Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The donations drive is the first initiative organized by Social Media for Social Good, which will act as an umbrella organization for charities using social media to promote their cause, according to their website, and is organized by Mashable. We’ve seen lots of creative social media fundraisers recently such as Twestival and Target’s Facebook competition. Be sure to visit the Summer of Social Good website by August 28th if you’d like to donate, or add a tweet or wall post to spread the word!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Two recently released studies (one by The National Assessment of Educational Progress and one by The National Endowment for the Arts) show that attendance at art museums is on the decline – both among students and adults. The NEA’s study also showed a drop in participation in performing arts.
The NEA attributed the decline to an aging out of the traditional arts audience and also to the increase in consumption of arts online, rather than by attending live events. Both the NEA and the NAEP call for more arts education as a way of developing the next generation of arts enthusiasts.
As we've pointed out in the past, the recession may be especially hard on arts groups which experience both declines in contributions and grants (from individuals, foundations, corporations and the government) and decreased ticket sales. So, if you're a fan of the arts like me, then consider including a visit to a museum or theatre as part of your summer plans.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
As the economy continues to cause problems for both companies and employees, one company is taking a unique approach to its business while providing a benefit for local charities. California Steel Industries, experiencing slower than usual demand, made the decision to re-assign its employees to projects at local charities rather than laying them off. The employees are performing a variety of tasks, including yard work and painting, for local organizations. In addition to the benefit of keeping its workers employed, California Steel will have the added bonus of a tax write-off at the end of the year.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
When the going gets rough, American volunteers get going. So it's a good thing the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and Michelle Obama recently announced a new Summer of Service plan. Interested participants can visit www.serve.gov to find nearby volunteer opportunities that address: environmentalism and sustainability, education and literacy, access to healthcare and public health, and assistance to communities deeply touched by the economic downturn.
This isn't the first time we've seen valiant efforts from American volunteers or support for such initiatives by powerful political representatives. As noted in previous posts, a quarter of Americans volunteered last year, with teens being a major constituent. The Obamas have been long-standing supporters of service and intelligent giving. Michelle Obama has recommended the use of Charity Navigator to find worthy charities.
Friday, June 19, 2009
- Slate columnists Patty Stonesifer (chair of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents and a senior adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she was president, then CEO for 10 years) and Sandy Stonesifer (project manager for a national study of the consequences of unintended pregnancy) responded to a reader's request for guidance in determining what is an excessive/ reasonable level of compensation for a nonprofit CEO. Their thoughtful answer is right on the mark and references Charity Navigator's research in this area.
- The Consumerist, an entertaining and informative blog for consumers, which is the 38th most popular blog in the world, posted an entry this week Don't Give Money To Strangers Online. The blog backs up our tips on this subject and recommends consulting Charity Navigator before contributing to a charity.
- This week, Santa Barbara Independent columnist, Barney Brantingham, lamented the numerous appeals his late mother-in-law still receives (a concern we share even if some fundraisers do not and actually advocate for charities to send more frequent appeals). He warns readers to be careful when donating to charities, stating that he checked "with the outstanding online watchdog Charity Navigator" and "found that some sham charities collect millions of dollars but only fork over a very small percentage to the cause they are supposedly representing." He also reports on the FTC's recent crack down on false charities.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Are you at a loss for what to get dad? Give him the gift of charity. It’s hard to think of a more thoughtful and unique gift.
But, maybe you’re not sure which charity your dad is interested in supporting. No problem. Purchasing a Good Card gives him the ability to select the charity to receive the donation.
The Philanthropy Project, in partnership with AOL, recently launched a new site, http://news.aol.com/philanthropy, to promote the benefits of living a philanthropic lifestyle. Visitors to the site can check out videos about giving, find links to philanthropic resources (including Charity Navigator) and take a quiz, the GlowMeter, to determine their philanthropic preferences and to connect with others that have similar charitable interests.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
With a drop in donations, and an increase in demands for services, San Francisco area charities are bracing for a rough future, with about one third of the organizations participating in a United Way of the Bay Area survey expecting to shut down in the next year. As Charity Navigator has mentioned before, this is a development that is not unexpected given the current situation. We want to reiterate that instead of all these organizations closing, and thereby leaving those dependent on the services stranded, a close look should be taken at the possibilities of organizations merging their operations. This development will lead to more efficient non-profits working in the area, and in turn it will be easier for donors to identify which organizations they wish to support. We hope the 26% of charities already reporting to have cooperated with other local organizations can continue to do so, and increase their cooperation levels.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
- Charities in America received $307.65 billion in donations last year.
