Giva Blog Categories : Non-Profit

World Changers: Giva Salutes A Follow-up

Giva recently published a blog post saluting We were thrilled when they sent us a $50 donation voucher to see for ourselves how they work. We assigned this fun and rewarding task to Natasha Gaydos, Giva intern, and here is the summary of her experience:

My Experience with
By Natasha Gaydos

Using a voucher for $50 to donate at, I was able to give back to a community that I love. I received my undergraduate education at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Although I lived on campus and spent the vast majority of my time in classes or doing schoolwork, I learned to appreciate the community around me through volunteering and my part-time jobs. My experiences outside of the bubble of campus-town were among my most cherished. As a result, it was bittersweet to say goodbye to Champaign-Urbana this past May when I graduated.

When I learned I could donate $50 toward funding a school project of my choice, I knew exactly where I wanted to look; Champaign-Urbana where I benefited so much from my education and the community that fostered more than an academic education, but an experiential learning opportunity for personal and intellectual growth. Champaign-Urbana is a microcosm of creative, intellectual and socially conscious citizens; and, as a result, there are just as many wonderful events outside of campus in which I was able to take part. One of my most cherished experiences was volunteering for an after-school program as a recreation leader. The kids I supervised always brought me joy, and often their enthusiasm and zest for life was a remedy when I found myself stressed about my studies and workload.

Using my voucher, I was able to search for projects in the Champaign-Urbana area. One of my best friends from college, who also helped me to get through the rigor of college, is now teaching at Centennial High School in Champaign. While she did not have a project of her own listed on, I was excited to see a project from one of her coworkers, biology teacher Ms. Weidelman. Ms. Weidelman's project on is to fund the purchase of an iPad for her students to use for research and interactive learning. An iPad is a unique learning tool in that it is portable and can be used by multiple students at one time. It can also be used as a projector and presentation tool. Ms. Weidelman explains another important feature unique to a tablet, "If we have an iPad in my classroom we will be able to download and use apps and games like Nightmare:Malaria, Plague, as well as many citizen scientist apps that allow my students to record real time data and add to ongoing professional research."

I could immediately relate to an inability to access Apps from lack of a smartphone or tablet; I found personal resonance throughout her description about the need for an iPad, from my own frustrations, to my reliance on research and data throughout my studies, and of course my value for Champaign-Urbana Schools. In addition, I was excited to learn about the "Nightmare" App which I found particularly pertinent for learning in relation to the devastating Ebola outbreak in Africa, and the residual waves of destruction it had on communities and individuals. This was exciting and pertinent information to me, having just read a New Yorker Article on the research that was conducted to code the genome of the Ebola strain, track its mutations and eventually used to guide the developed ZMapp , a largely successful pharmaceutical drug that has been used to treat Ebola, and also in smaller doses as a vaccine.

Technology is an inherent aspect to modern science and medicine, so it is no surprise that Ms. Weidelman wants to teach her students to use technology in the biology studies. I know the iPad will be a great tool for learning, giving students access to the wealth of knowledge and research on the internet, as well as Apps with interactive learning tools. I was thrilled to be able to give back to the community which provided so much support, learning and fun throughout my undergraduate experience. Like many others, I left a personalized note to Ms. Weidelman and her students to tell them how excited I was about their current learning and all of the potential learning that can come from having an iPad in the classroom.

If you are interested in helping to fund a classroom project, provides virtually endless opportunities to give where your heart is . Finding a project to donate to is easy; you can search using a keyword, by classroom location, class subject, age group, and other categories to refine your search. Donating is just as simple: you can donate using a credit or debit card, Paypal, Amazon payment, mail in a check, or use a giftcard/voucher-code. Each project includes an in-depth explanation of what the funds are going toward as well as a progress bar showing how much money has been donated to said project, and how close it is to being fully funded. Donors know exactly who and how they are helping, and they also can understand the value of their donation when they see the green progress bar get closer to complete after their donation. Donors can donate a minimum of $1 and those who donate $50 or more will receive thank you cards from the teacher and students to whom they donated. is a great platform that allows people to donate to classrooms with ease. The crowd-funding model is a booming new form of philanthropy that taps into the unique avenues for connectivity and collaboration that the internet offers. Education forms such a huge part of the foundation of an individual, as well as the foundation of our society. It is interconnected and interdependent with our economy, our politics, our environment, our technology, our medicine, and the quality of life of our communities. You can quickly and easily donate to the teachers who work at the forefront of educating our children, siblings, and future leaders by choosing from one of over 25,000 classroom projects seeking funding on

Metrics for Non-profits: Improving Volunteer and Donor Engagement: Part 2

Metrics/graphs for Volunteerism and Non-profits

See "Metrics for Non-profits: Improving Volunteer and Donor Engagement: Part 1" here.

