Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hear the World Foundation & Celebrity Calendar Edition

What is Hear the World? Hear the World, a global initiative by hearing system manufacturer Phonak to raise awareness about the importance of hearing, has created a poster-size limited edition 2010 calendar featuring the world-renowned photographs of Hear the World celebrity ambassadors, including Jude Law, Annie Lennox, Lenny Kravitz and Elle McPherson (sample pages attached).



- What makes this a perfect gift? All proceeds go to the Hear the World Foundation which is dedicated to supporting individuals and groups around the world whose lives are affected by hearing loss with technology and financial assistance.



- How much does it cost? $29.90



- Where can I get it?
http://www.hear-the-world.com/en/the-initiative/calendar-2010.html (order now to make sure your copy arrives by the holidays)



While hearing loss is one of the world’s most preventable disabilities, it is also one of the most common. 800 million people worldwide, more than 16 percent of the world’s population, have hearing loss and the number is expected to increase to 1.1 billion by the year 2015. Help make a difference through one simple purchase.




Submitted by:

Stephanie Long

Fleishman-Hillard International Communications

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Robert Redford & Sundance Film Festival


So, this is off the beat-n-path of my regular posts. See, last week I received a call from Conspirator, LLC, the casting company for the movie, The Conspirator, directed and produced by Robert Redford. The movie is to be released sometime in late 2010 and it was filmed in my hometown, Savannah, Georgia.

The call I got was, "Hi! Maggie are you available next Thursday to be 'On Set' for the movie The Conspirator? You've be selected as 1 of 15 other people to be in this scene." "Sure," I replied. As if there was any other response! An-on-the-whim submission by me to be considered as an 'extra', which I had forgotten about became a reality. Can you say, Wowza!

That Thursday, I arrived early in the morning. Wardrobe, hair, makeup were in that order. I was a "theatre patron" as in the Ford Theatre the evening President Lincoln got shot. The entire day was an amazing experience! I had a chance to meet the other 15 men and women called for this scene and met the Marshell Canney, a local business woman, who had the part of Mary Todd Lincoln. Dang, Marshell was great. OK- she rocks. And, apparently Robert Redford loved her acting skills. We hit it off (she is a hoot) and I was super excited for her, giving her a continuous Hi-Five! We laughed out load (LOL) all day.

This day, I had a chance to not only be a part of a big Hollywood motion picture movie, but also got to be in the same room as Mr. Redford, who was a soft-spoken, humorous, and had a rather laid back demeanor to his 'directing' of our scene. I know this for sure because I couldn't wear my glasses, and with no contacts one can only go on voice as everything else is a total blur.

Throughout the rehearsal of the scene and shooting of it, I actually got an extra-extra bit part. This was all surreal. All I can say is, see the movie when it hits the box office to see my extra-extra part and all. I am the one who stands up exasperated and tries to make my way out of the theatre (in a hoop wire skirt through a 18 inch aisle-HA!) and have too much respect for Mr. Redford to spill the beans.

Then, after a very long day, I realized the dedication to film production and got to thinking of Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival, the big annual festival of the Sundance Institute. The Festival supports aspiring artists in their film making endeavors. I find it amazing and very humble as you visit the Festival's website, that you are hard pressed to find a page with Robert Redford's name on it. Humbling. But know this: The Sundance Film Festival’s longstanding commitment to documentary has been driven by the personal connection Founder and President Robert Redford feels for the form. Leading up to the premiere of Chicago 10, the second doc to ever open the Festival, The Insider talked to Redford about the past, present, and possible future of documentaries.

"The Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences. Individual donations to Sundance Institute support theatre, film, and music artists as they receive guidance and resources at critical points in the creative process. The community of supporters help these artists navigate the challenges of creating new work and see their projects succeed."

To support the Sundance Film Festival and Institute, individual donors can support the Institute by making general contributions, providing program specific support, purchasing tables and tickets to the annual Gala in New York, or by joining the Patron Circle. This is a very large event and huge undertaking all to make the dreams of film makers a reality. Inspiration at its pinnacle.

I do think a sustainable source of funding for the Festival would be advantageous. There are several organizations which support the arts through an ongoing stream of revenue. One in particular is MicroFundedArts (http://www.microfundedarts.org/). This model is brilliant and founded by William Keith. I am proud to be affiliated with him and supporting his vision to supporting the arts. I always say to William, "Dang, boy! Only wish I thunk of it first!"

From philanthropy, to the arts, to meeting Robert Redford, to the Sundance Institute, this is what I know for sure: as business woman who gets the importance of sustainable funding for nonprofits, having a commitment to the arts, and having the opportunity to be an 'extra' in a big motion picture film, I am thrilled!

I wish The Sundance Institute and aspiring film artists and documentaries only the very best of success. And to you, Mr. Robert "Bob" Redford (you are so not a Bob in my book, you don't even look like a Bob) many years of continued success!

PS: Here's to hoping you bring the Premier of The Conspirator to Savannah, GA. (Just Saying!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Gift Giving Advice (Gifts for a Good Cause)


There is so much going on at this time of the year, so many distractions and obligations that it can be hard to focus on the meaning of the holiday season all around. But I came across a wonderful post by Tasha Lopez and just had to share. She compiled quite an extensive list of gift giving resources that 'give back'. Here it is below. Enjoy it and may it be a good resource for you as you begin gift shopping for family and friends.

"I typically prefer to give gifts that help make the world a better place in some way. In addition to the wonderful ways to make donations in lieu of a gift, there are options to give a tangible gift that still goes to a good cause. I created this list a few years ago and check/update it annually. If you have updates or additions, please let me know!Below you’ll find greeting cards, office gifts, food baskets, flowers, baked goods, wine, gift baskets, jewelry, clothing, accessories, purses, housewares, and much much more. Feel free to pass this along to anyone who might like to see it. Thanks!

