Pamela’s Weekly Words of Wisdom: Thoughts on Starting A Non-Profit

Here are some questions I was recently asked regarding starting a nonprofit. I didn’t address the fact that this economy also presents a very, very challenging landscape in which to start a nonprofit and to attain solid funding. However, anyone with true passion will find a way to bootstrap their vision, at any time. Anything is possible!

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Pamela’s Weekly Words of Wisdom: The Value and Sincerity of Small Teams

Leadership is so personal, so intimate, and takes a huge amount of devotion. It’s about communication, trust and building relationships.  This article by Pat Lencioni is quietly brilliant. My favorite part is about small teams that are effective, are 3-8.  People need to be heard. They need to feel they can get across their ideas. As the team grows, the ‘space’ for their voice dimishes.

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Pamela’s Weekly Words of Wisdom: Connection to Life

We all remember a time when we were ‘hit’ with the importance of getting involved globally. For me, I was 12. We were on a family vacation in Mexico, near a traditional marketplace.  My father and I wandered off, just a few paces away, confronted with a cult-de-sac of unwashed, handicapped, begging children.  Having my eyes widened with just disbelief and overwhelming sadness, I simply remember the word UNACCEPTABLE flashing across my mind. I still feel it and see that word all the time. It’s simply “not ok” that millions are starving. Not only can we help, but we also have a lot to learn. I never realized how much I would receive when I first started giving!

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UniversalGiving at the Commonwealth Club – Video Highlights!

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.

An Exciting Trip to Synergos with the Global Philanthropists Circle

Today’s post is from UniversalGiving’s Founder and CEO, Pamela Hawley.

I recently attended the Synergos Conference in New York, where we were invited amongst 100 global donors.  I wanted to share some exciting insights with you!

We’ve been honored now to be invited for our 6th year in a row, as part of Synergos.  Synergos is a group that brings together global leaders who want to give effectively in developing nations all over the world. At the same time, it also supports social innovators in more than 40 countries through their Senior Fellows program.  They are social leaders who sincerely and effectively serve our communities in diverse ways, in healthcare for children in Zimbabwe, gender equality in Bangladesh and Uganda, poverty alleviation in Thailand, an environmental protection in the Philippines.

This meeting concerned a group of international philanthropists from more than 100 countries.  During this meeting, we heard from Peggy Delaney and from Bill Clinton.  Former President Clinton was quite formidable in the high calling he set for himself regarding philanthropy.  The Clinton Global Initiative is involved in numerous philanthropic projects.  Many of them revolve around renewable energy in hydro and electric policy and implementation.  He is focused on supporting both forprofit and nonprofit groups in this endeavor.  He’s watchful of emerging projects that are successful abroad, which can be utilized here in the United States.

Many professors from Harvard and Dartmouth are covering emerging markets in a new way. What’s called Frugal Innovation or  Reverse Innovation looks at low-cost, effective projects that are working abroad, and brings them back to the United States.  Instead of the U.S. always being the pioneer — international countries, and often developing ones, are the initiators. Product include everything from low-cost medical services to shaving razors, which are now undercutting the market here.

However, U.S. companies are also taking the lead.  For example, PG&E is undercutting itself, by introducing these products back in the United States.   If they don’t, they are concerned that another country will do so.  So they are pre-empting this move, but offering both types of products, low and high end, low cost, high cost.  Fascinating!

For example, the razors are indeed different.  In India, the U.S. razors are re-crafted to take into consideration a local country’s situation. Indian men often don’t have mirrors, operate off a small bowl, have limited water, and also need sharp razors that can outlast dullness.

As a tangent, there are so many innovations from abroad… The UK is coming up with more unique versions of philanthropy.  I just read that their cultural minister is trying to allow people to make a donation when they are at ATMs.  I am so heartened to see such good exploding across the world… :) in so many ways, that affect our lives practically!

Back to Synergos. :)  Then we went on to a dinner session.  The session was 20 tables related to CSR, health, innovation and education, and then all different country areas.  I was put at the Middle East table, and it was amazingly fascinating.  I wanted to see how UniversalGiving could support more projects in philanthropy in the Middle East, in this burgeoning area.

Many of the forprofit people felt, interestingly enough, that an authoritarian government structure was better than a democracy.  They felt these countries were living in anarchy with no government, and it would be better to have their lives ruled by some sort of government structure.  That may be partially true for the short-term stability, but I hope we would all argue on the side of freedom for all people from any type of oppression, any time, anywhere.

However, transition from authoritarianism is a transition.  I’ve long known that just because a dictator is toppled, that doesn’t mean democracy will immediately exist.  We have to be conscious of the fact that when America was created, it was called a “grand experiment.”  No one had had this type of structure before, and we were fighting tooth and nail to prove it could work.  I’m grateful that its structure, no matter how many “dents” it has, is still in place. It preserves so many freedoms for us, in the way that we operate, both in our personal lives and businesses.

