Foundation Center San Francisco will be hosting our annual Open House followed by a happy hour social on Tuesday, Febrary 24, 2015. Stay tuned for more details. To see the schedule from last year's open house click here.
Associate, Corporate Responsibility
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
How Tech Gives is a new blog series on Philanthropy Front and Center-San Francisco featuring interviews with Bay Area tech leaders about philanthropy news, trends and opportunities among the tech companies in our region. This series is done in partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation. In this post Arti Sharma, Associate, Corporate Responsibility, interviews Jaime Barclay, Manager, Corporate Responsibility at Symantec and Jessica Weare, Philanthropy and Civic Engagement Manager at Microsoft.
While nonprofits are directly tackling social issues, the barriers to positive social change can be significant. Many corporations have found donating resources to be a strategic way to efficiently and effectively support more people in need. Product donation programs are not just available through technology companies; companies like Home Depot and Tide also have product donation opportunities. Regardless of sector, companies that have product donation programs believe that they can create shared value by meeting business objectives and goals while addressing social issues.
How can an organization find out if a company donates any products? A good first step is to check out a company’s website for information. If your organization is looking for a tech donation (e.g., software, hardware, etc.), one valuable resource is TechSoup. TechSoup is a nonprofit that works with over 50 technology companies in an effort to connect organizations with the tech products and know-how that they need to be successful. In creating a connected world, companies like Symantec and Microsoft (both are TechSoup partners) are providing product donations to organizations to support their efforts to help others.
Manager, Corporate Responsibility
Production Donation at Symantec
Symantec is a technology security company whose products are used by companies and organizations to protect and manage information. Symantec donates to organizations both domestically and internationally, having reached more than 23,000 organizations in 30 countries over the program’s lifetime.
Arti Sharma: How is the product donation program and philanthropy a part of Symantec’s corporate culture?
Jaime Barclay: It used to be that corporate philanthropy and product donations were side programs in our field but that’s not the case anymore. Symantec’s philanthropic goals are a part of the company’s overall mission which is to help customers of all sizes to secure and manage information. Our product donation program is the largest mechanism we use to support the community and nonprofits.
Arti Sharma: What should organizations think about when applying for a product donation?
Jaime Barclay: Nonprofits need to know about their current IT structure and what operating systems they are using. They should also know the number of users and computers that need to be protected. Since Symantec allows two product donations a year, it’s very important for a nonprofit to know which product they will need. Do they need a consumer-based product that will be installed on each individual computer? Or do they need a networked-based product that can be shared amongst users?
Arti Sharma: Have you noticed any trends in product donation needs from nonprofits?
Jaime Barclay: As more organizations are storing and sharing sensitive/private information around the world, more organizations are requesting encryption products to protect client and donor information. Also, as more nonprofits raise money online, there is a greater need for payment security products to ensure donors’ information is protected.
Arti Sharma: Human challenges are among the most frequently sited barriers to better IT adoption. A survey of 10,500 nonprofits and NGOs found that 60% claimed lack of knowledge as the single greatest barrier to new technology adoption. Has Symantec encountered the same feedback from organizations? If so, how is Symantec addressing this challenge?
Jaime Barclay: Given the nature of Symantec’s products, many of them are very sophisticated. We have worked with TechSoup to provide support to nonprofits if they have questions about installation or how to utilize a product. We want to make sure that, if an organization calls Symantec’s support team or TechSoup, they are being taking care of. Also, our employees volunteer their time to create webinars (that are available to the public) and discuss IT security and Symantec products that non-profits can utilize.
Production Donation at Microsoft
Philanthropy and Civic Engagement Manager
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help
people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft donated $949 million in software to more than 86,000 nonprofits worldwide in FY14
Arti Sharma: Why is it important to Microsoft to have a product donation program?
Jessica Weare: Through its products, Microsoft helps empower people and companies around the world every day, so leveraging our products to support nonprofit organizations is a natural extension of that work. It’s our goal to support nonprofits in building their capacity and making them more efficient.
Arti Sharma: What makes Microsoft’s donation program different than other product donation programs out there?
