‘Nelfie’ Wants You to Take a Nude Selfie for Charity

‘Nelfie’ Wants You to Take a Nude Selfie for Charity

Dec 01

How far would you go for charity? Would you strip naked for it? That’s precisely what Nelfie, a UK-based project, wants you to do. Here’s how it works. Participants take a “nelfie” (short for “nude selfie”) and post it on social media. Although that sounds absolutely terrifying, it’s actually not that bad. For one, the photos aren’t actually nude. Participants tactfully place an object over their private parts. It’s still risqué though, as it certainly leaves little to the imagination. Now here’s where the fundraising part comes in. When a participant first posts the photo, it is highly pixelated—too pixelated to even see anything. Participants incentivize their friends to donate to charity by de-pixelating the image as more and more contributions are made. The more people donate, the clearer the image gets. It’s fun, it’s spunky, and it’s definitely novel. Tom Wren, who founded Nelfie in 2015, is quite literally leading by example when it comes to his unusual fundraising technique. He posted his own “nelfie” in support of Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization centered on human rights. In an interview with Startacus.net, Wren said that he originally started the company as a way for normal, everyday people to raise massive amounts of money for charity. “I’m frustrated that typically the amount of money we can raise is limited to how many friends and co-workers we have, and they don’t have much fun donating to a static page. It’s sad that it seems only celebrities can raise huge awareness for what matters to them with a single tweet.” And that’s how Nelfie was born. Wren wanted to put the FUN back in fun-draising. And he’s done a phenomenal job so far; Nelfie is just now starting to take off, with countries from all over the world participating in the challenge. “For those not quite ready to nelfie, we’d really appreciate the support of this community in helping grow our impact and supporting our live campaigns, whether it be supporting with a donation, a share on social media or even just spreading the word,” Wren stated. Here at Philanthropic People, we’re not quite courageous enough to take a nelfie. However, we’re proud to say we did our part in spreading the...

The Nonprofit That Uses Scavenger Hunts to Test Life Skills

The Nonprofit That Uses Scavenger Hunts to Test Life Skills

Nov 30

Room to Read is a nonprofit that has been largely focused on global literacy since it’s inception. But since the year 2000, they have also developed a strong focus on girls’ education in countries like India, Cambodia, and Zambia. They operate programs in nine countries around the world, and they’ve come to realize that life skills such as negotiation, self-confidence, and persistence are important for girls who might have to struggle to keep their education going. To that end, they’ve developed a study to test their students for those skills. The study is actually built around a three-day scavenger hunt. The idea is that, by having each girl get at least 10 of 30 listed items, they can gauge where she falls on a number of these skills. Getting a toe-ring, for example, illustrates negotiation and trustworthiness, because for women in some parts of India, toe-rings are the equivalent of a wedding band. It’s a novel way of doing things. But by choosing items that wouldn’t be too easy or hard to find, they think they’ve struck on a system that will inform them about what level these girls are at in these critical life skills. Self-reporting by answering questions doesn’t always give an accurate accounting of something as ephemeral as self-confidence, especially in girls aged 11-13 who don’t necessarily have the life experience to gauge that. But by assigning tasks that use the skills in question, they can more accurately measure those skills by looking at the end result. The study involved 2,500 girls at 60 schools. The study will be repeated again in 2018 in order to build off the baseline data collected in 2016. Hopefully, it works as expected and becomes a tool that Room to Read can use to help instill these skills in their students. Maybe it will even allow the girls to continue their education after they age out of the nonprofit’s...

