Author: Lloyd Claycomb (Page 1 of 3)

Charities that Give the Most to Veterans

Oftentimes when we talk about charity we talk about organizations that work to benefit demographics like children or people living in areas of high poverty. One of the most important causes out there that needs our help and doesn’t receive the attention it deserves is our veterans.

The servicemen and servicewomen who have laid their lives on the line in the pursuit of a better and brighter tomorrow often return home from the war they fought to find themselves facing a new, internal battle. Within 4 months of returning home, nearly a third of all soldiers will develop mental health problems; these problems commonly include anxiety disorders, clinical depression, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).  These mental health problems, on top of all of the difficulties and emotional burdens of war, led 20% of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan to develop drug or serious drinking problems, and saw 22 veteran suicides per day in 2010.

Because of the long-term emotional and psychological burdens that accompany those who return from combat, it is often difficult for our servicepeople to hold jobs or properly take care of themselves. This means they often rely on public services and programs like the VA to help them in times of need. They can also turn to the aid of some of the philanthropies and charities around the country who work to help those who have served. Here are just a few of the organizations whose efforts help to benefit our nation’s veterans.

  • Adaptive Sports Foundation
  • Fisher House Foundation
    • The Fisher House Foundation was established to help the loved ones of military servicemen and women while the veteran is receiving medical services. The homes are located nationwide, nearby VA medical centers and hospitals to allow the families all of the amenities of living at home for free close by.
  • The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
    • This fund, established in the year 2000, has provided the families of military servicepeople with over $200 million worth of benefits and support in the years since. They also offer assistance for medical care to help the soldiers continue to lead fulfilling lives, in or out of the line of duty.

Effects of Giving

Donating resources and time to charity creates a ripple of effects. Most of which, people don’t even realize. Charity and helping those that are less fortunate than you does a lot of good for the sole and our fellow man. There are even some kickbacks of that ripple to the donor. In order to get a better sense of the effect charity can have, here are a few examples.

Sense of Pride

The first thing that happens after you donate is a wave of pride. There’s no shame in feeling great about helping others. It feels good and comes from a place of pure compassion and care. There are many people who get caught up in their own hectic lives and forget to stop, look around, and think about the others around them. When you donate, it’s more than okay to let pride wash over you.

Tax Deduction

Tax deduction are not the reason most people donate, but it is a nice incentive nonetheless. Donations can be written off at tax time, so you end up paying less taxes to the government because of your good deeds. Make sure to speak with an accountant before writing everything off that you’ve ever donated, though. There are certain parameters and specifications for filing charitable donations.

Helping Others in Need

This is the main effect of giving to charity. Your donations of time and/or money go to help others less fortunate than yourself. It doesn’t matter how big or small your donation is either. Everything donated is more than what was there before and can be used to change someone’s life for the better.

Being a Role Model

Last, but certainly not least, donating to charity can position you as a role model for others. Younger siblings or family member who look up to you will see your efforts to help others and strive to do the same with their lives. When giving becomes a family affair, it’s a beautiful thing.

Why People Give

One of the biggest topics, that often goes without discussion, is our motivations to give. What makes people give to others? There have been plenty of studies around this very question. According to that research, there’s a multitude of reasons why people donate their resources or time to help others in need. This blog will break down the four biggest reasons as to why we give.

We’re motivated to give with our hearts

The biggest factor when it comes to giving is the prospect of making someone’s life better. We want to donate to causes that create significant change, but we are very driven by the narrative we’re told. If a particular organization’s purpose is tied to a story that pulls at our heartstrings, we’re more likely to donate. Our emotions are a driving force in our lives and when it comes to helping others, it certainly is not an exception to the rule.

Community Pride

Individuals with a strong tie to their communities are driven to give back as much as they can. To them, giving is a way of lifting the community up to make it an even better place than how they already see it. Those who donate to community causes swell with pride when their donations increase the wellbeing of the community as a whole.

Influenced by those around us

Another factor behind giving is the influence others have on us. For instance, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was, in part, a huge success due to the influence of our peers. When a campaign goes viral and people show up in droves due to the fear of missing out, they are motivated to give because everyone around them is doing the same.

