Nonprofit Spotlight: Autism Society of Minnesota

We love our nonprofit partners at DoTopia. After all, they are the reason we are here in the first place! This month, we are so excited to introduce you to the Autism Society of Minnesota. April is National Autism Awareness Month, so it is very fitting to be highlighting this amazing organization. Read on to learn more about the incredible work AuSM does and join us in supporting their mission.

How did this organization get formed and what does it stand for?

The Autism Society of Minnesota is Minnesota’s First Autism Resource ™

In 1971, a group of passionate parents founded AuSM to seek greater understanding and better school supports for their children with autism. More than four decades later, AuSM continues its mission to improve the lives of people with autism, but with an expanded focus along the entire lifespan, from birth through retirement.

Whether you are the parent of a child with a new diagnosis, an adult with autism who needs guidance, an educator or healthcare professional who supports people with autism, or a company that wants to learn more about the talents of people with autism, AuSM offers the resources you need to help you accomplish your goals.

AuSM is a place where everyone can learn, access services, and develop skills for navigating what can be challenging emotions and complex information. Services include membership, workshops, the Minnesota autism conference, AuSM Skillshops, the Life with Autism Series for newly diagnosed and specific life stages, specially tailored summer camps for youth and adults with autism, interest-based social skills classes with community partners, Counseling and Consulting Services, support groups, Autism Direct Support Certification training, sensory-friendly events, advocacy, Information and Resources, and customized autism training.

As the autism diagnosis rate increases, so, too, does the need for programs and services to help people with autism thrive. As the state’s oldest nonprofit autism organization, AuSM relies on the generosity of our community to carry out our important mission. 100% of donated dollars stay local, benefitting Minnesota families and individuals touched by autism.

Where has your organization made the most impact?

AuSM is an organization that serves the needs of the local autism community by providing services and programs that enhance the lives of individuals, helping them to grow and thrive. AuSM takes pride in being responsive to our community, filling gaps in services through thoughtful program planning and through trainings to businesses and organizations throughout the state.

What are your organizations top initiatives in 2018?

AuSM’s initiatives align with their mission of enhancing the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder through education support, collaboration, and advocacy.

Initiatives include:

  • Being Minnesota’s first autism resource with  free Information and Resources hotline
  • Having a voice at the Capitol through advocacyffering educational opportunities through our state autism conference, workshops, AuSM Skillshops
  • Helping youth and adults grow through summer camps, social skills classes, and inclusive community events
  • Raising awareness and appreciation through resource fairs and business and organization trainings
  • Serving as support for individuals, families, and caregivers through their AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services program and free support groups
  • Continuing to listen to their community and understanding needs

How can one get involved and support your mission?

AuSM has many ways for our community to get involved with theirprograms and services. If you would like to donate your time to the Autism Society of Minnesota, they have a variety of ways you can help. Many of AuSM’s volunteer opportunities surround awareness and fundraising events including Steps of Hope, our annual state conference, the AuSM Gala, the AuSM Golf Classic, and more. Information about volunteering can be found on our website, www.ausm.org.

AuSM also encourages our community to consider donating dollars in support of AuSM’s mission. Their supporters sustain the work that has helped so many in the Minnesota autism community. AuSM’s drive for continuing this work is strong as they constantly look for ways to serve you even better. 100% of donations stay in the Minnesota autism community, and every dollar counts. Donations can be made through DoTopia’s website by searching “Autism Society of Minnesota”.

23rd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference

During the 23rd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference held April 25-28, 2018 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis,, we will join our voices as a passionate community to inspire learning, hope, and innovation. Experts, parents, caregivers, educators, paraprofessionals, mental health professionals, service providers, and individuals on the spectrum will have a platform to connect, collaborate, advocate, and educate. The conference will feature four keynote speakers, Frank Campagna “Autism Daddy”; Jed Baker, PhD; Stephen Shore, PhD; and Leah Kuypers MA Ed, OTR/L; as well as 35 breakout sessions focused on a wide variety of topics important to their community, exhibitors offering products and services, and the AuSM Bookstore.

This year’s conference will begin with an exciting family celebration featuring Julia, the newest Sesame Street Muppet, a character who was created to increase awareness and understanding of autism. During Julia’s AuSM Autism Celebration, meet walkaround Julia, visit resource tables, participate in sensory activities, and play games during this age and ability inclusive event.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.ausm.org.

 

We are proud to call the Autism Society of Minnesota a DoTopia charity partner and are grateful for the work they do.

DoTopia makes it easy to give to AuSM as well as millions of other charities of your choice on our platform.

Sign up for a Personal Giving Account today.

Ways to help

Simple Ways To Help The People Next Door…And Around The World in 2018

Aside from donating money (which is always a great idea!), corporations and individuals have the ability to make a difference in many ways.

In recent decades, major advancements in technology have enabled people to be in constant contact with one another, communicating across the globe in seconds. We can watch world news happening in real-time, answer a question instantly, or share an exciting event with our families and friends with just the click of a button.