Metrics from volunteer surveys can be used to assess volunteers' motivations, goals and needs to ensure that they feel satisfied from their experiences and have their needs and expectations met. The more pleased a volunteer is with their experience, the more likely they are to continue to volunteer and give. Manpower is often a limited resource at mission-driven organizations, so volunteer retention is essential. Equally as important as volunteer retention is volunteer impact; metrics will help to determine volunteer impact, not just by hours served, but also the degree to which volunteer programs generated positive outcomes for individuals and communities served.

Volunteers and donors look to give their time and effort to effective organizations and programs, those with meaningful and measured social value. Just like people are more likely to buy a product with strong customer reviews and high sales, volunteers and donors are more likely to become invested in supporting an organization that has proven social value. Root Cause, a non-profit research and consulting firm, performed a study entitled "Informed Giving: What Donors Want and How Non-profits can Provide It." According to the study, non-profits should appeal to donors by making a clear connection between a donor's gift and its impact. Metrics serve as credible means of support for a non-profit's social value: "As many as 75 percent of donors use information about the non-profit's impact, while 63 percent use information about the social issue the non-profit addresses" ("Informed Giving").

Donors conduct research through a variety of methods when choosing where to invest. If non-profits want to attract these donors, they will need to make information about their impact readily available, in multiple locations and formats. Money can be spent more wisely if a non-profit uses metrics to focus their funding and cut extraneous or ineffective programs, grants, etc. More and more corporations are becoming involved in social responsibility initiatives. As non-profits compete to earn the loyalty of these previously untapped financial resources, proving social value is more important than ever.

Not only can reports and metrics be used as supporting material to show potential donors proof of an organizational social value and impact, but reports can also be analyzed to identify prospective recurring members and donors. Metrics for evaluating donor engagement provide insight on sound practices. In his article, "5 Metrics Every Development Director Should Know," Mike Spear stresses the importance of internal benchmarks for improving and growing donor-relations. Year-over-year fundraising metrics can be used to compare growth and set new goals. He also suggests calculating a "Donor Acquisition Cost" to measure the cost-to-benefit ratio of inputs and outputs from non-profits' fundraising and donor engagement programs. Spear notes the importance of collecting data on three donor-specific characteristics: Donor-attrition, donor-lifetime and donor-value. By looking at a complete picture of a specific donor profile, non-profits can once again target their efforts and use their findings to improve donor-relations and engagement.

Non-profits can reap great benefits from utilizing a cloud-based CRM software system. Using metrics, non-profits can generate reports that measure their social impact and the efficacy of their volunteer and donor programs. Metrics provide the evidence for sound strategies for improving and growing any organization. Volunteer and donor engagement are just two areas of a non-profit's structure that can be improved through the use of metrics. Many more aspects of a non-profit's work can be enhanced using data analysis. Cloud-based CRM software provides non-profits with an easy system for collecting data, generating reports, and enhancing strategy to realize their full potential.

Context-Focused Giving, Part 1

Business & Communities Philanthropic Partners

Context-focused giving is a method through which corporate philanthropy and strategy are combined to achieve both social and economic gains. The basic idea behind context-focused giving is giving that benefits the environment in which a company operates and, thus, that company's competitive advantage. More specifically, context-focused giving considers the contextual conditions most important to a company’s strategies and industry, and targets their philanthropy toward improving one of these contexts so that the community and the company both reap rewards from the efforts. When companies are able to clearly identify how their philanthropic initiatives are not only creating good for society, but also for the company, charitable expenditures will not suffer from lack of justification in terms of bottom-line benefit.