1. Unique ways to give through online retailers and search engines

http://www.igive.com/, http://www.givingpal.com/, www.care2.com/shopping and http://www.goodshop.com/ let you shop for personal and business needs with hundreds of brand name retailers, and a portion of each online purchase is donated to your favorite cause

http://www.goodsearch.com/ and http://www.searchkindly.org/ are search engines that donate a portion of their revenue to the charities and schools designated by its user

http://www.free2work.org/ helps holiday shoppers find great gifts that do not have forced or child labor in their production

2. Donation cards and gift cards in lieu of an actual gift

heifer.org, worldvisiongifts.org, worldrelief.org/gift, fh.org/catalog (Food for the Hungry), harvestofhope.org, foodforthepoor.org, changingthepresent.org, treesforlife.org, alternativegifts.org, mercykits.org, oxfamamericaunwrapped.com, and others offer great options if you want to buy a cool gift in someone’s name

http://www.fivetalents.org/ offers “Create a Job” gift cards, each featuring a photo and story about a Five Talents entrepreneur – after 6 months your microloan will be given out again to another deserving entrepreneur

http://www.optinnow.org/ is funded and managed by Opportunity International, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending global poverty by selling gift cards to grant microloans to entrepreneurs in some of the poorest parts of the world

http://www.kiva.org/ offers gift certificates for microfinancing that the recipient can use to loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world (http://www.trickleup.org/ is a similar org but doesn’t appear to offer gift certificates yet)

http://www.justgive.org/ is a nonprofit that sells charity gift certificates that can be redeemed by the recipient at their choice of nearly 1.5 million local and national nonprofit organizations, and JustGive deducts 3% from all donations to cover the transaction costs

http://www.charitygiftcertificates.org/ sells plastic charity gift cards (rather than just online certificates) that can be redeemed to make a contribution to one of over 100 major charitable causes (organized into a dozen categories) – an 8% administrative and credit card processing fee plus $0.50 per card is deducted from the funds prior to allocation

http://www.tisbest.org/ sells email charity gift cards that allow the recipient to support a charity of their choice (over 250 carefully chosen and responsible nonprofits are listed) – the charity receives the amount of the Gift Card, less a $1.95 transaction fee and 3% that goes to the credit card company – and you can upload your own image for the card

http://www.globalgiving.com/ is a nonprofit that connects donors with community-based projects that need support, and they sell biodegradable gift cards to allow the recipient to select one of hundreds of grassroots social and economic development projects and environmental causes around the world

3. Greeting Cards

http://www.cardsthatgive.org/, http://www.charitycards.com/, http://www.goodcausegreetings.com/, and http://www.cardsforcauses.com/ list a variety of places where you can buy greeting cards that donate a portion of the proceeds to charity

4. Baked goods, food gifts, confections, and wine

http://www.misericordia.org/bakery has a Hearts & Flour Bakery that provides jobs for developmentally challenged adults, and a friend tells me that their baked goods are wonderful

http://www.dancingdeer.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=order&product_group_id=14&product_id=0 has a program called “The Sweet Home Project” and 35% of the price of the “Sweet Home” cake and cookie gifts go to education, job training, child care and housing through One Family Inc. (www.onefamilyinc.org) in an effort to help families move permanently out of poverty

http://www.bakemeawish.com/, a nationwide gourmet birthday and special occasion cake delivery service, will donate 5-30% of all online cake sales to the various rotating causes (including soldiers serving overseas and US-based nonprofits)

http://www.lesleyslifeissweet.com/ was founded for the sole purpose of using the net proceeds from sales of artisan chocolates and gourmet confections to support global humanitarian projects that would contribute to the well being of all of our communities

http://www.basketworks.biz/Baskets_For_A_Cause.htm offers “For a Cause” gift baskets, where a percentage of each basket sold will be donated to the indicated charitable organization (and a card is enclosed with the basket advising the recipient)

http://www.womensbeanproject.com/ works with women, giving hard-to-employ folks a new start in life, and they offer lovely gift baskets with delicious bean soups – they have also added jewelry this year so I’ve listed them again in that section

http://www.christkitchen.org/ is a nonprofit Christian ministry providing work, job training, and fellowship for women in poverty through production and sales of food gift baskets

http://www.onehopewine.com/ creates good quality California wines and donates 50% of their profits to charities that support the fight against Breast Cancer, AIDS, and Autism, and causes that help the environment and help military families – each varietal is paired with a certain cause, and they’ll release more varietals that donate towards additional causes as Hope Wine grows

5. Flowers

http://www.organicbouquet.com/c_21/charitable_gifts.html offers “Flowers For Good” where proceeds from the sale of each flower bouquet are used to support nonprofit organizations dedicated to social justice, wildlife conservation, animal rights, environmental protection, and other causes

http://www.urbanmeadows.org/ is a nonprofit organization that is a full-service florist dedicated to providing vocational training to individuals in their recovery journey from mental illness (local delivery in Chicago, national/international fulfillment provided by Bloom Net and FTD)

6. Jewelry

http://www.narimon.org/ sells handmade jewelry, cards, and stationary made by women who were formerly trapped in Thailand’s sex industry

http://www.tandazulu.org/ sells hand-beaded jewelry, wood carvings, and stationary to generate income for rural South African women (30% of each purchase goes directly to the beader) and to fund a non-profit organization (62% of each purchase) that support orphans and other vulnerable children at the Thanda After-School Project

http://www.beadforlife.org/ is a nonprofit that eradicates extreme poverty by selling beautiful beaded jewelry handcrafted by Ugandan women (they turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads) and using the profits to invest in community development projects (including food, medicine, school fees)

http://www.nightlightinternational.com/ sells beautiful handmade jewelry and accessories to raise funds to assist women and children (through educational and alternative employment opportunities via a registered nonprofit organization) who are being exploited in the bars of Bangkok, Thailand

http://www.peacetags.com/ sells fashion dog-tag necklaces inscribed with words of peace, and in the process supports several non-profits by raising funds and raising awareness about their missions

http://www.womensbeanproject.com/ works with women, giving hard-to-employ folks a new start in life, and they offer lovely handmade jewelry A little bit different:

http://www.lucinda.com/ is the website for Designs By Lucinda, a cause-related business dedicated to creating affordable jewelry of the highest quality for the purpose of bringing much needed financial help and awareness to non-profit organizations and their causes – the main purpose is to allow nonprofits to fundraise with these designer pins

7. Soap and spa products

http://www.theenterprisingkitchen.org/ is a nonprofit social enterprise that manufactures natural soaps and spa products to provide workforce development and support services to women who are working toward self-sufficiency and economic independence

http://www.saveyourworld.com/ sells personal care products (soap, shampoo, etc.) made with organic ingredients and then uses the proceeds from the products to save an acre of rainforest for one year (one acre for one year per $25 purchase)