When a disaster strikes another country, we are instantly aware of it, with social media updates flooding our timelines. When someone is in need, we know about it quickly. We are connected to each other in unique ways never before possible.

Technology offers amazing opportunities to solve some of humanity’s most critical issues, and yet dependence on it hasn’t always had such a positive result. Instead, some have become more isolated and disconnected at both the local and global level.

Societies are becoming more divided, governments are looking inward for their own solutions, and we’re losing our sense of charitable duty toward each other. We have forgotten what it means to be loving, kind, and generous. In all the social media updates, we’ve forgotten how to be humans who care about each other.

But despite finding ourselves and our businesses in an environment of ever-increasing apathy and self-centeredness, there are actually a multitude of ways to generate a positive impact through practicing altruism, showing compassion, and most importantly, by taking real action. And what better time to start thinking about this than the beginning of a new year?

Simple Ways to Help

Step #1: Look Around

Before you come up with an elaborate plan to achieve world harmony, take a look around the community you live in and formulate ways that you can make a positive contribution through volunteering. Before you try to change the world, look at your own neighborhood.

A small effort can quickly grow into a remarkable movement, and by starting at the local level, you’ll establish relationships along the way with like-minded fellow citizens that also want to give something back.

Consider the case of Ryan Hreljac, creator of the Ryan’s Well Foundation, which raises money to drill wells for impoverished communities lacking adequate sources of drinking water. Ryan began his effort to help others as a young student in elementary school by raising $2,000 to build a single well in Uganda. Sixteen years later, he now runs a widely recognized nonprofit that works to provide access to clean water in communities across the African continent and elsewhere.

Ryan’s work and the success of his foundation prove that one person, with one idea and the right kind of dedication, can start a movement at the local level that ultimately has a global impact and improves the daily lives of thousands of people.

“I think the important thing when I was a kid was that I recognized that I could try to do something small and get engaged. And even though I didn’t have all the answers and didn’t come from a position of affluence or knowledge …I had the optimism to do something small and that ended up making a big difference.” – Ryan Hreljac (Source)

One of the easiest, most obvious ways to make an immediate difference is through volunteering. Nearly every community has need for volunteers of all different types. Hospitals usually have opportunities for students to help deliver mail and gifts to patient rooms, pass out trays at mealtimes, or help with tasks like changing sheets and blankets.

Nonprofit community centers like homeless shelters or women’s homes need people to contribute with housekeeping, serving food to their residents, and helping new occupants adjust and integrate into the facility.

Local police and fire departments need citizen enforcers and volunteer firefighters to keep the peace while public schools and libraries frequently struggle to stay within their budgets and will often take all the help they can get.

Step #2 – Start Raising Funds For The Needy

Fundraising is another great way to help the community and promote global citizenship.  Money can be raised in all kinds of ways and for many different causes and reasons.

For example, you might encourage students to start a local scholarship fund for their peers by collecting donations outside of grocery stores or other businesses. Starting an annual drive for coats, shoes, or general clothing is an excellent way to help others in need and some communities have even started collection for outdated eyeglasses or loose change.

Donation drives place unwanted items into the hands of people that need them and actually have a positive impact on the environment by keeping those donated items from out of the garbage and the local landfill.

Step #3 – Be A Mentor

You can use the skills from your experience, education, or job to find ways to teach and mentor within the community. Career professionals might establish community workshops for teaching things like CPR, public safety, literacy, or computer skills.

Teachers and college professors might offer classes for English speakers to learn another language or to teach English to non-native speakers.  Even if you don’t have a degree or special training, you might still be a great communicator that could mentor at-risk children in afterschool programs or participate in parenting or family support groups.

Step #4 – Help Promote Wellness

The need for public service is driven by the concept of the common good, or what is in the best interest of everyone involved. In recent years, neighborhoods and communities nationwide have struggled with the health and wellness of their populations and the trend has been moving too fast in the wrong direction.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle has immediate and long-term benefits to society and significantly impacts the viability of the population as a whole.

As of 2016, The American Heart Association reports that “childhood obesity” is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.” (Source)

What are some simple ways you can help? Try inviting neighbors to participate in a group activities that get you more active. Donate your time teaching yoga, strength training, or even martial arts if you’re already embracing a healthy lifestyle.

Consider starting a nutrition education program or neighborhood farming cooperative to help people learn about how to grow and build a diet full of nourishing foods.

Finally, working with city council boards or nonprofit entities to provide mobile services like immunization clinics or veterinary care brings access to much needed services directly to people without the means or transportation to access them. Lack of healthcare, nutrition, and physical exercise are major social problems in modern society and implementing measures to combat them will make a huge, and potentially lifelong difference in your local community.

Step #5: Look Globally

At the worldwide level, it can be difficult to devise ways of making a positive contribution and improving global society but it is possible to find ways of reaching out to both individuals and whole communities.