Driven to give due to personal stability

Finally, the most humbling motivator is your own personal and financial stability. Many people are driven to give because they look at how fortunate they are and want to use some of their security to provide others with similar comforts. This is an interesting motivator because it’s one that takes more introspection and mindfulness than the others.

All in all, no matter why we give, it comes from a place of positivity and desire to better the lives of others. The more people we can motivate and inspire, the better off the world will be.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

To most every person in the United States, the name Bill Gates should at least sound familiar. The founder of tech-giant Microsoft, Bill Gates is and has been the richest man on earth for quite some time now. With a current net worth of $86.6B, Gates has held the title of Richest Man Alive for 18 out of the last 23 years.

However, as Bill Gates came to learn, after a certain amount of wealth, there’s not much more you can have or own or do, so you need to look for different ways to spend it.

Gates himself said, “Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world.” So that’s what he and his wife, Melinda, decided to do.

From there, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was formed.

Their journey into the world of philanthropy began in 1997 when the couple was particularly moved by a piece written about the millions of children around the world in impoverished countries who die each year from maladies that have long ago been eliminated by medicine in the United States. Considering their already sizeable fortune, the two wondered if maybe there wasn’t something they could do about it. In that same year, Bill Gates took his first trip to India in the name of the Gates Foundation where he personally administered polio vaccines to local children.

The couple has taken a particular interest in issues concerning health around the globe and their work and initiatives are reflective of this. They’ve partnered with organizations like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, launched programs like the HIV/AIDS Prevention Branch in India, granted money to help fight malaria, and is actively working to end polio.  

Where other philanthropists give their money to such causes but pledge their time elsewhere, Bill and Melinda Gates willingly step right into the thick of the poverty and help those in need face to face.

They’re also incredibly active in other areas; their work extends to areas like education, world hunger, and clean energy. Together this couple is helping to make the world a better place through their plan to donate all of their wealth before the end of their lives.

Philanthropy Blogs to Follow

One of the best ways to stay up-to-date with the world of philanthropy is to keep up with what’s happening around the country and around the globe. Reading different articles and blogs on philanthropic events, ideas, and endeavors will help you stay in the loop, but it’s unrealistic to do so with the mindset of reading everything that’s being written on the subject. To avoid overwhelming yourself, it’s important to identify a few key thought leaders and influencers whose knowledge and curated content will provide you with the information you need to be in the know without exhausting yourself. Check out these philanthropy blogs, and check back regularly for their new content!

If you’re a nonprofit who’s feeling overwhelmed with trying to stay on top of everything that you have to do, Carr Energy Inc. has the answer for you! This business produces a software called VolunteerHub which allows nonprofits to “streamline volunteer management and engagement” in order to maximize the hours donated. Their blog offers advice, insights, and anecdotes about philanthropy on topics ranging from finding the right volunteers to increasing your ROI.  

Let’s be honest: as a nonprofit, it’s not easy asking people for money. Luckily, Asking Matters is here to help. They provide a unique solution to that common “asking for money” stress by offering online training that helps each volunteer highlight their own strengths and skills when asking for money. Not only does it help your volunteers become more comfortable in their role, it also helps them connect with their work on a personal level.

If you’re looking to receive current news, Pursuant’s blog, The Intelligent Fundraiser, is one you’ll want to check out. Founded in 2001, Pursuant provides nonprofits with online solutions like automated marketing and productivity tools to help them reach more donors and raise more money.

Is your nonprofit having trouble connecting with the millennial demographic? Are you finding difficulty building audiences online? Do you want an in depth look at your targeted donor base and what their habits are? Achieve has the solutions for you. Their hands-on team works to develop an ever-evolving strategy with you to best suit your needs by not only collecting the data but also helping you interpret it and learn how to capitalize on it.

How To Host a Successful Fundraiser

Fundraising is not easy task. It takes meticulous planning, the right event, a group of generous donors, and the will power to bring it all together. Not all fundraisers are a success. Some end up being a total wash after they pay back rent for event space and entertainment. In order to have a successful fundraiser and raise as much funding as possible, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Mission

The best approach to a successful fundraiser is having a cause you’re extremely passionate about. Your passion and excitement will be infectious to donors and volunteers alike. This type of excitement cannot be faked either. Additionally, the more you care about the cause, the harder you’ll work.