8. Fair Trade Handmade Products

http://www.globalgoodspartners.org/ is a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating poverty and promoting social justice by strengthening women-led development initiatives and creating access to the US market for marginalized communities in Asia, Africa, and the Americas – their online store is extensive and allows you to search for hundreds of gifts by category, country, or producer

http://www.serrv.org/ is a nonprofit alternative trade and development organization that promotes the social and economic progress of people in developing regions of the world by marketing their gifts in a just and direct manner

http://www.kingdom-ventures.com/ sells high-quality Fair Trade home fashion, jewelry, women's accessory products, and other gifts and items made by fair trade artisans from around the world (you can shop by product or by artisan)

http://www.ashaimports.com/ distributes Fair Trade products (accessories made from recycled plastic bags, saris, and tote bags) made by people who have been given a chance to rise above their circumstances and take back their humanity (i.e., Free Set bags www.freesetbags.com made by former Calcutta prostitutes, Saris made by training and employing families out of the slum districts in Calcutta, and accessories made by the urban poor in Delhi, India, who are paid a fair wage for their work)

http://www.saribari.com/ sells handbags and blankets that have been made from Indian saris by women living in a safe home that has restored their dignity after they have been exploited in the sex trade; each product is marked with a woman's name, a woman who now has the opportunity to make a choice for freedom and new life

http://www.madebysurvivors.com/ sells beautiful Fair Trade handicrafts (bags, jewelry, stationary, and clothing) made by survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery at shelters and prevention programs all over the world

http://www.novica.org/ (in association with National Geographic) offers handmade home décor, jewelry, apparel, paintings, and more by talented artists and artisans in Asia, Africa and Latin America who set their own prices so they earn more and customers pay less

http://www.madre.org/ is a nonprofit that uses human rights to advance social justice by partnering with women in communities worldwide to meet urgent, local needs and create long-term solutions to the problems that women face – their online store sells unique items (jewelry, textiles, household items, and clothing) that were hand-crafted by women from around the world, which helps build sustainable sources of income in those communities

http://www.bridgeforafrica.org/ is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting self-sufficiency and the dignity of work in rural Africa – the sales of the handcrafted baskets, jewelry, pins, textiles, tableware, bags, and purses go back to the African artisan groups and are reinvested in community development, training, and job creation in the regions

http://www.originalgood.com/ is the online shopping site for World of Good, which aims to eliminate poverty and structurally improve the quality of life for artisans in very low income craft producing communities around the world by selling Fair Trade and handcrafted bags, purses, home decor, housewares, jewelry, desk accessories, notebooks & journals, scarves, and more

http://www.world-shoppe.com/ sells Fair Trade products (garden supplies, housewares, accessories, jewelry, kitchen items, stationary, bags, and children’s toys) that not only provide income, dignity and hope to people in developing regions, but the products also help sustain the communities by promoting community development, healthcare and childcare, education and literacy training

9. So much variety, it’s tough to categorize

http://www.free2work.org/ helps holiday shoppers find great gifts that do not have forced or child labor in their production

http://www.appreciate.org/ creates socially responsible & sustainable designs for corporate gifts, and 100% of the profits from every purchase fund programs for homeless youth operated by the Reciprocity Foundation and the enterprise provides employment and design opportunities for homeless youth

http://www.giftback.com/ offers a wide variety of gifts and gift baskets, and 10% of every purchase goes back to a charity of the giver’s choice

http://www.worldofgood.com/ is the world’s first online marketplace to convene thousands of People Positive and Eco Positive sellers and products all in one place, empowering you to shop in ways that align with your personal values: you can search for a vast array of products that are People Positive, Eco Positive, Animal Friendly, and/or Support a Cause

http://www.amberchand.com/ sells well-designed, high quality products (jewelry, baskets, candles, purses, and more) created by physically disabled artisans and women who are victims of war, genocide, civil strife, pandemics, and natural disasters – the founder is a former Ugandan refugee and she works with her team to create sustainable, market-driven relationships that result in poverty alleviation, economic opportunity and shared prosperity

http://www.greatergood.com/lists 10 sites that offer Gifts that Give More™, where 5-100% of the purchase price of jewelry, apparel, and gifts is given to the charity (helping people, animals, or the planet)

http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/ has an online store as part of its nonprofit mission, where they sell a wide variety of gift items (jewelry, clothing, home accessories, and more – including many items that are not pink) whose proceeds benefit breast cancer research and fund mammograms for women who can’t afford them

erasems.org has an online store (jewelry, clothing, accessories) where 100% of the proceeds fund Multiple Sclerosis research through Center Without Walls

http://www.drawbridge.org/ is a nonprofit that provides art programs for homeless and other vulnerable children in an environment that fosters their sense of joy, creativity and exuberance – their online shop sells greeting cards, clothing, tote bags, and posters designed with the kids’ artwork

http://www.homeboy-industries.org/ (located in downtown Los Angeles and recognized as the largest gang intervention program in the county) includes five nonprofit economic development enterprises (two of which can be accessed online if you don’t live in the LA area) whose proceeds help support their services for at-risk and formerly gang-involved youth: Homeboy Bakery, Homeboy Silkscreen (custom shirts, pens and more with silkscreen or embroidery of your logo), Homeboy Maintenance, Homeboy/Homegirl Merchandise (casual wear, backpacks, totes, and other products emblazoned with the popular Homeboy and Homegirl logos), and Homegirl Café

http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/cms/shop-your-values lists several sites that sell gifts, bags, accessories, jewelry, home accents, stationary, children’s toys, baby goods, photo books, handcrafted artisan truffles & confections, clothing, and music and donate a portion of their sales to the Global Fund for Women (a nonprofit international grantmaking foundation that advances women's human rights worldwide)"

Source: Tasha Lopez Blog at www.lopeztasha.blogspot.com

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bugaboo Goes (RED) & Good Happens


Bugaboo is an invitation to get on the move and get your miles in with your baby. Now you and baby can go with Bugaboo while making a difference for women and children living with HIV in Africa. This is good all around.
Bugaboo, a Dutch stroller company, "has partnered with (RED) by contributing 1% of all revenue to the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. This means more women and children living with HIV in Africa will get the medicine they need to lead more active, productive and hopeful lives."
This special (BUGABOO)RED collection comes in various color options. The collection includes a white leather (BUGABOO)RED bag which has a changing mat, and removable food and drink containers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holidays and Cause Marketing: What Can Your Business Do To Help Out


Here we go again, another recent poll about how charitable giving will be down this year during the holidays. There certainly has been plenty of this messaging in the media. It's hard to get away from it. But, I don't think we should. The times are what they are, and the best we can do is help out others in need and not ignore it. I've heard some say, "I choose not to participate in this recession." Let's not forget that some families are facing it head on and they are turning to community resources and agencies for help. During the holidays it seems particularly harder.