Jessica Weare: Microsoft has a variety of products
available to suit the needs of individuals and organizations. It’s exciting to see our products overlap and work across platforms. Also, our products like Office 365 for Nonprofits and Skype make it easier for nonprofit staff to collaborate and communicate with each other.
Arti Sharma: If an organization is interested in applying for a product donation from Microsoft, how should they go about it?
Jessica Weare: At Microsoft, we have three levels of engagement:
Product donations give nonprofits an opportunity to use more financial resources for programmatic work instead of purchasing equipment or supplies. Not only do product donations show a company’s commitment to supporting the community, but they also allow nonprofits to continue doing what they do best and with greater efficiency.
Click here for Symantec product donation eligibility requirements and additional information.
Click here for more information on the Microsoft product donation program.
December 8: Library/learning center closes at 5pm
Like many Americans, I was glued to my television set last night as I watched the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, erupt in violence. This is not a post about the merits of a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Rather, it is my attempt to make sense of a very complicated situation and to ask whether philanthropy is doing enough to address the fact that there are too many Michael Browns in America, too many angry and frustrated communities like Ferguson, too much real and perceived injustice in our society, and too much polarization in the way these difficult issues are covered and discussed.
You don't need me to tell you that nearly every major indicator of social and physical well-being underscores the fact that black men and boys in the United States do not have access to the structural supports and educational and economic opportunities they need to thrive. More than a quarter of black men and boys live in poverty. Black fathers are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to live apart from their children. Young black males have the highest teen death rate, at 94 deaths per 100,000, and 40 percent of those deaths are homicides. Black males between the ages of 25 and 39 are more likely to be incarcerated than any other demographic group, leading author and civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander to note that "More African American adults are under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began."
Is philanthropy doing enough to address this appalling state of affairs? In a word, "no" — though in some ways that should not be surprising. Foundations are endowed, private institutions required to serve the public good in a way approved as "charitable" by the Internal Revenue Service and in accordance with their donors' intent. They are fiercely independent, idiosyncratic, and, at times, risk averse and short-sighted. A foundation executive once told me he and his colleagues had given up on access to safe water as a program area because "it was too complicated and we couldn't have any impact." Yet foundations have the choice to be different, not least because they represent one of the few remaining sources of un-earmarked capital in the economy. It is precisely this independence and autonomy that gives them the freedom to take risks and work on long-term solutions.
That fact has not been lost on many foundations, and a number of them — including big foundations like Open Society, Ford, Kellogg, and the California Endowment, and smaller ones like the Charles Hayden Foundation in New York — have rolled up their sleeves to tackle the persistent challenges facing black men and boys in our society. Between 2008 and 2011, for example, 191 foundations made nearly 900 grants totaling $116 million to more than 400 organizations focused on black men and boys, with nearly 10 percent of the total coming from the Detroit-based Skillman Foundation, a hard-working and innovative foundation more people should know about.
The data cited above comes from www.bmafunders.org, a knowledge hub produced by Foundation Center (with support from the Open Society Foundations) that is dedicated to the work of America's foundations and their partners on black male achievement. Foundation Center is not an advocacy organization, and we do not try to tell foundations what to do. It is our hope, however, that by making information about what foundations are doing — especially with respect to tough, urgent issues like this one — more donors with an interest in such issues will realize they are not alone.
To devote one's foundation to ameliorating the challenges faced by black men and boys — challenges at the intersection of race, poverty, and justice in America — requires leadership. Indeed, I can think of no better expression of the kind of leadership required than this:
"I think [foundations] are entering into the most difficult of all fields....They are going right straight ahead, knowing that their fingers will be burned again, because in these fields you cannot be sure of your results, and you cannot be sure that you will avoid risk. If the boundaries of knowledge are pushed back and back and back so that our ignorance of ourselves and our fellow man and of other nations is steadily reduced, there is hope for mankind, and unless those boundaries are pushed back there is no hope."
