Alexander Gladney | Philanthropy

A Committed Philanthropist

Alexander Gladney- America's Biggest Charity Marathons

America’s Biggest Charity Marathons

Charity marathons, commonly known as “thons,” are wonderful in the way that they accomplish a dual-purpose, most of them benefiting health-related charities while promoting the health of the participants at the same time. Marathon participants typically put long, grueling hours, over many months, into training for the event, be it a full running marathon, a triathlon, a walk, or a cycling race. There are probably many moments where they feel like throwing in the rag (and many do), but training is made all the more meaningful when the end goal is to raise money for charity. Personal growth is certainly one vital aspect of a marathon, but so is fundraising for the charities they benefit.

It would be impossible to highlight all of the impactful charity marathons held in the United States, as there are just too many of them. A smaller, local event can be just as meaningful, albeit less recognized, than a larger one. If you’re looking to prioritize your health while contributing to a great cause, start by looking at the organized marathons in your local community. Then, consider one of these popular charity thons in America to suit your skill level and support a cause that’s close to you.

One of the most well-known marathons in the United States, especially following the tragic bombings in 2013, the Boston Marathon is the creme-de-la-creme of marathons for experienced runners. Think of it as the Harvard of marathons- runners must have a qualifying time from another marathon to even participate. Drawing approximately 30,000 runners annually, the marathon is one of the largest in the world and it supports at least 30 charities a year. The official organization for the marathon raises over $12 million a year, which it directs toward areas of need in the Boston metropolitan area.

One of the most buzzed-about cancer events in the nation, the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure marathon benefits breast cancer research around the world. Since its founding in 1982, the foundation has raised over $2 billion for breast cancer research. Races are now held all around the world, with 14 international races in 9 countries expected in 2017, and over 150 total across the globe.

As the largest cycling event in America (raising more money than any other cycling event for any other cause), Bike M.S. supports an excellent cause. Multiple sclerosis is a devastating disease of the central nervous system, often culminating in blindness and paralysis. It affects more than 2.3 million people around the world. With events held around the country, it is easy to find a ride and form a team.

It is only natural that the “happiest place on Earth” would hold a marathon to spread some of that positive energy to a noble cause. The event, which includes everything from a kids race to a full marathon, aims to both raise awareness and raise awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Arguably the most well-known marathon event around the nation, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is more than just a fundraiser- it is a celebration of the lives of all those who have been affected by cancer. Because cancer doesn’t stop, neither does your team for the duration of the event; a participant of each team is asked to remain on the track at all times. Last year alone, participants raised $406 million for cancer research.

Not feeling up to the physical challenge? No worries. There are plenty of ways to get involved in charity marathons that don’t involve much physical activity. Fundraisers are always looking for volunteers to cover tasks like handing out water, setting up the route, and working the registration desk.

Alexander Gladney- How Volunteering Can Make You a Better Person

How Volunteering Can Make You a Better Person

The dictionary definition of “volunteer” is literally to give of oneself: “to offer oneself for some service or undertaking.” When you are giving yourself to something, you may not expect to get anything back in return, but with volunteering, you know you’re getting the most out of it if you come away feeling like a richer person. There is absolutely nothing wrong with benefitting personally from volunteer work; here are some of the ways volunteering can make you into a better person.

Volunteering makes you more connected.

Volunteering can make you a more respected and recognized leader in your community. By getting out and meeting new people, connecting with others from all walks of life, you are giving yourself a broader understanding of your community. One may live in a place for several years and never truly know it, but by volunteering your services within your local community, you are given the opportunity to make an impact and learn about social justice issues.

Volunteering helps you develop more skills.

By developing skills in a particular area of interest, volunteering can even help advance your career. Skills-based (or pro bono) volunteering allows you to help yourself while helping others, because you are gaining relevant work experience and networking with people in your field, just without the pay. This is why so many companies invest in corporate philanthropy initiatives.

Volunteering is good for your mind and body.

Many volunteer programs are physically and mentally demanding. Studies have found that those who volunteer experience both improved mental and improved physical health. Those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, as well as lower rates of depression later in life. Volunteering has even been proven to lessen chronic pain and reduce one’s risk of heart disease. Additionally, volunteering has therapeutic benefits; it can combat stress, aggression, and anxiety and make you feel like a better person overall.

Volunteering is good for your heart and soul.