Business owners are stepping up to the plate to make a difference this season. There are more cause marketing campaigns than what I have ever seen in previous years. Many of them are great. There is "The Big Warm-Up" a partnership between Land's End and the National Coalition for the Homeless, Macy's and Make-A-Wish Foundation "Believe" campaign, Iams and "Home4theHolidays," and Drew Carey's Twitter Challenge between Drew Carey and LIVESTRONG Foundation. While these campaigns are from large companies, a business of any size can create a campaign and positive experience around it. It's important to note that we are not talking about partnerships, just product sales or purchase plus.

If you want to be a part of the charitable giving landscape this holiday, here are a few strategies to create a simple and easy cause campaign through your business:

1. Decide on a charity that aligns with your business's values.
2. Create a great value for the consumer or client.
3. Keep the message cause-centric and drive the social impact.
4. Choose your campaign tool (discounts, pin-ups, point of sale).
5. Keep your tracking simple at the very least through # of media hits and/or funds raised.

Some of the benefits of a cause marketing campaign is that it connects people to charity by building awareness, it provides unrestricted funds, and positions your business as caring and community-minded.

The key is to keep it simple so it can be easily implemented again. With all the glitz and sparkly stuff during the holidays, keeping your campaign clean can be more compelling for consumers.

Copyright © 2009. Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Your Small Business can be a Cause Champion

This post is about understanding why we give what we give to as a business owner. And, it comes out of an article I wrote, "How Core Values Lead to Your Small Business Giving Niche."

To help learn just where your business's giving should be directed, it's important to first know that you can't be all things too all organizations. In a recent interview of Carol Cone by James Espstein Reeves of
Citizen Polity, she points out that ..."to find the shared value between the company and a social issue, then create an innovative response to help the social issue where there is great need. Also going deep and narrow is key, verses being a mile wide and an inch deep." This is very true and when working with clients, I get hung up on the values a business owners holds true for themselves and their business, as the indicator for revealing your business's giving niche. When you stay close to your values, your giving program cannot be anything else but authentic. Here is a blurb from the article I wrote:

When most people hear the term, core values, they generally associate it with large corporations. They are statements that describe what the company believes in and guide its behavior. Many companies have them and communicate them on their website. For example, Seventh Generation, a leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally safe household products, has core four core value. Their values are 1) Leadership, Inspiration and Positive Change – a company with the authority to lead, the creativity to inspire and the will to foster positive social and environmental change; 2) Make the World a Better Place – a community in which individuals possess the resources, knowledge, courage, and commitment to make the world a better place; 3) Sustainability, Justice and Compassion – a society whose guiding principles include: environmental sustainability, social justice and compassion for all living creatures; 4) An Earth Restored – an earth that is restored, protected and cherished for this generation and those to come. Wow! Right. We can see how Seventh Generation incorporates these values into their product development, business practices, communication, and giving.

The premise for establishing core values is how you show up, serve, and promote who you are as a business. For a small business, core values are closer to own personal values and it becomes a grey, squishy area to even try to compartmentalize the two. Your business is an extension and expression of your unique qualities, characteristics, and authenticity. This comes through in your products, services, and customer/client relations. When your core values are deeply aligned with your business, you are being true, authentic and honoring your highest purpose. Doing business from this place affects your voice and conviction that you have a unique value to offer the world.

Making a commitment to defining your core values lays a foundation for how your business makes a difference in this world. Seventh Generation’s core values are closely aligned with product and service to their customers and the world and it is clear to see where their commitments are. Core values can:

- Move your business forward in the right direction
- Build your brand
- Attract customers with similar values
- Energize you and those that work with you

Core values help create your giving niche. So, if you’ve been in stuck-mode about giving, waffling back and forth as to where you should give, making a commitment to understanding your core values is well worth the exercise. You will be able to set giving goals that are aligned with your business and feel good about it. By defining your core values, you will be far more likely to succeed with your giving program and over time see giving success!


So what does this have to do with Hope Runs and being a cross country and cause champion? It is an organization which my values are closely aligned with on both a personal and business level (as a runner ~ cross country runner at heart and a champion for causes). I support them and I love the energy, stamina, core message and programs it manages to make a difference.

Hope Runs is a non-profit working in Kenya and Tanzania, using athletics, education, and social entrepreneurship to empower AIDS orphans. "There are an estimated 53 million orphans living in sub-Saharan Africa. This means that one in every eight children has lost parents to poverty, disease, or conflict. All of these children are at high risk of reaching adulthood without the preparation they need to one day uplift and transform the struggling economies of their continent. In short, we are losing a generation of future leaders. Hope Runs works to equip orphaned and vulnerable children with the tools to escape cycles of poverty and conflict to become productive and empowered adults" (source: www.hoperuns.org)

One of their programs is a Running Program. "Capitalizing on children’s universal love of sport and activity, Hope Runs uses running as a primary community builder in locations where structured after school activities and athletics programs are unheard-of luxuries. With its ability to show personal progress, to prove the effectiveness of goal-setting and discipline, and to improve these children’s health, running has proven an amazing tool to teach these children motivational and disciplinary lessons that can apply to every aspect of their life. This is also an exceptional way to engage our volunteers in the community and to bring the children together in their efforts toward a common goal."

But Hope Runs doesn’t stop there. "They also have their 777 program, an endurance running challenge: 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 weeks in 2010. It is a great way to combine the love of running that is central to our work with a platform that brings an understanding of the challenges these AIDS orphans face everyday. Raising both funding and awareness for the cause of these children, the 777 Challenge represents a sacrifice, dedication and commitment that many have said is impossible" (source: www.hoperuns.org).

Hope Runs is one organization that I hold close to my heart. As a business owner, I feel we share core values that are deeply rooted in who we are and how we serve. This is one example to understand how your core values lead to your business's giving niche. The beauty around it is the authenticity for me and how this is distinctive for me versus other business owners. Hence, it's hard to ever have two businesses with the exact same giving program. I postulate it's not possible.

Copyright. 2009. Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Turn-Key Community Impact Software Programs Turn Me Off

What's the latest, newest tool on the market with bells, whistles and flashing screens stating promises to business owners that this tool will solve their problems and even save them time (sound familiar). Poof-away! All your headaches are gone. All over what? Oh:( the challenges of creating your business community involvement (giving back) program.

There has been a rise in the growing number of turn-key software programs to help business owners develop 'custom fit' community involvement programs with the click of a mouse. At the cost of not sounding too snarky, I hesitate to think there is any striking similarity between 'custom fit' and a 'click of a mouse.'

The business can pick from a drop-down list of charities, import data for giving options, communicate your giving to the software company's list of other businesses (which sharing the message is inspiring, the important aspect is to reach your audience), and a few other windows that, well quite frankly, are as boiler-plated as possible to of course make the entire process, e-a-s-y. What about the other 'e' word...Effective!

