Tickets are subject to fare restrictions and must be used by November 30, 2013.
  • Limit one fundraiser per person. If a user creates multiple fundraisers, only one of the fundraisers will be eligible for matching prizes.
  • Only online donations (credit card, PayPal, or gift card) are eligible for this campaign. Donations made by check or text-to-give are not eligible.
  • Only donations made on are eligible. Donations made on or any GlobalGiving cobrands (Nike, Eli Lilly, Give for Youth, among others) are not eligible.
  • 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 towards the donor bonus award.
  • Please note that GlobalGiving maintains the right to make a final decision on all matters concerning bonus awards and prizes.

Fundraiser Campaign Webinar

Join us on Tuesday, August 6th for a webinar to learn more about the Fundraiser Campaign terms and conditions and to begin creating your campaign strategy and communications plan.

Date: Tuesday, August 6

Times: 9 am EDT (This time in your time zone) and 3 pm EDT (This time in your time zone)

Sign up here!

Would you like GlobalGiving to host a fundraiser training for your supporters? Express interest here! If we get enough interest, we will organize a training for your supporters who are interested in participating in the Fundraiser Campaign.

Photo Contest Tips and Tricks

Posted by Katherine Sammons on June 26th, 2013

Entries to the photo contest have been coming in, and we are so excited to see the photos you have submitted!  The photo contest is many of the GlobalGiving staffs’ favorite time of year because it’s when we get to see the amazing work your organization is doing.

Last week, Katherine and Angela, hosted a photo contest informational webinar that also contained several tips on how to capture your work through a photograph.  You can find the slides here.  A huge thank you to everyone who attended the webinar!  Weren’t able to attend? Not a problem, you can find a recap below.

Important Dates:

Submit your photos by 11:59pm EDT on June 28.

Voting begins at noon EDT on July 15 (time in your city) and ends at noon EDT on July 31 (time in your city).

Submitting Your Photos:

Each organization may submit up to 3 photos.

They can be from the same project or multiple projects.

The photos must relate to the project.

Here is how to upload a photo to your project page:

Here is how to find your photo’s URL:

Here is where to submit your photos: 2013 Photo Form


-          Give Knowledge (education)

-          Give Relief (health, disaster recovery)

-          Give Support (microfinance, humanitarian assistance, children)

-          Give Hope (economic development, women & girls, human rights, democracy & government, sport)

-          Give Green (environment, animals, climate change, technology)

Your project’s primary theme automatically determines your photo’s category.

Voting Process:

-          Bud Force, an independent and accomplished professional photographer, will be selecting the finalists.

-          Finalists’ photos will then be uploaded onto GlobalGiving’s website for voting.  If you would like to see what last year’s contest landing page on GlobalGiving looked like, you can click here.

-          To vote, a person simply clicks on the photo and enters their email address.  They will receive an email asking them to confirm their vote. They must confirm their vote in order for it to count.

-          An individual can vote for multiple photos, but they may only vote once for a photo. Only unique individual votes will count.


The photo with the most unique votes will receive a $1,000 bonus for project use, will be featured on the GlobalGiving homepage for a full day, and highlighted in GlobalGiving’s social media outreach.

The runner-up from each category will be  featured on the GlobalGiving homepage for a full day, and highlighted in GlobalGiving’s social media outreach.

Angela Wu’s Photo Tips:


-          The best lighting is free!  Try to take your photos in natural sunlight (golden hours of early morning or late afternoon are best).

-          Light should come from behind the photographer

K.C Mahindra Education Trust



-          Focus: decide where you want your viewer’s eye to be drawn to, and then frame this subject of your photo to make it the immediate focus!  It should be easy for the viewer to identify the main subject of the image.


-          Blur the background: this can help with making your subject stand out and minimizing the clutter in your background.  The main subject should be clear and sharp.  You can create blur by changing the depth of field, which is controlled by a lens aperture.

Asia Injury Prevention Foundation

-          Rule of thirds: split the image up into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and try to place your subject on one of these imaginary lines or intersections.  Move your subject away from the center and get a feel for how it can be balanced with everything else in the scene.


-          Leading lines: you can use lines to control the way people’s eyes move around the picture and find the main subject!  Take advantage of lines because they are everywhere—on the edge of a building, a winding road, a fence, etc.