Lastly, a major benefit of volunteering is that it feels good, not just mentally and physically, but on a deeper level. Love, as an emotion, can be difficult to measure; however, researchers from the London School of Economics found a positive correlation between volunteering and happiness; the more people volunteer, the more room they have for empathy and love.

crowdfunding image

A Brief History of Crowdfunding

Humble Beginnings

Stemming from the 1700’s with the creation of small loans in Ireland, today’s idea of crowdfunding found its humble beginnings in one singular British band in 1997.  This band wanted to go on one final tour, and so, they turned to the internet for help.  With the support of their loyal following, they were able to fund their tour with micro-donations given by their fans.  Out of this successful internet phenomenon was birthed ArtistShare–the first online crowdfunding source in existence.

Jaw-Dropping Growth

Over the next nine years, crowdfunding slowly began to find authority amongst like minded individuals online.  With the advent of, “rewards-based,… debt-based,… donation-based,” and, “equity”-based crowdfunding over those nine years, crowdfunding eventually exploded with popularity in 2009.  With the presence of highly-reputable early adopters, such as the founding of Indiegogo in 2008, crowdfunding caught on like a wildfire, leading to the creation of Kickstarter, Indiegogo’s primary competitor.  These, “rewards-based crowdfunding platforms,” became the latest craze in philanthropy.  Just to reinforce how much crowdfunding took the economy by storm, the industry went from a measly net worth of $530,000,000 to $1,500,000,000 in the two years between 2009-2011.  And, it’s not going to stop there, sources say.  Growth in this sector is projected to grow by 74% annually.

The White House Takes Notice

From 2009 to 2012, crowdfunding gained a rapidly growing audience that even took the White House by storm.  Furthermore, Fundable says that on April 5, 2012, “President Barack Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act into law. Also known as ‘the crowdfunding bill,’ the JOBS Act aims to lessen regulation burdens on small businesses and has legalized equity crowdfunding. This includes removing the ban on general solicitation that prevents entrepreneurs from publicizing that they’re raising money.”  Because the dawn of the JOBS Act set in on America, entrepreneurs Eric Corl and Wil Schroter created Fundable, the first capital-raising crowdfunding source online.

 

Take a look at Fundable’s insightful infographic with a timeline of the aforementioned events.

 

Even take into account CrowdFunder’s infographic on crowdfunding.  CrowdFunder boasts of, allowing venture capitalists to “invest in many deals at the same terms.”

Remote-Access Philanthropy

Crowdfunding has supported millions of organizations, companies, and individuals with hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of its young existence.  With the exponential growth of technology, particularly computers, since the early 1980’s, people around the globe have been able to not only retrieve whatever information they desire with a simple click, but also access like minded groups and individuals worldwide.  This type of remote-access has given people the opportunity to hyper-specialize their philanthropic efforts, supporting niche causes with a strategic and minimalistic hand.

 

Philanthropy

The Age of the Casual Philanthropist

With the rise of technology, we’ve also witnessed something else: the development of the casual philanthropist. Giving to different causes and organizations is easier than ever, whether it’s some huge charity that has locations all over the world or a fund for the family down the street with expensive medical bills. Thanks to casual philanthropy, there’s now something commonly known as slacktivism, which allows people to give without having to do very much. This type of philanthropy has gotten people involved that never participated in philanthropy before. There are various ways to participate in philanthropy, making it accessible to significantly more people.

 

More people giving

 

One of the best aspects of the rise of casual philanthropists is that more people are giving than ever before. For many people, writing a check and sending it in the mail or physically going to a fundraiser was too much, but clicking a button or filling out something online allows them to participate in philanthropy. These people would not have been previously considered philanthropists, but now they can get involved in ways that work best for them.

 

Easier donations

 

Before, philanthropy was more difficult to get involved in than it is now, because there weren’t as many options on how you wanted to give. Now, you can easily make a donation online with minimal effort on your end. There are even apps that can be downloaded to your phone and give to charity while you’re walking or using the Internet. You can download extensions onto your web browser that run in the background and generate donations to charity and with websites such as Freerice.com, users can play games and donate food to people around the world. Some of these opportunities require no money from the user, which makes it even more appealing to some who do not have the means to donate large sums of money.

 

New opportunities for giving

 

In addition to donations being easier to give, there are also new opportunities. Being able to donate to an organization using your phone or computer added an entirely new layer to philanthropy. Reports show that traditional ways of giving are not losing numbers; the new opportunities are drawing in philanthropists who likely would not have made donations in the past. The more ways there are to give, the more people will get involved. Since there are many options to give without having to spend your own time and money, virtually anyone can participate in philanthropy.