Budget

Set a reasonable budget and stick to it. Going over budget only cuts into the money that gets donated at the end of the day. If you’re especially frugal, you may even be able to come in under budget. No matter what, plan ahead and cut out any and all unnecessary costs. The more money you can donate at the end of the day the better.

Multiple ways to give

Make sure your fundraiser has multiple ways to give. Ticket sales to attend the event are great, but some donors will spend more money if they can, so give them a way to do so! Things like raffles and silent auctions are fantastic ways to bring in more money. They also make it fun for those attending the event, so it’s a no brainer!

Leadership

Successful fundraising is not a one person operation. It is going to take a whole crew of people to make a large impact. With that in mind, make sure you have yourself a solid leadership team. The fundraiser will only go as well as the leadership behind it can provide. Assemble a team of equally enthusiastic, hardworking individuals. Trying to take it on alone will be overwhelming and hinder the outcome, so make sure you grab yourself the best team you can find!

Community Drives

Do you want to help out those less fortunate but don’t know where to start? Do you want to give, but feel like your small donation won’t make a difference? Not everyone can afford to open a school in another country or donate a million dollars to a natural disaster, but that doesn’t mean you can’t affect positive change right in your own community. If you’re looking to help others, start with those closest to home and organize a drive that can make an immediate change in the lives of others.

  • Blood Drive
    • Every two seconds in the United States, someone is in need of a blood transfusion, with nearly 21 million blood units transfused each year. The blood bank is filled exclusively through donations as blood cannot be manufactured, and although 38% of the population is able and eligible to donate, only about 10% of that 38% do. Reach out to the Red Cross and see if you can help save lives by organizing a blood drive.
  • Toy Drive
    • For children living in poverty, they’re lucky to have food on the table most nights, so buying toys really isn’t a financial option. Holding a toy drive in your community, especially around the holidays, can really make a difference in the life of a child.
  • Tampon/Pad Drives
    • A newer type of drive looking to solve a long-standing problem, Tampon and Pad Drives are sweeping the nation, answering the prayers of homeless women everywhere. Feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads are expensive with the necessary amount costing upwards of $100 a year, a price that’s simply not feasible for women who are homeless. These drives collect said hygiene products and distribute them to homeless women in need.
  • Food Drive
    • Many municipalities have food banks that do a great job of providing those in need with food. You can show support and do your part by hosting a canned  food or dried food drive to collect non perishables for your community food bank.
  • Blanket Drive
    • On cold, winter nights, there’s nothing like curling up on your couch with a blanket to keep you warm. Now imagine you don’t have a house, much less a couch to curl up in; blanket drives are one of the best ways you can ensure that people without homes or shelters stay safe against the element during the cold months.

Trends Impacting Philanthropy in 2017

2016 was a great year for philanthropy, breaking previous records and continuing to grow. Though the nonprofit sector is dwarfed by business and government, philanthropy has continued to gain traction as more and more self-starters are deciding to give back.

We can’t say for sure how the sector will change throughout the year, but we have a few guesses as to the trends that you can expect in 2017.

Philanthropy Becomes More Mainstream

Up until recently, philanthropy has generally been seen as something for the wealthy—with the spectacle of large donations and even larger checks to back this notion up.

Now, this paradigm is changing. It’s becoming easier than ever for individuals to donate and know where their donation is going. New generations have become more aware of social issues and are passionate about solving them. This alone has driven many millennials to try to make an impact—and these microdonations can collectively have a significant impact on the sector as a whole.

Impact Investing Improves

Impact investing, the practice of making investments for social and environmental gain in addition to earning money, has created a massive reserve of capital for many foundations.

The intention to gain a positive ROI is still there, but in addition to a desire to create lasting change. Expect impact investment to continue to grow throughout 2017.

Technology Changes Nonprofits

With philanthropy becoming more mainstream and younger individuals making smaller donations, nonprofit organizations will have to leverage changing technology and improve their marketing practices to stand out in the figurative crowd.

Individuals are more willing to give when they perceive an organization as being authentic, and updating obsolete marketing methods may be the best way to get through and effectively spread a message.