Simple ways to help

People all over the world need someone to talk to. You can start out simply by finding a pen pal that you can converse with via traditional mail, e-mail, or even social media.  Plenty of young people lack access to modern technology and offering them a friendly ear and a means to learn about the world outside their own can be incredibly rewarding on both sides.

Beyond that, finding ways to communicate online with people on the other side of the world exposes you to different cultures, new information, and charitable causes, helping  you develop a more open-minded and global perspective.

Step #6: Connect With Organizations Making A Difference

Individual philanthropy at the national or international scale might seem daunting. The truth is that our modern world of constant connectedness gives individuals the same power to raise awareness campaigns as entities like the Red Cross and United Nations.

Web platforms for personalized giving (like DoTopia) gives one person the ability to set a goal and contribute. Social media services (like Facebook and Twitter) offer a means to get the word out on a global scale.

These technologies put the giving power that was previously reserved for large organizations into the hands of ordinary people who can then accomplish something extraordinary.

If you’re more interested in getting up from the computer to make a more hands-on positive impact, volunteering to work for government groups like The Peace Corps that focus primarily on social and economic development outside the United States would be great for someone that feels passionately about class inequality and equal access to opportunity.

Likewise, if you’re on a mission to minimize the negative impacts of climate change, organizations like Greenpeace or The Nature Conservancy are excellent nonprofit volunteer groups.

Finally, if poor access to healthcare and lack of medicine in other parts of the world drives your desire to give back, consider supporting charitable professional associations like Doctors without Borders (a.k.a. Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF) and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Joining a humanitarian or peacekeeping organization can be an extremely fulfilling way of participating in important international efforts while exercising responsible global citizenship.

Your Vote Matters

Regardless of how you choose to engage in activism, participation in local and national elections by exercising your right to vote is, by far, the most effective way to shift national and international policy and each individual has a civil obligation to participate in the democratic process.

As of the 2016 American election, just over half of eligible Americans participated in voting and the United States ranks twenty-eighth on the list of thirty-five member nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Source) We, as local residents, as national citizens, or as global humanity, don’t deserve positive change if we aren’t also willing to embrace the democratic process alongside social activism and participate in elections.

Simple ways to help

This article originally appeared here at https://businessconnectworld.com/2017/11/28/simple-ways-help-people-next-door-around-world/and has been republished with permission from https://businessconnectworld.com

Lead With Love Leadership Summit 2018

 

DoTopia is elated to be a sponsor at this years Lead With Love 2018 Summit held in Aspen, Colorado. Lead With Love is a four day event where people all over the world gather to discuss social impact, wellness in the community, and much more.

 

What is the Lead With Love Summit?

We’re glad you asked!  Lead With Love is a once a year summit held in Aspen, Colorado that started in 2016. All proceeds to this event go to Project Wellbeing (formerly known as Aspen City of Wellbeing) which is a non-profit that promotes wellbeing throughout the city of Aspen through programs, retreats, consulting, online resources, and of course their biggest event of the year, the Lead With Love Summit. This summit is a gathering for leaders in well-being, conscious communication, social impact, and the opening of the heart, body, and mind. Feature presenters include John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods, and Lynne Twist, founder of the Soul of Money Institute.

Other activities include yoga classes, sound healing, meditation, music, any many other spiritual experiences to help immerse yourself in the power of healing and wellness.

When is the summit?

Lead With Love is Thursday, October 25- Sunday, October 28

How is DoTopia involved?

Not only is DoTopia a proud sponsor for this years summit, but our founder, Billy Weisman, will be a presenter! He will be on a panel with three other presenters, discussing the Tipping Point Founders Story on Sunday afternoon. If you want to look at the full schedule of presenters, you can click here.

How do I get tickets?

Great question! You can get tickets here. As a bonus for supporting Lead With Love and DoTopia, you can get 100$ off your ticket using the code DOTOPIALOVE at checkout, awesome!

 

 

Personalize your Giving Experience with DoDollars and Personal Giving Accounts

We care about many things at DoTopia. The first and foremost being the connection we make between our DoTopians and the 1.6 million nonprofits on our platform. We are inspired by the impact individuals and organizations make on a daily basis. In fact, we created an e-book showcasing why our DoTopians give.

More givers, giving more has always been our driving motivator in everything we do. We do this by supporting individual acts of giving through personalized cause marketing and workplace giving technology.  All of our giving solutions support individual acts of giving by setting up each DoTopian with their own personal giving account and giving them access to our philanthropic currency, DoDollars®.

Personal Giving Accounts and DoDollars were created by DoTopia to inspire social change and are two unique benefits we offer when purchasing a corporate giving solution with DoTopia or using DoTopia as your individual giving solution.

Year of Giving

If you haven’t heard, our friend, Deepak Chopra is calling 2018 the Year of Giving.

Giving technology has made great strides in the last few years with the increase in demand for corporate well-being initiatives. Given the current workplace dynamic organizations are facing, it is no longer an option to offer standard benefits. Your staff is too diverse for “standard” or “status quo”. . Employees are demanding more from their employers and expect personalized options to meet their needs. Not to mention, adding to the mix newly appointed millennial managers and recent Gen Z Grads. Utilizing a digital platform to implement your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy has never been more critical.

