Monday, November 14, 2011

Finding the Philanthropist Within

What is your definition of a "philanthropist?" Do you conjure up thoughts of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, billionaires committed to changing healthcare and poverty global-wide? Do you think of men like Rockefeller or Carnegie, industrialists who made so much money that it still goes to work today? How about the wife of McDonald's legend Ray Kroc who left millions upon millions in her estate to benefit education and other charities?
Do you ever think of the plumber who lives across the street? How about your mailman? Your hairdresser? Yourself?
WordNet defines "philanthropist" as someone who makes charitable donations intended to increase human well-being. The American Heritage Dictionary has a similar definition: The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, as by charitable aid or donations. Note: Neither definition describes how much one has to give to be considered a philanthropist. My favorite description is "the love of humankind in general." 
Anyone can be a philanthropist. It simply means you give to help others, primarily because it is the right thing to do.  You give because you care, not because you expect something back in return other than the satisfaction of knowing you are doing the right thing.
The Circle of Sisterhood Foundation is grateful to all of the philanthropists (you are more than just a donor!) that have made a choice to help girls and women get an education and gain an opportunity to escape a life of poverty and oppression.  Some give a lot. Some give a little.  The amount is not as important as that they simply give.  And Circle of Sisterhood philanthropists give in a wide variety of ways.
Take for example our own leader, Ginny Carroll’s recent 50 for 50 campaign in which she asked her friends to give $50 in honor of her 50th birthday.  In just a matter of days, Ginny raised $3,075 from her friends and family. Each one of these donors is a philanthropist. They gave because she asked.  And they gave because they cared.
Similarly, friends responded when Sue Kraft Fussell conducted a Virtual Marathon for her own milestone birthday. Her generous friends donated money...and she never even ran a step!  Each person gave at a level that was meaningful to her and suddenly, the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation was the beneficiary of $3,865.
Hilary Cessna’s has launched her own philanthropic journey on Crowdrise. She shares what motivates her to not only give but to also ask for others to join her in her effort to raise $1,000.  She states:
“It is now our turn to rise up and give a voice to the voiceless. There is so much devastation happening in the world to women and girls. Regardless of where were born, where we went to college or what organization we affiliated with, we are one sisterhood. A sisterhood of women. It is now our turn to stand as one and unite for the rights of women and girls everywhere.”
Now, that is a wonderful philanthropic spirit!
Our collegiate sisters are learning about giving every day on our college campuses.  These women are recognizing the incredible feeling of what giving provides. Take just a few examples:  there is a Dance Marathon at UC San Diego, Miami University’s Panhellenic trip to see Wicked, the Circle of Sisterhood week of awareness activities at the University of Souther Florida.  Every day there are new posts on the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation’s Facebook page of clever fundraisers that allow students to become philanthropists. 
We have been blessed in this country to have the right to work, get an education, vote, travel by ourselves, drive, select a spouse, make decisions about our own bodies and so much more. We also know that many women around the world are not afforded these same rights.  We can each become a philanthropist and help make change.   Every gift, regardless of size, makes a difference.  When we pool our resources and provide grants to schools or NGOs, we are opening doors for women to have a chance.  We are giving to help the well-being of others.  That’s what it means to be a philanthropist.  That’s what happens when you choose to donate to the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation.  
As we approach the holiday season, I invite you to become a philanthropist yourself.  Make a donation to the Circle of Sisterhood because of your love for humankind.  I guarantee you will feel proud of what you have achieved.  And somewhere out there, a young girl will thank you. 
Learn how you can support the Circle of Sisterhood at

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 Tips to Fundraise Like A Pro

I am in a really cool new volunteer role for the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation.  I am the chairman of the development committee.  This Foundation has just celebrated its first year and it is such an interesting challenge to be at the very beginning of a non-profit start-up.  This organization exists to help overcome the barriers for girls to get an education and as a result, provides opportunities to lift them out of poverty and oppression.  It's a lofty goal but one I think most women, especially those of us who have benefitted from a quality education, have an obligation to help.

I recently wrote a blog article: 10 Tips to Fundraise Like a Pro. There's good suggestions for those participating with the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation but is really applicable to any kind of fundraising.  Let me know your thoughts.  What would you add?

Just so you know I follow my own advice, I'm doing my own individual fundraiser for the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation and am using a really fun platform at Crowdrise.  It only takes one step to start a movement and that's what I intend to do. I hope you'll consider making a $25 gift and help me raise $1,000 in my Power of One initiative.  Thank you!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Fundraisers' Guide to Social Media

I was honored to be one of the presenters for the AFP, Dayton Region National Fundraising Day. This presentation focuses on tools that fundraisers can use beyond the basics of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. 

As I shared during the program, if there is one take-away it is this: Technology and tools are changing at a rapid pase but the fundamentals of fundraising techniques do not.  Social media helps us engage with donors and constituents.  At the core, social media helps us build relationships. We still need to listen, cultivate, connect interests and steward our donors.  This simply gives us some innovative methods to do our jobs more effectively.

I would be very interested in hearing what tools you use to effectively raise money using social media. What do you recommend and why?

Monday, January 31, 2011

2010 K99.1FM Cares for Kids Radiothon

Dayton Children's is fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with K99.1FM, the local country music radiostation.  Every year, K99.1FM hosts a three-day Cares for Kids Radiothon to raise money for the hospital.  During the 2010 Radiothon, Nancy Wilson and Frye Guy, co-hosts of the popular "Breakfast Club" morning show tireless volunteered their talents to share the Dayton Children's story on air.  Through powerful "story songs" and live interviews with patients and families, they asked their listening community to pledge $10 per month for 12 months.  More than $200,000 was raised, making this the most effective fundraising event for the hospital during the year. 

As a thank you to K99.1FM and Cox Media Group, I put this video slideshow together as a tribute to their efforts and to give our donors a unique "behind the scenes" look at what happens during the live broadcast.  This is a major team effort with the amazing staff at K99.1FM, the Dayton Daily News, the sponsors, volunteers, the Dayton Children's staff, and most importantly, our patients and families who generously share their incredible stories.

Dayton Children's is proud member of the Children's Miracle Network and recognize how fortunate we are to have such a strong partnership with Cox Media Group in Ohio. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Online Giving Study: A Call To Reinvent Relationships

I admit it...I'm a fan of Network for Good, but maybe  not for the reasons you may think.  Yes, it seems to be the leader of the online giving pack.  However, what you may not know, is that NFG produces some of the best, most helpful resources on online fundraising and nonprofit best practices.  I follow their blog posts religiously.  I really read every word of their e-newsletters.  I religiously tweet about things I learn from them.  They have their fingers on the pulse of online giving.  Don't believe me?  Here's the proof:

Take the time to read the latest online giving study.  It is well-researched, fascinating, and what I appreciate is that it emphasizes the need to continue to use strong fundraising fundamentals, such as focusing on donor relationships.  I've advocated for the longest time that just because you raise money electronically, it's no reason to abandon the basic fundamentals of the profession.  The statistics are impressive and the trends are spot-on.

Read the Online Giving Study.  Bookmark it.  Share it with others.  You will be as impressed as I am.  Follow the suggestions.  You will be a better development professional.