Putting Grantees in the Spotlight

Even though #GivingTuesday is still very new, I've always been a big fan of the movement. I love the creativity and collaboration that this special day inspires in nonprofits across the country.

When I came onboard to direct social media for Foundation Center in 2014, I was super excited to sink my teeth into designing a #GivingTuesday campaign for our organization. We do so many cool things to support the social sector, so it would be a piece of cake to drum up some donations to support the work we do, right? As it turns out, our legacy, size, and the nature of the way we contribute to the sector may actually work against us in this unique fundraising space. So where do we fit in on #GivingTuesday? I finally realized: Foundation Center is a leader in supporting the growth and sustainability of thousands of organizations across the globe. Instead of fundraising for ourselves on #GivingTuesday, why don't we use our influence to uplift organizations that are doing great work? Eureka!

So, for our 2016 “campaign,” our marketing, development, and knowledge services colleagues came together to design “Elevate Your Cause,” a contest where five nonprofits — and their fundraising campaigns — would be featured exclusively on our @fdncenter and @pndblog Twitter feeds on #GivingTuesday. We received more than 2,300 entries (wow!). The randomly selected winners were an awesome group of organizations from across the country, who tackle issues like reducing the high school dropout rate, providing safe shelters for women and children, and increasing awareness about a rare disease. Spotlighting these five organizations amplified their passion for their missions, and made me smile all day. We may have not raised any money this year, but the “return” we got this #GivingTuesday was rewarding in a way that we hope to build on for many years to come.

The takeaway: You can strengthen your community and enrich your work by being a megaphone for those connected to you. Are you elevating your grantees' voices? We'd love to hear about it! Tweet us and tell us about how you're weaving those connections into the larger fabric of your work.

See you online.

This letter originally appeared in today's GrantCraft newsletter. To sign up for our newsletter and special alerts, register for free. 

And...there's more! The newsletter also shared a recent blog post ,"The Out in Ohio Immersion: Increasing Social Capital and Grantee Inclusion" by David Moore of the David Bohnett Foundation. The blog is part of an ongoing series detailing experiences from Out in Ohio: An LGBTQ Funders’ Immersion Trip in Cleveland, which took place on September 8-9, 2016 and was sponsored by the national affinity group, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, and led by local LGBTQ funding ambassadors Kristi Andrasik, The Cleveland Foundation and Brian Schultz, Foundation Center Midwest.

Also, Foundation Center recently released a new dashboard entitled "Southern Trends Report: Philanthropy in the Southeast Region". This dashboard provides an at-a-glance overview of institutional philanthropic information for the Southeast Region and its composite states. Explore how foundations are supporting grantees and communities in the Southeastern United States, learn more here.

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