Digital and personalization are the two words we hear over and over again as being essential to the success of a workplace giving or cause marketing campaign. This is why the DoTopia model is different from other giving technologies with the use of our Personal Giving Accounts and DoDollars.

Personal Giving Accounts

Did you know anyone can create their own personal giving account? Other giving technologies require an individual to be company-sponsored to be on their platform. We’re not about that. We want everyone to have access to an easy-to-use technology for giving. A platform where you can give to any nonprofit of your choice through a single platform.  

Personal giving accounts (or PGAs) allow each individual to customize their giving experience, set giving goals, and donate to any charity on our giving platform. Whether they are an individual or company sponsored, all DoTopians are welcomed onto our platform with the tools they need to create their own giving practice.

If your charity of choice isn’t currently on our platform, no problem. As long as they are a registered nonprofit organization we can get them added in our technology. The best part? The organization will be in our system forever, so you have enabled others to give to this nonprofit as well. To get a nonprofit of your choice added, simply contact us here.

Managing your giving has never been easier. Sign up today!

DoDollars

DoDollars power our Workplace Giving Solutions, Cause Marketing & Personal Giving Accounts. Think of DoDollars as your dollars to do good.

DoDollars provide an easy and engaging experience for individuals to give. They are an all-inclusive benefit for our organizations, DoTopians and nonprofit partners, and are what connect everyone using our giving technology.

Organizations can utilize DoDollars through:

  • Matching
  • Customer Loyalty Promotions
  • Brand Engagement
  • Corporate Challenges
  • Payroll Deduction
  • Workplace Giving Campaigns
  • Volunteer Programs
  • Employee or Customer Recognition

Individuals use DoDollars to:

  • Give to their nonprofit organizations of choice
  • Gift to other individuals to give to their favorite nonprofits

Our nonprofit partners use DoDollars to:

  • Recognize and thank their donors
  • Raise funds for their own initiatives

Join us in making 2018 the Year of Giving.

Request a demo today and let DoTopia create a customized giving experience that’s perfect for your organization and your individuals.

 

Ways to help

Simple Ways To Help The People Next Door…And Around The World in 2018

Aside from donating money (which is always a great idea!), corporations and individuals have the ability to make a difference in many ways.

In recent decades, major advancements in technology have enabled people to be in constant contact with one another, communicating across the globe in seconds. We can watch world news happening in real-time, answer a question instantly, or share an exciting event with our families and friends with just the click of a button.

When a disaster strikes another country, we are instantly aware of it, with social media updates flooding our timelines. When someone is in need, we know about it quickly. We are connected to each other in unique ways never before possible.

Technology offers amazing opportunities to solve some of humanity’s most critical issues, and yet dependence on it hasn’t always had such a positive result. Instead, some have become more isolated and disconnected at both the local and global level.

Societies are becoming more divided, governments are looking inward for their own solutions, and we’re losing our sense of charitable duty toward each other. We have forgotten what it means to be loving, kind, and generous. In all the social media updates, we’ve forgotten how to be humans who care about each other.

But despite finding ourselves and our businesses in an environment of ever-increasing apathy and self-centeredness, there are actually a multitude of ways to generate a positive impact through practicing altruism, showing compassion, and most importantly, by taking real action. And what better time to start thinking about this than the beginning of a new year?

Simple Ways to Help

Step #1: Look Around

Before you come up with an elaborate plan to achieve world harmony, take a look around the community you live in and formulate ways that you can make a positive contribution through volunteering. Before you try to change the world, look at your own neighborhood.

A small effort can quickly grow into a remarkable movement, and by starting at the local level, you’ll establish relationships along the way with like-minded fellow citizens that also want to give something back.

Consider the case of Ryan Hreljac, creator of the Ryan’s Well Foundation, which raises money to drill wells for impoverished communities lacking adequate sources of drinking water. Ryan began his effort to help others as a young student in elementary school by raising $2,000 to build a single well in Uganda. Sixteen years later, he now runs a widely recognized nonprofit that works to provide access to clean water in communities across the African continent and elsewhere.

Ryan’s work and the success of his foundation prove that one person, with one idea and the right kind of dedication, can start a movement at the local level that ultimately has a global impact and improves the daily lives of thousands of people.

“I think the important thing when I was a kid was that I recognized that I could try to do something small and get engaged. And even though I didn’t have all the answers and didn’t come from a position of affluence or knowledge …I had the optimism to do something small and that ended up making a big difference.” – Ryan Hreljac (Source)

One of the easiest, most obvious ways to make an immediate difference is through volunteering. Nearly every community has need for volunteers of all different types. Hospitals usually have opportunities for students to help deliver mail and gifts to patient rooms, pass out trays at mealtimes, or help with tasks like changing sheets and blankets.

