2017 Social Good Summit to be held Sunday, Sept. 17

This year’s Social Good Summit will take place on Sunday, September 17 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

Activists, innovators and world leaders will come together at the event to explore how the global community can unlock technology’s potential to make the world a better place by the year 2030.

The conference, brought by Mashable, the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme and the 92nd Street Y, is held annually during the United Nations General Assembly week. This year’s event will be held on one day only.

The theme for the 2017 summit is Future in Focus.

Scheduled speakers include actress, comedian and Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF Whoopi Goldberg; Game of Thrones star and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Broadway actress and singer Cynthia Erivo; ElsaMarie D’Silva, the CEO and founder of Safecity; journalist and human rights activist Joumana Haddad, Girl Up Teen Advisor Angie Jiang; Rebecca Martin, the director at the Center for Global Health CDC; MSNBC news anchor Lawrence O’Donnel; Carmen Perez, the executive director of The Gathering for Justice; The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir; Kathy Calvin, the president and CEO of the UN Foundation; Mashable founder and CEO Pete Cashmore; and many more.

This year’s summit is sponsored by American Family Insurance, Pfizer, Philips, and UBS.

For updates on the event follow @MashableEvents on Twitter.

Tickets for the 2017 Social Good Summit can be purchased here.

Everyone is invited to participate on social media using the hashtag #2030NOW. The event will also be live streamed.


Charitable appeals are more successful when tailored to fit donor’s self-image, new research shows

A recent study suggests that people who are wealthy are more likely to give to charity when a donation request appeals to their sense of independence and agency, while those who earn less money are more likely to donate when a charitable appeal emphasizes community and the pursuit of shared goals.

“Both selfishness and selflessness start with the self: How wealth shapes responses to charitable appeals,” a paper published in May by psychologists Ashley Whillans, Eugene Caruso, and Elizabeth Dunn, proposes that people tend to be more generous when a donation request resonates with their self-image — a self-image which is largely shaped by social class.

Research was conducted across three field studies where participants were randomly assigned either an “agentic” or “communal” appeal and given the opportunity to make a donation. The researchers report that when the appeal emphasized agency, wealthier individuals (those earning an income of $90,000 or above) reported greater willingness to give and donated more money. However, when the appeal stressed communion, findings showed that less wealthy individuals (those earning $40,000 or less) were more willing to give. They state that findings could not be explained by relevant demographic characteristics such as age, ethnicity, or gender. 

According to Scientific American, agentic requests may appeal to wealthier individuals because people with higher incomes tend to have a greater sense of personal control. Having money allows people to be more self-reliant and this may affect how they see themselves. In contrast, people who make less money rely more on other people in their everyday lives and tend to see themselves as connected to others.

The paper concludes that: “This work adds to a growing body of research suggesting that wealth does not inherently result in selfishness or generosity. By tailoring messages to fit with people's self-concepts, it is possible to catalyze giving across the socioeconomic spectrum.”

The full paper can be found here.

2017 Games for Change Festival will include VR for Change Summit

Games for Change, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using digital games for social change, is expanding this year’s Games for Change Festival to include a deeper look at virtual reality and how communities and organizations are using the technology to impact real-world causes.

The VR for Change Summit “aims to expand our understanding of what is possible with virtual reality technology to create positive social change.”

Susanna Pollack, president of Games for Change, told Mashable:

"We feel that Games for Change is very well-positioned to help develop this community in the same way that we have in the games community. There are a number of VR events being produced around the world right now — a lot of summits and expos and demos — but none with a specific focus about how VR can be applied to social change across different sectors."

Virtual reality, a powerful storytelling tool for teaching empathy and inclusivity, has the potential to impact nonprofits, journalism, art, education, and health.

Erik Martin, former Policy Advisor at White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama Administration, is curating the summit.

“The state of VR technologies today presents an opportunity to affect positive social change in radically new ways. The emerging landscape of VR technology, such as new headsets and mobile capabilities, as well as augmented reality, are making new kinds of media content and storytelling techniques possible to engage people with critical issues and causes. We are excited to grow the community and amplify impact with the VR for Change Summit," he said, according to VRFocus.com

The VR for Change summit will include talks, workshops and demos. Developers, artists, storytellers, researchers, activists and policymakers will gather to discuss new initiatives, projects, and developments in the field.

According to the Games for Change website, keynotes of the summit include influential VR pioneer Nonny de la Peña; Megan Smith, the third White House Chief Technology Officer of the United States; Dr. Adam Gazzaley, co-founder and chief science advisor of Akili Interactive Labs, who will shares his vision of how emerging VR technology can be used to achieve meaningful and sustainable cognitive enhancement; Dawn Laguens, the EVP of the Planned Parenthood Federation, who will illustrates Planned Parenthood’s use of virtual reality and innovative apps impacting the way people access reproductive health care and empathy; Gabo Arora, the founder and president of Lightshed, who will give a historical overview of visual media and its uses for empathy and representing others’ pain.

The 14th annual Games for Change Festival will be held July 31 to Aug 2 at the New School in New York City.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit http://www.gamesforchange.org.


