Spending the Evening in San Francisco? by universalgivingteam
July 12, 2013, 3:34 pm
Filed under: Bay Area Events, Giving | Tags: , , , , ,
Kurt Bodden

Kurt Bodden as Steve Seabrook

The hit solo show STEVE SEABROOK: BETTER THAN YOU is currently playing at The Marsh in San Francisco. This satire of the personal-growth industry has just been extended for the third time. Writer/performer Kurt Bodden is a UniversalGiving supporter, and will be making a donation to UniversalGiving. We’re encouraging supporters to attend the performance on Saturday, July 20th!

The SF Examiner raves that the show is “filled with laughs!” and calls the performance “pitch-perfect.” The Chronicle says, “Steve Seabrook is very funny — with perhaps a little enlightenment thrown in as well.”

You’ll learn things like how to embrace procrastination while it lasts, and the importance of living vicariously through yourself. Bottom line: you’ll get three days of self-help in a little over an hour.

Kurt Bodden warmed up audiences for “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” trained in sketch comedy at The Groundlings, was a Company member at BATS Improv, and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe. Now he’s in this held-over run with a character The Contra Costa Times calls “a joyously inane self-help guru.”

And it’s at The Marsh, in the heart of the Mission district’s restaurants and bars, so you can make a night of it, too.

Saturdays at 8:30 through August 24 — July 20 is UniversalGiving night!

The Marsh San Francisco
1062 Valencia Street (near 22nd St.)
Parking at 21st & Bartlett; 3 blocks from 24th & Mission BART
Tickets $15 – $35 sliding scale
Info, tickets and a video sample at Or call The Marsh at 415-282-3055.

How No More Poverty Is Addressing Global Need by universalgivingteam
April 25, 2013, 9:00 am
Filed under: Giving | Tags: , , , , , , ,

We’re highlighting one of our partners today, No More Poverty. Here’s what they had to share about their work:

Since its foundation in 2012, No More Poverty has been able to provide support and assistance to well over three dozen separate non-profit organizations that focus on poverty and poverty-related issues. Since the initial launch of No More Poverty efforts have extended to partnerships for charitable events and the funding of surgical missions to developing nations.

New-NMP-LogoFounders Michael and Julian Omidi started No More Poverty in order to help assist in the global crisis of poverty by providing charities that focus in this area with much-needed direct support. Michael and Julian recognized that poverty both in the United States and around the world does not just stem from one issue; there are a myriad of causes that contribute to impoverishment from lack of financial literacy to homelessness, lack of education to lack of clean water and sanitation, substance abuse to a need for arts programs and creativity. There are many incredible charities that have been involved in finding effective solutions to these problems for years, even decades, that need a little extra help to maintain and increase their efforts.

The efforts of No More Poverty have since expanded beyond just direct support and include increased awareness for charities they have partnered with, opportunities for new organizations and causes to apply for grants, and partnering with nonprofits and governments of developing nations to provide medical missions, such as the most recent trip to the Philippines that they co-sponsored. No More Poverty intends to eventually increase long-term sustainability through grants that would provide impoverished areas around the globe with business development and job creation to assist in long-term sustainability.

Instead of accepting donations, No More Poverty encourages you to make donations to assist the variety of charities NMP supports and work directly on specific issues associated with poverty that you may have a personal connection with.

You’re also invited to read No More Poverty’s blog post about UniversalGiving.  Or visit our website for our vetted ways to give, and address the problem of global poverty!

Take a Volunteer Trip in Thailand by Cheryl Mahoney

The Little BIG Project_LogoUniversalGiving has recently been working with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), who have launched a contest to promote voluntourism, The Little Big Project.  One winner will receive a two-week volunteer trip to Thailand.  But everyone is invited to volunteer: TAT is partnering with other organizations, including UniversalGiving, to share volunteer opportunities.

Sound appealing?  Looking for adventure?  Here are some top opportunities to volunteer in Thailand with UniversalGiving’s vetted NGO partners:

And if you can’t resist the lure of winning a free volunteer trip from TAT, here’s an excerpt from their recent press release, describing The Little Big Project:

The mission of The Little Big Project is to help others, but it is also a competition: one overseas visitor and one Thai will team up for 2 weeks to work on anything from helping Save the Elephants at a nature park in Chiang Mai, to a community development project for Hill Tribe Children, to Marine Conservation in Koh Talu.

And, they’ll have the chance to share their philanthropy efforts with a world‐wide audience by making blog posts, uploading photos and videos, and telling their story through social media.

Prizes will be awarded, too!

  • The team with the most votes for their blog will win $5,000 USD for donation to their project for continued funding, plus a hotel voucher valued at $500 USD for their personal enjoyment.
  • The visiting competitor whose video receives the most views will win an Apple gift card worth $1,000.

TAT believes The Little Big Project will give people looking to do something different on vacation an opportunity to have a life‐changing adventure, and anyone interested should visit for details on how to enter.

TAT Banner

The Y Factor by universalgivingteam

Today’s guest post comes from our partner, Bright Funds.