Surely, there is a cost benefit to turn-key solutions. But, community involvement programs are unique to a business and ideally aligned closely with its brand and values. Thus implying, if we believe this statement to be true, then the click of a mouse will not create for you the one thing that can be uniquely yours to make a difference. Impossible, as the array of options are not infinite.

I like ease and making things a simple as possible as much as anyone else. But, there are a few pieces to the process that are missing. A few of them: creativity, participation, and authenticity. Perhaps its my passion here surfacing, but I believe impact and business identity are too closely linked to assume it can be done with a click of a mouse.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baking for Good does Good for Causes


I want to introduce to you a small bakery doing big things to make a difference for charities. It is Baking for Good. With an online presence through the website, Facebook and Twitter, it's voice is being heard all across communities. The Founder, Emily Dubner has a mission to make great sweets and treats while offering causes a way to raise funds. Her brand brings us back to what we loved, cookies as good as our grandmother's, and local charities we supported through bake sales. Here is Emily's story on her commitment to making an impact.

Growing up, it was easy to give back. I lived in a small suburb outside of Boston where community service was integrated in nearly every activity I did. At school, we donated coats and hats for those who could not afford them; for my cross-country team, we volunteered at road races and raised money for local charities; with my family, we helped out at soup kitchens on each holiday. In college, too, opportunities to volunteer abounded. I spent time tutoring inner-city kids, raised money for breast cancer research, and helped out on neighborhood clean-up days.

Yet somehow, upon moving to New York City and starting my life as a young professional in the corporate world, giving back to my community took a backseat to my job and personal life. I realized that something that had been so important to me growing up was now not so easy to do.

Ultimately, I started Baking for Good as a way to help others give back in small ways. The bake sale is my favorite symbol of giving back: it brings together communities in support of great causes, and it does so in a very sweet, cheerful, and small but impactful way. Through Baking for Good, we enable charities of all sizes to spread awareness and raise money for their important missions. Moreover, we empower our customers to do something special for someone they care about while contributing to a charity of their choice. It’s touching to see the charities our customers choose and the reasons they send our products.

It’s easy for life to get in the way of giving back. We must continue to look for small ways to contribute to our communities.

*****

Emily Dubner is the Founder and CEO of Baking for Good (http://bakingforgood.com), an online bakery based on the idea of a local bake sale. 15% of every purchase of Baking for Good’s all-natural, made-to-order brownies, cookies, and other sweet treats goes to a cause the customer chooses. Causes include national nonprofits and local, community-based fundraisers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What 1 Comment to Cause Marketing Campaign Can Mean

Well, who would've known that just one comment to a blog post on cause marketing could mean so much? It did and here is what it was about.

Paul R. Jones writes an excellent blog on the best and the worst of cause marketing campaigns. His expertise, insight and posts are the best I've come across. Plus, I think he is the real deal, someone who says it like it is. He recently wrote a post on Ulta, a large beauty retail store chain, that created a breast cancer campaign this month in support of breast cancer awareness.

After I read it, I offered my own insights on the campaign. Not only do I agree with Paul's comments but the campaign completely missed a call to action. Here is Paul's Blog Post on Ulta's Breast Cancer Campaign and my comment is below that.

Well, his post and my comment were RT across our Tweeples. The positive aspect of commenting in constructive ways is the sharing of ideas, a dialogue of sorts, all to educate and open space for the transfer of 'what you know' (knowledge) all for the sake of learning. It's also a platform for professionals to connect and exchange. Hopefully along the way others get a little something-something too and hec, 'might-could' (my Southern-eeze) make a bigger impact in the world.

If you want to learn more about Paul R Jones you can follow him @PaulRJones

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cause Marketing is Important to Women Consumers

Self Magazine recently released their GOOD 1.5 Study which taps into the desires of what women really want from companies.

So, what do women consumers really want? They want companies to be 'good'. It's as simple as that. According to the study, women want companies stand up for a cause, even if the product or service costs them a little more--73% said they would pay more for a "good" product. Get the full scoop on this here.

Companies that engage in giving back and take a stand for something beyond the bottom line always benefit, as well as the cause. Giving back, whether it's through volunteer time, outright contributions, cause marketing or some other way, is a good thing to do because it improves the social fabric of communities. And you've heard me say and it's plain as day on the home page of my website, giving is a force for social change. Companies are still learning about the positive impact it has for them. We know for sure that it benefits charities. Yet there is a benefit for businesses, it's employees and customers. The key, however, to reaping the rewards of giving back lies squarely in the "how" a company gives back and not in the "what" a company gives back. And, as important in "how" the giving is communicated. It takes more than just adding a blurb to your company website.

If you are a business whose services or products are targeted directly to women, the Self Magazine Study GOOD 1.5 is a must read. Then, because I work primarily with women-owned business that have a desire to make giving an important part of the business, I'd love to hear from you and help you be a force for good.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Girls giving back - Burlington, MA - Burlington Union

Here is how a group of 3rd and 4th grader who call themselves the Giving Girls are dedicated to raising funds for charities in their community. Inspiring!

Posted using ShareThis

Employee Volunteer Programs are Great for Business & Community

Volunteerism is a great way for any size business to give back and an employee volunteer program is a must for several reasons. The most important reason is it gives you and your employees a stake in the business's giving and it can improve employee morale. Even if you are a solo-entrepreneur, a volunteer program is an excellent way to build relationships in your community (even if your business is online).

An employee volunteer program doesn't have to be complex and time consuming. But, it should be leveraged against other assets for giving, which determines how you build this program. The employee volunteer program needs to also have the systems in place for it to be successful and effective. If you are thinking about establishing an employee volunteer program or if you are a solo entrepreneur and want to include time as a way to give back, here are 6 easy steps to create and employee volunteer program.

1. Align volunteer activities with the business giving mission. Volunteering should not necessarily be done on the fly or without consideration. This is key to its effectiveness and benefits for your business. Take the time to select volunteer activities that closely align with your giving mission. Choosing activities that align with your giving mission generate the greatest benefits for the business, employees and the community.

2. Develop a volunteer program structure and policies. Written and communicated policies about volunteering keep the program focused and easy to manage. It lays the groundwork for what the business will do, how you will do it, and when to recognize employees for their volunteer time. Structures and policies keeps the process fair for everyone involved.

3. Leverage volunteer activities against other assets the business has to give. You need to know how much time you can afford to give back. Time is weighed against in-kind donations, cash contributions (including matching gift programs), loaned expertise, and more. A good tip to know when the economy has taken a downturn, pump up your volunteer program over other ways you give back.

