Today is #GivingTuesday 2018!

Today is #GivingTuesday, a national holiday that comes after Thanksgiving to encourage us to become the philanthropist we all are meant to be! The leftovers have been eaten, and we’re already looking towards the next holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just enjoy a few days off, we can agree that this is the season of giving. Before you fret over decorations or fill the stockings with care, let’s think about those in our community that needs our help.

What is #GivingTuesday? 

This event was created by Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact. “#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations around the world… to celebrate and encourage giving.”

#GivingTuesday is in its seventh year and is a social media movement. In this day and age, social media is vital to getting the word out to our communities and beyond. It’s easy now to learn more about causes that you care about, and it’s even easier to donate what you can.

Thanks to giving platforms like DoTopia, giving is now trending across the globe. People want to help by donating money, time, or resources to causes that they care about. The goal is to spread the joy that is giving, not to mention helping those in need. It’s easy to get caught up in your own bubble. #GivingTuesday is a reminder that we can all create the hope and change that bring all of us together. Be a part of the movement and give today!

How Do I Choose the “Right” Cause?DoDollars are a philanthropic digital currency for giving.

This part can be overwhelming. On DoTopia alone, there are over 1.6 million charities to choose from. Luckily we make it easy to narrow down choices so that you can feel good about your giving. Simply enter your zip code, choose the causes you are interested in, and DoTopia will show you non-profits in your community. You can find more about ways to give here. Additionally, if you want to register your non-profit, you can do that here. Now let’s get out there and make this the best #GivingTuesday yet!

Minneapolis’ “Wall of Forgotten Natives”

Thanksgiving is here! For many, this means family gatherings, basting turkeys, and watching football. Thanksgiving is a beautiful occasion for loved ones to come together and remember why we have this holiday in the first place.

This holiday was established to remember the peaceful gathering of the early settlers and Native Americans, although historically it’s not that simple. Relations between colonists and Natives were usually met with violence, hate, and often death. For hundreds of years, colonists have been taking land and resources away from Native Americans, and this pattern has continued to this day.Image result for minneapolis encampmentThat’s why we thought it would be appropriate and timely to talk about the homeless encampment in Minneapolis, Minnesota, otherwise known as the “Wall of Forgotten Natives”. Not only that, but we want to provide resources so that you (yes, you!) can help.

What’s Happening?

According to the 2015 Wilder Research on Homelessness in Minnesota, Native American adults make up 8% of the homeless population, while only 1% of the total Minnesota population is Native American.

Over the past several months, homeless people have been living in tents along highway 55. What has started as a few tents has now grown into a village of over 300 people. Most of these people are Native American, many of them struggling with addiction. Three people in the encampment have already died due to overdose, as temperatures continue to drop. This encampment has gotten national attention, and is increasingly harder to ignore.

See the source image

Minneapolis Jacob Frey with Sam Strong at the future emergency shelter area, (MPR news)

There is some good news, though. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been following everything closely and has promised shelter by early December  2018. There are plans to build an emergency shelter for these people near the encampment. This “Navigation Center” will provide not only housing but other vital resources such as counseling, treatment, etc. Sam Strong, the Red Lake Tribal Secretary, has donated an acre of his land for this “Navigation Center”. Frey seems to be working hard with these people in order to provide the safest options. Time is ticking though, and winter seems to have come early this year with degrees well below freezing.

How can we help?

There have been many organizations that have donated time, resources, and money to the encampment. Talk to your school, place of worship, or community center to set up a donation. Set up a food drive, or if you’d like to help groups already underway you can find them here. There’s also resources here to donate directly to Natives Against Heroine. It’s always the right time to help those in need, but now especially.

These are a few of our favorite things…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, friends! 

We’re all getting into the giving spirit, crossing things off a massive to do list, and making plans for the new year.

We’re wrapping up the year with a review of some of our favorite things. Heck, Oprah and Ellen share their favorite things this time of year, why can’t we share ours?! These commercials, videos and campaigns all warm us up inside (especially us Northerners welcoming the first round of winter), and inspire us want to make the world a better place. Enjoy!