- As in previous years, giving represents about 2% of GDP.
- As we’ve seen historically, individuals are responsible for 75% of the giving ($229.28 billion).
- Foundations, that saw their endowments shrink considerably, did not pull back on their grants as much as was anticipated. Grants from foundations actually grew by 3% (or -0.8% when adjusted for inflation) to $41.21 (13% of total giving).
- Religious charities experienced a 5.5% increase in giving (or 1.6% when adjusted for inflation) to $106.89 billion. Thus, about half of contributions from individuals are directed to religious charities.
- Public Benefit charities grew contributions by 5.4% (1.5% adjusted for inflation) last year to $23.88 billion or 8% of all giving.
- Gifts to International charities were essentially flat with growth of just 0.6% (-3.1% when adjusted for inflation) to $13.3 billion (4% of the total).
- Our generosity declined from 2007 levels (a record $314.07) by 2% in real dollars and 5.7% after adjusting for inflation.
- 1974 was the only other year in the history of this survey (started in 1956) that contributions shrank almost as much (5.4%).
- Specifically, individuals gave 2.7% less in 2008 (-6.3% adjusted for inflation), charitable bequests fell by 2.8% (-6.4% adjusted for inflation) to $22.66 billion (7% of total giving), and corporate giving dropped 4.5% (-8% adjusted for inflation) to $14.5 billion (5% of total giving).
- Human Services charities were the recipients of $25.88 billion in donations representing a dropped 12.7% in current dollars (15.9 % when adjusted for inflation). Only 9% of all giving in 2008 went to these charities. This is disturbing considering the increase in demand for the programs and services offered by these charities. Furthermore, this seems to go against previous reports that show giving to human services charities tends to increase during a recession (although usually not enough to offset the increase in demand).
- Education charities experienced a 5.5% decrease (-9% adjusted for inflation) to $40.94 billion (13% of the total).
- Health charities report a 6.5% decrease (-10% adjusted for inflation) in giving. The $21.64 billion these organizations received represents 7% of total giving in 2008.
- Not surprisingly, given the extensive reports of layoffs and programmatic cutbacks reported by arts groups (detailed on this blog here, here, and here), Giving USA shows that contributions to Arts, Culture, Humanities charities dropped by 6.4% (-9.9% adjusted for inflation) to $12.79 billion. Gifts to arts groups represented 8% of the total giving.
- Giving USA lumps together gifts to Animals and Environment charities. These groups received 2% of the total giving ($6.58) which is a 5.5% decrease (-9% adjusted for inflation).
- It will be quite some time before contributions pick up as the historical data shows that it took three years for giving to rebound after the recession in 1974.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Already, the comments on our site show donors regularly lamenting about what they deem to be excessive pay packages at the charities seeking their support. The IRS has, for years, warned charities of its interest in compensation practices. And in designing the new Form 990, the IRS now requires more disclosure of executive pay.
At Charity Navigator, for each charity we rate, we already disclose the CEO’s salary as well as other salaries of note. This summer we’ll publish an updated CEO Compensation Study. And this fall, we hope to begin publishing information from the newly designed Form 990s, letting donors know, for example, if the charity had an independent committee set pay.
What: ETOlution 2009 Conference
When: November 16-17, 2009
Where: Baltimore, MD
Sign up now! Discounted, early registration ends June 30.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
This past winter, 351 NJ charities shared some pretty bleak financial data with The Center for Non-Profits demonstrating just how extensively the recession is impacting their fiscal health. Here are some highlights from the survey:
- 70% report that demand for their core services has increased during the past year. They anticipate this trend to continue into next year.
- 33% report that expenses exceeded support and revenue in their most recent fiscal year.
- >60% anticipate an increase in total expenses this year, but less than 1/3 expect total funding to increase.
- 89% reported a dramatic change in funding in 2008.
- 60% said a previous funding source had told them that future giving to their charity would be less or nonexistent.
- 29% had already or planned to cut back on their programs and services.
- 34% had or will cut staff.
- 48% are increasing their collaborative efforts.