Nonprofit community centers like homeless shelters or women’s homes need people to contribute with housekeeping, serving food to their residents, and helping new occupants adjust and integrate into the facility.

Local police and fire departments need citizen enforcers and volunteer firefighters to keep the peace while public schools and libraries frequently struggle to stay within their budgets and will often take all the help they can get.

Step #2 – Start Raising Funds For The Needy

Fundraising is another great way to help the community and promote global citizenship.  Money can be raised in all kinds of ways and for many different causes and reasons.

For example, you might encourage students to start a local scholarship fund for their peers by collecting donations outside of grocery stores or other businesses. Starting an annual drive for coats, shoes, or general clothing is an excellent way to help others in need and some communities have even started collection for outdated eyeglasses or loose change.

Donation drives place unwanted items into the hands of people that need them and actually have a positive impact on the environment by keeping those donated items from out of the garbage and the local landfill.

Step #3 – Be A Mentor

You can use the skills from your experience, education, or job to find ways to teach and mentor within the community. Career professionals might establish community workshops for teaching things like CPR, public safety, literacy, or computer skills.

Teachers and college professors might offer classes for English speakers to learn another language or to teach English to non-native speakers.  Even if you don’t have a degree or special training, you might still be a great communicator that could mentor at-risk children in afterschool programs or participate in parenting or family support groups.

Step #4 – Help Promote Wellness

The need for public service is driven by the concept of the common good, or what is in the best interest of everyone involved. In recent years, neighborhoods and communities nationwide have struggled with the health and wellness of their populations and the trend has been moving too fast in the wrong direction.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle has immediate and long-term benefits to society and significantly impacts the viability of the population as a whole.

As of 2016, The American Heart Association reports that “childhood obesity” is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.” (Source)

What are some simple ways you can help? Try inviting neighbors to participate in a group activities that get you more active. Donate your time teaching yoga, strength training, or even martial arts if you’re already embracing a healthy lifestyle.

Consider starting a nutrition education program or neighborhood farming cooperative to help people learn about how to grow and build a diet full of nourishing foods.

Finally, working with city council boards or nonprofit entities to provide mobile services like immunization clinics or veterinary care brings access to much needed services directly to people without the means or transportation to access them. Lack of healthcare, nutrition, and physical exercise are major social problems in modern society and implementing measures to combat them will make a huge, and potentially lifelong difference in your local community.

Step #5: Look Globally

At the worldwide level, it can be difficult to devise ways of making a positive contribution and improving global society but it is possible to find ways of reaching out to both individuals and whole communities.

Simple ways to help

People all over the world need someone to talk to. You can start out simply by finding a pen pal that you can converse with via traditional mail, e-mail, or even social media.  Plenty of young people lack access to modern technology and offering them a friendly ear and a means to learn about the world outside their own can be incredibly rewarding on both sides.

Beyond that, finding ways to communicate online with people on the other side of the world exposes you to different cultures, new information, and charitable causes, helping  you develop a more open-minded and global perspective.

Step #6: Connect With Organizations Making A Difference

Individual philanthropy at the national or international scale might seem daunting. The truth is that our modern world of constant connectedness gives individuals the same power to raise awareness campaigns as entities like the Red Cross and United Nations.

Web platforms for personalized giving (like DoTopia) gives one person the ability to set a goal and contribute. Social media services (like Facebook and Twitter) offer a means to get the word out on a global scale.

These technologies put the giving power that was previously reserved for large organizations into the hands of ordinary people who can then accomplish something extraordinary.

If you’re more interested in getting up from the computer to make a more hands-on positive impact, volunteering to work for government groups like The Peace Corps that focus primarily on social and economic development outside the United States would be great for someone that feels passionately about class inequality and equal access to opportunity.

Likewise, if you’re on a mission to minimize the negative impacts of climate change, organizations like Greenpeace or The Nature Conservancy are excellent nonprofit volunteer groups.

Finally, if poor access to healthcare and lack of medicine in other parts of the world drives your desire to give back, consider supporting charitable professional associations like Doctors without Borders (a.k.a. Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF) and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Joining a humanitarian or peacekeeping organization can be an extremely fulfilling way of participating in important international efforts while exercising responsible global citizenship.

Your Vote Matters

Regardless of how you choose to engage in activism, participation in local and national elections by exercising your right to vote is, by far, the most effective way to shift national and international policy and each individual has a civil obligation to participate in the democratic process.

As of the 2016 American election, just over half of eligible Americans participated in voting and the United States ranks twenty-eighth on the list of thirty-five member nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Source) We, as local residents, as national citizens, or as global humanity, don’t deserve positive change if we aren’t also willing to embrace the democratic process alongside social activism and participate in elections.

Simple ways to help

This article originally appeared here at https://businessconnectworld.com/2017/11/28/simple-ways-help-people-next-door-around-world/and has been republished with permission from https://businessconnectworld.com

Use corporate tax breaks for good

How Corporations Can Use Their Extra Tax Money for Good

Facing Uncertainty Charities Use New Tax Law to Push for Donations

The GOP tax reform will devastate charitable giving

Charitable giving to take a hit from the tax law

With news headlines like this, the real reasons why we give are being diluted into just another way for us to put money back into our pockets.  

