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Donors: Social Change Investors?

In light of the Interdependence Project's upcoming Annual Membership meeting, I'd like to share some figures I read today, compiled by the American Association for Fundraising Counsel's 2011 Giving USA report:

Individual donors comprised of 83% of philanthropic dollars in 2011. (While foundations made up 14% and corporations 5%)

83% ...Damn.

Being a nonprofit professional, I've known that individuals are a large portion of our funding, but I wasn't aware it was this large. While I wish corporations would open their pockets a bit wider (as I assume they have more room to) the idea that individual people and families drive this sector fills my heart. We truly are the lifeline behind the organizations we love and the causes that move us.

It also seems to place us as the main investors in social change. Quite literally.

A financial investor is "someone who allocates capital with the expectation of a financial return." Don't donors do the same? Yet, instead of seeking profit in financial terms, we seek it in human and social capital. We consciously choose organizations we believe will have the greatest impact on causes that matter to us. And if those organizations remain active and successful, we continue to donate. If we can see philanthropy in these terms, it turns out to be one of the most sustainable financial investments any of us can make. One that could reap benefits for generations to come.

I don't know...maybe I'm an idealist.

All I know is that I see organizations I contribute to educating children, standing up against injustices, and harnessing communities that have the power to transform each life they encounter.  I am proud to add my modest donations/investments (modest they are) to such a large community of investors in social change. May we continue to be inspired by the worlds ability to change. And may the organizations we believe in continue to access the resources needed to help it along.


If you are a member join IDP Leadership this Saturday for the 2013 Members Meeting as they share with us their plans for IDP's future.

If you aren't a member, please consider joining. No matter the amount. $5, $10, $20, etc may not seem like a lot, but, obviously, collectively we drive this community we love so much.

For those unable to give monetarily, volunteering time and expertise to organizations is just as valuable! Often organizations lack funding specified for operation costs, such as employee salaries! Therefore, many are extremely under-staffed. (It's also a great way to get to know some awesome people!) Click here for details on IDP's volunteer and work-study program.


**FYI: IDP didn't put me up to this. I just love them and non-profit work that damn much.

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Trying to raise funds, barely succeeding

Thank you for posting this blog Angela. I just learned about the IDP community while I was out desperately trying to spread the word about my organizations fundraising efforts to support our Environmental Social Entrepreneurial "Waste to Resources Project in Kathmandu", Nepal. We have hosted on online crowdfunding (Indiegogo) campaign for the past 83 days and have only raised 27% of our $5,000 goal. I have been feeling like the days of donors for Social Change have come and gone. Your post has given me hope. Thank you for spirit.

Dont Give Up!


That is wonderful! Seriously. Social Entrepreneurship is truly a key route to sustainable community development. Community economic development is, period. I actually am working with a program focused on increasing SE initiatives in Tibet (www.tibetanvillageproject.org). We just had our first forum that gathered 45 leaders across sectors, interested in this. So many people are motivated by the SE approach. Because it really solves a core issue and not just the symptom of an issue (as you know!)
So....Don't give up.There are so many generous people out there, ESPECIALLY for viable approaches like this. BUT there are also MANY programs asking for money. It takes time. And many fundraising attempts aren't successful. Could be the content, the venue, not tapping into the right audiences, etc. Sometimes the break through is simply one, well known or crazy dedicated person. (I did a small fundraiser campaign for a school abroad last year and 2 random people popped up from my network and helped raise 50% on their own!!!) 
Thats much of what I've learned so far, I've been doing much reading on fundraising (the books help!!). I'd love hear more about your project, as SE and Nepal are close to my heart. Email me:  [email protected]

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