Diversifying Nonprofit Income

Diversifying Nonprofit Income

Nov 29

The Business Weekly section of the Reading Eagle (based out of Reading, PA) did one of those things that local papers are so good at: they wrote about local news in a way that’s actually quite useful to people who aren’t local. In this case, they have a piece about two local charities: Bethany Children’s Home and Opportunity House. Both of these organizations have diversified their revenue streams in order to prevent a reduction in federal grants. It’s the “diversifying revenue streams” that classifies this as a business article. Their point, and it’s a good one, is that sometimes nonprofits should think like for-profits, which at a certain size, tend to look for multiple income streams in case one doesn’t do so great. It’s fine for a small business to focus on manufacturing one specific item, but if demand for that item drops, or doesn’t keep pace with growth, or material prices go up, it can tank the company. That’s why you diversify in such a situation. Nonprofits can benefit from the same thinking. Federal and state grants can dry up or be awarded to other organizations. Donations rise and fall with the economy. But thrift stores, which you’ll notice are frequently run by nonprofits, tend to weather economic downturns really well. That’s probably why Goodwill and the Salvation Army have been using them for so long. It’s also what Opportunity House is doing in Reading now, with their new OppShop store that allows them to keep items out of landfills while employing underserved people. Bethany Children’s Home, which helps abused and neglected children, has been operating a dairy farm since 1873. Bethany Children’s Home has also operated its own freshwater spring since 2012. It really boils down to this age-old advice: don’t put all your eggs in one basket, even if you’re a...

Don’t Forget to Celebrate Giving Tuesday

Don’t Forget to Celebrate Giving Tuesday

Nov 22

It’s incredibly ironic that immediately following Thanksgiving, people are willing to trample one another for the best sales deals. Here’s a better proposal: instead of participating in Black Friday, why not participate in Giving Tuesday? It’s certainly a lot more in line with the spirit of Thanksgiving. For those of you who’ve never heard of Giving Tuesday before, it’s like a national holiday for charitable donations. It takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, which would be November 29 this year. Social media users created the “holiday” as a pushback against the greed and selfishness that’s displayed after Thanksgiving. #GivingTuesday is now a popular hash tag on Twitter. But the best part about Giving Tuesday is that there isn’t one specific charity that people are encouraged to donate to. Those who wish to participate can donate to any organization they choose. However, we at Philanthropic People always advise you to do your research before making any contributions. Readers should know that every year during the holidays, there is an increase in the amount of scam charities. Ken Berger, CEO of Charity Navigator, knows this all too well. “Because so much money is being given out during this time, by extension the scammers and the thieves know this is the time to exploit people the most,” Berger warned. “The causes that we find scammers are drawn to the most are the ones that the American public really resonates most powerfully with. So examples are charities that are meant to support the families and people themselves who have risked their lives for our country: police, firefighters, veterans. And in another group are charities that are meant to help children—children with cancer, children with disabilities.” The easiest way to protect yourself from fraud is to educate yourself on what to look out for. A complete list of scam charity warning signs can be found...

Showing Up for Racial Justice

Showing Up for Racial Justice

Nov 21

“We envision a society where we struggle together with love, for justice, human dignity and a sustainable world.” That’s the vision as quoted from civil rights organization Showing Up for Racial Justice. As the last decade in the United States has shown, this country still has a long way to go before achieving social equality. That’s why we need organizations like Showing Up for Racial Justice. Founded in 2009, Showing Up for Racial Justice has grown to become a national network of activism groups across the country. The goal of this specific organization is to help get white people involved the fight for racial equality. The organization operates on the belief that those who are privileged can use their position of power to be an advocate for the disadvantaged. By creating this large scale network of multi-racial people with a passion for equality, citizens can band together to improve the country “through community organizing, mobilizing, and education.” The advantage of having a network like this is being able to unify and orchestrate protests when injustices do happen. As the old saying goes, “There is strength in numbers.” The organization wants to make it very clear that white people don’t have to be the enemy; they can be allies. The organization seeks to lead by example by being inclusive, not divisive. Put in their own words, they want to “call people in, not call people out.” It’s inspiring that the leadership of Showing Up for Racial Justice has taken several steps to ensure that they are held accountable for their actions. They work closely with other organizations to make sure that their activities and endorsements are in line with the values and beliefs of their mission. Their transparency is a leading example of what honesty and integrity looks like in the nonprofit...

