Archive for the ‘wonderings’ Category

side benefits
November 16, 2013

one of the side benefits to launching a crowd source funding campaign is the unexpected. i’ve connected with a Portuguese film maker interested in related subject matter who is also running a campaign and my high school art history teacher who i haven’t seen or heard from in over 30 years.

another benefit is that by gaining personal experience using this model i’m improving my chance of gaining exposure on blogs or at conferences as some one with expertise in this area.

it’s also given me a reason to reach out to certain people i admire and make a more personal connection.

and speaking of connection, because the fundraising requires me to be on social media sites more often than usual, i’ve enjoyed reconnecting with old friends via IM as well as getting to participate in some online events that i might not have known about otherwise and were beneficial.

my point: philanthropy often comes with side benefits, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

the problem:  when side benefits are the expectation and/or the main motivation for giving or soliciting.

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$5
October 27, 2013

what is it about $5?

in my recent crowd funding campaign i chose $5 as the first level of giving.

i almost always invest $5 (or the first giving level) in crowd funding campaigns my friends have started as well as other campaigns i feel excited about. my little bit of money– an additional funder to the overall number, a high five to the folks putting out their project, being a participant in something that matters to me or to one of my people, knowing that every bit helps them reach the goal– those are the reasons i  do it.

i had to practically beg one of my supporters to give at this level. i wanted to encourage $5 investors by showing that others had done it before them. but this supporter had a hard time not giving more. in fact, when i explained my reasons and she agreed to be the first $5 investor she gave it anonymously.

$5 is what i believe almost everyone i know on FB, etc. could kick in without it having very much, if any impact on them. it’s roughly the cost of a latte, a beer, a fro yo; you can’t even get a glass of wine for a fiver unless it’s happy hour! so i figured $5 is a great way for folks to offer me a thumbs up at no significant cost to them while still being able to participate, to show some support. was i ever wrong.

now i don’t give $5 to many causes outside of crowd funding, because it often generates a full blown email or snail mail campaign for more of my money that probably costs more than the 5 bucks i gave.  but this is a crowd funding– no matter what you invest, you click a few buttons to pay by credit card of Pay Pal and that’s it.

so what is it about $5?

i’ve asked a few people and this is what i’ve heard back so far; i’m embarrassed to give the lowest amount b/c
you know i can give more
people will think i’m cheap
what difference will such a small amount make
it’s too much trouble for only $5

i really hoped to have a slew of $5 investments so i could reach my goal without anyone having to put themselves out.

would you please add any other reasons why you or someone you know wouldn’t invest $5 assuming it’s not any financial burden whatsoever? i’d like to collect as many legitimate reasons as possible.

meanwhile, i’m left with the following musings: it appears that most people who think like this invest nothing rather $5. do folks think i included $5 as a way to shame them? how much do the above reasons have to do with giving as an exercise in support vs. self-imaging?

p.s: here’s the link to my campaign
http://igg.me/p/470449/x/3933463

giving & getting apartheid
July 16, 2013

in his provocative TED talk, dan pallotta claims there’s an apartheid system between business and non-profits —separate rule books.  he encapsulates his perspective through 5 areas of discrimination:

*Compensation— how much $ professionals in the field earn
*Advertising & Marketing — how much of our donations/investment we consider reasonable for an organization to spend on these
*Risk in Pursuit of Revenue— our tolerance for/support of  taking risks with our donations/investments that include failure in the pursuit best practices
*Time— our tolerance for donating/investing over time without success (pallotta points out it took Amazon 6 yrs until it turned a profit, but investors stuck it out)
*Profits — providing a stock market, a mechanism to reward donors/investors on a significant and meaningful level

i will post about each of these individually. anyone want to request which one to start with?

talkin bout legacy
May 27, 2013

everything the donating public has been taught about giving is dysfunctional, says AIDS Ride founder Dan Pallotta.