Don’t take this the wrong way if you are enjoying the tax benefits from years past (we all do), but we know many people give simply because it is the right thing to do. What these headlines do is make us feel as though giving is about us (and our deductions) instead of making the world a better place. With this fear of changing laws on the horizon, many charities and news sources cite individual giving increased significantly in 2017 simply due to the wake of the new tax laws.

2017 was in fact a record year for global giving movements like #GivingTuesday where a cool $274,000,000 dollars was donated online (over 50% increase from 2016). Additionally, The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently noted that U.S. donors gave 17.4% more online from the same week in 2016.

The fear mongers might be onto something for individual giving in 2018. That said, we encourage you to think about donating your money differently. We can’t change the rules, but we can remind ourselves of the real reasons we give. A true giving spirit is not going to be diminished by tax law changes.

Like the Avett Brothers so eloquently stated in Head Full of Doubt,

When nothing is owed or deserved or expected.

And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected.

While not all may relate to this sentiment, the right reasons to give still exist. Giving provides a share of other benefits for individuals, endorphins (the happy hormones), being one. In a survey of 600 U.S. citizens, social psychologist Liz Dunn and colleagues found that greater happiness was triggered by spending money on other people over oneself. Even more interesting, income levels did not affect the results. Whether you give $5 or $500, giving is mutually beneficial for both you and the receiver (regardless of what Trump and our current administration have to say about it).

The Reality of New Tax Laws for Corporations

According to Giving USA 2017, giving in the U.S. has risen to a $390 billion dollar industry with $281 billion made up of individual contributions and around $19 billion by corporations. Other sources include foundations and bequest (legacy). As we look to individuals vs. corporations, this disparity is quite shocking, and concerning, given the way new laws might impact both significantly.

Rather than painfully watch individual giving dollars deplete, corporations have the opportunity to step up and give more. In fact, some analysts say the new tax laws might actually lead to more individuals trying to become corporations. This could really cause a disparity for contributions. According to a recent Harvard Business Review Article, Breaking Down the New U.S. Corporate Tax Law, one analyst projects more individuals will try to incorporate in order to get taxed at the new low rate of 20 percent which would skew these giving numbers significantly and appear more favorable for corporations.

Regardless of what happens with passed-through entities, C-Corporate form businesses are now being taxed at 21% down from 35%. A huge win for those corporations who fall in this tax category! As a result of this gift, a host of these beneficiaries in the financial institution industry including BB&T Corp, Bank of America, PNC Financial Services, Wells Fargo, Fifth Third Bancorp, and others announced their plans to make new investments and raise employee wages. Additionally, U.S. Bank (our friendly neighbor in Minneapolis) is also planning to make a one-time $150 million contribution to the U.S. Bancorp Foundation to revitalize communities for years to come. Another reason, aside from naming our beautiful new stadium, for why we love them.

 

Use Corporate Tax Breaks For Good  

With companies like U.S. Bank leading the way, corporate giving is an area where many C-Corporate businesses may plan to spend their newly reallocated tax money. What a brilliant idea! Not only will this help alleviate the devastation that could happen on the individual giving front, but giving technology like DoTopia will actually put corporate giving into the hands of the individual, which leads to additional benefits for your organization and your key stakeholders.  

This isn’t simply on obligation of corporations to pick up the slack with their improved balance sheets as there are very real business benefits from corporate giving:

  • Business Sustainability – In order to attract talent, gain trust in buyers, and sustain in business today, brands must stand for more than just profits. The profit and purpose movement is here and smart business leaders understand that public perception of the company is leading to true effect on purchasing decisions by consumers. If more brands do not start to adopt similar strategies, their longevity will be threatened. A structured corporate giving program that not only engages employees but also consumers has the opportunity to transcend other more stagnant approaches.

Customer loyalty

  • True Loyalty – Corporations are always looking for new ways to engage their employees and customers to drive loyalty and differentiate themselves from competitors. It is imperative to business success. Why not use a personalized model for philanthropy? By giving employees and customers the ability to support individual causes important to them, you are creating personal and authentic connections with stakeholders inside and outside of your organization.

employee engagement

  • Increased Respect for Leaders – Developing a corporate giving initiative must start at the top. The leader of your organization needs to not only decide what is the right program for your company, but embrace it fully. Employees and customers respect leaders who care and will be more likely to connect with those whom authentically support the world outside of just profits and bottom line. A corporate giving initiative engaging employees and customers has the ability to transcend traditional “taking” approaches for philanthropy and drive a greater respect for business leaders.
  • Supporting Your Local Community – Whether your business has one location or 500, you are affecting communities outside of your concrete walls. Choosing to support your community rather than harm it will provide immediate business benefits for you. With personalized giving solutions, you can get your people involved and significantly increase the impact by supporting organizations that are important to them. Otherwise known as a double bonus! Check out what our neighbor next door, Askov Finlayson, is doing to support their local community.