In their Harvard Business Review publication, "The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy," Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer dispel the "myth of strategic philanthropy" in cause-related marketing efforts. Cause-related marketing, or corporate giving campaigns that often include a vague link between a corporation and a non-profit campaign, are largely intended to benefit the corporation's public image, acting as forms of publicity and marketing to generate goodwill. They argue that most corporate giving programs lack any solid connection to a company's strategy, and that "the acid test of good corporate philanthropy is whether the desired social change is so beneficial to the company that the organization would pursue the change even if no one ever knew about it" (Porter and Kramer 8).

Context-focused giving involves careful research and analysis as to how Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives dually create social benefits and benefits to one or more areas of their competitive context: factor conditions, demand conditions, context for strategy and rivalry, and related and supporting industries. Company's can engage in successful context-focused giving by identifying contextual conditions most important to their strategy and the health of their industry, and developing a giving program that improves the nature of this context, creating social and economic benefits. Just as individuals are impacted and shaped by their environment, the same is true for corporations. Context-focused giving provides an avenue for which to benefit both the individual and the company.

Factor Conditions refers to the size, quality and nature of the specialized inputs necessary for a company to operate. This includes a company's capital resources, its physical, administrative, information, scientific and technological infrastructure, and the availability of adequately trained employees along with natural resources. DreamWorks SKG implemented a successful context-focused giving strategy geared toward improving education and training for low-income students in Los Angeles. Partnering with Los Angeles Community College District and local schools, DreamWorks created a multifaceted program that combined classroom learning, mentoring and internships to provide low-income students in the area with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in the entertainment industry. The program had the social benefit of improved education and better employment opportunities in the community (context), as well as the economic benefit of expanding DreamWorks' availability of specially trained workers. Even for the specially trained graduates who did not go on to work for DreamWorks and instead worked for other companies, including competitors, DreamWorks could still count on the benefit of their project in improving the entertainment industry as a whole. DreamWorks is a part of an entertainment cluster, or "a geographic concentration of interconnected companies, suppliers, related industries, and specialized institutions in a particular field..." (Porter and Kramer, 4).

Corporations may choose to focus on the context of demand conditions when developing corporate strategic philanthropy, or conditions related to the size of the local market, customer sophistication, and potential areas of growth and change in regard to customer demands and needs, both locally and globally. One area that corporations have targeted is improving the sophistication of customers, and thus their demand for more sophisticated products and services. Apple Computer has targeted customer sophistication as a part of a long-standing context-focused corporate giving program that provides schools with Apple products. This creates social benefit of improved education and access to learning products in low-income areas while also expanding Apple's customer base.

Stay tuned for part 2!

World Changers: Giva Salutes S.M.I.L.E.S. (Sharing Music and Improving Lives with Every Song)

Here at Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.

S.M.I.L.E.S. Students

World Changers: Giva Salutes S.M.I.L.E.S.

S.M.I.L.E.S. (Sharing Music and Improving Lives with Every Song) was founded by Arianna Beyer on the premise that music can connect individuals in profound ways. Given the success of her initiative, it appears this is indeed true. S.M.I.L.E.S. arranges for musically-inclined youth from middle school to college to display their talents in assisted living centers, nursing homes, memory care facilities and hospitals. The stories that emerge from these encounters are exemplary of the various ways music can resonate with different people. Some of the performances raise the energy level of the audience by galvanizing the room with an up-beat sing-along. Other performances are sentimental, reminding the elderly of fond memories from a previous era. Each performance touches the heart and is a reminder of the power of a simple act of kindness.

Arianna’s organization is not the largest but is a reminder that an individual initiative can be successful with limited financial resources as long as one is armed with a desire to help. Successful charity is often about finding a way to apply one’s talents in the local community. S.M.I.L.E.S. volunteers remind us of the positive effects that emerge from sharing our gifts with those around us. Their efforts are sincerely appreciated.