4. Communicate your volunteer efforts. Communicating your giving program generates enthusiasm within the business and goodwill within the community. The results and efforts of your volunteerism are linked to public relation and marketing efforts both internally and externally.

5. Reward engaged employees. Nothing speaks louder to employees than appreciation for what they do. Establishing a recognition program inspires others and is a great way to say 'thank you' for their contribution to the overall business giving program.

6. Measure and evaluate. You don't know how successful your volunteer program is unless you take the time to evaluate it. Yes, volunteering is all good, but you must evaluate the program as it's the only way true success can be determined. One area to measure is employee satisfaction with the program.

If you think you don't have the time to volunteer, know this for sure - you will never have enough time. Volunteering is a rich and rewarding way to give back. In the last chapter of my book, Donna Finocchiaro is a professional organizer and owner of Organized East of the River. She never thought she had enough time, but she makes the time. In her chapter, she describes the satisfaction and benefits of volunteering through her business.

Copyright © 2009. Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Make A Difference Day

While October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month, it could also be Volunteer month. Make A Difference Day is a national day of volunteerism across America. Held this year on October 24th, this national day of volunteerism is sweeping cities and mayors are stepping up to support it through city-wide volunteer efforts.

Organized by USA Weekend and HandsOn Network, Make A Difference Day is held on the fourth Sunday of October each year. There are oodles of volunteer activities in your own community organized through your local HandsOn Network. So finding something to do is not a problem. Making the time is the priority here.

You can volunteer through your business, with a group of friends or make it a family outing. Chose an activity that inspires you and I promise you will feel richly rewarded at the end of the day. The opportunity to grow your business through volunteering, expand networks and build relationships, plus make a difference for a cause and lives is a WOW thing.

If you participate in Make A Difference Day through your business, then I want to hear from you! I will gladly feature your story on this blog. You never know just how much you can inspire someone else to do the same.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

You Can Give Peace of Mind for Pet Owners

In yesterday's local newspaper there was an article that grabbed me. Maybe because it had to do with pets. Cat lover here. And, it had to do with individuals under hospice care and it is everything for me to share this with you in the hopes that you may desire to help.

In Columbus, GA the local hospice has extended a new program. The staff recognized that many of their patients are also pet owners but are no longer able to either physically or financially care to the daily needs of their loving pet companions. And it is hard to grasp what a pet must know when their owner is either no longer around or is no longer able to walk, feed or bathe them; and for a pet owner to be assured their furry companions are being cared for is a comfort.

Columbus Hospice in Columbus, GA received a $5,000 grant from the Banfield Charitable Trust for a new program called, Pet Peace of Mind. The program coordinates volunteers willing to make sure that the pets of those under the care at Columbus Hospice pick up pet food and cat litter, walk, feed and perform routine pet duties for the owner, they'll take pets to get groomed and take to the vet for check-ups, shots or in case of a pet emergency. Local veterinarians are helping out with this program as well offering discounted fees and pet grooming businesses are on board donating their services.

A great program, right? You maybe asking, "What can I do to help since I don't live in Columbus, GA?" Two things for you to consider:

1). Make an outright donation directly to the Pet Peace of Mind program at Columbus Hospice.
2). Host a Cause of Cocktail party and auction items. Donate the funds to Columbus Hospice.

If your local hospice does not have a similar program, but they have a Volunteer program, you can offer to:

1). Sponsor therapy pet visit an individual in any hospice, if they cannot see their own pets.
2). Volunteer to buy and deliver dog food, cat food or litter to an individual under hospice care at their home.
3). Host a Business Network Social to raise funds or any other idea but have a goal amount in mind as it motivates people to raise money.

The idea is to get creative about giving back in a unique way for you and your business. While the above ideas are not particularly 'out of the box', it is a way to get started.

Here is a video of Moments with Baxter. While Baxter is a Pet Therapy Dog for Hospice Care, it just may move your compassion and to tears.

Moments with Baxter http://tinyurl.com/ybttwzo

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Get Fit While Running & with Fido


A little something you may not know about me (because I make it a point not to blog about me, my life, etc... My life is not that interesting and besides I don't hold myself to a position that I think others would really care anyway) I am a long distance runner and have been since the age of 11. I run nearly every day, sometimes double work outs depending if I am training for a particular race. But, I am not a group runner, never have been. Just me, the miles, and an empty road (sort of). My weekly mileage has fluctuated from 40 to 75 miles a week, with once reaching 111. My pr for a 5K is 17:52; 10K is 38:39; 10 miler 64:?? and the 1/2 marathon 1:17 (way back when).

Just yesterday, while on a monthly call with a great group of women business owners, a question was asked... and I responded, "Well, I am a runner first and foremost. My days are scheduled around my runs." After the call I came across post on Run the Planet, a great online resource for runners of all levels. The article was about Get Fit with Fido. This Seattle-based program connects runners and walkers with a dog that is available for adoption. The Get Fit with Fido dog running team is recognized throughout Seattle, as they run in bright yellow running gear, with happy dogs at their sides wearing "I'm available for adoption" banners.

About the Get Fit with Fido program:

Every Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm, and Saturday morning at 9:00 am, Get Fit with Fido team members run adoptable dogs from the shelter to Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle. The distance ranges from 2 to 4 miles depending on the physical condition of the runners and dogs. Weather is also a factor. The team does not run during thunderstorms, or when the roads are icy. The dogs wear banners indicating that they are available for adoption. Generally we have 6 to 14 runners each session.

These are the primary goals of the program:
  • Vigorously exercise dogs that are confined to kennels for long periods of time
  • Find loving homes for shelter dogs
  • Increase public awareness of the shelter and let people know that adoptable dogs are not routinely "put to sleep"
  • Recruit volunteers for various programs at the shelter
  • Encourage runners and joggers to adopt dogs for companionship and safety
    (Source: Get Fit with Fido)

According to Alan Ward, the German Shepherd/Dachshund mix who can write and is VP Administrative Services a the local Community College, "There have been a lot of positive outcomes as a result of this program. One of them of course is that hundreds of wonderful dogs have found loving homes. Another is the "SAS' annual Furry 5K", a spin-off of the program, where 2500 runners/walkers, 1000 dogs, and 1 very brave cat participate in a five kilometers event each June to, raise money for the Help the Animals Fund. This fund provides veterinary care for sick and injured animals at the shelter. There is now a Fido racing team, where team members and dogs participate in local races, and a Tiger Mountain group that takes dogs hiking on a local mountain on Sunday mornings." (Source: Run the Planet)

This is one cool way to volunteer, to get moving and do something good for yourself and a dog awaiting adoption. I love this program and if I lived in Seattle, this is one running group I'd join.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Business Giving Is Not!