Millennials. Gen Y. The Facebook generation.  Whatever you call today’s teens, twenty- and thirty-somethings, they certainly constitute an increasingly powerful demographic.

Now 80 million strong, millennials are the fastest-growing part of today’s workforce and the part responsible for much of the disruptive innovation that is forever transforming the way we conduct our daily lives.  Needless to say, with increasing political influence, expanding bank accounts, and sharpening technological insights, Gen Y has significantly impacted our world today and will continue to do so.

For those of us involved in the charitable giving and philanthropy space, our (80) million dollar question is, “How we can effectively engage the mighty millennials?”  The point at which we harness the power of these individuals as a source of support for the nonprofits will undoubtedly prove monumental.

Yet, both “charitable giving” and “philanthropy” — particularly the latter term — are typically associated with an older demographic.  Philanthropy is considered by many to be an altruistic act that comes at the end, rather than the beginning, of someone’s career.

But this is changing.

Gen Y has been characterized in many ways – some more flattering than others.  While they are often accused of being entitled and self-centered (hence the name “Generation Me”), there is actually significant reason to believe that millennials are incredibly generous and a force to be reckoned with in the realm of charitable giving.

In fact, according Causecast, which references a report by The Boston Consulting Group, Gen Y cares deeply about social issues and believes involvement in causes to be a “fundamental part of life.”

And, they don’t just care – they act.  According to the Millennial Impact Report, 75% of millennials said they donated to a nonprofit in 2011. Such findings are encouraging, but more can be done to involve Gen Y in charitable giving.

Here’s what you need to know about Millennials as donors.

1. They are connected

Millennials are constantly connected to information and to each other. They are online and social media savvy. With the proliferation of smartphones, laptops and tablets, it is rare indeed when a Millennial is disconnected.   Many have spent more time chatting online than in person, done most of their learning in front of a computer screen, and visited more websites than stores for their shopping.  What’s more, Gen Y is a “communal generation” – working closely together through social media to create change and coordinate collective action.

2.  They support many causes

According to the Millennial Impact Report, Gen Y gives to an average of 5 organizations a year.  In other words, this group, having grown up in an age of constant stimulation, multi-tasking, and involvement in more extracurriculars than can fit on a resume, is not content focusing on only one thing.  This group wants to spread their giving.  Why be involved with just one project, when you can support a handful?

3.  They want to see impact

This group is not driven to donate for tax deduction purposes or because “it is expected” of them.  They are most certainly not satisfied with simply writing checks.  Millennials are both achievement and feedback oriented, which means they demand not only frequent reports, but also results from their giving.  In other words, Gen Y is interested in learning about what their contribution has helped to create. Certainly facts such as how many children can go to school or how many water wells can be built from a given contribution are appreciated.  But beyond that, Gen Y wants to keep up-to-date on the project’s themselves: how the children are doing in school, and how the water well is benefitting the community.

The good news is that nonprofits and fundraisers can easily “plug in” to the very channels currently connecting millennials – email, social media, mobile apps – to educate, communicate with and engage Gen Y givers.  And, we can make the giving experience exciting, enjoyable and rewarding for millennials by providing a range of giving options and keeping donors up-to-date on the impact of their donations.

At Bright Funds, we created a charitable giving platform with Gen Y in mind. We believe that when we reach people where they want to be reached, connect them to the causes that they care most about, and show them impact of their investments, we can begin to unleash the full potential of this generation.

Image Credit: Life-Tuner

The Power of Video by universalgivingteam

By Steven Chang

The power of video to successfully promote causes, companies, organizations, people, and yes, even cats, on the Internet is hardly a secret. We can see the power of video almost immediately (how many views/hits did you get?), and we can also see the power of video in our everyday lives (when was the last time you asked a question beginning with, “have you seen that one video…?”).

But how do videos become popular? Two videos that use the same outreach methods – email, social media, word of mouth, live presentation – may not necessarily have the same impact. And a video which hardly uses any of those methods can suddenly go viral solely because of its content and the way that content is communicated.

While there are many guidelines for anyone who is looking to popularize their videos, there is no silver bullet.  So, I’d like to offer my advice, taken from my passion for creating great video content and from my experience at “UniversalGivingTM.

  1. Filter. Only use your most unique, interesting, and high quality content.
  2. Brand. Remind the viewers constantly just where they are getting their video content through visuals, text, and whatever else you can think of.
  3. Outreach. Viral videos are, in fact, quite rare. Your best bet is to continue to aggressively outreach through all forms of social media, while trying to drive all of that outreach to your central “homebase” – a website, your twitter feed, your blog, etc.
  4. Workflow. For bigger video projects, create standards, checklists, and production schedules to guide your project from the early stages of content filtering to the later stages of releasing & analytics.
  5. Focus. There are always more and better ways to promote through video. Tackle the project in stages. Start with a basic strategy, and then build on that as you evaluate and assess the impact of your videos. Sometimes you may stretch yourself too thin by trying to do too much before you release even your first video.