To learn more about S.M.I.L.E.S. and how to get involved visit:!/s-m-i-l-e-s

Metrics for Non-profits: Improving Volunteer and Donor Engagement: Part 1

Metrics/graphs for Volunteerism and Non-profits

Metrics are important to any good business strategy; they help to inform decisions about how to manage projects and achieve the best outcomes. The necessity of metrics is not isolated in the private/for-profit sector alone; non-profits should also rely on metrics to develop informed, evidence-based approaches for resolving social and environmental issues. Unfortunately, many non-profit organizations lack the necessary funds and resources to obtain and utilize metrics. The good news is that tech companies have a lot to offer to non-profit management in helping to streamline procedures and enhance outcomes. Volunteer engagement is one important aspect of a non-profit that should be analyzed using data and metrics. Constituent Relationship Management software allows non-profits to gauge volunteerism and use this information to ultimately increase volunteer recruitment, engagement and retention.

In their recent donor survey, tech-research firm Software Advice found that many non-profits do not collect any data on volunteers. Of the 45% of non-profits that did not collect volunteer data, 34% attributed this to a lack of resources and tools. Cloud-hosted software tools, like those provided by Giva, can be customized to fit the needs of any strategic organization. For non-profits, these metrics will be important to understand how and how much volunteers contribute in order to develop sound strategies for growth. Reports will generate essential key performance indicators that measure things like campaign success rates, and patterns in donor and volunteer behaviors.

Cloud-based software can be adapted to serve as volunteer management software, collecting data and creating reports that can be used to inform strategies for improving the size, scope and quality of volunteer programs. For example, by collecting and analyzing volunteer data from a particular campaign, an organization can value that program's social return on investment. Reports will provide a basis for determining how successful said campaign was and if there are any volunteers or volunteer behaviors that generated the most impact. By using metrics to target effective behaviors or individual volunteers, non-profits can better understand best practices and improve the results of future endeavors.

Volunteer-metrics also help organizations to make the most use of volunteers, based upon their skills and knowledge. A simple volunteer survey can generate reports about volunteers' skill sets and areas of expertise. Using a method called skills-based volunteerism, non-profits can maximize the impact of volunteers by giving them roles related to their unique strengths and capacities. Skills-based volunteerism allows non-profits to reap rewards similar to those from consulting or contracting services but on a pro-bono basis. Furthermore, volunteers can teach non-profit workers a great deal. In their study, "Benefits of Skills-Based Volunteerism: ROI Tracker Findings," True Impact found that "Pro bono and skills-based volunteer projects help build new, job-related skills and experiences -- by offering greater management responsibility, increasing client or stakeholder interactions, or exposing volunteers to new subject matter, for example -- at 95% the rate of traditional volunteer projects."

Volunteer metrics help non-profits to recruit, retain and utilize volunteers most effectively. Volunteer data also creates the foundation for monetizing volunteer efforts. Non-profits can get an estimate of the monetary return on investment from their volunteer engagement by multiplying the Independent Sector's estimated value for volunteer time, $22.55 per hour as of 2013, times (x) total volunteer hours. For more accurate reporting, the Independent Sector recommends looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' hourly wage rates by occupation to monetize specialized skills-based volunteer hours. All of this reporting is made easier by cloud-service Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that generates data and reports. For non-profits that often lack adequate funding, volunteerism significantly reduces overhead costs. This is especially true when metrics are used to implement skills-based volunteerism.

Corporate Volunteerism in Different Cultures

Global Corporate Social Responsibility CSR

We are all fairly familiar with the North American conception of corporate volunteerism. The area has produced many of the practices we see in operation today. Now it is rare to find a large American or Canadian firm that does not pursue some kind of volunteer initiative. Spurred on by a vast conglomeration of organizations and charities, American and Canadian firms continue to pursue ambitious corporate volunteer initiatives. But, how do these policies translate overseas? A phenomenal report, by the Global Volunteering Research Project, titled "Global companies volunteering globally" sheds some light on how the conception of corporate volunteerism differs in various markets around the world. Some brief conclusions are shared below.

Arab Nations and Africa

The idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate volunteerism is fairly new to certain parts of the world. Many Arab nations are just beginning to understand how CSR can be incorporated into a business structure. A number of firms are still asking some fundamental questions such as how good intentions can be transformed into a comprehensive business strategy. In general, there is a tendency to think of "doing good" as a set of donations to charity rather than as a homemade initiative. The region also lacks the non-profit infrastructure we take for granted in North America.

Africa is currently grappling with many of the same challenges. Volunteering has traditionally been thought of as a local undertaking nowhere near the scale pursued by some multinational corporations. The region lacks the volunteer leadership organizations present in other parts of the world. As a result, corporate volunteerism has remained relatively contained.

