Recently, the Growfund team met with an inspiring group of Giving Circles game-changers, preparing to roll out a platform to make giving with impact easier for Giving Circles everywhere.
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“I made donations in their honor…to impact causes that matter to my family and friends as well.” -Lauren J. #WhyIGrowfund
2017 has been a brutal disaster year, but we’re heartened by how Growfunders are able to give back to the communities who need aid the most. Recently, we heard from a company that has been using Growfund to run its workplace giving campaigns. They created a Giving Opportunity on Growfund to raise money for hurricane relief, and employees across its multiple sites in the region were able to contribute to the fund. The company matched, and as a result, the employees were able to raise thousands of dollars in just a fews days to help. Before Growfund, such a company-wide effort would not have been possible!
When disasters strike across the world, Growfund immediately equips change-makers to help rebuild people’s lives through Featured Giving Opportunities (FGO) like these disaster-specific ones, which have been collecting funds to support the victims devastated by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, and the earthquake in Mexico.
While FGOs can be set up for any cause, these FGOs streamline donations to charities like the American Red Cross, Americares and Save the Children, who are on the ground working with communities on disaster relief and recovery efforts. Together, donations directed to these FGOs provide assistance such as shelter, homemade meals, emergency supplies, and, in the case of Houston, mobile medical units. Growfund’s Featured Giving Opportunities take the guesswork out of finding the right charity to get the job done.
“My son picked the name of our Growfund; he called it The Better World Fund because that’s what we’re hoping to make through our giving.” -Vicki E. #WhyIGrowfund
Brandolon shared his Growfund story with community leaders at the Independent Sector conference this week.
In this post, Growfund’s director, Brandolon Barnett, shares some thoughts from his recent attendance at bbcon 2017, where he presented on “The Evolution of Global Philanthropy.”
Reflections from bbcon 2017: The Evolution of Global Philanthropy
by Brandolon Barnett
Technology is essential for impact in 21st century philanthropy. Efforts to improve our world are now amplified exponentially through giving tools such as Growfund, crowdfunding platforms, impact assessment software, grants or volunteer management tools, and a growing array of innovations. This is what makes bbcon one of my favorite events of the year. This conference put on by Blackbaud provides a unique environment for nonprofits and foundations to discuss in detail the role of technological innovation in the work they are engaged in.
My presentation focused on the role of innovation in the fundraising space. Along with my co-presenter, Sharon Carney, Economic Strategy Director for Washington, D.C., I focused on the emergence of an ecosystem of funding sources that can help social impact organizations – social enterprises, foundations, nonprofits, universities, etc. – access new streams of funding through engagement with a broader ecosystem of funding sources, tools, and technologies.
(“Giving in the New Era of Engagement” Growfund Infographic, 2017)
In many ways, the discussion with the audience revolved around an updated vision of the non-profit startup in 2017 versus, for example, 2005. In the traditional vision, a new nonprofit in 2005 opens its doors. The classic fundamental tenet of nonprofit fundraising is “no money, no mission.” As this new organization seeks to fund the work it wants to do to improve its community, it essentially has one vehicle through which it can raise funds: donations. These grant contributions can take a few forms but essentially depend entirely on donor appeals to donors of various income levels – individual donors, foundations, or federal or state grants.
Now contrast this with 2017. A nonprofit startup today can utilize new tools and technologies to access funding for its mission through an exponentially growing set of channels. These channels include crowdfunding platforms, the ability to start and manage a venture fund, the incubation of a social enterprise or revenue generating venture that adds value to the world, donor advised funds, and more. In many ways, this mirrors the longstanding ability of private sector startups to access multiple streams of funding as they seek to fund their work. These streams have traditionally included grants, numerous forms of debt capital, angel investments, venture capital rounds, and more. Increasingly, the ecosystem in which nonprofits operate within holds similar options.
Together we discussed how this might change the fundamental character of the fundraising role within nonprofits, from “seeking donations” to “seeking to raise resources for efforts through engagement with a broader ecosystem of funding and support.” This is an exciting change in many ways that can allow nonprofits to find the type of “funding” or support that best fits its mission. We learned how the city of Washington, D.C. is innovating in building municipal support for this new ecosystem with the Impact Economy area of its economic strategy.
This changed landscape was prominently on display throughout the conference, especially within the education/university sessions that were a real focus for the Growfund team at this year’s bbcon. Growfund has huge potential to transform university philanthropy. Our no-minimum donor advised fund can be provided to students from the moment they set foot on campus. In learning how to use Growfund as a personal foundation, these students can support their favorite causes with intention and engagement like never before. And then, as these students graduate, equipped with a personal foundation, they can maintain a connection with their alma mater that is tied to their giving for the rest of their lives.
bbcon was full of great lessons in how universities are leveraging technology for their development efforts. Concepts such as “systemized lapsed donor reactivation,” activities such as tiering alumni prospects, or priorities like providing good experiences for alumni donors, are issues that Growfund can help to address and are all important for us to understand fully as we continue to shape a product that fits university campuses. With Growfund’s white labeled platform, we can provide data to universities on how their students are saving for their giving and giving to charities more broadly. This data can be immensely helpful in maintaining or re-establishing relationships with students or alumni who can see their interests and passions highlighted and reflected through their university’s programs.
The possibilities are endless. I’m looking forward to continuing these conversations this week at the Independent Sector conference in Detroit.
“I love to be able to teach her about philanthropy, about giving back, about taking care of others.” -Stephanie S. #WhyIGrowfund
Doers and dreamers unite at Our Common Future conference. Led by Independent Sector, Our Common Future brings together nonprofits, foundations, corporations, and social enterprises. At the conference, Growfund’s Director, Brandolon Barnett, will speak on Leveraging Donor Advised Funds (DAFs).
What’s a DAF? DAFs are the fastest growing tool for giving in the United States. Think of them as a virtual wallet for charitable giving. As a DAF, Growfund offers anyone of any income the chance to save and invest for their giving, allowing users to give more over time.
Our Common Future attendees will learn how Growfund is democratizing philanthropy. As the first no-minimum DAF, Growfund cuts the cost of operating a DAF by thousands of dollars.
As doers and dreamers, conference attendees need new tools like Growfund to engage with causes and simplify their giving. With Growfund we can imagine a world where anyone who is asked to donate has money already set aside, growing, to support the causes they love.
Join Brandolon for an exploration of current trends in giving and philanthropy. Wherever you choose to do good, Our Common Future will empower you to do it better, and so will Growfund.
Topic: Leveraging Donor Advised Funds
Location: Presentation Pavilion
Date: Thursday, October 26
Time: 1:45 p.m.
Learn about Growfund at the premier tech gathering for social good: bbcon. From across the social good community, Blackbaud’s annual conference brings together thousands of fundraisers, marketers, administrators, executives, and industry thought leaders. Growfund will be among them.
At bbcon, Brandolon Barnett, Growfund’s director, will present on the Evolution of Global Philanthropy. Learn how you or your company can use Growfund to be a part of the future of philanthropy.
Come find us at bbcon in Baltimore. The conference will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center from October 17- 19.
Growfund’s director, Brandolon Barnett, will be at SOCAP (Social Capital Markets Conference) connecting with fellow philanthropists and business leaders to discuss the next best donor engagement tools.
Come learn how the Growfund giving platform locates itself at the intersection of money and meaning. The conference kicks off at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 10th.