Telling Florida Philanthropy’s Story With Bigger, Better Data

FC_AllianceFlorida Philanthropic Network is excited to be part of a new national strategic partnership that aims to achieve a dramatic improvement in the collection and sharing of data on philanthropy.

Last week the Foundation Center and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers announced this new alliance. The partnership will result in the collection of more comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date data on grantmaking in our country. These data will be used in new regional research reports and new regional data visualization tools that will help us do a better job of telling the story of philanthropy in our region and help inform funding decisions and track giving trends. Continue reading

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

Advancing Philanthropy in the New Social Economy

The Florida Philanthropic Network’s 2012 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy is off to a fabulous start – inspiration, innovation and fresh approaches from some of the country’s leading philanthropic thinkers.

Perla Ni is the founder and president of Great Nonprofits. Her walk through the new social economy explained how new tools like social media, new structures and financial instruments, and new approaches are deploying innovations for public good.

Walls are coming down in every sector, as the information is flowing more freely. For example, farmers can follow others on Twitter to know exactly what’s going on over acres of land. At John Hopkins University, scientists studied 1.5 million health-related tweets to understand big misconceptions about flu treatments. And even the DMV in California is using Twitter for customer service and monitoring. Continue reading

Increasing A Community’s Knowledge of Local Nonprofits: A New Model From Brevard County

In this new age of technology and tools, where can people go to learn about their community’s nonprofit sector to help make informed decisions about community needs and charitable giving?

A new model from Brevard County offers one answer. Through a partnership with the Urban Institute’s National Center on Charitable Statistics (NCCS), the Community Foundation for Brevard, an FPN member, has created Connect Brevard, a web-based tool built on a platform developed by NCCS. Launched in September 2011, Connect Brevard provides a comprehensive picture of Brevard County’s residents, social services and most pressing needs all in one place. The site offers all the publicly available information on every tax-exempt organization in Brevard County from IRS tax filings and census bureau data, which can be supplemented with information from local organizations. NCCS’s Community Platform software is being marketed and developed in more than 10 states and counties nationwide, but with the help of the foundation’s advisory teams of local leaders, Brevard County was the first in the nation to launch the site.

In a recent FPN webinar, Sandi Scannelli, President/CEO of the Community Foundation for Brevard and Tom Pollak, NCCS Program Director at the Urban Institute, gave an overview of Connect Brevard and the Community Platform software. According to Scannelli, in the short time that Connect Brevard has been in operation, the county has learned a great deal about itself. For example, the Brevard County discovered that its volunteers give many more hours per volunteer than the national average (No. 8 in the country), and that arts groups in the county were particularly hard hit by the economic downturn. Continue reading