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Buzz is Changing Our World's news and commentary blog, covering the latest stories and updates in the world of philanthropy.

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January 17, 2008

News Briefing: Scrutiny Of Veterans Charities Continues

  • The March of Dimes changes the name of its biggest fund-raising event in an effort to increase awareness of its mission.  [New York Times]
  • A former Republican congressman is indicted in an Islamic charity inquiry.  [New York Times]
  • The Board of the New York Junior League is in a public, and bitter, dispute about finances.  [New York Times]
  • Help Hospitalized Veterans - one of the country's largest veterans charities - draws sharp criticism from charity watchdogs.  [Washington Post]

November 14, 2006

Corporate philanthropy: low engagement level

Peter Frumkin on Philanthropic Engagement: Contractual relationships are frequent in the world of corporate philanthropy, where gifts are conveyed often with relative detachment, but where there is some assumption of alignment between values—or at least interests. Companies that give are reluctant to get too closely connected to the organizations they support for a range of reasons. Chief among them is the fear of exposure to negative publicity should charitable programs backfire or fail.

October 26, 2006

Pink Promotions Worry Some in Breast Cancer Fight

Chicago Tribune:  Every October, products from tweezers to toothpaste get packaged in pink.  It's all sold with the promise of promoting breast cancer awareness or benefiting breast cancer charities. Breast cancer has become the darling disease of corporate philanthropy -- especially during national breast cancer awareness month.

October 23, 2006

Cause-Related Consumerism

BrandChannel: As the world changes, so do consumer attitudes and expectations of brands. While many large companies have adopted corporate responsibility to improve business practices, consumers are asking for more. They now expect big brands to show they are responsible in the public domain—whether it is visibly contributing to the local community, divulging the means of sourcing, or offering a responsible consumer buying choice.

October 04, 2006

Is Amex's "RED" Card Corporate Philanthropy?

The Business Ethics Blog: A couple of months ago I blogged about the launch, led by U2's Bono, of a new "socially responsible brand," called "RED": U2's Bono Rocks Corporate Philanthropy. Now, American Express has joined the project, and launched its new RED American Express card. When consumers use the card to make purchases, 1% of the purchace price goes to the Global Fund to help in its fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria. Cynicism was not long in following

October 02, 2006

Support a Cause, Grow a Business...Really

Selfish Giving: The Aspen Times recently ran an article on the print ads the Aspen Ski Company are using to "Save Snow".  The ads contend that unless people take action against global warming, snow and skiing will disappear by 2100.

Executives at the company believe the ads will be good for snow and for business ... This is in contrast to research done by Skico in 2001 that found that "environmental issues were 'neither highly important nor motivating for our three target segments.' It advised Skico officials to focus on other issues that were more capable of selling lift tickets." But Skico is convinced the times have changed.  I agree.

September 26, 2006

A Campaign to Get Americans to Help When There Isn’t a Disaster

New York Times:  Recognizing that procrastination is an enemy of good intentions, a new public service effort, to be announced today, aims to persuade Americans to actually act upon their altruistic impulses.

September 18, 2006

Merchants of Cool

Selfish Giving: The Wall Street Journal ran an article recently on how the government's successful Verb program will come to an end this month after five years.  A school-based program to promote exercise, Verb was a surprising hit with kids ... Successful brands like iPod and Verb are merchants of cool.  Cool people don't buy iPods.  iPods make people cool.  It releases the "creator and performer (the DJ)" within each of us. Verb makes you cool because it breathes life into a new active identity that empowers kids to exercise. It's hip to be cool.  So here are some ways you can inject cool into your organization, your cause marketing program and even your career as a professional.

September 14, 2006

Philanthropy Google’s Way: Not the Usual

NYTimes: The ambitious founders of Google, the popular search engine company, have set up a philanthropy, giving it seed money of about $1 billion and a mandate to tackle poverty, disease and global warming.But unlike most charities, this one will be for-profit, allowing it to fund start-up companies, form partnerships with venture capitalists and even lobby Congress. It will also pay taxes.

August 29, 2006

Nonprofit Identity Crisis

Nonprofit Eye: It seems like yesterday, but I’ve been working in the sector for twenty years. Last month I attended a conference on nonprofit policy. It was a conference, like a dozen others I’ve attended over the years. At the breakfast talk I was half asleep and annoyed to be awake so early. But the keynote was so electrifying that I woke right up ... We started talking about how ironic it is that Nonprofits have come under attack for being too much “like a business."

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