The Nonprofit Sector is Failing the People it Means to Serve

The Nonprofit Sector is Failing the People it Means to Serve

Nov 17

The nonprofit sector is failing people of color and other under-served communities. While there are plenty of organizations that work with these groups, rarely are they actually run by people from these communities. Even when they are, these organizations tend to be lacking in the kinds of operational capital that makes other organizations successful. As Candi Cdebaca, the young CEO of Project VOYCE points out, this is because the nonprofit sector is predicated on privilege. It was founded by rich white people to help others and has developed into a system that maintains both privilege and poverty. After all, without people to help, there would be no nonprofit sector. That may sound hard to swallow, but if it is, it may be because you’re a part of the problem. This isn’t to say that you, dear reader, are actively working to oppress people and further the goals of privilege and white supremacy. In fact, if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t consciously doing these things. But the problem is, as 2016 in general has done an excellent job of showing, these systems perpetuate themselves subtly. Cdebaca doesn’t suggest some overarching solution to the problem, that’s beyond the scope of her piece and well beyond the scope of this website as well. But what’s important is that we realize these issues exist, and begin a conversation—locally, nationally, globally, about how to fix this issue. Many of us have argued that having more people of color at the head of nonprofits, especially those geared towards the issues faced by people of color, would make a big difference. Although it definitely would, it’s something that we haven’t even come close to accomplishing yet. But diversity on it’s own isn’t enough. Diversity needs support in order to work, because all the nonprofit CEOs of color in the world can’t help if the color of their skin continues to prevent them from having access to capital and...

Appealing to Psychological Needs Can Garner More Donations

Appealing to Psychological Needs Can Garner More Donations

Nov 16

It may seem obvious, but the way you word fundraising appeals can have a pretty big impact on the success of those appeals. According to new research, minor changes to wording can increase donations by up to 300%. But before you go and rewrite all of your appeals, there are some things you need to know. First of all, there is no secret weapon here. The study was based on 30,000 fundraising letters sent out to people across India. 20,000 of those letters were from a cold list and the rest were from a warm list. Researchers found that seeking out donors with the same religious beliefs increased donations by 55%, or by 33% if the target is of low-income status. By slightly modifying the fundraising appeals, researchers found a variety of ways to appeal to peoples’ sympathy. At the core of all of this seems to be the idea that putting a face on the appeal helps. Making donors aware that they will be helping real, specific people seems to draw in more donations. But donors also want to feel like they’re a part of something greater than themselves. In order to create this sense of belonging, donors have to feel aligned with the organization’s missions and goals. Organizations have to cater to these psychological needs if they want to receive more donations. That may feel manipulative, but the fact of the matter is that pure logic does not appeal to people as much as we might like to think. Marketing, and that’s what this is, most often appeals to human emotions, because let’s face it, we’re emotional creatures first and foremost. It’s all about convincing people to back a certain idea or cause, and making them feel good about doing so. This research has shown that by actually applying psychology to fundraising efforts, these efforts can really pay off, which is especially helpful in a world with an ever increasing number of...

Millennials Are Changing Philanthropy

Millennials Are Changing Philanthropy

Nov 15

Everywhere you look, people are talking about “Millennials”—the generation of Americans born roughly between 1980 and 2000 that grew up in a largely digital world. All too often, out-of-touch Baby Boomers unjustly criticize Millennials. Older generations tend to stereotype Millennials as being “anti-social,” “lazy,” and “entitled.” Once in a while though, somebody says something positive about Millennials. Such is the case with The New York Times, a publication that has seen it’s fair share of Millennial bashing. The New York Times recently wrote a piece about how Millennials are changing the world of philanthropy. The gist of the article is that Millennials don’t give in the same way that their parents and grandparents did. While they’re just as likely to volunteer and donate, they’re also willing to leverage their social networks. Millennials use their personal connections to help draw support for the causes they care about. Millennials have also proven to be more concerned with causes rather than organizations. As such, Millennials often demand that groups to which they donate to operate with full-blown transparency. Millennials are very picky when it comes to how much of a donation goes towards helping people and how much goes towards administrative costs. Millennials value nonprofits that put the majority of their donations towards their mission rather than managerial costs. They also want to see how their gifts are impacting people, whether that’s by hearing about the specific people they are helping, or through more broad terms, like frequent updates from the organization on how their gifts are being put into action. The days of writing a check or plunking money into a jar and then forgetting about it are over. Millennials are deeply connected with one another and the world around them, and they want to be connected to their charitable efforts as...