There are a few things I've learned over the years in my experience as a business philanthropy/cause marketing consultant and coach, and I hope I successfully convey them to businesses aspiring to give back to causes in away that makes a difference for their business and charities they give to. Undoubtedly, there is a learning curve for businesses to grasp the benefits of giving beyond knowing the simple truth that it is a good thing to do.

So, I want to share with you the basic truths for businesses, of any size, that want to make an impact in communities through charitable giving or cause marketing. These truths I believe are what business giving is not:

"What Business Giving Is Not:"
1. It is not a quick fix for the bottom-line,
2. It is not a solution to your public relations challenges,
3. It is not about promoting all the 'good deeds' you do,
4. It is not a strategy to drive more traffic to your store front or website,
5. It is not a short-term effort to drive sales,
6. It is not a way for you to make an impression in your community or to your customers about how charitable you are,
7. It is not about picking a different cause each month (what I call cause-surfers)
8. It is not a marketing strategy that costs you nothing.

Here is the deal about what business giving is: It is a long-term strategic approach your business takes to solving social issues you care about most. As you grow your giving campaign and message over time your message is ingrained with your customers and community, and your business will benefit as well as the causes you give to.

Solving issues across the fabric of communities is a long road. Businesses must keep this message in mind before embarking on a giving campaign.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Revel Consulting Teaches Non-Profits How to Fish

A business management consulting firm in the Seattle area has developed a pretty novel way to give back to their community: they’re teaching local non-profit organizations how to fish.

Well, not literally. As Brett Alston, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Revel Consulting explained to me, Revel has developed a philanthropy program called “Sustainable Giving” that reflects that oft-repeated axiom about how if you give a man a fish, you can feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, “you have fed him for life.” That’s the idea for the program: contributing funds to a charity sustains them for a set period of time; but if you help them to spend that money more efficiently, streamline their operations and teach them how to raise even more money in the future, it will sustain these organizations in the long-run.

That’s the unique approach Revel has developed. As a management consulting firm, Revel’s 100-plus consultants spend much of their day applying their “Pure Consulting” model to their clients’ businesses, creating efficiencies in their operations, saving them money, and finding new ways to increase their revenue. Already providing monetary support to a variety of local non-profits and charities in the Pacific Northwest, Revel was looking for a way to help sustain those same organizations beyond traditional financial donations. So this creative firm decided to start donating the same services they provide to their for-profit clients: professional consulting services leading to cut costs, more effective operations, and increased revenue down the road.

So far, so good. Revel has already put their Sustainable Giving program into practice by partnering with Foster Kids 5K, an annual run and walk race held in August in the Seattle area, which raised more than $4,000 to support Royal Family Kids Camps – a cause that provides a safe environment for King County foster kids with a history of abuse and neglect. When Foster Kids 5K initially approached Revel for a donation, members of the company offered to work closely with the event founders and met on a weekly basis to work toward reducing overhead, reducing event production costs, and marketing the event more effectively. The result was that a larger portion of the proceeds went toward a worthy cause rather than toward producing the event.

This seems to be a good situation for everyone involved: good for the company and their consultants, as it allows them to stay involved in their community (consultants can choose to work with non-profits they personally believe in); good for Revel’s non-profit partners, who are often understaffed and in need of expert advice; and, above all, good for the cause.

evel Consulting Teaches Non-Profits How to Fish

A business management consulting firm in the Seattle area has developed a pretty novel way to give back to their community: they’re teaching local non-profit organizations how to fish. Well, not literally. As Brett Alston, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Revel Consulting explained to me, Revel has developed a philanthropy program called “Sustainable Giving” that reflects that oft-repeated axiom about how if you give a man a fish, you can feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, “you have fed him for life.” That’s the idea for the program: contributing funds to a charity sustains them for a set period of time; but if you help them to spend that money more efficiently, streamline their operations and teach them how to raise even more money in the future, it will sustain these organizations in the long-run. That’s the unique approach Revel has developed. As a management consulting firm, Revel’s 100-plus consultants spend much of their day applying their “Pure Consulting” model to their clients’ businesses, creating efficiencies in their operations, saving them money, and finding new ways to increase their revenue. Already providing monetary support to a variety of local non-profits and charities in the Pacific Northwest, Revel was looking for a way to help sustain those same organizations beyond traditional financial donations. So this creative firm decided to start donating the same services they provide to their for-profit clients: professional consulting services leading to cut costs, more effective operations, and increased revenue down the road.

So far, so good. Revel has already put their Sustainable Giving program into practice by partnering with Foster Kids 5K, an annual run and walk race held in August in the Seattle area, which raised more than $4,000 to support Royal Family Kids Camps – a cause that provides a safe environment for King County foster kids with a history of abuse and neglect. When Foster Kids 5K initially approached Revel for a donation, members of the company offered to work closely with the event founders and met on a weekly basis to work toward reducing overhead, reducing event production costs, and marketing the event more effectively. The result was that a larger portion of the proceeds went toward a worthy cause rather than toward producing the event.

This seems to be a good situation for everyone involved: good for the company and their consultants, as it allows them to stay involved in their community (consultants can choose to work with non-profits they personally believe in); good for Revel’s non-profit partners, who are often understaffed and in need of expert advice; and, above all, good for the cause.

Friday, September 11, 2009

How Core Values Lead to Your Small Business Giving Niche

When most people hear the term, core values, they generally associate it with large corporations. They are statements that describe what the company believes in and guide its behavior. Many companies have them and communicate them on their website. For example, Seventh Generation, a leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally safe household products, has core four core value. Their values are 1) Leadership, Inspiration and Positive Change – a company with the authority to lead, the creativity to inspire and the will to foster positive social and environmental change; 2) Make the World a Better Place – a community in which individuals possess the resources, knowledge, courage, and commitment to make the world a better place; 3) Sustainability, Justice and Compassion – a society whose guiding principles include: environmental sustainability, social justice and compassion for all living creatures; 4) An Earth Restored – an earth that is restored, protected and cherished for this generation and those to come. Wow! Right. We can see how Seventh Generation incorporates these values into their product development, business practices, communication, and giving.