Still promising signs are provided by a number of firms in both regions that have developed successful corporate volunteer programs. Safaricom, a leading mobile provider in Kenya, has a foundation in which employees are given the chance to volunteer through four days of paid leave. Kenya also has the National Volunteer Network Trust (NAVNET), a leadership organization that encourages "harambee", the Kenyan tradition of self-help events. In Saudi Arabia, the National Commercial Bank has coached entrepreneurs and helped with disaster relief spurred on by a CEO who cares deeply in corporate responsibility. Each year more and more firms replicate the good deeds of these peers.

In order to understand a potential future of corporate volunteerism in these regions we can look at the success of South Africa. South Africa's emerging corporate volunteerism culture has been driven largely by its growing business community and organizations like CAFSA. CAFSA arranges business-NGO (non-governmental organization) partnerships in South Africa that satisfy both party's needs. Both regions have a history of active community involvement. The challenge for corporations moving forward will be converting these programs into larger, structured initiatives.

Latin America

Latin America's history of political instability helps to explain how the current culture of corporate volunteerism formed. The region has adopted a culture of civic participation and has begun to put a personal spin on volunteerism. Rather than viewing the beneficiaries of charity as hopeless dependents, Latin Americans are increasingly looking at charity as an exchange of services among equals. Social inequality has emerged as the main target of many corporate volunteer initiatives.

Across the region, education seems to be the most popular topic addressed. Approximately 70% of volunteer programs are based on improving access to education, usually for poor children. Skills-based volunteering has been recently adopted by some firms, but is not yet a widespread practice in the region. Chile's Pro-Bono Foundation serves as one of the few examples. The foundation provides lawyers from over 30 companies to limited resource groups in need of legal counsel. Many of the most successful programs in the region address these areas of inequality. The Corporate Volunteer Councils that have begun to pop up in countries like Brazil and Columbia have made it easier to connect with these kinds of causes.

Despite the early successes of corporate volunteerism in the region, Latin American companies must still overcome a few challenges. The largest seems to be convincing shareholders to adopt it as an integral part of the business. Many firms continue to pursue initiatives that are unrelated to their brand as side endeavors. Latin America also poses some unique geographical challenges. It can often be hard to reach the rural villages that are scattered throughout the region. Regardless, the culture of civic engagement that continues to permeate amongst the youth sets up this region nicely for the future.


Corporate volunteer programs are commonplace in much of the Asia Pacific region. In one national survey, 80% of Japanese firms reported having a volunteer program. The country has also seen the adoption of more and more skills-based volunteer programs in place of what some commentators described as superficial volunteer initiatives. Korea likewise has a vibrant culture of corporate responsibility with CSR giants like Samsung, Hyundai, and the SK group. The countries' intense business competitions have made volunteer programs increasingly vital. Australian firms are likewise becoming experts in corporate volunteering. Younger Australians have come to expect the programs having participated in a number of volunteer activities as students.

These successes have been complemented by an emerging culture of corporate volunteerism in China. Many top Chinese firms originally imported variations of volunteer programs from Western businesses. Now, a growing number of initiatives have also come from China. The country's volunteer programs still depend in part on the Chinese Communist Youth League that oversees many volunteer initiatives. These days, programs like the Shougang Corporation's tutoring of children by retirees are increasingly common in China. Volunteerism is no longer just a part of multinational corporations.


Like their East Asian and North American counterparts, European firms are developing new ways to master corporate volunteerism. According to a 2010 report from a special forum of the General Assembly of the European Volunteer Centre, corporate volunteerism has been growing dramatically. One German study found that 84% of German companies have established volunteer programs. Socially-conscious citizens throughout the European Union expect companies to offer the programs as a civic duty. They are a sign of positive community engagement.

Some parties worry that corporate volunteerism will be limited by certain cultural challenges. Some Europeans believe that volunteerism is a private matter and should not be mixed with their professional lives. Furthermore, some European NGOs have expressed reluctance in forming corporate partnerships, viewing such acts as violations of their missions. But, these issues should be easy to overcome. Socially conscious behavior, the foundation of a successful volunteer program, is already ubiquitous across the continent.


