Does Giving Make You Happy?

May 13, 2011

Would you make a donation to support these children? * 

Some women get turned on by shoes. They see a gorgeous pair of stilettos gleaming and sparkling in the store window and know they have to have them. That’s how I feel when I see a great opportunity for giving. I want to possess it, invest in it, feel ownership over it.

Kiva Giving Series

This post is the second in my Kiva giving series. Read the first one here:

Meet Victoria 

 Meet Victoria Soto Choque, pictured above. Kiva tells us that:

Victoria, 34 years old of Peru, lives with her partner and four children (ages 16, 15, 13, 5). Victoria is requesting a loan to expand her small business. As a grocery store owner, she will use the loan to purchase basic staples, such as rice, sugar, and pasta, as well as items for her home.* 

For a starting price of only $25, you (the donor-lender), can give a hand in helping Victoria expand her business and improve her quality of life. That $25 that you might have spent on coffee and subway tokens goes a long way in helping Victoria and in giving you a feel-good donor experience. For a total loan of $550 (to be repaid by December 2011) you get a significant bang for your buck.

Are you in? 

Micro Giving

When I created The New Jew in 2007, my intent was not to start a blog on Jewish philanthropy. No, my goal was to start a revolution in Jewish micro-giving (that is, giving in small amounts).

I grew up in an affluent community and my youth was immensely enriched by the experiences I had traveling and volunteering both in the US and abroad. I come to philanthropy with the conviction that everyone has the capacity to give something, they just need to be inspired enough to do it.

At that time, there was no JGooders,* no IsraelGives, no DonorsChoose, or any other programs to support and promote small giving. What was lacking, I believed, was an organization to help inspire giving and channel donations on a personal level, igniting that critical spark at the moment of giving.

* JGooders is now defunct. 

The Big Goal: Israel Nonprofit Gift Catalog 

What I wanted to do was to enable those with “extra” disposable income, regardless of the amount, to donate on a person-to-person or person-to-project basis with direct results.

Ultimately what I hoped for was to work with every nonprofit in Israel to create a wish list that could be entered into a larger gift catalog for potential donors to access via the web.

The options would be beautifully endless.

— Keep Reading: I Want to Hear From You —

Advertisements

Jumo: Good for the Jews? (Guest Post: Tova Serkin)

December 19, 2010


Let’s get right down to it. Jumo is a new social networking platform that intends to improve the way nonprofits, organizations, and individuals communicate online.

But what value does it have given how many others options are already available? Does it offer us something beyond the benefits of Facebook? And most importantly, is it good for the Jews? I asked Tova Serkin, a leading expert in Jewish peoplehood and nonprofit fundraising to find out.

Tova’s Take on Jumo

Prospects for Jumo’s Success

I want Jumo to succeed – I really do – but I wish I were more optimistic. The newest social network to break into the field, Jumo was launched last week as a platform for those interested in social change and charitable organizations.

Created by one Facebook’s founders, Chris Hughes, the site has already garnered tremendous press – and the pressure for success is on. Because of Hughes’ extensive experience both with Facebook and Barak Obama’s online fundraising campaign expectations, also in the from of venture capital, are high.

But through my time at JGooders, I have seen first hand how difficult it is to engage even the most committed activists in e-philanthropy of any sort. Here is my take after a few days of exploring the site.

A Quick Glance

Screenshot: Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley. Best practice model for Jumo. Gives you an idea of how a Jumo page looks if you aren’t already a user

If you don’t look carefully, at first you might think Jumo was just another Facebook redesign – the similarities are multiple and conscious. Creators figure that if we are familiar and comfortable with one platform, some of that might transfer to them.

And in fact, you must have a Facebook account to use the system effectively. Essentially, social causes open pages, and users choose to follow the projects and charities that interest them. The focus is on relationship building as opposed to soliciting donations, but recognized charities in the US are able to raise funds as well.

Overall, barring some initial kinks in the Beta version, the site is clear, easy to understand and heralds a new way of interaction with organizations – at least in theory. But Jumo faces some tremendous uphill battles before it can truly take off – while on paper it the idea of building community around specific social causes is compelling, in my experience, it is virtually impossible for most organizations.

— Keep reading to learn about Jumo’s utility to Jewish organizations and for comparison shots of how one organization operates across its website, Facebook, and Jumo —

Read the rest of this entry »


Israel Needs Your Help: Forest Fire Devastates Haifa

December 3, 2010

Israel needs your help. The worst fire in the nation’s history erupted yesterday from the forests of the Carmel in Haifa.

International aid from Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Greece was offered almost immediately to help quench the flames as Israel’s resources were quickly depleted.

As of early Friday morning, Friends of Israel’s Fire Fighters updated:

More than 15,000 residents evacuated, flames near Haifa. Mass evacuation continues into night as fire ranges in northern Israel, thousands of Haifa residents ordered to leave homes. At least 40 dead; casualty information center reopens for first time since Second Lebanon War.

Here’s How You Can Help

Jewish National Fund (JNF)

The Jewish National Fund has established a Forest Fire Emergency Campaign.

Here’s how your donations can help- and keep in mind here how many of our physical resources were lost in the fire and that Israeli firefighting sources will need extensive funds to recuperate from the loss of equipment:

  • $100- Hose
  • $500- Helmet
  • $1,000- Hose Nozzle
  • $5,000- Masks and Tanks
  • $7,500- Camera
  • $10,000- Equipment
  • $50,000- ARV
  • $125,000- Fire Truck

The JNF has also organized an international conference call on Friday, December 3rd for 12:00 EST with CEO Russell Robinson and several of their chief executive officers, as well as Shimon Romach, Chief of the Israel Firefighters, and Tim Tidewell, US Chief of the Forest Service. Click here to register and log-in information will be sent to you.

Note also JNF’s projects to Help Alleviate Israel’s Water CrisisForest Management and Fire Prevention, and Friends of Israel’s Fire Fighters. You can learn more about them here.

— Keep Reading: Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross), JGooders, Role of Social Media in Breaking News —

Read the rest of this entry »