Elaine Fogel


ice_bucket_promo3Who could have predicted how successful and widespread the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge would be? It is a charity phenomenon that will go down in fundraising history.

It is also among the biggest viral hits in Facebook’s history! According to the Huffington Post, “2.4 million videos ‘related to the ice bucket challenge have been shared’ on the social network, and more than 28 million people have posted, commented or liked a post relating to the challenge.

As of yesterday, Wednesday, August 20, The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 20). These donations have come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors to The Association. Unbelievable.

Even though the original idea doesn’t belong to the ALS Association, the organization piggybacked on it and it took off like a rocket. Celebrities, politicians, and everyday people have jumped on the bandwagon. But, not everyone is über positive about the campaign.  Continue reading

donald-sterlingI don’t know about you, but when I heard that LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, had made many charitable donations, I grew suspect. What were his motives? Was he trying to boost his image?

Well, now we know. According to Paul Blumenthal and Jason Cherkis of the Huffington Post:

“Since 2007, Sterling’s foundations have spread small sums of money around to multiple nonprofits supporting the African-American and Latino communities as well as a number of education, health care, homeless, and Jewish and Israeli groups. These contributions have been criticized in the past as an attempt to direct attention away from Sterling’s long history of being accused of racial discrimination.”

Apparently, allegations of racism have circulated for years. “He has paid multimillion-dollar settlements over lawsuits accusing him of discriminatory housing policies in his real estate holdings. Documents and interviews related to those cases claimed that Sterling refused to rent to blacks (‘they smell’), Latinos (‘all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day’) and families with children (‘brats’).”

It makes me cringe. But, there’s a bigger issue at play here. Should charities accept gifts from donors whose motives or backgrounds are suspect? Aren’t their brand reputations at stake? Continue reading

urgent-rubber-stampI recently received an “Urgent: Your support is needed” email. It came from a charity whose annual municipal grant was reduced by 10% for the next fiscal year. How bad was it?

In the second paragraph, the CEO states that the organization has experienced a 30% cut in municipal funding over the past eight years! He asks me for help - to contact city officials and advocate on the charity’s behalf, and to show up at a city budget meeting to voice my opposition to the budget cut. As I read his plea, my instinct told me that something was wrong with this picture.

So, I did some research and uncovered a very disturbing fact.  Continue reading

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