P&G ‘Thank You, Mom’

Get your box of kleenex out – P&G always knows how to tug at the heartstrings come Olympic season. The latest installment focuses on the biases many kids must overcome to pursue their dreams. It features young athletes who face obstacles due to gender, religion, culture, disability and more, but excel with the unconditional love and strength their moms provide.

The New York Times “The Truth is Hard to Find”

This year, the New York Times launched its first campaign in a decade. And why a new brand campaign, now? New York Times Senior VP-Head of Brand explains:

“There’s a national dialogue going on now about facts and truth and how does one know what the truth is,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to be part of that dialogue. We also found in our research that people don’t always understand what it takes to do quality original reporting, but when they do, when that becomes part of the dialogue — about how one finds the truth and about the role journalists can play, they are more interested in supporting it.”

Apple “Earth”

A stunning video made even more impressive that all footage was shot on iPhone through the lens of everyday users. Earth is our only home.

Written and narrated by Carl Sagan, from the book, Pale Blue Dot — A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

American Family – “Supporting Dreams at the Goodman Center”

The Goodman Community Center dreams of a better future for local kids. On July 8th American Family Insurance came to lend a hand – and brought a few friends along to help.

WE Day 2017

WE is a movement that believes when we come together we can create an even better world. The organization makes it easy for you to get involved—whether at home, school or work—by offering resources to help you create positive social change in your community and around the world.

Nike – “Steps”

Nike is always one to inspire. In their running commercial “Steps” the message is simple:

In life, there are no limits. Just steps.

Google Chrome Commercial – Jess Time

Another tear jerker / heart warmer. Now more than ever, Google Chrome’s takeaway message of “the web is what you make it” has never felt more real.

Pedigree “Dog”

I think we can all agree that life is better with a furry friend by your side. In Pedigree’s ad “Dog” they make their message clear:

“A dog makes your life happier. Adopt.”

WestJet Christmas Miracle: Real-Time Giving

This is an oldie but a goodie that leaves us inspired after watching… even years later.

Your Time is Now

What would you be doing today if you weren’t scared?

You can’t watch this video without motivation hitting you like a pile of bricks.

We’re always on the hunt for new sources of inspiration so please share some of your favorites with us! 2018 is just around the corner! Work with us to set your organization up for philanthropic success come the new year.

We are signing off for the year, but wanted to say thank you to our loyal followers and warm wishes over the holidays!

Cheers,

The Team @ DoTopia

With Global Giving On The Rise, It’s Time to Get Smart with Your Giving

Similar to winter solstice being the official kickoff to the season that most Minnesotans want to skip, last Tuesday was the official launch of Giving Season with #GivingTuesday.

This global day of giving is celebrated every year on the Tuesday following the two consumer-driven shopping holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Projections were expected to exceed last year’s totals, but “blowing out of the water” does not even do this year over year comparison justice.

We are excited to share the 2017 results with you:

  • $247 million raised online (over 50% increase from last year!)
  • 2.4 million total gifts
  • Over 1 million social mentions
  • 21.7 billion social impressions
  • Participation from people in 150+ countries

WOW.

We’re thrilled with these numbers and amped about the direction the philanthropic giving industry is headed. Our mission has always been “More Givers, Giving More” which is exactly what is transpiring in our world.

While Giving Tuesday has come and gone, it’s not too late to do your part this giving season. These ideas are relevant any time of year. You can also take it a step further and join the PhilanthroMarketing movement today!

With all of the generosity in December (11% of all giving occurs in the last three days of the year), we want to share a word of caution. Sadly, there are a lot of scams that happen around this time of year as well. It is important to get smart with your giving so all your hard earned, well intentioned dollars go to the causes you care about.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, best practice is to avoid any causes or fundraisers that:

  • Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used.
  • Won’t provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible.
  • Uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization.
  • Thanks you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
  • Uses high-pressure tactics like trying to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to think about it and do your research.
  • Asks for donations in cash or asks you to wire money.

Better yet, use your personal giving account to manage all of your giving. First of all, it’s free. Secondly, all organizations (over 1.6 million) on our platform are a reputable nonprofit. We manage your giving for you and everything is recorded in this digital wallet for tax purposes.

Happy Safe Giving!

10 Things You Can Do to Get Involved on #GivingTuesday

Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for – Giving Tuesday 2017!

