“After years of sluggish philanthropy, the upward trend provides a positive outlook for the nation’s nonprofits.” Stacy Palmer Chronicle of Philanthropy editor (Theledger.com, January 1, 2014)


Description

People in general have been disappointed by the greed of a bunch of CEOs and political leaders and the disastrous consequences for the economy. In most cases, this has started at the top, with share-price-obsessed execs not generous to (or caring for) their employees, who in turn stopped giving a damn about actual customers.

The desire to give to others coincides with the emergence of an online-fueled culture of individuals who share, engage, create and collaborate in large numbers on social media and mobile apps.

Challenging times see individuals seeking care, empathy, sympathy and generosity. Consumers and citizens are demanding from governments and organizations to take care of their jobs, their savings, their fellow citizens. The desire to give to others coincides with the emergence of an online-fueled culture of individuals who share, engage, create and collaborate in large numbers on social media and mobile apps. Current uncertain and unstable times make people questioning not only the state of the world at a global scale but also their own happiness. As they are increasingly willing to make their consumption more meaningful, consumers have found out in the value of generosity a way to improve others happiness while feeling better themselves. More and more, personal fulfilment depends on insider balance and greater good. For individuals, giving is the new taking, and sharing is the new giving.

Rich philanthropists

It seems that philanthropy made a strong comeback last year thanks to larger donations than the year before. In 2013, America’s wealthiest donors gave more than $3.4bn (£2.1bn) to charity, according to a new tally of the top 10 gifts of 2013 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In terms of value, tickets were bigger with a larger number of $100m or more gifts than in 2012 including 15 publicly announced gifts of at least $100m, compared with 11 in 2012. Even if the super-wealthy have always donated to foundations and causes, these days, engaging in a little philanthropy means status. Over the past few years, billionaires around the world have made a step forward by giving away really big chunks of their fortunes.

In 2013, America’s wealthiest donors gave more than $3.4bn (£2.1bn) to charity, according to a new tally of the top 10 gifts of 2013 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In terms of value, tickets were bigger with a larger number of $100m or more gifts than in 2012 including 15 publicly announced gifts of at least $100m, compared with 11 in 2012.

Actually, these affluent people are kind of socially forced to give a lot to charity; and in terms of benefits, being socially generous is more rewarding in the long term than keeping one’ money for saving as such an act shows the giver’s smartness.

Small-scale charity

Mid-class Millennials are infusing their always-on lifestyle with short bursts of cause-based action, leaning on mobile social apps and services to engage in impromptu philanthropy and micro-activism. Well-known for their optimism and communal outlook, young consumers want to combine purpose with pleasure; they are uniting the action of giving and stuffy charity dinners, faceless mailings, or playful casual-game engagement.

As an example, charitable donations via text message continue to soar, with 9% of American adults having texted a donation from their phone at some point in 2012.

By the use of smartphones and social networks, they make charity actions more sociable and flexible. Not only it has never been easier to help the causes you care about but the charity donation has become kind of a fun activity. As an example, charitable donations via text message continue to soar, with 9% of American adults having texted a donation from their phone at some point in 2012. In addition to “old-fashioned” SMS giving, however, consumers are now turning to other routes to engage in bursts of quick philanthropic action and viral acts of awareness raising.

Featured examples

Instead

Credit: Instead.com

Credit: Instead.com

Instead is a micro-donation app for non-profits that encourages people to save money on the little things they waste money on, like a morning coffee at Starbucks or eating out at lunch break, and donate the saved sum. It doesn’t take long for donations to add up – and Instead makes it easy for users to track their progress and trumpet their do-gooder credentials via social media. Users can support a variety of charities, from international efforts like Dignitas International and Water is Basic to local organizations. Instead claims to run lean, with 95 of revenue passed along to charities.
United States of America United States, January 2012

Donate a photo

Credit: Donateaphoto.com

Credit: Donateaphoto.com

Donate a Photo is both a website and app from Johnson & Johnson that takes consumers’ photos and turns them into a way to do good. For every shared photo, the company donates $1 to a cause the user wants to help – like fixing up a public park, getting medicine for an infant, or helping kids play sports safely. The community effect helps virality as it entices the users’ friends to do the same. People can also track all the causes they have helped, see what their photos have helped to do, and get notified when their causes reach their goals or when a new cause is added.
United States of America United States, June 2014

One Today by Google

Credit: Onetoday.google.com

Credit: Onetoday.google.com

“Give a little. Change a lot.” – that’s the tagline of Google’s One Today app that encourages users to learn about U.S. charities and non-profits and donate up easily to the causes they believe in. Participants include international organizations like UNICEF, Kiva, and the Jane Goodall Institute to local organizations like the Anaheim Ballet. Aside from a 1.9% transaction fee, Google gives all the rest of money to the organizations. Each $1 donation is counted as a pledge; when enough pledges pile up (or a deadline approaches), consumers have to confirm the total payment via Google Wallet. Users are obviously encouraged to spread the word by sharing their donations on social platforms.
United States of America United States, July 2012

