Donate Organs via Apple’s iOS 10

Apple is trying to make organ donation a simpler process.

Recently Apple announced that its updated Health app, which will be available as part of iOS 10, will offer a new option that lets people sign up to be organ donors. The app’s Medical ID feature, which already keeps track of your medical and health information, will include the ability to register as a donor of organs, eyes and tissues. Registrations sent in through your iPhone or iPad will be forwarded to the National Donate Life Registry, an organization managed by Donate Life America.

Check it out:


Buy a Lady a Drink.

to launch an eye-catching campaign to halt one of the most onerous tasks faced by women in developing nations: the hours-long daily route of hauling water, usually by foot, over long distances.

Obtaining water is a real issue – here in the US and worldwide. The statistics don’t lie: at least 760 million people lack access to safe, secure and clean water. Women and children spend about 140 million hours a day collecting water. And while mobile technology has opened more economic doors, one disturbing fact is that more people worldwide own a cell phone than own a toilet. Stella Artois’ campaign, which enlists’s founders Matt Damon and Gary White, is a step in raising awareness about this massive problem.

The campaign started with Stella Artois donating $1.2 million to the cause. The company is raising additional funds through the sales of artistic limited-edition beer glasses. says the purchase of one glass, at $12, is enough to provide one person clean drinking water for five years. As of now the 20,000 put up for sale in the U.S. have completely sold out. already has a strong track record of providing market-based solutions to the lack of clean water worldwide. The NGO has focused on microfinance programs that lend assistance to projects such as building private toilets to gaining access to municipal water taps. As of last fall, has invested US$10.6 million in almost 450,000 loans across nine countries. Considering the fact water scarcity is one of the biggest threats to global economic and political stability, more efforts such as this Stella partnership need to be supported.

Check out one of several videos which highlight what women and children endure in securing water for their daily needs below:


L’OCCITANE: More than Almond Lotion.

One of my guilty pleasures is french beauty retailer L’OCCITANE’s Amande (almond) line. Specifically, I love their Almond Delicious Paste Body Scrub which is described as, “a delicious blend of almond butter and almond oil, infused with crushed almond shells and sugar crystals, this exfoliating butter offers perfect exfoliation for the entire body.” To me, it’s like marzipan for the skin – AH.MAZE.ING. Anyhow, more importantly, they just did something good and that trumps all.

L’OCCITANE just donated $120,000 to Dress for Success, a gift that will help up to 2,400 women begin their journey to achieving their professional goals in 2016. The company had pledged to donate $10 for every gift set purchased during the 2015 holiday season (up to $120,000) to Dress for Success to help prepare women for job interviews.

Additionally, the company has been a long-time advocate for the economic independence of women supporting women’s leadership programs in West Africa for over 20 years. In 2015, the brand’s North American headquarters partnered with Dress for Success to empower women on a local level and deepen the brand’s commitment to female empowerment on a global scale.

Since 1997, Dress for Success has helped more than 850,000 women throughout the world achieve their professional goals through career-advancing services. From suiting to mock interviews to employment retention and money management programs, the nonprofit helps provide women with the tools they need to secure a job and become a successful employee.

Check out this clip which highlights the L’OCCITANE partnership with Dress for Success in Canada.

Ad Love: A Not So Joyous Holiday

The holiday season usually brings forth images of lights, smiles and abundant holiday cheer. Rarely would one consider the reality of domestic violence.

“The Window Project,” which, from Dec. 6-13, appears in the window of the Untitled & Co. store in Toronto’s Fashion District. The project was made for the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses (OAITH), in partnership with the Yellow Brick House.

From a distance, the display looks l, “normal.” A family sits at table in Christmas sweaters, surrounded by  decorations. Moments in, the man’s hand flips upward in a disturbingly recognizable gesture; the woman’s upper body reflexively pulls back.

Levels of domestic abuse and suicide spike dramatically over the holiday season, the video claims. Per Yellow Brick House, transitional shelters see a 30 percent average rise in support calls. Window shoppers can stop the abuse, halting the display for 60 seconds at a time, by texting a donation of $5 to OAITH. This money will fund support for women and families impacted in Canada.