For those of you who haven’t heard us talk about #GivingTuesday, let’s get you caught up:

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving following the two major “shopping holidays” of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

#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.

There are many ways to join in the #GivingTuesday fun including volunteering your time, participating in community events or giving to your favorite causes. In fact, #GivingTuesday raised over $177 million dollars from over 98 countries last year alone.

Here are 10 things you can do to participate in #GivingTuesday

  1. Volunteer at your favorite charity. Search for local happenings here.
  2. Clean out that closet (we know you’ve been meaning to) and bring those clothes down to the local Salvation Army
  3. Donate money to your causes. Sign-up for a DoTopia account today and you can give to multiple organizations.
  4. Write a note to your local representative. Share your voice!
  5. Spread the joy of giving with a random act of kindness.
  6. Encourage your company to raise money for a specific cause or run a #GivingTuesday campaign.
  7. Share a heartfelt post on social media about your favorite organization and why they matter to you. Encourage others to do the same.
  8. Use your skills to help nonprofits with their campaigns. You can search for pro bono opportunities on Taproot+ or reach out to you local nonprofits to see how you can use your talents to good.
  9. Talk to your management about how your organization can make giving back part of its official policy.
  10. Join in DoTopia’s #GiveDoDollars contest on Twitter for an opportunity to win $100 to give to a charity of your choice. All you need to do is tweet us what organization you would give $100 charity dollars to and why. Make sure to #GiveDoDollars to be eligible!

The crew at DoTopia is excited to be volunteering their time at Second Harvest Heartland tomorrow.

P.S. It’s not too late… #GivingTuesday is the official kick-off to Giving Season. Let us help your organization establish your own Workplace Giving or Cause Marketing campaign today by requesting a demo on our main page.

The time to give is now.

The Time to Give is Now

As you can imagine, the team at DoTopia is a little “doing good” crazy. We’ve read about, listened to, spoken with and blogged about numerous giving resources. We eat, sleep and breath making the world a better place.

Too much? We don’t think so.

We are heartbroken over the senseless violence in Las Vegas this week.  Now more than ever, we felt it was imperative to highlight the benefits of giving and why we do what we do every day. We are all about embracing the individual and strongly believe that every single act of good can make a difference.

Join us in supporting Las Vegas at the end of this post.

We have all been inspired by the books, podcasts, talks, articles and quotes listed below. We hope you love them as much as we do.

p.s. We post a ton of relevant content on our twitter account –  give us a follow.

Books

  • Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common. This landmark book opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform not just individuals and groups, but entire organizations and communities.
  • 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life is the insightful story of the author’s life change as she embraces and reflects on the naturally reciprocal process of giving. 29 Gifts shows how a simple, daily practice of altruism can dramatically alter your outlook on the world.
  • The Giving Tree is a classic that shares the affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

TED Talks

  • In 1993, Bill and Melinda Gates took a walk on the beach and made a big decision: to give their Microsoft wealth back to society. In conversation with Chris Anderson, the couple talks about their work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as their marriage, their children, their failures and the satisfaction of giving most of their money away.
  • Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can indeed buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself.
  • Sasha Dichter of the Acumen Fund shares the results of his month-long “Generosity Experiment” where he said “yes” to every request for help.

Podcast Series

  • The Cause Talk Radio podcast is one of our favorites. With well over 200 episodes, host Joe Waters of SelfishGiving.com and Megan Strand (Engage for Good’s Communication Director) interview industry experts on their initiatives that combine cause and commerce. 
  • The Greater Good discusses “the science of a meaningful life”.
  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin – #1 bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before gets more personal than ever as she brings her practical, manageable advice about happiness and good habits to this lively, thought-provoking podcast.
  • On Being takes up the big questions of meaning with scientists and theologians, artists and teachers — some you know and others you’ll love to meet.

Articles

Favorite Quotes

  • “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston S. Churchill
  • “No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank
  • “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa
  • “For it is in giving that we receive.” — Saint Francis of Assisi
  • “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity” — Leo Tolstoy
  • “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”  ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
  • “Making money is a happiness; making other people happy is a super happiness” — Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus
  • “Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person” — Goldie Hawn

Man, if that doesn’t leave you feeling inspired we don’t know what will.