I have also found many helpful tips and guidelines through ListenIn Pictures and their starter guide to non-profit video story telling. While their focus is more on fundraising and campaigns, they have many useful tips and examples of how video can be used to call people to action.

My final tip is to create conversation around your videos. When people really enjoy a video and find it interesting, they will have something to say about it, will engage it, and will respond to the “call to action.” So, what do you have to say about UniversalGiving’s most recently released videos featuring our founder & CEO Pamela Hawley and other Fortune-500 CSR executives?

Pamela Hawley on NGO Vetting

More videos:

Secret to Success: Go Become Famous!

Global CSR Benefits: The Bottom Line

Global CSR Challenges: Co-Chairs and Cross-Training

UniversalGiving at the Commonwealth Club – Video Highlights! by universalgivingteam

by Steven Chang

On August 11, 2011, founder & CEO Pamela Hawley led a panel of Fortune 500 Corporate Social Responsibility executives in discussing the innovations and practical lessons learned from launching CSR programs all over the world. We’ve taken the highlights from this exciting event and created shorter videos for your learning and enjoyment!

Pamela Hawley on NGO Vetting

Here’s what founder & CEO Pamela Hawley had to say about NGO vetting through UniversalGiving™, which has even helped Fortune 500 companies ensure the success of global CSR programs.

Secrets to Success: Go Become Famous!

Mark Edmunds of Deloitte LLP gave an especially creative & insightful response when Pamela asked him to share his “words of wisdom” regarding global CSR. We’d like to share it with you!

Global CSR Benefits: The Bottom Line

Not only does CSR create positive social outcome, but it also contributes to a company’s bottom line. Here’s how Pamela and Gabriele Zedlmayer of Hewlett-Packard explained it.

Global CSR Challenges: Co-Chairs & Cross-Training

One of these challenges of CSR is operating global CSR programs led solely by employee volunteers. Pamela Hawley and Trisa Thompson of Dell, Inc. explored the topic of cross-training and co-chairs on a global level.

The Commonwealth Club of California has been hosting public forums with exciting speakers for more than 100 years. More information on the Commonwealth Club of California can be found here.

How to Use Technology to Recruit Volunteers by universalgivingteam

Today’s guest post is from Clarissa Meyer.            

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of non-profit, charity, or community organizations in the world. And while some have paid positions, most rely heavily on volunteers to keep their operations running. Girl Guides of Canada is nothing without adults running camps and meetings. Habitat for Humanity cannot survive without people willing to lift, tote, and hammer boards. But how do these organizations find and keep volunteers? In the old days it was through bulletin board notices and phone calls. But in our fast-paced, modern world those strategies are not feasible. The volunteer market is competitive and, while people want to give their time, they are not always eager for a phone call, or willing to volunteer in the traditional ways. Using technology can give organizations a leg-up on finding volunteers.

Using a website to advertise an organization and its volunteer positions is an intelligent and efficient way to use technology. Positions can be updated quickly and easily. Profiles of the organization can be included, which people can read at their own leisure. People can follow links to apply for positions on-line, and schedules and events can be posted as well.

Email is a popular method for recruiting and maintaining volunteers. Many people can be contacted at once, and this is a fast and efficient way to update opportunities or send out general inquiries. People that do not cherish face-to-face communication can respond using the written word, and they can reply at their own pace. Email has an advantage over phone conversations as attachments can be sent, with documents, spreadsheets, images, and videos.

Perhaps the best development with volunteering since the advent of the World Wide Web is what is known as Virtual Volunteering (also known as cyber service or on-line volunteering). A virtual volunteer is someone who assists an organization using the Internet or computer technology. They can do tasks such as manage e-mail, design graphics or web pages, organize databases, edit documents, or write proposals. And the appeal of cyber volunteering is plentiful. Many people can help that would not otherwise do so. They may have physical constraints or time issues. People who volunteer through the virtual realm can have flexible schedules and can work from home. They can help an organization halfway around the world! These volunteers might have different skills than other types of volunteers and their talents can be put to good use. Sponsored by the United Nations, is a site dedicated to matching virtual volunteers to opportunities. Those seeking volunteers may want to peruse this site and use it to advertise their positions.

Any organization seeking to recruit volunteers should not forget about the power of social media. Word travels quicker through Twitter and Facebook then through any other means. Non-profits can expect very quick networking and advertising through these sites when they post a profile or an advertisement.

Some people prefer to support organizations financially. A site such as UniversalGiving helps people support top-performing organizations from all over the world. The site is built so that 100% of donations go toward the cause of choice. But this site also serves as a volunteer matching site, helping people find volunteer positions which suit their interests/skills.

Lastly, organizations may want to utilize computer software to organize, find, and maintain volunteers. A program like Volunteer Reporter, which has existed for twenty years, allows organizations to track volunteers through a database, merge email contacts, and store volunteer profiles. This software is free to use for one year, as a trial. It is useful for the organization as well as for the volunteers, as volunteers can use the program to log in from home and record their volunteer hours.

Clarissa Meyer works on a non-profit project that is deemed to help people with writing their resumes and CVs. Core interests: e-learning, self-motivation and career development.


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