This is an excellent idea. All to often we focus on only holiday cheer. While I love a big cup of cheer and will have a few rounds with the best of them, it’s important to take a look at the reason for the season beyond the superficial.

#GivingTuesday: Here to Stay.

In 2012, I wrote my first post on #GivingTuesday. Then, it seemed like a great idea, although it was a tad gimmicky. Fast forward to today where the likes of Rue La La (my addiction) are sending emails regarding their involvement in the national day of giving.

Background: In 2012, the 92nd Street Y in New York City, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and influencers from the worlds of nonprofits, foundations and business, asked a simple question: Could a day devoted to giving back compete effectively with the likes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Four years later, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Giving Tuesday is the perfect embodiment of Americans’ willingness to come together in the spirit of generosity. According to the Giving Tuesday website, since its initiation, there have been more than 30,000 partners across 68 countries participating in the day and a nearly 500 percent increase in online charitable donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

In 2013 #GivingTuesday continued to gain momentum, with 10,000 partners in the US and 46 countries around the world. According to data from Blackbaud, the volume of online donations has increased 270% since the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2011 (before #GivingTuesday began). Rue

For non-profit organizations, #GivingTuesday should pivot off of the ways in which retailers, such as Rue , promote themselves in preparation for the biggest shopping day of the year. They should:

  • Create a sense of urgency.  A 24-hour window can nudge supporters to make a contribution.
  • Scarcity drives action. If a challenge grant or matching gift has been pledged and is good only through a set deadline, donors will be much more compelled to make donations within that time-frame.‎
  • “Mobilize” your giving.‎ If your giving page is not mobile friendly, even the most well-intentioned prospective donors will lose their enthusiasm if they can’t act immediately.
  • Take a long hard look at your organization’s giving page and make sure that it mirrors the look and feel of your organization’s brand. According to Network for Good, charities that have a resonant brand presence on their giving pages raise an average 138-percent more on Giving Tuesday than those using generic donation pages.

And don’t forget the power of a great story. An organization’s unique story is a must as this separates it from all of the others who are participating.

To support that, this year Giving Tuesday is launching #MyGivingStory, spearheaded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While six non-profit organizations will receive grants of up to $5,000, #MyGivingStory is more a vehicle for engaging donors on the most personal of levels, encouraging them to share their reasons for becoming involved with and supporting those causes nearest to their hearts. Between now and November 24th, individuals can visit #MyGivingStory on Facebook and submit a story of a time they made a gift to a nonprofit organization they gave to and why. Fifteen organizations that receive the most “Likes” will be reviewed by a panel of judges, who will select the final six winning non-profits.

Zuck’s in the Holiday Spirit.

We are two days away from Christmas. Why oh why am I not feeling the holiday spirit?! Apparently, I need to take cue from Mike Zuckerberg who is very much in the giving mood.

Last week, Zuckerberg announced plans to give 18 million Facebook shares to charity by the end of the month.

The gift is worth just under $1 billion.

Ho, ho, ho!

Ho, ho, ho!

The money will go toward Zuckerberg’s foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and The Breakthrough Prize In Life Science, a Noble Prize-like award.

Zuckerberg is giving his shares away as part of a secondary stock offering from Facebook.

Reuters says Zuckerberg will sell 41.4 million shares, reducing his voting power in the company from 58.8% to 56.1%.

Zuck didn’t stop there. He then turned his giving-ease to the actual Facebook platform….

Facebook has added a “Donate Now” button to make it easier for users to donate to non-profits. The button appears next to posts by 19 different nonprofit organizations that partner with Facebook. Users who choose to donate via this method will be prompted to enter the amount of money they want to donate and enter payment information directly through Facebook.

The Donate Now button will be a permanent fixture on certain nonprofit pages of organizations like UNICEF and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Nonprofits that want to be included in this program can apply for inclusion.

‘Tis the season….

#GivingTuesday is Back.