 

Makes it a part of life

 

Because philanthropy and opportunities to give are so common,  it’s becoming a routine part of life. Thanks to organizations such as GoFundMe.com, people are more open to discussing where there are needs in the local community and how you can easily donate to larger causes. Information can be relayed from around the world in a few seconds, so people are constantly aware of any disasters that have affected certain areas. Now, many people’s first reaction when they hear about a tragedy is to wonder how they can help the people affected, which shows helping others has become a regular part of life.

 

Giving Back

Little Habits You Can Start to Give Back

 

Whether you’re an individual, startup organization, or up and running business, there is always room to give back and portray your values to the community. Although money is an important aspect of helping non-profits and charities help others, it is not the only way to give back to your community. By following these simple ideas, you can contribute to a positive community, even when your wallet is down.

Clean Out Your Closet

One of the best ways to give back to the community is to go through your house and pick out things that you may not wear or need anymore! Instead of throwing it away, donate it to your local Salvation Army or charity. Some things may not seem like they’re worth anything to you anymore, but others may be able to put good use to these items, especially if they can’t afford to buy brand new. You may also be able to clean out your pantry and donate non-perishable items to a food bank.

Create a Community Garden

If your local community doesn’t already have a community garden, plan out a community spring project to build one! Community gardens are a great way to give back to others, while also helping sustain the environment. Families and children are able to learn about healthy and sustainable food production, which is a life skill anyone can use at home. This will also help them come up with recipes with the produce grown.

Share Your Advice

Another great way to use your philanthropic instincts is to volunteer your time to help others with advice. For example, after-school programs are a great way to share your knowledge and help others with continuous learning. Volunteering at the Boys and Girls club, or simply visiting a retirement home to socialize, is also a great way to offer knowledge and thoughts. Many people lack people to look up to, so by simply having conversations and offering mentorship, you’ll be able to establish relationships and change the lives of others.

Serve on a Board

Serving on a local non-profit board can greatly make an impact on your local community and the people that the organizations sponsor. This will allow you to practice your skills and expertise, while contributing new ideas to help make a positive impact on the organization. Many nonprofits tend to lack extra help, such as volunteers and board members. You’ll also be able to make connections and establish relationships that could work together with your organization and make an overall better community.

Fundraising

Fundraising Trends You Need To Know For the New Year

With the New Year just around the corner, you may be getting ready to plan out your yearly fundraisers. However, with the advancement of technology and more people than ever wanting to give back, successful fundraising will be easier to achieve than ever. Here are your top fundraising trends to try out this year.

 

Crowdfunding

Originally known for funding community projects and buildings, crowdfunding is a way for many people to contribute small amounts of money in order to gain back an investment in the future. However, nonprofits are moving more towards this trend as more people are wanting to contribute, spread awareness in the community. It also allows those that typically wouldn’t be able to donate, to contribute a minimal amounts (such as college students). Crowdfunding is a great idea for your next fundraising campaign because of the return and interest they gain from the community. It also

 

Websites and Social Media

One of the most crucial things that nonprofits will benefit from is the use of online engagement and social media through their nonprofits. Social media is one of the best ways to earn a high return for your fundraising projects. The use of social media allows more opportunity for people to get involved and donate to organizations and causes they care about. This allows them to contribute to their community and make a difference. However, this means that nonprofits have to be more strategic with their social media and online use in order to make themselves more visible through the online communities. Investing the time into training and learning new social media and website strategies will allow your fundraising to achieve its peak when it comes to earning money. You’re also able to convey your nonprofit’s perception and message to become more well known.

 

Mobile Development

Along with my last point, mobile development will be crucial to your nonprofit website. Ensuring that your website and social media platforms are compatible mobily will help enhance your funds. For example, 38% of large gifts come from a mobile friendly page. Through mobile fundraising, donors are able to send money through virtual wallets, text messages, and online donation forms. This ensures that accounting and tracking is quicker and easier to receive, ultimately allowing to see your goals. This also means that you are able to keep track of your donors to be able to keep in contact with them and thank them for their donations.

Alexander Gladney: Corporate Social Responsibility

Why Companies Should Encourage Volunteer Work

 

Today, many millennials are struggling to get by through day to day life. From higher living costs, paying off school loans and bills, and working multiple jobs at a time, millennials are more stressed than ever  — and that stress is reflected in their performance at work. The last thing they have time for is volunteering.