Here’s an example of just one individual who is most certainly making his mark in the Middle East and won’t be held back by anything.  Ron Bruder is a global leader working on providing employment opportunities for unemployed youth in the Middle East.  (He’s formerly built shopping centers all over the U.S., and is now devoting himself full time to this effort.)  It’s incredible. He’s giving hope to so many in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen.  Tunisia, he says, is the easiest… they just get it and in many locations, in-country supporters (important) provide significant financial backing, with positive government support, too.

I love sharing with you about these philanthropic insights in different areas across the world!  Continue to make your mark on our world as well. No action is too small.

With highest regards,


UniversalGiving’s CEO to Speak at the Commonwealth Club

By Cheryl Mahoney

Interested in attending an event focused on corporate social responsibility?  Want to learn more about ethics in business?  Then you should come out to hear UniversalGiving’s CEO, Pamela Hawley, speak at the Commonwealth Club!

The Commonwealth Club has been hosting public forums with exciting speakers for more than 100 years.  On August 11th, our CEO will be speaking there.  Here’s the description of the event from their website:

The Leading Edge for Corporate Social Responsibility
Setting the Bar for Ethical Business Conduct
Pamela Hawley, Founder and CEO, UniversalGiving

Winner of the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Hawley assists companies, including Cisco, with their corporate social responsibility programs all over the world. Her web-based marketplace for volunteers, donors and companies has been profiled on CBS, in BusinessWeek and on This is a must-attend program for all who believe in social responsibility and corporate engagement.

MLF: Business & Leadership

SF Club Office
595 Market Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA, 94105

Date: August 11th
Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program
Cost: $8 members, $20 non-members, $7 students (with valid ID)

Program Organizer: Ann Clark

For tickets and more information, visit or call (415) 597-6700.  We hope you can come!

Lessons Learned from “When She Speaks”

By Cheryl Mahoney

Last week, our CEO Pamela Hawley was honored to speak on a panel for When She Speaks.  This event was sponsored by RAL & Associates, a career and leadership development firm, in association with Full Circle Fund.  The topic under discussion was Women Leadership.

If you’re thinking that you would have loved to learn about Women Leadership, but you didn’t have a chance to attend–don’t worry!  Bobbie La Porte from When She Speaks kindly shared some notes on key points discussed at the event:

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at PG&E and our partners at Charles Schwab, Deloitte, IBM,, McKesson and the Full Circle Fund for their continued support of this series. And please also join me in thanking our accomplished and inspiring speakers for candidly sharing their perspectives and insights on such a fascinating topic!
           Moderator Kerrie Halmi, The St. Charles Consulting Group
           Panelist  Pamela Hawley, CEO, UniversalGiving
           Panelist  Jenny Cheng, Vice President,
           Panelist  Jennifer Dowdell, Director, PG&E
           Panelist  Cheryl Williams, Manager, McKesson Corporation
           Panelist  Dara Bazzano, Audit Partner, KPMG
The panelists shared their insights about the approaches and practices they use in their roles in business to support and drive sustainability. Some of their key points included the following:

(1)     How are women’s and men’s leadership styles different?

–          it’s important to acknowledge your individual skills and strengths when it comes to your leadership style and not so much gender
–          your personal communications style and approach can be an important element of your leadership style and this can be different for men than women
–          there are stereotypes of women vs. men that you need to be aware of and know that some behaviors may not be as successful for women as men (like being seen as aggressive) in corporate culture
–          know that leadership skills can be developed; there are no “natural born” leaders

(2)     What are elements of ideal leadership styles?

–          being flexible and adaptable; women ate socialized to be adaptable and flexible
–          recognizing people who are more talented than you (as the leader) and support and development them
–          good coaching skills
–          being good “connectors”
–          being gentle but strong; kind but firm
–          being yourself, authentic; you need to decide if you want to play the corporate “competitive” game; find what works for you
–          hold your “confidence”, think about how you display that
–          know your values and if they are aligned with the corporate culture you are in; is it a good fit for you?

(3)     How do you develop your leadership style?

–          learn how to influence
–          find mentors to work with you
–          be open to approaching and learning things differently
–          don’t assume that what motivate you motivates everyone else; respect everyone and their differences
–          make your boss your advocate; help him/her succeed
–          use multiple sources of coaching and advice
–          don’t associate leading with any level in the organization; you can lead from any position, don’t wait – use the tools you have now
–          don’t hesitate to ask for help – and learn from others!

Please join us next month at McKesson when our topic will be: “Politics in the Workplace: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.