We’d love to hear about your favorite “Do Good” resources and mantras in the comments below! Help us spread the joy of giving.

#VegasStrong

You can give your DoDollars to the United Blood Services and American Red Cross in support of Las Vegas. Simply search for them on our platform and give.

DAF image

DoDollars – the cryptocurrency of giving

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, chances are you’ve heard the term bitcoin being tossed around quite a bit. What you may not know is that bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency.

Now you may ask, what is cryptocurrency?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

cryptocurrency – cryp·to·cur·ren·cy (noun)

A digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.

Didn’t quite catch that? Essentially, cryptocurrency is meant to be a quicker, affordable and more reliable form of payment than money tied to individual countries. It provides an outlet of personal wealth that is beyond restriction.

Oh yeah, and it is 100% digital. The digital coins are stored in digital wallets and transferred online to other digital wallets. Sound a little familiar?

DoDollars? Bingo.

DoDollars is our proprietary philanthropic digital currency. Essentially, the “cryptocurrency of giving”.

No, DoDollars are not a form of cryptocurrency (we don’t do any of the crazy encryption stuff), but it is a digital currency that offers many of the same benefits with an aim to make the world a better place:

  • Personal Giving Accounts – a free “digital wallet” for all of our users to store, transfer, gift and manage our DoDollars
  • Completely Digital Currency – simply load up your digital wallet with money you’d like to give or gift
  • Quick and easy “transactions” i.e. gifts with over 1.6 million charities to choose from
  • Reliability – we are the most trusted brand in giving
  • Digital transfers of funds to others – gift DoDollars to the important humans in your life for them to give to the causes that matter to them

Giving has never been easier with DoDollars, the common currency for giving. We help brands advocate, facilitate and celebrate individual giving and believe in More Givers, Giving More. 

Want to start making a difference in your world? Purchase some DoDollars and open up your own Personal Giving Account Now.

 

DAF

What is a DAF and How DoTopia is Different

A popular philanthropy trend in the last 30 years has been the growing use of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs). Gaining more visibility in the 1990’s, Donor Advised Funds continue to increase and have, most recently, become philanthropy’s fastest growing giving outlet.

The National Philanthropic Trust defines a Donor Advised Fund, or DAF, as a philanthropic vehicle established at a public charity. It allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time. In 2015, DAFs accounted for more than $22.6 Billion in contributions or 8.4% of total U.S. giving (2015 Donor Advised Fund Report).

So why the increase in popularity? Besides the obvious tax benefits, Donor Advised Funds are easier for the user to manage. Financial institutions have been able to utilize online platforms which make giving simple and efficient. It has also created a transparent connection between charity and donor.

While we are supporters of all types of giving, there are some drawbacks to the DAF model:

  1. Dollars stored by the 270,000 individual funders can sit for years, if not for decades, instead of being donated to charities who need the funding to make an immediate impact.
  2. DAFs are not accessible to all givers as they are too expensive for most people. Traditional DAFs require a minimum initial contribution of $5,000 to $50,000.
  3. Discrepancy around what year the taxpayer deducts the donation without requiring the charity to receive the money.

What these drawbacks create is the perception that DAFs are used as tax shelters by some individuals.  

DoTopia’s DAF takes this philanthropic medium to the next level.

Instead of continuing to accumulate over $80 billion (current amount of charitable dollars in DAFs), DoTopia has a different idea. We believe the time for action is now. We advocate, facilitate and celebrate individual acts of giving through immediate and lasting impact with our powerful giving platform. Don’t take our word for it though. Jeff Bezos recently made headlines by asking his Twitter followers how they would maximize his philanthropic impact. His one requirement? The idea must call for immediate action to help people in the here and now. We are on your team, Jeff.

DoTopia’s mission is to be the most trusted, thus the most active, platform in giving. Our givers, which we call DoTopians, are encouraged to be active givers by either directing the funds or gifting to over 1.6 million charities OR gifting charitable dollars to other individuals to allow them to direct the funds with DoDollars.  

Most importantly, our Personal Giving Accounts are free (that’s right, no one time cost or user fees!). We welcome all to set up their free Personal Giving Account, become a DoTopian, and start making the world a better place. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Sign up for your own personal giving account.
  2. Search and select the charitable organization of your choice to give.
  3. Choose the amount and donate.