HarperCollins donates $200,000 to literacy-related charities as part of #WhyIRead campaign

HarperCollins Publishers has launched #WhyIRead, a social media and charity campaign to highlight the importance of literacy and to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the company.

HarperCollins Publishers will donate $200,000 to a collection of literacy-related charities, selected by its employees for promoting education, freedom of expression, and diversity. The donations are made possible by a grant from News Corp, the parent company of HarperCollins. The charities include: First Book, National Coalition Against Censorship, Room to Read, United Through Reading, and We Need Diverse Books.

As part of the initiative, several of the publisher’s authors, including Robyn Carr, Michael Chabon, Donna Hay, and Neil Gaiman, have been asked to share why they read and write and what books influenced them. Their answers can be found on HarperCollins' website. Readers have been asked to join the conversation by using the hashtag #WhyIRead.

“HarperCollins has had a long, storied history supporting authors and the printed word, and we’ve been passionate about supporting literacy and education since the company was founded in 1817,” HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray said in a statement, according to PublishersWeekly.com. “The positive impact on literacy rates during the past two centuries alongside HarperCollins’ innovations and growth lets us know it’s a more-than-worthy cause to continue to support.”



Donors worldwide invited to take 2017 Global Trends in Giving Survey

Anyone who has donated to a nonprofit within the last year is invited to take the 2017 Global Trends in Giving Survey. According to the website, the data will show how donors around the world prefer to give and engage with nonprofits, NGOs, and charities worldwide. The groundbreaking report is the only annual research project dedicated to studying how and why donors worldwide give to their favorite causes and charitable organizations. For the 2017 survey, the researchers partnered with seven organizations around the globe in order to increase the geographic range of survey respondents.

The survey, which will be published in English, Spanish and French, is being sponsored by the Public Interest Registry and researched by Nonprofit Tech for Good. Their 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report, which aimed to give a better understanding of how NGOs worldwide use online technology to engage supporters and donors, was released in January of this year.

The 2017 Global Trends in Giving Survey will be live through June 30. The sponsors have a goal of reaching 10,000 donors. The data from the survey will be released on September 4, 2017 in the inaugural edition of the Global Trends in Giving Report.  Those interested in participating can find more information at givingreport.ngo

CARE’s 2017 Walk in Her Shoes Campaign Promotes Awareness for Women and Girls Living in Poverty

Many women and girls living in the world’s poorest countries must walk an average of four miles every day to collect clean water, food, and other necessities that they and their families need in order to survive. This obligation often prevents them from getting an education, a career and income, and independence.

Participants in CARE’s Walk in Her Shoes campaign, running from now until March 14, will walk in solidarity with these women in an effort to raise awareness and funds for women in poverty across the globe. Participants in the virtual campaign, including individual fundraisers and teams, have pledged to walk 10,000 steps for seven consecutive days to raise funds for CARE programs that create new opportunities and support women and girls living in developing countries.

As of this writing, the campaign, which began on March 8, International Women’s Day, has raised $389,242. Participants in the campaign are posting their progress on social media with the hashtag #WALKINHERSHOES.

CARE is humanitarian organization dedicated to ending global poverty. According to the website, the international organization, which operates in 94 countries, delivers emergency relief and works to support more than 1000 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian-aid projects in the poorest countries in the world. CARE particularly focuses on empowering women and girls, and promoting gender equality as a means to fight poverty.

PayPal reports 11 percent growth in charitable giving in 2016

PayPal reported an 11 percent growth in charitable giving for 2016. Last year, the global payment platform processed $7.3 billion in donations.

During the holiday season alone, PayPal users contributed $971 million. From November 27 though the New Year, PayPal tracked holiday giving behavior around the world. Nearly 8 million PayPal users in 181 countries donated$971,213,604 to 282,053 charities. The largest single gift during this period was more than $230,000, while the average contribution was $93. The average contribution for the year was $89.

The top five countries that gave the most were, in order, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia.

According to PayPay, more donations were processed on December 31 than on any other day in the year, with contributions to charities totaling $77,896,580 that day. December 30 was the second highest day for donations at $59,625,454. #GivingTuesday, which occurred on November 29th in 2016, ranked as the third highest day, with over $48 million donated. 

Mobile giving also increased in 2016, with 21 percent of users making donations on a mobile device, a 12 percent increase from 2015.

“PayPal’s mission is all about democratizing financial services for citizens across the world. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the power of our global payments platform to create a worldwide network that allows people to support their communities and the causes they’re most passionate about,” said Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal. “We are thankful for the generosity that our PayPal users showed this past holiday season. We look forward to another year of innovation around new services and capabilities so that all of us can continue to make a positive impact in every community around the world that PayPal helps to serve.”

Facebook announces new tools for fundraising, social good efforts

At its first Social Good Forum in New York last Thursday, Facebook unveiled new fundraising tools and community safety updates.

The social media platform announced that it would be expanding its Fundraisers tool to now allow users to raise money for more than 750,000 nonprofits.

The majority of 501(c)(3) organizations in the U.S. will be covered by the expansion with the exception of some small organizations and chapters, although organizations left out of the partnership can still request approval from Facebook, Mashable reports.