  • Marketing and PR Benefits – To some, even mentioning the idea that businesses are looking to achieve these types of outcomes from corporate giving seems inauthentic. We know that is not the case for most. You give because it is the right thing to do. Even so, our world needs more stories about good companies and our news outlets recognize this and are responding. Marketers, take note.

We are only touching on a short list of business benefits from corporate giving. No matter what your reason (or 20 reasons) why, do corporate giving because it is good for the world, a great way to use your tax breaks, and benefits your bottomline.

DoTopia Can Help Your Business Do Good, Better.

Not only are we telling corporations they have the ability to help individual givers, but we know personalization and employee experience is all the rage for 2018. With all the facts in place, your employees and customers will appreciate the ability to give on your behalf to the organizations they care about most.

Purchase DoDollars with your philanthropy (non-taxed) dollars and give these to your employees in the form of rewards, onboarding, bonuses, or customers to drive loyalty. They will appreciate your commitment to them in a different way. It’s time to use your extra tax money for good.

Ready to Learn More about how DoTopia can help your company?

Just 100 Company

What is a Just 100 Company and How You Can Become One

The new year is upon us and with that comes the annual ritual of reflection and goal setting for the year to come. For DoTopia, it’s a time to reflect (and celebrate) all the good that was accomplished in 2017 and create even bigger goals so 2018 can be the most impactful, most giving year yet for corporations.

We’re living in a profit and purpose age, where organizations are expected by their consumers and employees to be just. To do good, share their voice, have a stance, and contribute to making this world better. As a result, organizations must include their social impact goals while plotting out their other 2018 aspirations. Starting this journey can be daunting, which is why it is helpful to take some tips from experts in this space.

Recently, the pros at Just 100, in conjunction with Just Capital and Forbes teamed up to analyze the nation’s largest publicly traded companies by identifying which are setting the standard for how a “just” corporation should operate. This list is known as The Just 100 and is essentially a “Good Corporate Citizen” report card.

What exactly does being a “just” company mean?

According to a survey of 72,000 Americans, they identify “Just” corporations by:

Quality goods
PRODUCING QUALITY GOODS
Treating customers well
TREATING CUSTOMERS WELL
Minimizing environmental impact
MINIMIZING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Supporting the communities businesses operate in
SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITIES BUSINESSES OPERATE IN
Committing to ethical and diverse leadership
COMMITTING TO ETHICAL AND DIVERSE LEADERSHIP
Treat workers well.
ABOVE ALL, TREATING WORKERS WELL

This survey also led to the conclusion that 69% of Americans feel that our corporations prioritize their shareholders above all else, and only 9% say the same about employees. Clearly, employee engagement or employee experience is a an opportunity where many companies are missing the mark currently.  

Organizations are facing the fact that a vast majority of their stakeholders believe their top priority is the bottom line. We get it. In order to keep your lights on, you must make money. We also know profits are not achieved without loyal customers and employees. Millennials and Gen Zers are all about mixing profit and purpose which is why it will be worth it for retention and recruitment to actually put in the work. These Just 100 companies are showing us the right ways to do good while still achieving your bottom line.   

Who should you aspire to be like and what makes them a “just” company?

The results are in for 2017 and the top “just” companies include:

1.Intel

Strengths: Communities, Workers, Products

JUST Highlight: Intel has strong migrant and foreign worker policies, which resulted in $3.5 million in fees returned by suppliers to workers – a significant accomplishment. 

2. Texas Instrument

Strengths: Product, Workers, Domestic Job Creation

JUST Highlight: Ranks top of list for worker safety with routine programs, facility assessments, audits, safety trainings, and has a formal Environmental, Safety and Health committee at all manufacturing sites, which are all OHSAS 18001 certified.

3. NVIDIA

Strengths: Workers, Customers

JUST Highlight: Prioritizes equal pay by conducting semi-annual pay analyses, including a review of its pay practices across 90 different metrics. No statistically significant disparities have been found.

4. Microsoft

Strengths: Workers, Communities, Management & Shareholders

JUST Highlight: Incentivizes management for just behavior, with half of executive’s annual cash bonus tied to qualitative objectives, including corporate citizenship, customer satisfaction, diversity & inclusion, and corporate culture. Corporate citizenship is overseen at the board committee level.

5. International Business Machines

Strengths: Communities, Workers, Management & Shareholders

JUST Highlight: Announced a plan to spend $1 billion in worker training over the next four years.

6. Accenture

Strengths: Workers, Environment, Management & Shareholders

JUST Highlight: Set a goal for women to make up at least 40% of its U.S. workforce and at least 25% of managing directors worldwide by 2020. It also signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge in 2016.

7. Cisco Systems

Strengths: Workers, Products, Domestic Job Creation

JUST Highlight: Reduces waste from product lifecycles, from designing hardware for easy disassembly all the way through a takeback program that recycles 99 percent of the electronics sent for processing.