No, that wasn't said by someone last night as portions of Ferguson again were choked by tear gas. Those are the words of Russell Leffingwell, a stalwart Republican banker and chair of the Carnegie Corporation, giving testimony in a McCarthy-era hearing on philanthropy. They were courageous words spoken under duress back then, and they haven't lost any of their relevance in the ensuing half-century.
Does philanthropy have the courage to tackle the persistent, troubling problems that Ferguson represents, to enter, in Leffingwell's words, the "most difficult of all fields?" A number of foundations are leading the way, but we can do more.
November 24: Proposal Writing Basics (in Sunnyvale)
November 26: Foundation Center Library/Learning Center CLOSE AT 1PM
November 27-28: Foundation Center Library/Learning Center CLOSED
Join us for the largest holiday gathering of Bay Area fundraisers and nonprofit executives. Proceeds from the Holiday Party benefit AFP's Multicultural Alliance and ensure DER's education and networking programs are affordable and accessible to all fundraising professionals.
For more information and to register for this event presented in partnership with the Foundation Center, visit the DER website.
LinkedIn is running a holiday initiative this year called ‘Give the Gift of Talent’ where each LinkedIn employee can *gift* a free LinkedIn job posting and volunteer posting (valued at >$400) to the nonprofit of their choice. LinkedIn is inviting members of our community to be considered as potential recipients of these gifts.
If you’re interested in receiving this gift, please fill out this 30 second form.
Hundreds of LinkedIn employees are looking for recommendations of worthy organizations and we’d love to help them surface your organization as one to consider! Additional details below.
Details on LinkedIn’s Gift of Talent Initiative
President & Founder
The Osgood Group
If you’ve ever worked in retail, you’re familiar with the drill of taking inventory: The store closes early and the employees hunker down and count the merchandise.
Taking inventory is the process of counting and valuing what’s in stock. Although time-consuming, it has many benefits:
What do retail practices have to do with nonprofit leadership and revenue?
As nonprofit leaders and trustees, we should “take stock” of our organization’s revenue on a regular basis. Doing so in a thoughtful, deliberate way allows us to avoid the risk of “buying more”―that is, pursuing new opportunities―before “selling” what we already have.
Several years ago, I developed a tool for doing just that. Imagine a tool that allows you to look at performance trends of all your revenue streams at once over a five-year period. The Revenue Inventory™ allows us to see and understand both missed opportunities and growth opportunities through the lens of past performance.
I promise – you will be astounded with what you find. No matter how rigorous an organization’s reporting is, the Revenue Inventory never fails to produce real and previously unidentified revenue opportunities. Equally important, it has kept many an organization from marching down the “road to hell”–however well-intentioned―toward shiny, new revenue opportunities that don’t deliver.
If you’re not yet sold, let me share a powerful example from one recent nonprofit client that serves special-needs children and their families. Stakeholder feedback suggested a “public mandate” to serve families who could not afford to be served, but the organization lacked the resources to provide those services. They had some earned income experience (education programs sold to social workers and families) and wanted to launch more to build unrestricted revenue to help fund their mandate. After completing the Revenue Inventory, here’s what we found:
The Revenue Inventory “gem of a finding” was this: the nonprofit was leaving money on the table! By refocusing on one action, retention through relationship management, the organization had the opportunity to radically increase unrestricted revenue in areas where it had already demonstrated consistent, sustained success, without introducing a single new program!
The Revenue Inventory process provides ample opportunity to explore new opportunities as well. I am only suggesting that we consider “new” in the context of what’s in the larder already.
Curious about what the Revenue Inventory could uncover for your organization? Learn more about this and other tools to build your organization’s sustainability by joining me at 2:00 pm ET/11:00 am PT on December 9 for the Foundation Center webinar Building the Bottom Line: Growing and Diversifying Your Revenue. All enrollees will receive the Revenue Inventory™ and instructions for its use in your organization.
Nancy Osgood is founder and president of The Osgood Group (http://theosgoodgroup.com), a management consulting firm that helps nonprofit organizations and socially focused businesses improve performance, effectiveness, and sustainability. Her work across diverse industries and functions falls into two broad categories: revenue generation (earned and contributed) and large-scale planning and restructuring to support profitable growth.