now, i’m not willing to go as far as “everything,” but i do agree there’s a lot of dysfunction in the way we think about and do philanthropy.

i implore all of us committed to philanthropy to participate in the process of taking a hard look at the thinking and perspectives that have been handed down to us and undertake some serious revising– and reinventing, if necessary. the goal is to pass on a better legacy, one that is more functional and builds in the process of evaluation and change necessary for any dynamic enterprise to be successful.

we could start the discussion right here. or we can gather elsewhere, in person or via the web.

who wants to join me?

why we think like we do
May 4, 2013

in his fascinating TED talk, dan pallotta offers the following take on the origins of our american perspective on giving.

pallota believes our ideology comes from Puritan beliefs. he explains that although we commonly learn Puritans came to America for the sake of religious freedom that they also came to make $. pallaota claims Puritans were really aggressive capitalists. this presented them with a dilemma. their self-interest (capitalist tendencies) would lead to eternal damnation. to reconcile these two contradictory values they turned to charity. they could do penance for their capitalist self-interest at 5% on the dollar. so charity developed out of a desire for  (and as a means of) doing  penance, not as a method (or a desire)  to help the less fortunate or solve social problems.

framed this way, it’s easy to see why there can exist an inherent conflict in the act of giving as we have come to understand it. it would, in fact make sense that our philanthropy puts the emphasis on the wrong syllable, so to speak.

what would it look like and how would it feel to step out of this giving legacy?

incentives
March 12, 2013

i’m working on an advice book, an anthology. i need teenage girls to contribute their advice. it’s an opportunity to be a published writer, to help other girls, to be seen as someone whose advice is valuable to more than just close friends, to put it on a college application, to help support a girl empowering cause.

but it’s quite hard to get teenage girls to take the time to contribute. why?

for the most part they won’t bother unless you give them something tangible as motivation: an incentive, like a gift card to TJ Maxx, Starbucks or Claire’s, or a chance to win an Ipad.

incentives:
help others
have people listen to what you have to say
support a good cause
gift card
raffle tickets

youth that expect to get to give.  the question is, is this generation really that different than any other?

getting
March 4, 2012

question:

is why and how you give related to
why and how you get?

expectations
February 26, 2012

lately i’ve noticed the current consumer allure is the free gift; we get one either just for showing up at a retail store  on a certain day and/or we get one as the incentive if we buy something that day. the main enticement to purchase used to be the attraction of something new, then on sale, but even that often isn’t  enough anymore. we expect to get something “extra” from the people making money from us. in other words, these days they have to give us something to get us to buy something– like the banks in the old days that gave us a toaster if we opened up an account with them.

wondering what this has to do with mindful giving?

expectations.

as you expect, so shall you give; true or false?

give: dictionary definitions
February 14, 2012

these definitions of give are courtesy of dictionary.com, and i think they’re worth considering in terms of the ways we think about and like to give:

to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow

to hand to someone.

to place in someone’s care.

to grant (permission, opportunity, etc.) to someone

to impart or communicate: to give advice

to yield somewhat

to collapse

offer, vouchsafe, impart, accord, furnish, provide, supply, donate, contribute, give, confer, grant, present

Give is the general word: to give someone a book, permission, etc.

Confer usually means to give an honor or a favor; it implies courteous and gracious giving: to confer a degree.

Grant is limited to the idea of acceding to a request; it may apply to the bestowal of privileges, or the fulfillment of an expressed wish: to grant a charter, a prayer, permission, etc

Present, a more formal word than give, usually implies a certain ceremony in the giving: to present a citation to a regiment.

Definitions
January 4, 2012

The question of what constitutes giving is going to be a topic I expect I’ll continue to return to. For now, my definition is what is offered and contributed without financial compensation; my time, money and energy minus monetary reward.

Because so many of us, myself included, give to others as part of our jobs, it can feel like we’re depleted in the giving department when it comes to our “own time.” I’m going to name the giving we do during work  Contractual Giving.