Population Services International

-          Details, details, details: these can be powerful, and very unique to your project or region.  They can help tell your story.  Get creative!

Lifeline Energy

Manual Photography:


-          The amount of light received by film or sensor.


-          How large the eye of your lens opens up

-          A larger aperture means having a larger opening for light to pass through.

Shutter Speed

-          How long your camera’s shutter stays open when snapping a photo

-          The longer your shutter stays open, the more light it lets in.

-          Shutter speed affects the clarity of a photo. A longer shutter speed can blur a shot and create trails from movement. A shorter shutter speed can freeze action and capture the moment sharply.


-          Measurement of how sensitive your camera’s film or sensor is to light

-          The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is  to light and vice versa

-          Using a higher ISO can help take brighter photos in low light situations, but the higher the ISO, the grainier the photo


Final Tips:

Befriend your subject, and tell a compelling story! Regardless of the person/animal/place, become familiar with the subject. Show the world what you want them to see.

Multiple shots/multiple angles! Don’t be afraid to move around and approach the subject from different perspectives.

Rules are made to be broken! Don’t feel that you’ve got to remember every one of these laws and apply them to each photo you take.  If you pay too much attention to strict formula, your photos will lose any kind of spontaneity!  What works for one photo won’t necessarily work for another.  Go with your instincts, and unleash your creativity!


Please e-mail Katrina Wertz at

Project report ratings

Posted by Alexis Nadin on June 14th, 2013

You asked us for more feedback on your project reports, and we’ve delivered! We’re excited to announce a new project report rating system that will provide you with direct feedback from GlobalGiving about your reports.

Photo courtesy of American Foundation for Children with AIDS

Photo courtesy of American Foundation for Children with AIDS

This new feature will help you to improve your reports and will provide more transparency about how we’re selecting project reports and photos to highlight in our social media and e-newsletters.

Here’s how the rating system works:

After you submit your project report, a GlobalGiving staff member will review it by reading it over, examining the pictures, and checking to make sure that all attachments and links work properly. During this review process, the staff member with then rate it on a scale from 1-5, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest rating you can receive.

The main questions we will be asking when reviewing reports is, “How emotionally compelling is the report/update?” (After all, we believe that better, more compelling stories will lead to more donations for you!)

To help us determine the quality, we’ll rate each report with one aggregate score using the following criteria as a guide:

  • Is the report on-topic?
  • Is it written for the correct target audience?
  • Is it compelling?
  • Are there high-quality photos?

If a report received a 1-poor that may mean it does not make sense, does not relate to the project or donated funds; it was not written for GlobalGiving donors, that it looks like it has been copied and pasted from something unrelated (like a grant), that it is too short and has no story or specific people/beneficiaries, that it is not inspiring and does not move the reader emotionally; and/or there are no photos. Reports scoring a 1 will not be approved.

A 2-fair report may make sense and relate to the project, but might not be appropriately directed at donors. It may have a short update about the project, but there might not be a specific story about any beneficiaries. It does not make a reader care more about the project, and/or it does not include any photos.

A report can receive a 3-good rating if it is a detailed update specific to the project, even if it does not have pictures. A slightly shorter report that does include photos may also be in the 3-good range. Both must be related to the project and be directed at donors, making a reader interested in the project itself.

A report rated as 4-very good means that it relates to the project and reports on the donated funds; it is directed at donors and helps to build a relationship between the donor and organization. It may also tell a story using specific people from the project (beneficiaries, donors, project leaders, community members, etc). It moves the reader emotionally and makes them care more about the project. It includes photos of the activities mentioned in the report. This is an example of a project report that received a 4-very good rating.

A 5-excellent report probably contains a detailed update of the project and funds. It most likely tells a story with specific characters such as beneficiaries, donors, project leaders, etc. It may also contain direct quotes from these characters. The report is directed at GlobalGiving donors, and it has vibrant, high-resolution photos. Here is an example of an excellent report.

Very good and excellent reports will help you build relationships with your donors. By targeting your reports at your donors, you are helping them to feel more involved and invested in your projects. Telling stories about specific people helps people relate to the cause and feel emotional ties to your project. We want your donors to become more invested in you and your project because they see the results of how you’ve benefited from their support.

