A strange phenomenon occurred this summer, and it’s only beginning to show signs of slowing. Its appeal is the combination of grassroots charm and our culture’s love of selfie-based technology. And I’ll bet as a reader of this blog, you have or you know someone who has participated in the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge.
According to the August 29 edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, in just a few weeks this sensation has raised more than $100 million for the ALS Association and has generated nearly 1 million new philanthropists to this organization. Compare that with the $19.4 million in total contributions they received last year!
The Ice Bucket Challenge first received media attention at the end of June on the Golf Channel program, Morning Drive, when a live, on-air Ice Bucket Challenge was issued. A few weeks later, television anchor Matt Lauer accepted Greg Norman’s Challenge and was doused with a bucket of ice water on NBC’s The Today Show.
Presidents, CEOs, musicians, actors, athletes and many of your friends and mine have taken the challenge. There’s a really cute video of Kermit the Frog accepting the challenge and one of my daughter and a son-in-law that were so funny. But I digress.
The rules state that within 24 hours of being challenged, participants have to record a video of them in continuous footage. First, they are to announce their acceptance of the challenge, followed by pouring ice into a bucket of water. Then, the bucket is to be lifted and poured over the participant’s head. Then the participant can call out a challenge to other people and the participant should make a donation of $100. Whether that’s always the way it happens is up for debate and the subject of another blog.
But the real question is: “What can we learn from this marvel of selfie technology?” Here’s what I think:
- People will give to a cause they care about if they can identify with it. But the message has got to be short and sweet: Raise money for ALS and get wet.
- It’s got to be fun. Who didn’t laugh as their friends screamed like children when the icy water hit their heads? We really like to laugh and be entertained. According to one researcher, by maintaining an aura of lightheartedness, you allow people to connect with your organization in an authentic way.
- It’s got to be easy. If it was hard to make the donation, or if it involved a stamp or something signed by witnesses, you might still see the videos, but ALS wouldn’t have 1 million new donors and $100 million in the bank.
- It’s got to be quick. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge rules say that the participants only have 24 hours to complete the event in order to challenge others. They’ve realized a simple marketing strategy: give people a deadline and the initiative will become a greater priority. And they used multiple platforms to get the word out. Use social media, it’s really quick!
- Give people an opportunity to feel really good about helping others. This campaign was particularly poignant because no matter the size of the donation, folks felt a shared sense of unity with other people – those famous and rather infamous.
That’s what it’s really about, connecting with others in a meaningful way and feeling good about it.
Suzanne T. Allen, Ph. D.
It’s been a busy few weeks for the 42-member Ohio Standard Coalition, on which Philanthropy Ohio and many of our members serve.
The Coalition has been hard at work clarifying myths and showing support for Ohio’s New Learning Standards, within the Common Core State Standards – in light of proposed H.B. 597.
We had nearly 130 speakers and written testimony submitted showing support for Ohio’s New Learning Standards at the H.B. 597 hearings. Click here to view the testimony.
Beyond the Coalition, community leaders have also backed our position, and last Thursday, the Ohio Standard Coalition held a press conference at the Statehouse where Ohio business leaders expressed their strong support for the standards and opposition to H.B. 597. In addition, a representative from the State University Education Deans spoke about the deans’ opposition to the bill. Check out the website for ongoing coverage and updates.
The next committee hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, September 4, at 10 a.m. at the Ohio Statehouse Room 313. At this hearing we expect amendments to the bill and a possible vote.
Over the last few weeks, there has been amazing outreach, support and engagement from individuals and organizations. This has been a great team effort – exactly why this Coalition was created. I hope we can keep up this level engagement over the next few months because we are not done when the hearings end.
Your dedication to our children is inspiring!
Claudia Y.W. Herrold
Getting more dollars to critical community issues passed a giant hurdle this summer, as the U.S. House passed the America Gives More Act that includes two key items of interest to philanthropy.
First, it makes the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent. Since 2006, when it was first passed for two years, Americans have been able to tap into their IRA assets, giving those dollars directly to the charity of their choice.
We’ve heard many stories about the impact of those dollars and what they have meant to our community foundation members here in Ohio and to thousands of other organizations working to improve the lives of area residents. But every two years, we’ve been back in Washington asking our federal policymakers to extend the provision for another two years. With the House action to make the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent, we won’t need to do that anymore: this means predictability for donors and the causes they care about and we support that.
Second, the America Gives More Act simplifies the tax that private foundations pay to a flat 1 percent rate. For years, complex calculations of the two-tiered current structure have meant that private foundations spend human and financial resources figuring out what amount of tax they pay, resources that could better be used to support nonprofit organizations and issues.
We applaud our Ohio members of Congress who voted for the bill and now urge Senator Brown and Senator Portman to bring the bill to the floor for a vote when they return to the Senate in September and to vote YES.
Add your voice to the call for passage. Contact our Ohio Senators while they’re in the state during August and urge them to pass the bill.
Claudia Y.W. Herrold
- Makes the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent, so those aged 70 ½ and over can donate up to $100,000 a year tax-free from their IRAs to qualified charities;
- Simplifies and reduces the tax that private foundations pay, to a flat 1 percent;
- Extends to April 15 the deadline for making and claiming charitable deductions on a given year’s tax return;
- Enhances the deduction for donations of food inventory; and
- Enhances the deduction for donations of conservation easements.
The vote was 277 – 130, with 56 Democrats breaking rank to vote with Republicans. Here’s the breakdown of how Ohio’s members of the U.S. House voted:
- Voting yes were Representatives Chabot, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Latta, Renacci, Tiberi, Turner and Wenstrup.
- Voting no were Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Kaptur and Ryan. Not voting were Speaker Boehner and Rep. Stivers.