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but the act of giving back to the community does. Many organizations think that in order for employees to be happy, they need a bigger paycheck, but that’s not necessarily true. Giving back to the community is a big reason that employees choose to work at companies that offer time off for volunteering and community work.

There has been a proven cycle of success within the workplace and we’ve all heard it before: Happy employees mean happy customers. In order for a business to succeed, it must rely heavily on its employees to establish relationships, solve problems, and communicate effectively with their customers. But studies have shown that many employees are not satisfied with their jobs, and it is not because of their paychecks. Many millennials aren’t given the opportunity to gain leadership skills, solve problems, or give back to the community. Supporting and encouraging employee volunteer projects will help them establish skills to personally grow as individuals, which they can apply within the workplace and strengthen the overall company.

According to the Millennial Impact Report, 46% of employed millennials volunteered with an organization they care for, and 52% donated to a cause they cared for. When people are able to give back to an organization, they feel a sense of fullness and satisfaction. Everyone wants to find a purpose to fulfill their lives and be apart of something special while fulfilling their corporate social responsibility (CSR). One study showed that millennials are more likely to engage in companies that focus on social issues.

This theory can be applied to the workplace environment as well when it comes to employee engagement.  Millennials would rather chose to work for a company that integrates CSR in their business ethics. In fact, companies that pay for employees to volunteer on company time see a higher company growth rate, and happier employees. The attitudes and willingness of millennial employees grow when CSR is implemented in the work life. This leads to the quality of work and company ethics to expand.

Many people want to volunteer, but can’t because they feel spread too thin. Employees are more likely to volunteer if their companies give them support for their efforts. In this case, companies can help the community as well as their employees and their own company image. This is why many millennials are attracted to companies that allow the opportunity to get involved in the community, rather than focusing on traditional work flow and paychecks. The media has also been particularly interested in companies who are creating volunteer programs for their employees. These companies are becoming increasingly popular amongst millennials, and smaller/ private companies are beginning to take the steps to incorporate paid volunteer time off in their benefits programs.

Social issues and challenges have changed increasingly over the years. Millennials are now the largest generation living in today’s day and age, and they’re changing the way we may think. Working for companies who implement corporate social responsibility, is a big trend among millennials. These companies are growing bigger amongst their competitors and developing successful trends to establish happiness and growth within the workplace.

Alexander Gladney: How Health Philanthropy Show Aim Higher Than a Band-Aid Fix

Health Philanthropy Show Aim Higher Than a Band-Aid Fix

A renaissance man for the millennial age, Michael Bloomberg’s achievements include founding the world’s most preeminent financial services firm and serving as its CEO as well as an unprecedented three terms as the Mayor of New York City. Beyond his accomplishments in both the public and private sectors, however, Bloomberg is also a celebrated philanthropist, having committed enormous sums of money to various causes he supports. His generosity has made headlines yet again, this time because of a $300 million gift to Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater.

The donation will establish the Bloomberg American Health Institute at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health (another branch of the school named in Bloomberg’s honor thanks to his generous gifts) that will focus specifically on the dangers to public health posed by drug addiction, gun violence, obesity, adolescent health, and environmental threats. Funds from the Bloomberg American Health Institute will fully pay for 50 public health fellows each year to study and return to their home communities, facilitate faculty research, establish scholarships for John Hopkins’ new Doctor of Public Health Program, and much more.

“By spreading smart public health strategies that save lives and bringing people together to try new approaches, we can make the same strides in the 21st century against health threats like air pollution, gun violence, and obesity that we did in the 20th century against polio and other infectious diseases,” Bloomberg said, according to an article on Johns Hopkins’ website.

Thanks to this donation, Bloomberg’s gifts to Johns Hopkins exceed $1.5 billion since his graduation in 1964.

Bloomberg’s continued giving to the school shows that he understands that the value of his contributions far exceed the number on the checks. His gifts to the university do more than simply keep the lights on or facilitate new programs but empower students–the newest wave of thinkers, leaders and visionaries–to make discoveries and explore the possibilities of science, which will pay dividends in social good in the form of new medicines and technologies. In short, Bloomberg’s not funding a school; he’s inspiring a generation.

