Why Facebook Dropped the Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey Relief

In times of global strife, especially stemming from natural disaster, all available agencies seem to step into place and offer easy, direct ways to donate and help make a difference; Facebook has always been at the forefront of connecting people with places where they can donate to aid relief efforts. Previously, the social network acted as a pipeline for donations to the American Red Cross, but in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Facebook has begun to steer donations and donators to a small, relatively unknown charity called the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP).

For many years, the Red Cross was the go-to charity when it comes to disaster relief efforts. In 2013 following Typhoon Haiyan and in 2015 during the Ebola outbreak, Facebook users were prompted by a button on their home feeds to donate money to the cause through the Red Cross. Even now, President Trump and former President Obama, alongside numerous other celebrities and corporations, are donating copious sums to the charity giant. So what prompted the largest social network in the world to break from the norm and reroute hopeful humanitarians to a much smaller nonprofit?

Plainly put, the Red Cross caught a lot of backlash and criticism for how it handled the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the subsequent millions of dollars it raised for relief. Following the devastating disaster, millions of people donated to the Red Cross which collected nearly half a billion dollars to help recovery efforts. It pledged to use the $500 million to help rebuild the devastated areas with new homes, roads, and schools.

However, we’re now seven years after the fact and, while the Red Cross claims to have provided housing to over 130,000 people with that money, only six permanent homes have actually been constructed. While the organization is vastly experienced in the realm of providing emergency disaster relief, it is woefully inexperienced when it comes to rebuilding after a disaster in a developing nation. It also appears to have grievously miscalculated the number of Haitians whom the relief efforts impacted, citing the number at 4.5 million Haitians: Jean Max Bellerive, prime minister of Haiti during the earthquake, notes that this simply cannot be possible as the number of Haitians affected by the crisis did not even come close to 4.5 million.

All of these discrepancies, a desire to get help where it’s needed in as timely a manner as possible, and a goal of changing how people view donations were what prompted Facebook to partner with CDP instead of the Red Cross. In less than four hours after announcing the partnership, CDP reached Facebook’s matching goal of $1 million.

How Philanthropy Improves Community

hands painted loveSome of the wealthiest people in America’s past and present – John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, Warren Buffett – are also some of the biggest philanthropists in our country’s history.  Ultimately, feeling good is a lot more rewarding than having a lot of stuff.  But philanthropy does a lot more than making a donor feel good about themselves.  It helps improve society and foster a more positive community.  

It almost works like a ripple effect.  I mentioned Andrew Carnegie above, so let’s look at Carnegie Mellon, a school that he founded through as part of his dedication to education and scientific research.  Alumni of Carnegie Mellon who spent their formative years learning at this school have gone on to do incredible things ranging in fields from technology to sports to entertainment.  Others have gone to work in other educational institutions, spreading their knowledge and touching new lives.  It’s an endless cycle, and it could not have happened without that initial generous contribution by Andrew Carnegie.  

But that’s a very big picture.  Let’s look at a smaller picture.  By donating to a smaller, more local cause, you can help improve the community that you call home.  Maybe there’s a homeless shelter in your town that offers a rehabilitation program to the homeless to help them learn a trade and get a job.  By donating to such a cause, you’re helping a person get off the streets, learn a skill, and provide not only for themselves, but also their family.  Not only did you just improve that person’s life, but also your own community.  

Another example: there could be a community movie theater in your town that’s facing potential closure.  They have a plan to renovate the theater, which will save the business and bring in a lot more revenue, but they don’t have the money to make that happen.  By donating to such a cause, you help a local institution to survive, which will allow it to create jobs in your community while also providing a great service: moveis.  

Whether you’re looking at the bigger picture or a smaller picture, donations are a great way that you can do your part to improve society.  Find a cause you can donate to today that will improve and strengthen your community.  You’ll be glad that you did!  

How a Little Can Do a Lot

Charity pictureRecently, billionaires such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates started something called the “Giving Pledge”, promising to give at least half of their substantial fortunes to charity.  For the small-time philanthropist who doesn’t have untold billions to donate to causes, this can feel a bit discouraging.  However, there are plenty of opportunities to contribute small amounts of money to worthy causes, and that money can go a long way.  This is particularly true in the age of social media, where like-minded people from around the world are able to seamlessly connect with each other.  Here are four different ways that you yourself can make a huge impact with a small donation, taken from the personal finance blog bankrate:

Join a “giving circle”: These groups will pool their money and then share the task of selecting which causes they support.  Since the funds are pooled, they can make a much bigger impact than an individual donation.  There are hundreds of these across the country, but if you can’t find one you like, you can always start your own.  

Microphilanthropy: The site pledge4good.com allows users to set up “pledging systems” for friends and family to give small amounts of money to a specific cause.  They allow individuals to easily raise funds from various people to magnify the impact of smaller donations.  

Make a microloan: “Microlenders” don’t actually have to give their money away to causes, they simply lend it.  A $25 loan, for instance, can empower an impoverished entrepreneur in a third-world country to start and maintain a business.  Nonprofit microlender Kiva, for instance, has awarded millions in small loans to impoverished people in remote parts of the world since launching in 2005.  