Facebook also announced the option to add a donate button to Live videos and posts. The buttons will link to a nonprofit’s Facebook page, where people can learn more about the cause and make a donation.

The social network said that it will be improving Safety Check, which was launched in 2014 and allows Facebook users to let family and friends know they’re okay during a disaster or crises. Instead of being triggered by Facebook, the feature will now be triggered by the community.

In a Newsroom post, Vice president of social good Naomi Gleit wrote:

“Initially, Facebook decided when Safety Check was activated, but our goal has always been to make it more useful for people for more types of incidents. We believe people closest to a disaster should play a bigger role in deciding when Safety Check is most helpful. So today, Safety Check will be turned on by our community instead of Facebook. When a lot of people post about an incident from the affected area, they may be asked if they’re safe. Once marked safe, a person can then invite friends to do the same.”

Community Help, a new feature that will make its debut in 2017, will allow users to seek or offer help, including shelter, food and supplies after a natural disaster.

“In addition to using Facebook to let people know they’re safe after a disaster event, people also use Facebook to get the information and help they need to stay safe and rebuild. This spring we saw this in the aftermath of the fires in Fort McMurray, Canada, when people took to Facebook to help one another find a place to stay. Next year, we’re making these connections even easier with Community Help, a place where people can give and get help for things like shelter, food and supplies. After a natural disaster, someone can check in as safe and also ask for and offer help to those around them.”

Facebook also announced its partnership with two nonprofits during the holiday season.

In honor of the fifth anniversary of #GivingTuesday on November 29, Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will together contribute up to $1 million to Facebook fundraisers. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide $500,000 in matching funds, up to $1,000 per Facebook fundraiser, while Facebook will waive standard processing fees on all donations, up to $500,000.

Facebook’s partnership with men’s cancer organization Movember will also continue through the end of November. Individuals can sync their Movember.com and Facebook fundraising efforts, allowing users to collect donations through both.

“Facebook has always been about building community and relationships,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a video. “We’re going to keep finding new ways to empower our community through technology and services in a way that’s effective.”

Fidelity Charitable Ranks No. 1 on 2016 Philanthropy 400 list

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund has topped the list of this year’s Philanthropy 400, The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual ranking of the 400 largest charities. The charities are ranked based on how much is raised from private sources. This is the first time a charity focused on donor-advised funds has taken over the top spot on the list.

The 25-year-old Boston-based charity knocked United Way Worldwide, founded in 1887, from the No.1 spot it has held for all but one year since the list debuted in 1991. (The Salvation Army topped the list in 2006.)

“You never have that kind of a huge vault in the charity world, where a young charity does so well,” Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Fidelity, a nonprofit “spinoff” of Fidelity Investments, collected $4.6 billion in 2015, a 20 percent increase from the year before, while United Way saw a 4 percent drop in donations to $3.7 billion.

Donor-advised funds, which some have likened to a charitable savings account, have become increasingly popular in recent years.

The account is set up at a public charity, like Fidelity Charitable, and while the money can’t be withdrawn, the donor is allowed to retain some control over how the money is invested.

Donors get a tax deduction when they make a contribution; however, there is no deadline for distributing the funds. Donors can even bequeath control of the fund to their children.

Critics of the funds argue that the money would be better put to use more quickly instead of possibly languishing in an account for years. Also, funds often have to pay out fees to wealth management companies, such as Fidelity Investments, for managing the money, reports The Washington Post.

“There is a potential problem with so much money going to donor-advised funds and delaying when it actually reaches charities that are helping families and communities,” said Aaron Dorfman, chief executive of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

Says Boston College law Professor Ray Madoff: “These things afford tremendous tax benefits to donors and financial benefits to the sponsoring organizations. The problem is, this isn’t why we have charitable tax benefits. The reason we have them is to encourage the flow of dollars to organizations engaged in charitable work.”

However, donor-advised funds and even some traditional charities argue that these fund encourage more giving by offering donors greater flexibility. They also point out that the money does eventually go to charity.

Pam Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable, says the popularity of donor-advised funds has increased because they make giving more accessible. She adds that Fidelity Charitable monitors accounts and encourages regular contributions from donors.

According to Norley, Fidelity has strived to make online-giving transaction painless for donors.

"A lot of what [donor-advised funds] have brought to charities and our donors is really technology," she says. "It’s an intermediary between the donor and charity that allows the process of giving to be simpler and more transparent and easier for record-keeping."

Brian Gallagher, president of United Way Worldwide, says his organization has no problem with donor-advised funds; in fact, United Way itself receives some donations via donor-advised funds.

“If it’s a convenient vehicle for individuals to give to charitable causes, and we’re a recipient of that, we’re good with that,” he said of the funds. “We don’t see ourselves as competitive with Fidelity.”

Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer told ABC News that she expects donor-advised funds will continue to expand.

"There is a transformation going on in how donors give," she said. "It means donors have a lot more control over their donations than if they just write a check to United Way."

Feeding America, which supplies most of the country’s food banks, came in third on the list's top five, followed by Schwab Charitable, another donor-advised fund, and Catholic Charities USA.