Women Step Up Giving

Another notable trend in philanthropy is the initiative that women have taken when it comes to giving. Women currently control more than half of the U.S’s private wealth, and that number is expected to continue growing.

Both large donations from individuals and the rise of women’s funding networks have encouraged more and more women to engage in charitable giving.

Tech Philanthropy Continues to Grow

As philanthropy becomes increasingly trendy among individuals with resources, individuals that have earned their wealth through technology are joining in. With some big names such as Jeff Bezos making large donations, it’s expected that more and more Silicon Valley tech magnates will step up in the near future.

How to Get Your Family Giving this Holiday Season

There’s something about this time of year that puts people in a charitable mood. Known as the “season of giving,” the holiday season each year is a time when people set aside their daily concerns for themselves and look for ways they can benefit others and society as a whole. Not only do we give gifts to the ones we hold dear, but we even give to strangers with no hope for recognition or commendation for our efforts, like selfless secret santas trying to bring a little cheer to the world. Make giving a tradition in your family that will last through the generations with these ways to get the whole group involved in giving this season.

Find ways to help out while cleaning out.

  • Move your spring cleaning up a bit and go through your old belongings that you no longer use and donate them! A few weeks before Christmas, take a day or two and go through any old junk you have lying around to see what you can give to help others. Great items to donate include blankets, gently used clothing, books, toys, and so on. This practice can help your children cut back on materialism throughout the holidays by seeing their old toys and belongings go to people who need them more.

Spread your cheer through the neighborhood.

  • The holidays can be a lonely time of year for people whose loved ones have passed on or whose families have other plans occupying their time. Why not teach your children the value giving their time and company rather than money by visiting the elders in your community and sharing your merriment with them. You can also get the whole family involved in baking cookies and then distributing them throughout your community.

Forego some presents.

  • In 2015, the average person spent $830 on Christmas presents for their loved ones, and for parents, most of that money was likely spent on presents for the children. Let your children see how far just a little money could go for someone living in poverty, especially in developing countries, by taking a portion of the money you usually spend on gifts and donating it to an organization like Samaritan’s Purse where just $7 can provide a child with a week’s worth of hot meals. Let them pick out the gifts themselves to get them really involved and feel as though they’ve personally made a difference in the lives of others.

Around the holidays, even the smallest bit that you do can make a world of difference in the lives of people who struggle to survive each passing day. Help improve their wellbeing while also teaching your children the value of helping others and how good it can feel to be selfless by looking for ways to get your children involved in giving during the holiday season.

Gates Family Philanthropy

Gates Family Philanthropy

You most likely know who Bill Gates is. He’s the founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world. What you may not know, is that Bill and his wife Melinda are also some of the world’s leading philanthropists. The spend a majority of their time and resources in global health and development, education, and other humanitarian causes. Bill also teamed up with Warren Buffet started the Giving Pledge. They called upon the wealthiest people in the world and asked them to pledge half of their wealth to philanthropic causes. The movement has over 100 pledgers and counting.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates started their foundation in 2000 and quickly became the largest transparently operated private foundation in the entire world. The foundation stands on four pillars in which they address some of the biggest issues we face worldwide and at home. The foundation’s program areas include the Global Development Division, Global Health Division, United States Division, and Global Policy & Advocacy Division.

Global Development Division – This area spent their time focusing on assisting the poorest people of the world pull themselves out of poverty and hunger.

Global Health Division – Here the Gate’s focus their time and resources to advance science and technology to save the lives of people in developing countries.

United States Division – The focus of this division is centralized right here at home. They focus their energy on education – both at the high school and postsecondary education.

Global Policy & Advocacy Division – This is the Marketing branch of the company. They work with global powers at be to promote policies and relationships to better the world.

The Future

Looking ahead, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has some big goals in mind. They want to eradicate polio by 2018. They also want to do the same with malaria. This focus also plays into their goal of reducing the number of the world’s children who die from preventable diseases.

Perhaps the most interesting decision about the future of the foundation is based on what happens after Bill and Melinda pass on. They have stated that the company will only continue work for 20 years after they are gone. It’s an interesting decision, but likely was made to preserve the work and legacy of the foundation. It sets an end date that keeps the foundation from morphing into something the Gates Family would not have wanted.

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