Toys For Tots: This is a pretty well-known and well-recognized charity, which allows you to make a huge difference without too much money.  The Holiday season is a long way off, but it’s a great way to make a difference for a child without having to pay too much.  

Serve a soldier: The USO Wishbook allows you to make a small donation to help an American military member.  A donation of $15, for instance, will provide a care package for a service member to get through the initial days of deployment.  And $25 provides a calling card for a phone call home.  Small gifts, but ones that make a huge difference.  

Philanthropy Culture

Philanthropy is a great initiative that gets people and corporations involved in helping others and making a change, but all too often it has the connotation of a stand-alone event, a long-standing pledge to donate money, or a means of forced involvement. We need to start viewing philanthropy as a mindset and not just something that higher-ups force upon you. One great way to open the conversation of giving and really engage people on a personal level is to cultivate a “Culture of Philanthropy.”

What is Philanthropy Culture?

Any organization, whether it’s a workplace, nonprofit, or team, has a certain ‘culture’ that defines it to outsiders and helps it operate smoothly — implementing philanthropy culture is injecting the corresponding beliefs and ideals into the organization at its core and letting them bloom and grow from there. Your team needs to see these initiatives not as mandates or policies but rather as ideas worth embracing that will help give more meaning to the work they do on a daily basis.

Focus on the change.

If you deliver a philanthropic initiative to your team as extra work or responsibilities, they’re likely to balk at the task. However, if you present the end results and achievements and show them the difference that the little bit of work on their end can make, you’re going to engage them in a more meaningful way that will help them to internalize the change they’re helping to make.

Engage with your fundraising.

If your team’s philanthropic endeavors require outside donors, it’s a good idea to have everyone do away with any old notions of fundraising and look at it as a wholly engaging experience. If you view potential donors as nothing more than cash cows to get money from, you’re likely going to turn people away before you even get started. Donors are individuals, and if you want their financial assistance you’re going to need to engage them with what they’re funding and where their money is going. Learn who they are as people and how they like to interact and get them involved with your efforts.

Be thankful and practice gratitude.

When working to instate the ideals of helping others and being involved, don’t forget to include thankfulness, too. Through working to promote philanthropy, you’ve undoubtedly received help from other people along the way, and while you’re primarily working on giving help rather than receiving it, you don’t want to ignore the goodwill of others. Implementing gratitude can go a long way in changing your culture from selfish to selfless.

What Does it Mean to Be Altruistic?

Most people, in some small way, do nice things for those around them on a regular basis. Whether it’s holding open the door for a stranger, exchanging pleasantries in an elevator, or buying someone a cup of coffee, we like to go a little out of our way to benefit the lives of others. However, it is much harder to maintain that level of kindness for a sustained period, even more so when you add in the element of selflessness. As difficult as this may sound, it is a reality for the people who have chosen to devote their existences to altruism and truly causing the most good that they can during their lives.

Altruism, by dictionary definition, is a belief set that promotes engagement in selfless practices that seek to improve the welfare of others; the opposite would be egoism. Altruism can perhaps be best understood by looking at some altruistic behaviors of the animal kingdom — take for example bird species that have a danger warning cry. In the event of danger, the birds closest to the predator will sound the alarm warning others while also giving up their positions, putting themselves in danger. Altruism is pure selflessness, where the altruistic person places the wellbeing of others above all else, even at the expense of personal safety.

In society, altruism and philanthropy are often spoken of interchangeably, but actually vary greatly. Consider philanthropy as a passion, something you do because you feel strongly about the lives of others and want to make a difference. On the other hand, altruism is more of a way of life, where the desire to be selfless and help others dictates your life and guides your path.  

The drive to be selfless influences what career altruists have, their home location, their lifestyles, and their salary, as their focus is outward rather than inward. Altruists are often driven towards high-impact, high salary careers, though unlike others they do not do it for the personal payout. The more they earn means the more they can donate or put toward causes they want to benefit; the more power and clout they accrue, the more leverage they have to make a difference.

Altruism is more than simply caring for others. It is more than helping out when you can and trying to remember to incorporate volunteering into your life once a year. Altruism is dedicating your life to being selfless and being constantly on the lookout for lives you can better and change you can effect.

Why People Choose to Give

Many people in this world seek some form of altruism — whether it’s helping someone cross the street or volunteering to build shelter for the homeless, every good deed that is done makes a little bit of a difference. It may seem strange to some people, the idea of giving something for nothing, but everyone has their own reasons for getting out there and helping out. Here are just a few of the reasons why people choose to get involved.

