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Philanthropy

A Few Reasons Why the Ice Bucket Challenge Has Been So Popular with CEOs

jeff bezos ice bucketEvery time you turn on the internet, someone’s dumping a bucket of cold H2O over their heads. It’s the the ALS ice bucket challenge and it’s for a good cause so go right ahead. A million times yes. As of Sunday, the challenge has raised $70.2 million.

Lots of ordinary folk are doing it. Of course, celebrities are getting in on the action. But surprisingly, a ton of CEOs are also doing it. From Mark Zuckerberg to Jeff Bezos, top executives from some big companies are getting in on the viral philanthropy action. This isn’t normal. So what gives?

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Target Is Using Philanthropy to Make Back-To-School Better Than the Holiday Season

targetThe holiday shopping season certainly wasn’t good to Target. Perhaps a little too eager to put that in the past, the retailer is already focusing on the back-to-school season. Not even a week after the 4th of July.

To get its mojo back post-data breach, Target is launching a campaign focused on social responsibility — Buy One, Give One — that will give one of Target’s brand of up & up school supply items to a student in need for every purchase made between July 13 and August 2. Items like crayons and paper will be included, more than 300 products in total. The goal is to donate $25 million worth of things to Kids in Need.

“If we reach that goal, this will be the largest cause campaign donation Target has ever made to a single organization; an important milestone on our way to giving $1 billion for education by the end of 2015,” reads the press release about the program.

This is great. The company points out that parents are spending an average of $600 on back-to-school shopping each year, a steep price for many people. But it doesn’t really address the whole data-breach, digital-security thing. Read more

UPDATED: ‘The Oatmeal’ Cartoonist Leverages Love of Tesla Motors to Support Nikola Tesla Museum

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I’m a longtime fan of The Oatmeal, and particularly appreciate how cartoonist Matt Inman exuberantly describes and animates his unbridled passion for the things he loves — his dog, grammar, the fiendishly-terrifying Mantis Shrimp, etc.

As it turns out, Inman also happens to love Tesla — both the legendary inventor and the car company — and is attempting to leverage his love and endorsement of the latter to support a museum honoring the former.

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‘Spider-Man’ Spins a Web of Feel Good to Go With Your Summer Movie Blockbuster

spider man be amazingThe latest installment in The Amazing Spider-Man franchise is opening in the US in a few days. So of course the cast has been traveling around the world promoting the summer blockbuster, appearing on TV talk shows and red carpets across the globe. In addition to the traditional movie promo stuff, there’s the “Be Amazing” campaign where the cast — Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx — travel to various locations doing volunteer work and taking snapshots with young fans.

The film’s “Be Amazing” Pinterest board is filled with photos of the cast hanging out with kids, drawing murals and generally having a good time. Then you get this sort of publicity – a world famous actor photographed with children who love the superhero character he plays, getting a chance to dress in a cute costume and live out a little fantasy.

It all makes you wonder why more of the summer popcorn movies haven’t tried to add a philanthropic component to the premiere world tour. Or maybe they have and we just haven’t heard too much about it? If it’s the latter that’s both a shame and a missed opportunity.

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Can Mike Bloomberg Really Take on the NRA?

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has a lot of money and he’s very passionate about gun control.

This is nothing new.

His advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety is, however–and this week the group launched its first campaign:

It’s a powerful PSA, though the fact that comments on the YouTube clip have been disabled hints at the considerable communications challenges ahead.

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‘Miracle Machine’ That Turns Water into Wine Isn’t Real: Actually Elaborate Stunt for Nonprofit

Wine To Water | MiracleIf you were one of the many thousands who were super stoked about the Miracle Machine that can turn water into fine wine in just a few days, we hate to burst your bubble, but that feat will have to be left to the big guy upstairs after all — the machine was a hoax, but before you get too upset, you were fooled for a really good cause (and you can still get some wine out of the deal).

A video released a few weeks ago featured an elaborate story and presentation of the Miracle Machine, which would supposedly allow you to make high quality wine at home in just three days. The video went viral and has been viewed more than 200,000 times. All this attention has created the perfect environment for the people behind the video–the nonprofit Wine to Water–to release their punch line: the gadget doesn’t exist, but there’s a major world issue that does.

“While we can’t turn water into wine,” admits the big-reveal video (below), “we can turn wine into water.” For ten years, Wine to Water has been using wine-related events like tastings and wine sales as fundraisers to help get clean drinking water to people who need it most. To date, the organization has provided clean water and sanitation to over 250,000 people in 17 countries. Read more

Aussie Charity Really Does Want You to Knit Sweaters for Penguins

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Don’t lose faith, Internet skeptics: today’s adorably viral story is real.

There really is an Australian charity called The Penguin Foundation, created to help protect our favorite flightless birds. They really do need to raise funds. And they really do want you to send them sweaters knitted for penguins as long as you pay the considerable shipping fees. They provided the picture in this post, in fact.

Still not sure? The Oregonian has a helpful true/false guide.

  • Some wildlife groups do actually use sweaters to protect penguins who’ve been exposed to oil spills
  • Yes, there was another, eerily similar viral story in 2011. In that case, the charity got too many sweaters!
  • TPF does offer a “penguin jumper” pattern for knitters (in PDF form!)
  • However, the group will almost certainly not use your sweaters on real penguins. They will, in most cases, dress the toys the group sells to raise money or find use in “educational programs”

Got it? And in case you’re not a knitter, you could always just adopt a penguin.

This has been today’s lesson in playing off an old, too-crazy-to-be-true viral story to create your own viral story. And raise money in the process.

STUDY: Even the Most Successful Charities Struggle to Raise Money Online

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You’d think that most non-profit organizations would have great mobile-friendly tools to help supporters donate as quickly and easily as possible—but according to a study performed by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that’s not the case. The key point:

“The groups take too long to ask for money, and they make it too hard to give online.”

That sentence flips the main problem faced by e-commerce marketing on its head—and there’s more.

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Mark Zuckerberg Is the World’s Most Generous Man

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That’s according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which just released its list of the 50 biggest givers in the world over the past year. This ranking does include a couple of qualifiers: Zuck’s donation came in the form of Facebook stock, and the $992 billion listed only went to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which is a very local organization.

Still, that’s quite a bit of theoretical money, and the listing solidifies Zuckerberg’s reputation as an all-around good guy (while mentioning his work with Startup: Education).

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U2 to Unveil New Song During Super Bowl Spot, Offer Free Downloads to Benefit (RED)

a812d18636ceff861a80c8920a9dedc6Come Super Bowl Sunday, you may be buying many things–beer, chips, a box of ever-elusive Velveeta, or even David Beckham’s underwear–but U2 and AIDS charity (RED) are hoping you’ll also choose Sunday as the day to download the band’s new song, “Invisible” (for free!).

During a commercial break in the big game, the song will premiere in an edited version of its music video, after which, “Invisible” will be available for free download on iTunes for a 24-hour-period. Every time the song is downloaded during those 24 hours, Bank of America will make a $1 donation to (RED)–up to a total of $2 million. All the funds will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The promotion is the launch of a new partnership between the banking giant and (RED), which, since it was founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006 with the aim of engaging businesses in the fight against AIDS, has teamed up with big-name brands like Apple, Starbucks and The Gap to raise more than $240 million for the Global Fund. Read more

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