Project report courtesy of ParkouProject report courtesy of Parkour Visionsr Visions

Project report courtesy of Parkour Visions

The project report rating feature is one of the many feedback loops we’re building in to the GlobalGiving system. When you receive the approval email containing the rating of your report, you can learn the areas in which you can improve when writing your reports. For example, if you received an email saying that your report was rated as 2-fair, you then can refer to the guide and how we’d recommend that your report be improved. We hope that this feedback will help you learn and improve as you continue to update your donors – and ultimately, we believe that better reports will lead to more donations!

When you submit very good and excellent reports, your chances of being featured in GlobalGiving’s newsletters and social media are much higher. This will attract new, potential donors for your project. Donors receiving your reports are much more likely to be more invested and tell their family, friends, coworkers about your project(s).

Photo courtesy of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization

Photo courtesy of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization

We hope that you’re just as excited as we are about this new feature! As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding the rating system, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us. We are always happy to assist you!


The Photo Contest is here!

Posted by Katherine Sammons on June 5th, 2013

It’s Photo Contest time! A striking image captures the attention of the audience. The power of photos translates to your project pages as well. Your project’s main photo is often the first thing donors see when searching for projects to support. We have found that donors spend about 30 seconds on a project page before deciding to donate or not. Photos are a powerful tool that helps capture a donor’s attention.

To promote your photos, GlobalGiving is hosting our fourth annual Photo Contest.

Relief International - Give Relief

Relief International


How it works

Submit your photo(s) on your project page, let us know which photos you want to submit for the contest. The finalist will chosen by an outside judge. Then, the finalist will move on to voting. The photo with the most votes will be awarded a $1,000 bonus prize to their project. This is a great way to get your donors, volunteers, and supporters engaged!

How to submit your photos:

1. Upload your photos to your project page by June 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm EDT. Find out how to upload a photo here. Each organization may submit up to 3 photos total for the competition

2. Find your photo’s web address. Here’s how you do that.

3. Submit the web addresses of your photos in this entry form

You must submit the entry form no later than 11:59 pm EDT on June 28th.

Photo Contest Terms and Conditions

  • The photo contest submission deadline is 11:59 pm EDT on June 28, 2013.
  • 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 to go on a project page must be submitted no later than 11:59pm EDT on June 25th.
  • Only organizations that have active projects on (not or any of our corporate sites) may participate.
  • Only the top 15 photos in each category will move on to the voting page. The five categories are:
    • Give Knowledge
    • Give Hope
    • Give Green
    • Give Relief
    • 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.
  • Voting takes place from July 15, 2013 at noon EDT until July 31, 2013 at noon EDT.
  • Votes will be counted based on email address. Only unique email IDs 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. Only upon confirmation will that vote be counted.
  • An individual may vote for as many photos as they wish, but they may only vote once per photo.
  • 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 as 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 July 31 will be awarded a $1,000 bonus to support the organization’s project and will be featured on the GlobalGiving homepage for a full day.
  • One runner-up from each of the five 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 Sammons at

photo contest photo 1

Friends of the Columbia Gorge

How 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

Want to learn photo editing tips and trick? Join us for a webinar on photo editing with, Angela Wu. Angela, is a talented photographer and photo editing pro. We will also be going over general Photo Contest questions and donor mobilization tips. Join GlobalGiving and Angela on Friday, June 21 at 9 am EDT or 3 pm EDT to learn more about the Photo Contest and how to make the most out of your photos.


  • The one photo with the most votes overall at noon EDT on July 31 will be awarded a $1,000 bonus to support the organization’s project and will be featured on the GlobalGiving homepage for a full day!
  • One runner-up from each of the remaining categories will each be featured for a full day on the GlobalGiving homepage and will be highlighted through GlobalGiving’s social media outreach.


Fundraising Evaluation and Analysis

Posted by Alexis Nadin on June 4th, 2013

Kaylan Christofferson,  GlobalGiving’s Business Intelligence Analyst, joined us for the final Online Fundraising Academy session on Tuesday, May 28th. Kaylan and her team support the organization in financial goal setting and benchmarking and lead the charge in tracking annual progress and evaluating year-end results. She is responsible for compiling a weekly analysis of site activity and donations. She discussed GlobalGiving’s rigorous goal-setting and ongoing monitoring of fundraising activities.