You’ve probably already saved your coins for Black Friday and, if you’re ambitious, you’ll be out and about spending them before you’ve even digested your turkey dinner. Whatever you do, save a few for #givingtuesday.

Set for December 3rd, Giving Tuesday is a daylong national effort to help charities raise money online during the holiday shopping season. Last year, the first Giving Tuesday drew donations to about 2,600 nonprofits.  GiveTuesday_700x

This year, in order to help even more non-profits get prepared for the big day, I thought it would be best to share a cheat sheet recently posted by Network for Good. Here goes:

1. Sign up. Registered 501(c)3 organizations can visit to become an official partner organization and find ways to get involved.

2. Set a clear goal. Figure out what you want to accomplish on #GivingTuesday and set a goal that you can measure.

3. Get your emails and social media updates ready.  Craft a few emails to rally your supporters to give along with their peers on December 3. Use social media to keep the excitement going and encourage fans to spread the word. You can join the conversation by using hashtag #GivingTuesday.

4. Make it easy for your supporters to give. Create clear calls to action so donors don’t have to wonder what you want them to do. Then, remove all of the roadblocks to giving by streamlining your donation process and enabling your donors to give via mobile.

5. Make it easy for your supporters to share. Offer easy and ubiquitous social sharing options on your donation pages and content, along with pre-programmed updates that your community can share with their networks to inspire even more participation.

Ready to make #GivingTuesday your own? Here are some resources to help you make the most of this day of giving and connect with your supporters:

• Learn how to get the most out of #GivingTuesday from GreatNonprofits

• Check out the amazing Giving Day Playbook from the Knight Foundation.

•  HubSpot has posted 12 tips for amplifying your #GivingTuesday campaign.

• The folks at offer some great ideas for 6 super-simple social media campaigns.

• Find (and share) even more resources in John Haydon’s Ultimate #GivingTuesday Checklist.

Happy giving!

The Pop Up Activist.

The holiday season here in NY and that means pop-up shops have run amok. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sugary smelling candle and hand-knitted scarf at discounted prices  just as much as the next woman. But is it possible to tie this example of mass consumerism to a cause in an innovative way?

Looks like we can. 

A few weeks ago, New Yorker Eric Ho, an architect who once intended to design housing for disaster zones, counted the empty properties on the Lower East Side and considered what could be done with them. A preliminary answer: a series of seven pop-ups in seven weeks in a storefront on Delancey Street. 

The Storefront Transformer.

The Storefront Transformer.

Instead of the usual pop-up store from retailers looking for buzz, Mr. Ho’s pop-ups will house organizations that might not be able to afford permanent retail space in the neighborhood — a mix of nonprofits and for-profits, none with big budgets. Tenants will range from a syringe-exchange program for homeless transients to an online community of knitters.

The  seven-week project is also a showcase for his prototype “storefront transformer”: a six-foot wooden cube on wheels that contains the components for tables, seats, a screen, display cases, a stage, lighting, Wi-Fi and a P.A. system — an instant pop-up in a rolling box.

I love this idea! Here;s the thing: It needs to be funded. Ho is living on his savings. Money to rent the storefront and build the transformer — $33,991 in total — was raised through Kickstarter, with the biggest contributors paying $1,000 or $1,500 in exchange for small promotional displays. I think this idea deserved my support and yours too. 

Find out more here



A Decade of Million Dollar Gifts

The rich keep getting richer. While they are at it, they seem to keep giving, even though it may not be as much.

At least that’s what, A Decade of Million-Dollar Gifts, a new report from the folks at the IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, shows.

Among other things, the report found that the number of million-dollar gifts peaked at 2,355 in 2008 and reached its lowest level — 1,092 — in 2003; that the combined value of million-dollar gifts peaked at nearly $61 billion in 2006 (thanks in large part to Warren Buffett’s gift of approximately $33 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation); and that, following a three-year decline, the combined dollar value of such gifts reached its lowest point of the decade, roughly $10 billion, in 2010. Milliondollar gifts

The report also identified three patterns in the number and dollar amount of gifts:

most types of recipient organizations saw the highest level in the number and dollar amount of million-dollar-plus gifts either at the beginning of the period (in 2000 or 2001) or in the middle years (2007 or 2008);
giving to most types of recipient organizations experienced a decline from 2001 to 2003, and again from 2008 to 2010, years that bracket the decade’s two recessions; and
giving to most types of recipient organizations rose modestly in 2011, although it was still lower, in inflation-adjusted dollar terms, of the levels seen in 2007.