How are we to interpret the globalization of corporate volunteerism? The obvious conclusion is that it is an extremely positive trend. Ethical and constructive behavior adapted to local circumstances is a great development for the global community. But, the globalization of corporate volunteerism also offers companies a great opportunity to learn from one another. Understanding the successes and challenges of other volunteer programs is an important step for firms looking to develop their own CSR initiatives. Being able to learn from so many global peers will be a luxury for future employers.

The reader is highly encouraged to read the aforementioned study on which this blog post is based. The insights are marvelously presented with myriad of anecdotes from which to learn. Both firms and individuals can learn a lot from its conclusions.

World Changers: Giva Salutes FOHTA (From One Hand to Another)

Here at Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.


From One Hand to Another (FOHTA)

There are many brilliant young minds in the world today, children who have amazing ideas and the potential to truly succeed at accomplishing their dreams. But this is a task that is impossible to do alone without support or knowledge of all the opportunities that are available. Access to learning tools is a must, and this is where Pharrell Williams' organization From One Hand to Another (FOHTA) comes in.

Pharrell Williams founded FOHTA in 2008 because he believed that under-served youth were more likely to succeed if they were living in an area with a community center with a strong focus on education. Each community center would help children by exposing them to different technologies and resources so that those children could find what inspires them and makes them happy. The mission of FOHTA is "to change the world one kid at a time by providing them the tools and resources to meet their unique potential".

The tools that FOHTA believes each child needs falls under the acronym of STEAMM: Science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and motivation. As noted on their website, they believe these tools are becoming increasingly important because at this point America is one generation away from an education meltdown. It may seem drastic, but there have always been issues with the education system. They state that 25% of high school students do not graduate, which should be seen as completely unacceptable. College graduates worry about finding employment; and when a student is lacking a high school diploma, the unemployment rate increases dramatically.

One of the ways in which FOHTA is helping is by offering elementary and middle school courses online that people can log in and access on their website. There is also a forum for teachers where they can discuss FOHTA with other teachers. During the summer of 2014, they also held a Summer Innovation Camp, where students could sign up, teachers could apply for paid positions and others could find volunteer work. Their website also has a testimonial section, where people can read about how others and their loved ones have been positively affected by the organization.

8 Tips on How to Run a Successful End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign


The Holidays are the busiest time of the year for the fundraising teams at non-profits, with roughly 33% of annual giving occurring in December. While older, traditional methods of giving (e.g. the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign) are still important mainstays in collecting donations, innovative internet giving campaigns are an important part of any non-profit's fundraising strategy. In order to capitalize off of this exceptional period of giving, here are some useful tips, ideas and insights for running a successful end-of-year giving campaign using email.

Sending out a series of emails thanking and asking your donors to give should be a part of your year-end fundraising strategy. If someone has donated previously, you know they are already committed to your cause. Here are some keys to emails that successfully generate donations:

  1. Send out a series of emails: People are more likely to donate when they are given reminders and a series of opportunities to give. One email is more likely to be missed or ignored than three. A series of emails can also play off of the theme: "12 Days of ___," (e.g. 12 Days of Giving)
  2. Thank donors: It is important to thank donors for the gifts they have already given; it helps them feel appreciated and also gives your non-profit an opportunity to explain how their gifts haves been used.
  3. Be specific about the importance of donations: Stress how donations are an integral part of your non-profit's ability to have a social/environmental impact.
  4. Explain where donations go: People are more likely to give when they know what programs, grants, etc. their money is helping to fund, and furthermore, how their money is creating social value. Use examples that also show the impact/value of donations. When people can attach a face or name/identity to a story, it makes that story more real. Including examples with pictures of beneficiaries or field staff can be very effective.
  5. Encourage donors to share: Ask supporters to share your email with friends and family. You can also include widgets for sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. Another great way for donors to share is through their blogs. Encourage donors with blogs to write a post about your giving campaign. Provide bloggers with a prompt or phrase to include that touches on giving and the holiday season, and of course, your non-profit's work. Provide them with a link to your donation page.
  6. Optimize emails for mobile: Many people check their email frequently from their mobile devices. If donors cannot open up your emails, how will they know to donate?
  7. Streamline your donation page: Given that so many donations come in during the last weeks of the year, it is important to make sure that people can easily donate, and that your webpage will not crash! Test how user-friendly your donation page is before you start your email campaign. Get several volunteers to do a "dry-run" through the donation page and get their feedback on the process. Make any necessary tweaks so donors do not hit a roadblock once they have decided to give.
  8. Report back: Let old and new donors know about your fundraising success, and thank them! Some things to consider noting in your wrap-up emails include total amount raised, total supporters who gave, reminders about where the money will go/how it will benefit, plans and goals for the year ahead.