Our PGA’s operate as the “every person’s” foundation and include all the added benefits of a DAF: ease of use, setting giving goals, and keeping record of all donations for tax purposes.

But why stop there?

We take giving one step farther than the commercial DAFs (such as Fidelity and VanGuard) and leverage our giving platform to create lasting relationships through the joy of giving. We believe in the power of the individual and by focusing on the purpose of individuals, DoTopia helps charities reach their donors and brands reach their most valued assets, employees and customers.

More Givers, Giving More. That’s why we’re here.

Giving Goals.

Giving Portfolio: A New Way of Thinking

I’ll be the first to admit my knowledge in investments is limited. I tend to leave it up to the professionals. I do know is that it is important to have a well rounded investment portfolio, one that aligns with your future goals, sets you up for success and represents industries you are passionate about.

As Chris Gallant put in 4 Steps to Build a Profitable Portfolio (yes, I did Google what makes a well rounded portfolio), “In today’s marketplace, a well-maintained portfolio is vital to any investor’s success. As an individual investor, you need to know how to determine an asset allocation that best conforms to your personal investment goals and strategies.”

Just as people need to have a well-rounded investment portfolio, they should also have a strong and defined giving portfolio that conforms to their personal giving goals.

We are living in a time where everything we do represents our total being. How we make and spend our money, where we eat, what we buy, where we travel, the list goes on and on. The same goes for companies. When strategizing how to attract and retain top talent, employers know that everything their company does contributes to its brand and how the entire enterprise is viewed.

A critical piece to an individual and company-wide brand is philanthropy. A recent study determined that a company’s volunteerism program ranks third in importance to Millennials, right behind an organization’s primary purpose and its workplace culture. Leveraging Millennials’ passions, it said, “is crucial” for organizations that want “to build a culture that resonates with this growing demographic of current and future employees.”

By diversify your corporate giving portfolio and putting the power of giving in the hands of your eager Millennial and (soon to be) Gen Z employees, you are creating a strong sense of employee engagement and setting your company up for success. You are also allowing your employees to demonstrate to their social circles that they work for a company that empowers them to make a positive impact. This in turn creates a company culture that is a strong representation of who your employees are as individuals. We know this is important to them.

Supporting causes near to individuals’ hearts has never been easier. By setting up a Personal Giving Account, our DoTopian’s can search for a charity they care about (1.6 million to choose from) and donate immediately. With a PGA, they can also track, set goals and keep record of all of their giving activity allowing them to establish a strong giving portfolio.

We are the largest and most trusted giving platform and would love to empower your organization to engage and inspire your employees.

Help us Spread the Joy of Giving.

How To Create Impact in three simple steps

Making an impact on the world seems like a lovely premise, but in actuality can be a daunting idea. We have so many social issues to consider, yet so little time. Throwing in social media, the myriad of digital channels, and the 24 hour news cycle makes it impossible to stay relevant. Determining where to help and how can literally make your head spin.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Instead of getting overwhelmed with the vastness of world problems, our advice is simple:

  1. Find a problem in the world
  2. Select something you care about changing
  3. Act through giving and/or volunteering

DYK: focusing on one thing at a time also leads to a more meaningful life? Try it out. Impact what you can, where you can, with what you have. Just DO (and then spread the word).

That is the DO of DoTopia. We embrace individual acts of kindness and giving to help make the world a better place. Every single DoDollar given goes directly to a 501(c)(3) organization to positively impact them and contribute to their purpose.

And let’s face it, it feels GOOD to give. Knowing that you are making a positive difference (no gift is too small) is a great feeling. You don’t have to solve world hunger (though we believe you can!). Instead, give $30 to your high school soccer team to cover the gas needed to get to a game. Give $20 to the local park to raise funds for a new swing set. Every individual act of giving is celebrated. Your heart, your cares, and your giving has the ability to change the world.

Even better, we have made it easier than ever to spread the giving. Not only can you give your DoDollars to the causes that matter most to you, you can also gift your DoDollars to someone important in your life to give to a cause that matters to them. More Givers, Giving More. That is why we are here.

Now get out there and DO.

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