Well, this should not be news to readers of DP and others who participate in social media fundraising. USA Today has an article on how participating in Giving Circles (definition here)can be fun. Who Knew?!?!?! The Circle discussed in the article get together to share food and wine--- and have raised over $16,000 dollars for a variety of causes that are meaningful for their group.
This gave me an idea... dinner/supper clubs (for you foodies), bunco nights and annual events among friends (Superbowl parties, 4th of July Celebrations, etc) are an excellent time to do some fundraising or supply/needed item drive. The great thing is that all the recruiting has been done for the group. All that is left is picking a cause that resonates with your group and provides a meaningful giving opportunity. Don't forget--- you can also do a supply or needed item drive for a nonprofit if budgets are tight.
In fact, I think I will encourage our small "Square Gang" dinner group to bring a gently used clothing suitable for work so that it can be given to someone who does not have money for interview/work clothes.
Why don't you try it too....If you need suggestions for great causes to give to---- check out my Good Causes category
In a past life, I was married to someone who was sent to the Middle
East for Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the 90's. This experience
gave me an up close and personal understanding of the bleakness,
desolation, hopelessness, and melancholy that can occur to servicemen
and women that are deployed. They see a lot of really bad things and
it can be really easy just to shut oneself off from seeing the
suffering and struggles around them.
Add to that... nothing inspires me more than stories of an individual's selfless acts for others in need and causes they hold dear. And pictures are indeed worth 1000 words. Thus I wanted to draw your attention to a photoblog I've discovered: US Military Doing Good Deeds
I don't know the motive of the blogwriter, but to me, I interpreted it as celebration of individuals (lest we forget that the military is comprised of individuals with choices) who have managed to shirk the bleakness of being deployed into situations of suffering and strife to take time to help where they can.
Now for all of you out there who want to make a political statement--- DON'T. For those of you who want to rant--- DON'T. I post this link because I (let go of my cynicism) and was moved by some of the pictures and actions of individuals. I invite you to take a minute to snap out of your bleakness and do the same.
Unsolicited blogtip to US Military Doing Good Deeds: I also find it fascinating to try to understand what makes some people act and some to pass on by. It would be great if you included more of the story behind the pictures (especially, about the serviceman or woman and why they help).
While CECP focues on encouraging large corporation to develop philanthropic intiatives, endeavors and huge strategic giving programs, I want to emphasize that philanthropic efforts of smaller companies can make a difference too (especially to small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations).
Workplace Philanthropy Does Not Have To Come Out Of Corporate Profits
With that said, I want to announce a new category here at DP--- Workplace philanthropy. Here the focus will be how ANY company and ANY employee can collaborate with the goal of giving back to the community around them. In this category, I will post information and ideas to help DP readers employed by smaller companies dip their foot in doing good for the community around them. I encourage people to leave their own idea, experiences, triumphs, bumps in the road and successes to this series via comments--- in hope of it becoming a resource and encouragement for those investigating how to start these types of endeavors.
To start, here are a few "first steps" that can be an entry into a workplace "do good" program.
Identify employees that are actively involved and engaged in nonprofit organization or community improvement efforts (volunteers, donors, and advisors). Invite several of these individuals to develop a committee to investigate how the company can use it's strengths and talents to help the community.
Develop a list nonprofits in your community (Network for Good is a good resource for this) where your organization is uniquely positioned to help. Brainstorm on how the company can help 2-3 of these organizations.
Buy some cookies and cupcakes and invite representatives from local nonprofits in for a volunteer drive during lunch. Focus on education and refrain from fundraising during this event. Don't forget to take time to network with the nonprofit representatives.
In my work in psychiatry, it is not uncommon to see the damage that domestic violence takes on a person's confidence, perception of self-sufficiency, and feelings of intrinsic self-worth. The statistics on the prevalence and effect of domestic abuse are staggering. Here are some highlights from EndAbuse.org (or lowlights as the case may be):
Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
In the year 2001, more than half a million American women (588,490
women) were victims of nonfatal violence committed by an intimate
On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or
boyfriends in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed
by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an
Research suggests that injury related deaths, including homicide and
suicide, account for approximately one-third of all maternal mortality
cases, while medical reasons make up the rest. But, homicide is the
leading cause of death overall for pregnant women, followed by cancer,
acute and chronic respiratory conditions, motor vehicle collisions and
drug overdose, peripartum and postpartum cardiomyopthy, and suicide.
The health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking and
homicide committed by intimate partners exceed $5.8 billion each year.
Of that amount, nearly $4.1 billion are for direct medical and mental
health care services, and nearly $1.8 billion are for the indirect
costs of lost productivity or wages.
Now, there is an easy way to help our victims of domestic violence. The Allstate Foundation has recently launched the Click to Empower campaign. Every time you click, $1 is donated to the Allstate Foundation Domestic Violence program's Education and Job Training Assistance Fund. The goal is to get 300,000 clicks.
The Education and Job Training fund channels small
grants to adult domestic violence survivors to help them achieve their
educational and professional goals. The coolest thing is that this fund enables domestic violence
survivors to pursue long-term financial security by providing much
needed assistance to address barriers often not covered within
traditional financial aid resources. It covers education, training and
job-related expenses including: Books and supplies for school, Job skills training, certification fees, Registration fees, Requirements for jobs, such as uniforms, Child care, public transportation, Fees for computer access and etc.
Hopelessness is probably one of the most crippling emotions. It
eats away at the the tiny sparks of the soul that propel us through the
sorrows of the day. Unfortunately, there are many people in this world
who have lost their sparks and spend their lives in the dark.
The Hope Revolution is a challenge for people to write down "a
stackful" of hope messages and leave them in public places. Krystyn
has also created easy-to-use templates for you.
Krystyn, being a talented shutterbug, has developed a flickr group for pictures of hope notes that others have left. If you need a message of hope drop by this "public place" and pick up your note. After seeing the news story this morning, this note gave me hope.