Watching Philanthropy in Action in Southwest Florida

Last week I had the pleasure of experiencing firsthand the last few hours of the 36-Hour Giving Challenge, an amazing two-day marathon of charitable giving to benefit nonprofits in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. The second annual Challenge, which started at 7:00 a.m. on March 5 and ended at 7:00 p.m. on March 6, broke its own record by raising more than $2.78 million for 285 nonprofits. Even more impressive, the Challenge generated 17,626 donations from 50 states and 24 countries – a 65% increase in donations from last year. Continue reading

Southwest Florida’s Giving Challenge Was One for the Record Books

I’m not sure what’s in the water in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, but we need to bottle it up and spread it around. Late last month the region set a new philanthropic record when four FPN members – Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation and The Patterson Foundation – came together to put on the 36-Hour Giving Challenge. This first-of-its-kind online fundraising event in Southwest Florida raised a staggering $2,401,601 through 10,705 gifts in just one and a half days, breaking a record for this type of event previously held by San Diego – a city with a population more than eight times that of Sarasota.

Watching the Giving Challenge unfold, I came away with a number of key lessons and observations for our state’s philanthropy and nonprofit field: Continue reading

Get Networked, Foundations, Says Allison Fine

A full house packed the breakout session with Allison Fine at FPN’s Statewide Summit on Philanthropy to learn more about networked foundations and the cultures that make them possible.

In our networks today, we have to cultivate free agents – people who do not belong to nonprofits or our foundations, but who speak and influence others on multiple networks.

“On land” – meeting in person – is not irrelevant, but social media added to the mix makes your networks visible, actionable and much bigger much more quickly.

Social media is inexpensive, easy to use, two-way and scalable.

The costs? The loss of privacy. They own your data on Facebook. And it all requires some elbow grease to make it work.

Our default setting as institutions is a tendency to be implementers as staff, instead of engaging other people to work on our behalf as ambassadors – your donors, your grantseekers, your board members. But when the walls are down, we are developing answers with the world. Social media only works when it’s authentic and real. Continue reading