It’s also worth noting his view of what constitutes a public health problem. It’s certainly easy to see health in terms of sickness and disease. The eye-catching celebrity benefits and 5ks are all dedicated to illnesses, and while it’s indisputably necessary to pursue any and all paths toward cures, our focus on health as rooted solely in biology means that many we tend not to think of things like gun violence as a health epidemic. Bloomberg, by grouping gun violence and drug addiction under the banner of health, reminds us that these crises are no less of a plague than actual diseases, and he empowers members of the medical community to start looking for solutions.

And while Bloomberg is one of the richest men in the world with a several billion in the bank, he’s not the only person capable of tremendous acts of giving. We don’t all have $300 million to endow an institute, but we all have our own ways of building a better, healthier world.

Alexander Glandey: The Key to Social Media Engagement for Your Nonprofit

The Key to Social Media Engagement for your Nonprofit

These days, everyone knows you need a social media presence to engage the public, and it can be hard to get much done without one. The magic formula for successful social engagement is still a mystery, however, and many non-profits drive themselves crazy trying to crack the secret code. The single most important thing you can do to get others involved and excited about the cause you believe in, however, is simple: Make it a conversation.

After all, it’s in the name. Social media is designed as a format for social interaction, not just receiving information. If you are using your social profiles solely to broadcast information and preach your message, you probably won’t get much traction, no matter how important and moving your cause.

Instead, make it a priority to reach a deeper level of engagement. Take the time to respond to those who message you or tweet at you. Post in ways that ask for other’s opinions and involve them in the decision making processes of your organization. Give updates and thank those who have participated. Treat your social outreach as an active, two way conversation and before you know it you’ll have an avid following that’s eager to pitch in!

It may not seem like the most important work you do, but your organization needs enthusiastic support to make a difference, and anything that gets people involved is time well spent. Don’t let this golden opportunity become a chore! Keep learning more about engaging your followers on social media.

Alexander Gladney: Why Youth Are the Future of Philanthropy

Why Youth are the Future of Philanthropy

There’s no better way to celebrate your own success than by giving something back to the community that supported you on your journey. When it comes to philanthropy, the constant challenge is finding the project or cause that will take your contribution the furthest and have the greatest impact in the world. One of the best ways to make an immeasurable, lasting difference around you, however, is regularly overlooked.

 

What better way make your donation stretch than to nurture and encourage a future filled with dedicated, capable philanthropists who will continue your work to make the world a better place long after your own influence has faded. Although they are often touted as the root of community problems, youth can also be the creators of community-wide solutions. Youth philanthropy has often gone unreported and unnoticed in the decades since its emergence in the 1980s, but the inspiring movement could not be more important.

 

Although the trend is still young, youth charity is growing quickly. One exciting new tool could throw fuel on the fire. The Foundation Center launched a large scale report on the state of youth philanthropy which identified disparate organizations all across the country that had little to no contact with each other. In response to this problem, they launched YouthGiving.org, an online hub that connects young philanthropists with each other and with grant writing professionals, allowing young people to design, create, and execute their own charitable projects where their communities need them most. Already the project boasts 3,594 youth-driven grants in their database and $14 million in youth grants since 2001.

 

Youth centered programs are simply too impactful to be overlooked any longer. Powerful ideas like YouthGiving.org are a triple threat. They provide meaningful education and engagement to kids who benefit greatly by learning real-life skills, improved self-esteem, and the values of citizenship first hand. Indeed, empowering youth in such an effective way is itself the main focus of many philanthropic and charitable efforts. There are also, of course, the immediate benefits gained from supporting people-based local and national programs that work to improve communities on the ground level. After all, who better to recognize and meet the needs of their community than those living directly in it?  Finally, of course, there are exponential benefits to be had by nurturing a new generation of socially conscious and skilled youth who may well grow up to be the foundation leaders and program officers of tomorrow. It is easy to see how the youth involved with YouthGiving.org will be inspired to continue to fight for their communities far into the future and support the next generation of youth in turn, creating a cycle of giving.

 

In some areas, youth may even be more valuable for philanthropic efforts because of their age and relative inexperience. For instance, take the effort to design an innovative new approach to curbing teen pregnancy: an app that will help educate teens and help them make good choices. A push like this to think out of the box relies heavily on one of the central tenets of design thinking, namely that involving the target audience in the creation of the tool will make it more successful. Youth, after all, are uniquely situated to understand themselves and their peers, and can bring an empathetic approach to designing programs that will have the greatest effect for others like them.
So next time you’re planning a new philanthropic project or launching a community outreach effort, don’t overlook a powerful resource and talent base by excluding youth activists.

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