  • They want to make a difference.
    • A lot of influential activists can pinpoint the exact moment that changed their lives, the one that made them choose to take up their cause and begin to spread awareness about a certain issue. Maybe it was a conversation with a man who was homeless that made them realize they wanted to help those who couldn’t help themselves; maybe it was the first time they realized just how much trash was ending up in the oceans that caused them to work towards clearing our waters. Whatever reason people have for being active and involved, they’re hoping to inspire change and fix a wrong or bring an issue to light.
  • They want to give back.
    • Everybody falls on rough times once in a while — it’s just the circle of life. So when people who are used to being on the bottom and trying to fight their way to the top get a hand that helps them rise up, they’re going to appreciate the kindness, remember the gesture, and likely try to do the same for someone else that was done for them. Like the expression, “pay it forward,” some people are inspired by the help they were given during dark times and seek to help others as well.
  • It makes them feel good.
    • One of the most ‘selfish’ reasons why people volunteer is that they like how it feels when they help people. Studies have shown that giving to others causes the same hormones and chemicals to be released in the brain that are released when we eat junk food or do something pleasure. Further research and studies have shown the numerous health benefits that giving has on the giver, including lower blood pressure, less stress, and an overall increased sense of wellbeing.

Whatever the reason why people choose to give, the important thing is that they’re working to better their community and the lives of those around them. Look for ways you can start helping out in your local area and start giving back, too!

Virtual Volunteering – Is It Right For You?

With the evolution of the internet, job opportunities have flourished over the past years. One such job is that of volunteering for which workers are either paid or work on a volunteer basis. Virtual volunteering offers a wide range of jobs that anyone can do easily.

What Is Virtual Volunteering?

Virtual volunteering which is also known as online volunteering, online mentoring and cyber service is when an individual chooses to apply or do some work through the means of the internet. Many individuals chose to work from their home for many reasons and look out for different types of volunteering work for getting paid and for passing the time.

Virtual volunteering allows anyone from to any age group to contribute time and expertise to different types of organizations. Organizations such as schools, government offices or non-profit organizations are usually in need of volunteer services.

What Are The Benefits Of Virtual Volunteering?

The first reason why most people apply for virtual volunteering is that it is flexible and less time-consuming than more traditional methods. Volunteering work online enables anyone of any age to choose work of their choice and volunteer on their own time to complete the task that is set in front of them. Another beneficial feature of volunteering online is that the network is vast, so there aren’t geographical limitations for working online.

Virtual volunteering is skill based. Most of the jobs that are offered online require applicants to have particular skills. For example, the job for writing content online requires the applicant to be proficient in the English language, or whatever language is necessary for the job. The other requirement is to be a good researcher. Volunteering always feels effortless if the job is within the skill set of an individual.

The online base gives a wide opportunity for individuals to explore a wide range of jobs that are both similar to what the volunteer is used to and offer them some room to explore new options. Connecting to different companies and with different people enlarges the horizon of opportunity for individuals.

Virtual Volunteering – The Right Choice?

For any individual who wants to volunteer online, they should search for a job that is in line with their skill set, pays according to their needs, and is perfect for them. There are millions of jobs that are available on the internet and finding one is not a problem. Several companies outsource their work and projects to individuals.

Those who want to earn money through a part-time job, or a full-time job, online volunteering is a good way to work. Because of the advantages of online volunteering, most people opt for it.

The 4 Most Charitable Businesses in America

American businesses rely on their consumer base for their profits and their livelihood. As a result, many choose to give back to those who’ve supported them and look for ways to better not only their community, but the globe.

 

There are some companies who have gone simply above and beyond in their efforts to effect positive change. The 20 businesses on the Fortune 500 list who gave the most in 2015 gave a total of $3.5 billion dollars to help fund various initiatives and aid certain groups. Here are the top 4 charitable donators ranking on the 500 list.

  1. Gilead Sciences
    1. This biotech firm based in California is an active participant in global philanthropy, working to promote better health and lives around the world. In 2015, the company reported that a bulk of their giving went towards working on HIV/AIDS treatments as well as liver disease. Just a few years ago the company was ranked 250th on the Fortune 500 list, but over the past two years, since it broke into the Hepatitis C market, it has now risen to the 86th spot. In 2015, Gilead donated $446.7 million.
  2. Walmart
    1. You know it as the supercenter that stocks just about everything you could ever need, but Walmart is so much more than just a corporation. In 2015, it pledged to help retail workers increase their economic ability with a $100 million commitment, $10.9 million of which went towards nonprofit organizations that specifically help those working in retail operations. Walmart continues to hold the top position on the 500 list, and gave $301 million in 2015.
  3. Wells Fargo
    1. This financial institution gets its employees involved with community work and volunteering by offering them two days a year to volunteer during paid leave. In 2015 they also donated $25 million to a nonprofit that supports financial education called NeighborWorks. Their aim is to donate between 1.2% and 1.5% of its total profits each year, and in 2015 Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million. They’re currently holding the 27th spot on the Forbes 500 list.
  4. Goldman Sachs Group
    1. Goldman Sachs’ giving has increased over the past decade largely in part to the efforts of Dina Powell, former member of the George W. Bush administration and current Deputy National Security Advisor to President Trump. She joined their team in 2007 to take charge of the corporation’s philanthropic endeavors and social investments. Goldman Sachs is currently 74th on the Forbes list and gave $276.4 million in 2015.