8. Alphabet

Strengths: Workers, Environment, Management & Shareholders

JUST Highlight: Offers flexible scheduling and boasts a generous parental leave policy (plus a cash gift of $500 to help with the new baby), ranking in the top 5% on Glassdoor for work-life balance.

9. Salesforce.com

Strengths: Workers, Communities, Customers

JUST Highlight: Provides employees with seven days of paid volunteer time off each year, and matches employee giving 1:1 for up to $5,000 annually.

10. Symantec

Strengths: Workers, Products, Domestic Job Creation

Just Highlight: Invests in its employees by delivering targeted training such as the Change Leadership program, which helps employees understand the changes in the organization and how their roles are affected, and the Xcellerate program, which is a one year program for its outstanding personnel focusing on developing the future leaders of the company.

Just 100 By The Numbers

The members of the Just 100…

Emit 72% fewer greenhouse gases

Oh, and if there’s any question that investors shouldn’t invest in those who do good: the members of the Just 100 also have an 8% higher return on equity.

The time is now to step up and Do Well by Doing Good.

If not, be prepared for your customers and employees tol go knocking at the competition’s door.

Request a demo today and let DoTopia help your organization make an impact in 2018.

Join Us in Supporting Give to the Max Day this Thursday!

Give to the Max Day is this Thursday, November 16th!

This amazing day of giving in Minnesota is powered by GiveMN, a collaborative venture led by Minnesota Community Foundation and many other organizations committed to helping make our home state a better place.

GiveMN’s vision is an unparalleled state of giving — a Minnesota where innovative technology and creative ideas help each person’s generosity soar to its full potential.  Everything GiveMN does aims to increase the number of donors and the total value of donations in the state. You know the team at DoTopia is all about that!

Last year, GiveMN raised over $20 million on Give to the Max Day and is set to beat that number in 2017.

Give to the Max day is kicking off the giving season right. Join us in supporting all of your favorite MN charities this Thursday on Give to the Max Day! You can also give DoDollars to the GiveMN fund to support all of the incredible work they do.

Follow along this Thursday on GiveMN’s Facebook & Twitter.

#GivingTuesday

Is Your Company Ready for #GivingTuesday?

Is it just us or have you also started to plan out the rest of your 2017 year? Once the summer wraps (sorry to bring it up…), the remaining months always seems to flash by like a snap of the finger. Pretty soon the kids will be heading back to school, the leaves will start to fall, and the first snow will hit (sometimes within days of each other for those of us in the north). While others cry, we are getting pumped up. For us, the changing seasons bring upon our favorite season. Can you guess it? The GIVING season. Let us introduce, #GivingTuesday!

If you haven’t heard of it, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving following the two major “shopping holidays” of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year it happens to fall on November 28th.

More than likely, your organization has participated or developed a giving campaign to kick off the charitable season. A time when most people are preparing to make their holiday and year-end gifts to the causes they care about. Corporations sponsor campaigns in many forms; whether it is time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice within your local community.

#GivingTuesday is a prime opportunity to encourage your employees and customers to refocus on what the holiday season really means; spending time with the people who matter to us, expressing gratitude for all our blessings, and (of course) giving back. They will thank you for re-fueling their emotional bank accounts in between all the mindless “wish list” shopping.

We love to hear about all the creative #GivingTuesday campaigns brands have sponsored in the past. Hopefully these will warm your day up as much as they have ours and give you inspiration as you consider your campaigns.

2016 Campaign Ideas

LinkedIn

LinkedIn for Good’s #GivingTuesday initiative encouraged LinkedIn employees to donate to coworkers’ favorite nonprofits via a crowdfunding campaign. Donations made between November 29th and December 2nd were matched 3:1 by LinkedIn for Good.

T-Mobile

On #GivingTuesday, T-Mobile matched all text donations to Boys & Girls club (up to $80 per person), regardless of whether the donor was a T-Mobile Customer.

Squarespace

On #GivingTuesday 2016, creative tools company Squarespace and coding bootcamp C4Q teamed up to kick off an initiative that helped highlight the diversity of the tech community in New York City.

Carter’s

In honor of #GivingTuesday, Carter’s ran a “One for One” campaign. For every pair of pajamas purchased on #GivingTuesday, Carter’s donated a pair of pajamas to a child in need through the pajama program.

Marketers & Corporate Social Responsibility teams, rev your engines. If the prospect of these ideas don’t get you excited, I frankly don’t know what campaign will. Wondering what you can do immediately? Join the conversation and get ready for the biggest giving day of the year.

Also stay tuned to DoTopia… we have some exciting plans to make this giving season the best one yet. After all, that’s why we’re here.

Whether you are an individual or an organization, DoTopia can help with your #GivingTuesday campaigns. Reach out and we would be glad to brainstorm some ideas with you based on your giving goals.

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Giving Never Felt So Good.

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