Lebonesprit.fr

Credit: Lebonesprit.fr

Credit: Lebonesprit.fr

With Lebonesprit.fr, the French can sell the clothes they no longer use and make a donation at the same time! The rule is simple: by putting an item on lebonesprit.fr, the seller will donate at least 33% of the price to a non-profit organization that has partnered with the website. Launched in April 2014 in France, it has already united fifteen organizations, including the Foundation of Breath (against respiratory diseases) or the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, New Solidarities for Housing, Theodora and her clowns for hospitalized children, Fidesco and Anak, which helps underprivileged children in Manila.
France France, April 2014

Pizza Mogul

Credit: Dominos.com.au

Credit: Dominos.com.au

Global fast-food chain Domino’s Pizza Mogul initiative invited its Australian customers to create and market their own pizzas, and to get back a part of the sale profits. Participants list their pizzas on the dedicated site Pizzamogul.com.au and spread the word. Every pizza purchased through the site earns its creator between $0.25 and $4.50 AUD, and they have the option of donating part of it to charity.
Australia Australia, July 2014

Mensajeros de la Paz

Credit: Theguardian.com

Credit: Theguardian.com

Spanish NGO Mensajeros de la Paz introduced the country’s first charitable vending machine. Located in the middle of a high street of Madrid, passers-by could insert change and choose from among 24 items to donate to the city’s food bank. Items cost from €1 to €3 and included basic goods like sugar, flour and eggs. The machine spit out a little box that showed the donator what he or she has purchased. The machine was supervized by volunteers and locked at night, operating from December 10, 2013, to January 10, 2014 only.
Spain Spain, December 2013

The Social Swipe

Relief organization Misereor and Hamburg based agency Kolle Rebbe have managed to make charity donations a lot easier, accessible and even fun! By inventing “posters that accept credit cards”, attracted a lot of people to activate their interactive system by swiping their credit card through the poster, and donate 2€ to the organization. “The Social Swipe” was realized with Stripe.com, one of the leading providers in mobile payment. At the moment, the digital posters get a lot of attention at international airports. But they also have a lasting impact: when donors receive their credit card statement they are asked to turn their single donation into a monthly one.
Germany Germany, April 2014

Lava Mae

Credit: Lavamae.com

Credit: Lavamae.com

Lava Mae is a San Francisco-based mobile shower and sanitation service for the homeless. This refurbished bus offers them toilets and showers around the city to compensate the lack of facilities at their disposal. The bus parks at various spots around San Francisco, drawing water from fire hydrants. The founder first secured an old bus from MUNI, then raised money through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and corporate sponsors like Google to outfit the bus with two full-service bathrooms.
United States of America United States, June 2014

#FoodShareFilter

The #FoodShareFilter campaign, imagined by Spanish NGO Manos Unidas, consists of the creation of the first supportive Instagram filter. People who take a photo of the food on their plate can now share it ‘for real’. Of the total cost of the app (0,89€), Apple Stores costs 0,35€, Google Play costs 0,26€ and the rest of the money is donated to Help Programs against hunger with the aim to support an agricultural project in Salvador. Each photo shared with the hashtag #FoodShareFilter gets the following message: “this photo helps billions of people to avoid starvation.”
Spain Spain, April 2013

The Salvation Army

Credit: Creativity-online.com

Credit: Creativity-online.com

The Salvation Army had the ingenious idea to suggest people to donate with a fun twist. In a campaign imagined by creative agency W McCann Brazil, the charitable organization proposed a new date in the calendar to give importance not only to lovers but also to ex-lovers. April 18th became Ex-Valentine’s Day and encouraged people to donate their ex’s clothes. The campaign included a video, print ads and even a Facebook app that let users virtually “burn” photos of their exes.
Brazil Brazil, April 2013

 

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Leverage cross-network connections to reach a wider range of consumers where they already are. Young adults now consider cause as a given from brands; making a step further means making the process more easily accessible. Savvy cause campaigns will harness social media to both make information more visible and facilitate access to the process of giving. Twitter’s 140-characters-or-less template is well appropriate for companies to briefly but efficiently communicate their support for causes. With social media veering toward the visual, Pinterest or Instagram are the right places to showcase their philanthropic efforts.

2

Focus only on the consumer involved and be discreet on their branded giving activities. People are ok to give and to talk about it, but they dislike the explicit correlation between a social action and the sale of a product, so keep a low brand presence in the background.

3

Play the gaming card by making the gesture of giving a fun act. Imagine inventive concepts that will engage young consumers better with your brands in exchange for rewards (e.g., “Show us a pic of you dropping off old clothes at Goodwill and we’ll give you 10% off”).

4

Incorporate the word “now” or similar words and phrases like “instant,” “get it now,” and “don’t wait” to create a sense of urgency that piques consumers’ desires for instant gratification.

Summary

  • Challenging times see people seeking care, empathy, sympathy and generosity from governments and organizations. This coincides with the emergence of an online-fueled culture of individuals who share, give, engage, create and collaborate in large numbers.
  • These days, engaging in a little philanthropy means status for affluent people. They are kind of socially enticed to give a lot to charity; and in terms of benefits, being socially generous is rewarding in the long term.
  • Mid-class Millennials are infusing their always-on lifestyle with short bursts of cause-based action, leaning on mobile social apps and services to engage in impromptu philanthropy and micro-activism.

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