Session recording:

Session notes:

We track our goals so rigorously because we want to experiment, learn, and test our assumptions and figure out how we can maximize our impact. This presentation includes examples of how GlobalGiving measures and evaluates our performance and draw some general lessons based on that.

Setting Goals

  • It is important to set aside time on your calendar on an ongoing basis to create and assess your goals.
  • At GlobalGiving, we compare our progress to our goals at the following meetings:
    • Weekly analysis of high-level activity
    • Individual team goal progress check-ins
    • Monthly goal progress check-ins
    • Quarterly goal progress check-ins
    • Mid-year step back
    • Annual all-hands retreat

GlobalGiving Goals 

  • Fundraising goals are set in the broader context of our vision and mission
  • Individual teams are responsible for certain pieces of the overall goal
    • Teams have different methods of building their financial forecasts, but goals are aligned and evaluated across the organization
    • Individual team dashboards, where each team looks at their own data
    • Quarterly and monthly progress evaluations

Weekly dashboard

  • Analysis of donations and activity on the site on a weekly basis
  • Presented by the operations team to the entire staff
  • Consistent updates on key metrics
    • Headlines: Weekly donation volume, total amount raised to day compared to last year, compared to our volume goals, number of weekly donations, size distribution of donations
    • Timing of donation activity: Compare donation volume by month, analyze reasons for spikes or slumps in donations
    • Key drivers of donation activity: Where are donations coming from? Emails, major donors, Facebook, recurring, etc.
    • Geographic break down of donations: Where are donors giving?
    • Monthly unique visits to the site: Tracking the number of individuals who visit the GlobalGiving website on a monthly basis
    • Unique visitor conversion rate: The number of people making donations compared to the number of people who are visiting the site
    • Monthly recurring donations: For how many months does the average recurring donor give? What is the size of the average recurring donation?
    • Donor retention: Donor retention within the year (how many donors have given more than once in the same year), year-over-year donor retention (donors who have given this year and last year)
    • Individual campaign analysis: Total volume, number of donors, matching funds, match percentage, incentives, timing, compare to other similar campaigns (help you decide which campaigns to invest time and resources in)
  • Explore individual campaigns, trends, and goals in greater depth on an ongoing basis

Goals vs. Forecast

  • Goals are somewhat aspirational. We can’t necessarily tell you exactly how we will reach them but we feel that they are realistic given past performance.
  • Forecasts are based on financial planning and can be adjusted throughout the year to reflect changing realities. What are the sources of income you expect to receive this year? How much do you expect to raise from each source?

Kaylans presentation

How to Build a Forecast

  • Build your big, annual goal using smaller, more granular categories
    • Break it down into individual pieces
  • Build a forecast based on data and flexible, measurable assumptions
    • Outline the levers and strategies behind the goal (how to you expect to achieve it?)
    • Benchmark against your historical perfomance (Is your goal reasonable given your achievements last year?)
    • Benchmark versus peers with available information (What are other, similar size organizations in your sector raising each year?)
  • Consider grouping donors based on donation type or volume
    • Predict the number of donations and total donation volume by group
    • Understand the lifetime value of your donors to help determine your donor strategy
  • Analyze donation activity from previous years to help create forecast for upcoming year


Corporate Outreach and Relationship Building

Posted by Alexis Nadin on June 4th, 2013


Skyler Badenoch, the East Coast Development Director for buildOn, joined us on Tuesday, May 21st for our eighth Online Fundraising Academy session to discuss his approach to research, strategies for getting in the door, and his methods for relationship cultivation and lasting donor engagement.

Session recording:

Session notes:

1. Cause marketing There are three main types of corporate partner relationships

2. Interactive (ex: volunteering)

3. Direct donation

Think about what kind of partnership your organization is looking to secure and work to create an outreach strategy.

When creating your Corporate Outreach Strategy focus on:

  1. Research
  2. Development of Value Propositions
  3. Outreach
  4. Closing

1. Research:

  • Alignment
    • Make sure you have an understanding of the corporation. Learn more by researching website, foundation centers, 990s, etc.
  •  The Right Person
    • Look to connect with the right person at a corporation. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Facebook. Make sure to do a Google search.
  •  Annual Report
    • Read for relevance and to learn more about the corporation you are approaching.

