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News from the Case Foundation and what people are talking about this week in the world of giving, tech and everything in between.
We reflect on America's Giving Challenge We were very excited this week to publish our America's Giving Challenge Assessment and Reflection Report, written by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine. Our CEO, Jean Case, posted her reflections, noting that "In the end, we couldn’t have predicted a more fulfilling outcome" to the Giving Challenge. As Allison Fine reflects in her own blog post:
...when it ended something really remarkable happened. When the final winners were announced they were a Who’s Who of . . .who? They weren’t Amnesty International and the Red Cross, wonderful causes, of course, but not the winners of the Challenge. It turned out that 11 of the 16 Giving Challenge award recipients were for causes with annual organizational budgets of less than $1m.
Beth Kanter also posted her thoughts on the Challenge as a participant and on the research conducted, noting that since the end of the Giving Challenge in early 2008, "We're seeing more organizations and individuals use these tools and more organizations set up giving competitions and events that encourage the use of these tools for good causes." The Chronicle of Philanthropy also featured the Giving Challenge report in a larger opinion piece, citing the Challenge itself as an example of how foundations are exploring "the possibilities of online media to spur citizen involvement while deepening appreciation for the practice of philanthropy." Our 2007-2008 Giving Challenge partners from Causes also blogged about the research, along with Katya Andresen on her Non-Profit Marketing blog and Nathaniel Whittemore at Change.org's Social Entrepreneurship blog.
First Lady Michelle Obama kicks off United We Serve In a video message last week, President Obama unveiled "United We Serve," a call to action for all Americans to volunteer this summer, taking local action that benefits the community. The initiative will be led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency dedicated to fostering service in communities across the country. According to the press release from the Corporation:
To make it easy for Americans to get involved, the President is urging Americans to visit Serve.gov, a website managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Visitors to Serve.gov can type in their zip code to find local volunteer opportunities, recruit volunteers by posting their organization's projects, or get ideas for creating their own projects with friends, families, and neighbors.
As reported by Politico, the first lady officially kicked off United We Serve in San Francisco on Monday by helping to build a playground at a local elementary school, followed by a keynote address at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. The Case Foundation's Kari Saratovsky was in the audience for the keynote and blogged about the initiative. Today, the president and first lady pitched in at a community service event, at Fort McNair, filling backpacks for children of service men and women, according to ABC News' Political Punch blog.
Nonprofit brand rankings released This week, marketing firm Cone Inc. and British brand-valuation company Intangible Business released their rankings of the top 100 most valuable nonprofit brand names. Topping the list was Y.M.C.A. (thank you, Village People), followed by the Salvation Army and the United Way of America. As Stephanie Strom at the New York Times reports on the study:
Nonprofits like the United Way and the American Red Cross, whose name was the fourth most valuable on Cone’s list, have made efforts to value their brand names in the past, but the new analysis appears to be the first that applies the same method of measuring that value across many different nonprofits.
The rankings were developed using financial data, projected growth in revenues and a survey of 1,000 Americans. According to Alison DaSilva, executive vice president of Cone, as reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, "Charities that performed well on the list often found ways to reach people directly."
Twitter in Iran One of the most-talked about stories that has continued to evolve over the past couple of weeks is the role that Twitter is playing in the post-election situation in Iran. While the numerous media outlets who have covered this story have differing takes, all can agree that the tool is playing an important role as a source of communication and information for folks both inside and out of the country, as exemplified by Twitter's decision to delay its maintenance plans because of the Iranian protests. TIME magazine featured an article on Twitter as the "medium of the moment" in Iran, explaining that:
While the front pages of Iranian newspapers were full of blank space where censors had whited-out news stories, Twitter was delivering information from street level, in real time...
The Washington Post hosted an interesting discussion on the role of Twitter in Iran with Evgeny Morozov, blogger for Foreign Policy magazine and a fellow with Open Society Institute, and political blogger Andrew Sullivan also covered this story in depth. And if you've got some extra time on your hands, Mashable has a lengthy (but incredibly fascinating) social media timeline of the Iranian election and its aftermath, chronicling the events of the past week-plus as reported via Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Wikipedia.