Local Philanthropy:  You Can Touch it, Track It, See It

Local Philanthropy: You Can Touch it, Track It, See It

I believe philanthropy is a cornerstone value that can define a community. It can, in a sense, make or break a community. Communities with generosity and a coordinated voice for need can elevate quality of life for everyone who lives there. If you’re not familiar with the community foundation model, you’re not alone. Even though Virginia has more than 25 community foundations across the Commonwealth, many folks are not familiar with us. In a nutshell, community foundations work with local donors to build endowment. Community foundation donors are very involved. They create and name their own personalized fund. They decide the purpose of the fund. People instinctively want to give to something that supports the place they live and love if the right giving vehicle is at the ready. And, community foundations, with their broad flexible purpose, are at the ready. For more than 25 years, I’ve been involved in nonprofit work, mostly in fundraising, and for the past three years, as jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none executive director of the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties. It is, by far, the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. My work and career has been deeply influenced by good luck, hard work, and a remarkable cadre of volunteer leaders. Through it all, a few key notions keep floating to the surface that, I believe, have helped my local community foundation stretch and grow. Here they are: Money does make the world go round. You can’t take it with you. Buy low and sell high. Give a gift that keeps on giving—include charity in your will. Be a changemaker—find an issue that...
GiveChoose. Why We Do It.

GiveChoose. Why We Do It.

I just spent 20 minutes on the Community Foundation’s Twitter and Facebook pages re-posting all recent social media posts from our GiveChoose charities.  Is it good use of my time? Heck.  Its not just time.  The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties has invested a fair $ amount in GiveChoose, set for this next Tuesday.  Its a 24-hour charitable crowdfunding event for almost 50 local charities that starts at 12:01 AM on Tuesday May 5th. Check out the giving portal at GiveChoose.org. One more fad, you say?  The best thing since sliced bread, maybe?  Really, its somewhere in between.  But, here are some of the meaningful details. Online fundraising is the fastest growing form of new income for charities.  They need to be proficient at it.  (We launched the program earlier this year with a half-day training program for all charities.) Its fantastically cost effective–no paper or postage, and design is typically an in-house creative moment. In our first year of GiveChoose (last year), 44% of all donors were First Time Donors to the charity they gave to. That’s awesome stuff. And, finally, it builds community — a connection between businesses (Toth Financial, Alpha Graphics, Backflow Technology, Middleburg Bank, and Alpha Graphics, a private foundation, and others), that, together, created a Prize Pool of gifts to incentivize giving during the 24 hours.  There’s nothing quite like winning a prize. Charities get too few of them. It builds community among charities, as they row together to inspire giving here at home. And, it builds community as our local households see that remarkable array of local charities, doing remarkable things, helping...