The premise for establishing core values is how you show up, serve, and promote who you are as a business. For a small business, core values are closer to own personal values and it becomes a grey, squishy area to even try to compartmentalize the two. Your business is an extension and expression of your unique qualities, characteristics, and authenticity. This comes through in your products, services, and customer/client relations. When your core values are deeply aligned with your business, you are being true, authentic and honoring your highest purpose. Doing business from this place affects your voice and conviction that you have a unique value to offer the world.

Making a commitment to defining your core values lays a foundation for how your business makes a difference in this world. Seventh Generation’s core values are closely aligned with product and service to their customers and the world and it is clear to see where their commitments are. Core values can:

1. Move your business forward in the right direction
2. Make all decision making easier and aligned
3. Build your brand
4. Attract customers with similar values
5. Energize you and those that work with you

Core values help create your giving niche. So, if you’ve been in stuck-mode about giving, waffling back and forth as to where you should give, making a commitment to understanding your core values is well worth the exercise. You will be able to set giving goals that are aligned with your business and feel good about it. This is the first step in my Six Step Giving IMPACT Strategy TM process to begin planning a giving program that is aligned and authentic to your business. By defining your core values, you will be far more likely to succeed with your giving program and over time see giving success!

2009. Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

6 Key Indicators To Know if Your Business Giving is Making a Difference

Almost every business owner has a passion for some social issue that we know we can help to make a difference. Your cause may be illiteracy, breast cancer, the environment or hunger. There are so many causes and the desire to help a lot of them can be overwhelming. Realistically, you know you just can’t help them all. So, what do you do and where do you begin?

Most of us start our business putting in countless hours with little financial return for the first few years. Spending time away from core activities of your business just isn't a priority, like going through donation requests or returning calls for donations. But no one ever really said to you, "Hey this is how to create a giving program that works."

I know about the owner of a small communication company who works tirelessly taking new orders, making sure technicians are in the field, handling crises, hiring new sales persons, then, exhausted and burned out, she would let the stack of donation requests pile up. She would literally wait until December to handle them all. Frustrated and tired of reading requests, she realized one day that she'd have to do something different if she really desired to make a difference.

It's at this point you must make a decision. Most of us try to be the good neighbor to charities. But you simply can't. The problem is there are things you MUST DO to truly create a successful business giving program. If certain systems are not in place then you really don't have a business giving program at all. Below are some key indicators to let you know if you are making a difference. And making a difference means you are effective with how you give and what you give.

Here are Six Indicators:

1. Your giving is purpose-driven. Giving is a good thing to do. But, as a business owner you need to align your giving with your values and your business's values. As a small business you may be thinking that you are your business so how can the two be different. But, in some ways they are. When your giving is not purpose-driven, it is unfocused and reactive. And this is a sure way for your giving not to help build your brand or build cause-related connections.

2. You have a business giving plan. Jotting down donation requests on a legal pad doesn’t count. Using sticky notes don't count either! You have to take the time to create and follow a written business giving plan, just like you do for your marketing. A plan allows you to become effective with the resources you give, and by giving you the tool to measure your success each year.

3. You have a giving budget and leverage business assets for giving. Writing a lot of checks are you? $25 here, $75 there and not balancing it against a giving budget! Oh, you don’t have a giving budget! This is an absolute must. You need a budget for your giving even if it's a small one. Keep in mind that business giving is not all about money! As a matter of fact, small business owners should have a well leveraged giving program.

4. You give to fewer charities. Giving smaller size checks to as many organizations you can actually waters down your giving impact. This goes back to being unfocused and reactive and you are missing a key ingredient giving success. A well focused program leads to business success and charities will thank you for it too.

5. Your communication is clear. You have to have a way to say no to charities that ask you for donations and not feel bad about it. You can't be all things to all organizations. It's impossible. If you are saying yes to just about anyone or any friend that asks you to make a donation from your business, this will leave you feeling depleted and awful because you know that you just cannot make the donation at the time and you don't want to say no. Having a communication plan in place to address this situation alleviates any regret or from feeling badly. Actually, your plan allows you to say proudly and confidently what you do support.

6. You have an accountability system. You scramble to find receipts or letters from organizations that you gave to because your accountant needs them. If this is you, you should have a system for managing and monitoring your giving records. It helps with end-of-year evaluation of your giving.These are just a few of the indicators to know if you are making a difference.

A business giving program that makes a difference for you and the causes you care about most has a solid plan in place, is well managed and measures its giving. If you are someone who desires to have a business that stands for something and makes a difference, creating a business giving program and system is the key to giving success.

Copyright © 2009. Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What to Do with Unused Dollars on Gift Cards? Give it to Charity!

Did you ever get a gift card to a department store, grocery store or some other big retailer and after you made purchases you had $5.17 left on the card or some other small amount? Not enough to really buy anything you need, just enough for a pack of gum, a few light bulbs, or other trivial stuff. So what do you do with the extra sum of small change left over? I admit, I have purchased stuff on the shelves by the check-out like $1 bags of candy, key chains with small light on the end of it (actually handy at night), a map for the glove compartment or other items. It's stuff I really don't need but might. Hey, you never know.

Well, the New York Times recently ran the article,
Doing Good with Unused Gift Cards and helps you actually find a way to donate the extra change on the card to charity. Brilliant! Read the full article here and learn how small change can make a difference.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What Book Got You Hooked?


It’s that time of the year, getting ready to go back to school! Parents are running around with the "List" of things to get their children. Last week, a friend of mine and I were just talking about the smells that take us back in-the-day to getting ready for the start of school: #2 pencils, pink erasers, protractors, pencil-cases, cartoon lunch boxes, army school bags and brown paper to cover our books.

A couple of the differences today is the cartoon characters on lunch boxes and school bags. The size of school bags is amazing to me. I remember some classmates didn't even carry a school bag (it wasn't cool) let alone taking books home. But just for today, let's talk about books.

Regardless of the subject and characters of books that have changed over the years, kids really do love to read and most have a favorite book. I did! The book was called "Katie" by who?? Don't ask too many years ago. Did you have a favorite book? If so, FirstBook wants to know. FirstBook is doing a campaign on the book that got you hooked on reading. Their "What Book Got You Hooked?" on reading campaign is helping address the concern of illiteracy in our nation. They want you share your favorite book memory with them and then vote on which state you would like to receive 50,000 new books for low income children. You can also see the favorite books of their celebrity-supporters like Ed Asner, Steve Colbert (luv him!), Morgan Freeman, Patti LaBelle (love her!), Scarlett Johansson and others.

I challenge small business owners to consider this campaign and join the campaign today. Make it a business-wide giving back effort. It can be fun and the more people involved, the more votes, the larger the campaign.

Go to http://www.firstbook.org/, share what book got you hooked on reading, and vote!