2. Develop Value Proposition:

  1. Slide Deck: Concise: < 7 slides (keep it short)
  2. 4-5 key reasons for corporation to support your organization

3. Photos with Metrics and BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, It’s a Jim Collins term. Corporate partners, many like to see how things can be scaled or taken to a bigger level. The idea is to be bold and think big.

3. Outreach:

  1. Social Media:  Think outside of Facebook. Twitter is a great way to get corporations interested in your work. After researching the right person, follow him/her on Twitter. Create engagement by tweeting at the company, re-tweeting, and commenting on tweets.
  2. Web Research: Learn what the organization is doing in terms of CSR
  3. Emails: Make them Openable (add a video about your organization, rather than too much text)
  4. Phone Calls: Everyone sends e-mails these days! Try a different approach, pick up the phone.
  5. Attend Conferences and Panel Discussions: Use these as networking opportunities. Make sure to have information on your organization readily available.
  6. Chamber of Commerce Networking Events
  7. Trade Shows: These are a great way to meet with representatives of different companies.

4. Closing:

  1. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – Sample MOU
  2. Implementation
  3. Communication
  4. Recognition

Partner Rewards Bonus Day-June 12th

Posted by Katherine Sammons on June 4th, 2013

We are so excited to announce our second Bonus Day of the year! Partner Rewards Bonus Day will be held on Wednesday, June 12th. This year we have given our Bonus Days a bit of a makeover. Partner Rewards Bonus day will begin at 9:00 am EDT on June 12th. How is Partner Rewards Bonus Day different from other Bonus Days? GlobalGiving will match online donations made to your project(s) based upon your Partner Rewards Level.

The matching percentages are as follow:

  • All organizations ranked as Partner will have their donations matched at 30%.
  • All organizations ranked as Leader will have their donations matched at 40%.
  • All organizations ranked as Superstar will have their donations matched at 50%.

Any questions regarding your Partner Rewards level must be received by GlobalGiving no later than June 10th.  All matching will be calculated based on your organization’s Partner Rewards Level as of 11:00 pm EDT on Tuesday, June 11th. 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 June 12, 2013 (what time in your city)  and ends at 11:59 pm EDT on June 12, 2013.
  • There is $90,000 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% on June 13. 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 funds on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving. This bonus prize is determined at 11:59 pm EDT on June 12th.
  • The organization that has 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 June 12th.
  • Projects must be approved and live on the website by June 10th 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 sites (including Nike, Eli Lilly, Global Action Atlas, etc) 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.
  • 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 towards the donor bonus award.
  • Please note that GlobalGiving maintains the right to make a final decision on all matters concerning bonus awards and matching.

Questions? Please send them to Katherine Sammons at

How to find your Partner Rewards Level

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

Once you have accessed your 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 level reflected here. For example, if you are a Partner in any one category, your Reward Level, will be Partner.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use your project reports to update your donors on your project and let them know that Bonus Day is coming up (make sure that your project report includes an update, otherwise it will be rejected)
  • Pick up the phone. Call your major donors to let them know about Bonus Day. Everyone gets emails these days, and your major donors will appreciate personal outreach
  • Get your volunteers and supporters involved! Have them set a goal. For example, contact 20 people and commit to raise $300. Goal setting will help the ask seem more tangible to donors and will help your volunteers stay on track.
  • Send out a series of emails. For example:

1)      First email lets donors know that Bonus Day is coming soon, and that they should look out for giving instructions on June 12th

2)      Second email, lets donors know how they can give, and that they should give now. Make it as easy for your donors to give as possible. Send them the direct link to project page.  We suggest waiting to send the direct link until the day of to prevent donors from giving too early.

  • Keep going even after matching funds have run out. Bonus prizes are not determined until 11:59 pm EDT on June 12th. This is a great incentive for your donors to continue to give, even after matching funds are used.

Want one-on-one support?

Sign-up for one-on-one support here.

Campaign Fundraising-expert advice

Posted by Katherine Sammons on May 24th, 2013

Marshall and his team have raised close to $220,000 in donations and matching funds through various campaigns on and GlobalGiving-managed corporate websites. He has built relationships with a core group of donors that regularly support Leadership Initiatives via various promotions.  He has developed a comprehensive strategy for campaign outreach and communications, including local donor mobilization in Nigeria, where Leadership Initiatives operates.