As I watched the House floor debate online, with Democrats and Republicans taking turns at the microphone to deliver their speeches, the main takeaway was that the congress remains deeply divided along partisan lines. The main concern of those voting against the bill was the revenue impact during a period of large deficits.
No one said anything against charitable giving – whether it’s donations of food inventory or IRA assets – but there was a lot said about how we’d pay for the loss of tax income.
Prospects for passage in the Senate appear dim, although there is some hope that the chamber will take up individual tax extender provisions (including those passed by the House) in the lame duck session after the November election. Philanthropy Ohio, as well as our colleague organizations across the country, will continue our efforts on these issues and welcome everyone’s help.
Recently I was invited to speak to a group of high schools students about philanthropy and after my diatribe about the many definitions of philanthropy, who gives and what they give to, I asked them to share their experiences as philanthropists.
I received a few quizzical looks and reminded them that philanthropy is more than just giving money to a charity: it is also about volunteering your time and abilities to help create a stronger community. I explained that whether you are raising money, raising awareness or helping to solve a problem, you are engaging in philanthropy. Every student then had a story to tell and each person, without exception, shone with pride in the telling.
According to an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, nearly 75 percent of young people who responded to a survey – that led to the 2012 Millennial Impact Report – said they made a gift to a nonprofit in 2011. Another 70 percent said they have helped raise money by encouraging friends, colleagues and family members to support a cause they cared about.
While these aren’t large donations, the fact is that over half of those surveyed had volunteered at the organization where they made the gift and nearly all said they plan to volunteer at the organization that received their gift.
But this shouldn’t surprise you. Our young donors share the same motivations as older people (that’s how the high schools students labelled me) have about philanthropy. We all like to believe in the mission and vision of the nonprofit and most of us choose to support a nonprofit because we’ve developed a relationship with the organization.
However, many of us who are more seasoned (I like that term better than older) givers had a role model or a mentor who helped us understand the importance of giving and how to give our “time, talent and treasures” effectively.
I closed my talk with these thoughts. “You are already a philanthropist, but what you want to be is an experienced philanthropist. The only way to do that comes through life experiences and learning from them. You need to watch, listen, ask questions, learn as much as you can and then practice generosity. Look for a mentor and ask for help. You’ll get to think bigger and think collaboratively and really make a difference in the causes you care about. And when people ask me what I think the future of philanthropy looks like, I can honestly say that I know the answer to that question: I’ve met you.”
Share your story, I’d love to hear from you!
Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D.
“Be the duct tape.”
“Chess or jigsaw puzzles?”
“Collaboration moves at the speed of trust.”
These are just few of the “Ah Ha’s” I heard from the 125 people who attended our first Summer Institute last week. I saw staff and trustees from all over the state and from very different forms of philanthropy – community and private foundations, corporate giving programs, government grantmakers and more – all engaged in deep learning through engaging authentic conversations led by national experts who pushed participants to ask hard questions about the way they work.
An active Twitter stream via #POHinstitute spread information and attendees shared insight about the Institute throughout the day. Check out our Facebook page to see all the photos.
Feedback offered at the end of the day demonstrate the value of the new format and approach to learning; people loved the deep dive approach, where we spent two hours on each topic:
“The deep dive content was awesome! More than just general overview of the topic. Worth the trip.”
Participants also loved the networking:
“The networking opportunity with peers is absolutely invaluable!”
Given the positive experiences and feedback, our plan is to offer the Institute every other year, with our Philanthropy Forward three-day conference in the intervening years. We’re looking forward to being in Cincinnati for Philanthropy Forward ’15, so stay tuned for upcoming announcements about its timing.
The Summer Institute wouldn’t have been possible without the active involvement of many people and organizations. Our thanks to Philanthropy Ohio’s Member Services Committee who helped develop and deliver the Institute:
Bob Jaquay, Chair The George Gund Foundation
Nelson Beckford Saint Luke’s Foundation
Dawn Tyler Lee United Way of Central Ohio
JenniRoer Tait Foundation
LaTida Smith Saint Luke’s Foundation
Lori Kuhn Morgan Family Foundation
Meghan Cummings The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Shiloh Turner The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
And our thanks to our sponsors:
The Cleveland Foundation
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Fifth Third Foundation
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The George Gund Foundation
Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
Interact for Health
The Lubrizol Foundation
Morgan Family Foundation
The Nord Family Foundation
William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation
Saint Luke’s Foundation
SC Ministry Foundation
The Sherwin-Williams Foundation
We’ve just begun accepting nominations for our 2014 awards in three areas: lifetime achievement, innovation and leadership. Nominations are due by August 22 and we’ll announce the winners and present the awards at our Fall Forum on October 7. Here are the award categories, along with a brief description of each one.
Ohio Philanthropy Award
Nominees for our “lifetime achievement” award should have made outstanding contributions to philanthropy and can be either an individual or organization demonstrating:
- Longstanding leadership in advancing philanthropy;
- Creativity in responding to societal problems; and/or
- Significant positive impact on philanthropy.
This award recognizes someone who – regardless of age – has engaged in philanthropy for the first time during the last few years, either in a career path or as a private individual, and shows amazing potential by demonstrating:
- Exemplary leadership in advancing philanthropy;
- Engagement beyond a single community;
- Creativity in a philanthropic endeavor or project; and/or
- Significant accomplishment in a short period of time.
Ohio Philanthropy Innovation Award
The Innovation Award celebrates a catalyst who has moved Ohio philanthropy forward through an innovation in the last few years, someone whose idea led to positive change in the how the philanthropic sector operates, thinks or impacts communities.
You can download more information about the awards, their criteria and the nomination forms from our website.
Who will you nominate?
Claudia Y.W. Herrold