'Tis the season for giving, and we hope this guide will help and inspire your team to run a successful email campaign during this spectacular season for giving, and receiving, donations!

World Changers: Giva Salutes Estella's Brilliant Bus

Here at Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.

Estella's Brilliant Bus

Technological literacy is an extremely important quality for the 21st century student. Research is increasingly conducted through the internet, and it is rare to find a field that does not take advantage of the data-sorting power of computers. Estella Pyfrom recognized this trend as a guidance counselor in Palm Beach County, Florida. She also recognized that a number of poorer students were being excluded from this information revolution due to a lack of access to a personal computer. Her solution was Estella's Brilliant Bus, an innovative non-profit that literally brings technology to students.

Pyfrom purchased a bus with her savings and equipped it with 17 computer stations. Each computer is equipped with high-speed internet access and a number of interactive tutorials that align with the state's academic curriculum. Students are encouraged to make an account that allows them to track their progress working through a series of tutorials. Classes range from computer and internet basics to math, science, and reading lessons. Once students have demonstrated 90% proficiency in a subject, they are encouraged to begin the next tutorial. The system is designed to support young students as they interact with detailed subject matter. Older students and adults can access college preparatory work, GED training, or leadership classes. Estella's Brilliant Bus offers tools that fit a diverse range of needs.

Estella's Brilliant Bus helps adults with technology as well. Courses are offered in online banking, job searching, and resume assistance. The community-centered organization helps adults learn about these tools in a comfortable environment. It has also recently begun to expand its efforts in partnering with other groups to provide free meals to people in the neighborhood; and it continues to expand its presence in the Florida area.

Estella's Brilliant Bus is an example of an innovative solution to an important problem. It has facilitated learning by providing individuals with access to computers and tutorials. Expanding access to technology and supplementing traditional forms of education are important endeavors in the modern world. Estella's Brilliant Bus is a laudable example of a grassroots solution.

To donate to Estella's Brilliant Bus and to learn more, visit

To read her feature article as a CNN Hero, visit

World Changers: Giva Salutes

Here at Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.

Difficult challenges have arisen in the world of education. From wearing how much debt they are in on their graduation caps to living out of their cars to escape debt, students are becoming increasingly worried on how to lower their debt. One of new ways to lower the debt accrued while in school is as simple as making a change in your community, and it is made possible by is an organization that recruits college graduates to do volunteer work and service projects. These graduates are then rewarded with loan payments, and non-profits gain greater potential by having a stronger workforce of skilled laborers. The motivation behind is a noble one. On their website, the organization explains why they decided to create this platform. Student debt has increased and students struggle to pay back their loans and their other bills due to underemployment. They also noticed that once students graduate, the amount of time that they spend volunteering dramatically decreases which leads to non-profits trying to do more work with less funding and fewer people and communities suffering because of this. You can watch an animation of the mission under the "How it Works" link.

The criteria for becoming a "Sponsor Agent" is clear cut and open. The agents must be graduates who have proof of student loan debt, the graduate has to have a desire to serve in the community which means volunteer experience is a must, they must have leadership skills, and they will be required to write service blogs and upload photos. The graduates will then be matched with a sponsor and paid for every hour that they volunteer with their non-profit.

At the moment, is not a national organization, but they are trying to expand. Non-profits that are not based in the Pittsburgh, Chicago or Washington D.C. area (which is where is currently located) can still join and sign up with the movement. Or, if you are someone who does not have student loan debt but you would like to donate money to help graduates pay off their student loans and give back to the community, the website also allows for people to become sponsors! gives you the opportunity to look into giving back to the community with an organization that is truly focused on helping everyone get an education and helping communities and nonprofits to thrive with a stronger work force of leaders.


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