Session Recording:

Session Notes:

Leadership Initiatives (LI) is primarily based in Nigeria, Namibia, and the Philippines. LI finds community leaders to help communities build up their own infrastructure using their own resources. Marshall constantly refers to his team and donors as a family and a community. Marshall, points out that this community means that you are letting other people contribute to your mission statement and your dream

  •  Most high-end donors did not start out as high-end. They came in to help with something small, such as technology or they were interested in the ideology and then eventually wanted to help out in a more significant way

Campaign fundraisers – are not just a one-time goal, they are a yearly challenge to you and your donors

Plan out the year ahead – at the beginning of the new calendar year ask, what major fundraising days do we want to participate in? What do we have as resources? Who do we have in our network that wants to participate and help out?  Ask, what do we want to do at the at the start and where do we want to be at the end?

Matching Day timeline – (hw coming up) targeting 4 or 5 months out. Participating in a matching day next month, and have been talking to donors about it for 5 months i.e. why it’s important etc.

  •  Create a committee – Allow the dream to become other people’s dream, the dream can be something bigger than you imagined and can change in various ways.
    • Create a committee of committed supporters/staff to help coordinate efforts for Bonus Day/Matching Day
  •  Offer a Skype chat from donors with beneficiaries, employees, anyone within the organization. This gets them excited about the mission and makes them want to participate more.
    • Getting donors excited, they will donate more.

Contact your donors several months ahead of time to update their contact information and thank them for their previous support

Create a donor captain – these are people that have been committed for a long time, asks questions, and share ideologies

  • Donor captains create personal goals – be clear in what you are asking them and work to meet them in person if possible either with a fun get together party i.e. Iron Man 3 movie, dinners or personal meetings with each leader
  • Must make sure everyone is meeting the criteria and if they aren’t move them off
  • Have actual input in how LI develops their programs
  • Matching captain, donor captain, matching day captain à same name
  • Assign certain roles for donor captains

Donor captains: people that really understand the organization have donated several times, really want to do more. Note: All from different economic levels, from school teachers holding baking sales to chief officers in large corporations.

Have bonding events for the donor captains to create a family atmosphere.    Ask them seriously what can be improved, website, org missions, etc.

Have fun! Create challenging fundraisers i.e. schools try to raise money from each of the 50 states.

Make call reminders to the donor captains and to the high end donors

The more professional your organization looks, the more excited your donor captains will be and the better response you will get.

Highlighted Tips

  •  Emails coming from organizational account, not personal account
  •  Buy matching day URLs on for $12 ex.
  •  Create account on
    • Copy and paste GlobalGiving page into forwarding URL section and GoDaddy creates the URL for you.
    • Costs depends on how popular your name is. cost $12, cost $4
  •  Have people on the ground email donor captains and donors so they can see the change that the funds are making on the ground-level
  • Donors who have committed $250 or less get one email, throughout the year receive 4 updates.
  • High-end donors receive personalized phone calls and Skype calls, personal letter from organization, Skype meetings with people on the ground, card on their birthday
  • In-country donors (people on the ground in the countries worked in) can have a problem with meeting the $10 donation amount. Create “donation groups” who pledge $10 to $20 in their own currency for the event. To do this: Find local supporters who have Paypal accounts and in exchange for the $10 to $20 in their local currency will send Paypal money to  newly created Paypal accounts for each donation group, who in turn donate on matching days
  •  Showcase local support to potential donors in the US/UK highlighting to them the commitment and affect your org is having on the ground
    • Donations will increase because of how these stories in the newsletters or emails touched donors
    • The day of the event, send out one more email around 9 or 10 am EST as a gentle reminder to your donor captains to follow up with their pledged donors.
  • ALWAYS send thank you emails showcasing the importance of your supporters’ donations and sharing what you have achieved as a community
  •  This bridges the gap between your supporters, your program/project participants and their local community supporters. This way you will have continued donations support for years to come

Corporate donors – ask for the moon because you might get it.

Build up relationships such as program development so everyone knows who your organization is. One corporate partnership can lead to many others.