Find the full report and more here.

Your NPO and Instagram

It’s a shame. People barely read these days. It’s all about good pictures. I guess that’s not so bad as photographs leave lots of room for individual interpretation.

It’s for this very reason that Instagram is on the rise.  With 100 million monthly active users and over 40 million photos uploaded per day, the photo-sharing site claims to gain a new follower every second.

So how can NPOs use Instagram to turn their photos into donation-drivers? Here are some ideas to start:

1.     Get personal.

The most successful Instagram accounts offer a glimpse into user’s private lives and behind-the-scenes experiences not revealed on other social networking sites. They key is authenticity and transparency – if your organization is not comfortable with this yet, then Instagram may not be for you (right now).

2.     Connect Instagram with your organization’s Twitter account and Facebook Page.

Since photos get above-and-beyond the most interaction and engagement of all content posted to Facebook and Twitter, it makes sense to post your best Instagram images on both of these accounts. If you are using Instagram from a personal account, you can link your organization’s Facebook Page easily.

3.     Follow other accounts first to see what works for other nonprofits.

As with all social media sites, first conduct research on best practices, sketching out a plan and then jump in. See what local businesses, nonprofits, community organizations and leaders in your area are posting to Instagram. Follow your supporters, donors and volunteers to see what moves them and what they like to post.

4.     Take some time to learn how to take a great Instagram photo.

Unusual angles, different lighting and a unique perspective are all characteristics of viral Instagram shots. Shots of nature, beautiful scenery, close ups on faces all translate into likes and comments. instagram

5.     Showcase direct impact.

There is a reason that your organization exists. You are changing lives, saving the environment, finding homes for animals, preserving historical buildings, saving children. Whatever your mission, make sure that some of your Instagram photos show this impact – whether it be a smiling face, a cleaned up beach or an empty food pantry after the holidays.


6.     Have a healthy balance of fun pictures and business images.

It doesn’t have to be doom and gloom on Instagram – yes, touching, emotional photos work well, but change it up and show a happy moment!

7.     Crowdsource images from your supporters.

Your supporters, constituents and community members are online. What about that younger demographic you desperately want to reach? Guess what. They are ALL using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest. They are taking photos. They are sharing their experiences, thoughts, dreams and hopes online.  Why not use them as a source of content for your social media accounts?

8.     Highlight volunteer work.

Showcase the local bank stocking the food bank, the mom’s club hosting a fundraising event and the people monitoring the hotline, stuffing envelopes and doing office work.

9.  Feature your donors.

With their permission, post photos of your donors. Add a short caption describing who they are and why they support you.

10.  Use hashtags strategically and wisely.

Do not jump on the most popular hashtag and use it repeatedly – that’s spam. Use hashtags that make sense to your followers and your supporters.

Using hashtags is very important for continually adding new followers, as it exposes you to a wider circle of Instagram users who are searching on that hashtag.

Do your research, see what others are using and add them sparingly.

11.  Get comfortable with posting photos first, then develop a strategy for videos.

Instagram videos have become a hugely popular addition to the site, but most are blurry, unclear and indecipherable. When using video for your nonprofit, there needs to be more preparation and planning than just sneaking a snapshot.

13.  Link to your mobile site (or make sure your website is mobile accessible).

Instagram is a mobile app and thus all links should go to mobile accessible pages and websites, as well as mobile donation pages and email sign up forms. This should go without saying.

14.  Have fun!

Post a photo of the Board President at their high school prom for #ThrowbackThursday. Post photos of staff members celebrating a birthday.

Keep it light and go off topic once in a while. Enjoy yourself!