Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving with a Side of Philanthropy

Last week the Great Minnesota Give Together, Give to the Max Day, overcame some serious down-time and managed to raise $17.1 million for Minnesota nonprofits and schools. It was inspiring to see Minnesotans push through and give despite the site being down.

We at the Council were also excited to be graced by the presence of Super Kris, our super hero Executive Director.

If you were unable to give to your favorite organization because of the delay, don’t forget that you can always give online, year-round, 24 hours a day! You can donate to any organization that had an account on Give to the Max Day by searching for them

If you like the chance to be part of a great day of giving again, Giving Tuesday is coming up after Thanksgiving. Inspired by Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the hubbub around shopping for the holiday season, Giving Tuesday is a great way to put some more Thanks and Giving into the increasing span of days after thanksgiving monopolized by consumerism, and to put a philanthropic and impactful spin on what is sometimes considered a troublesome holiday.

After you give to your favorite Reviewed Organizations on Giving Tuesday, let the world know by taking an #UNselfie (a selfie celebrating the unselfish act of giving!) See below for example:

Here’s to channeling all that Black Friday energy into some truly awesome giving!

-Matt Beachey, Engagement and Communications Associate  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Be a Super Giver Today: Nonprofitopolis Needs a Hero like You!

Here at Charities Review Council, we spend a lot of our time fighting the ‘good fight’ of supporting strong nonprofits and connecting them to smart givers. But usually we do that while sitting behind our desks, convening groups of nonprofits and donors, providing advice to donors over the phone, offering technical assistance to nonprofits, or pounding away on our keyboards.  Not today.

Today, we’re revealing that we at the Charities Review Council are, in fact, super heroes. Super Giving Heroes™ to be more specific. We’re led by our fearless leader, Super Kris, and we will stop at nothing to bring prosperity, good governance, and sound infrastructure to Nonprofitopolis.

Will you join the Super Giving Heroes™ and help us give Nonprofitopolis the heroic support it needs? By donating to Charities Review Council and to one or more of your favorite organizations meeting Standards today, you’ll power up your donation and help us all! Indeed, when donors and nonprofits work together, we can truly mobilize the common good!

After all, “With great giving to Charities Review Council and to a strong nonprofit comes great impact on our community.”  

Let us know you are a #supergiver by telling us on Twitter which organization meeting Standards you donated to today, and why.

Stay tuned for updates on how we’re saving Nonprofitopolis!

Want to know how else you can be a super giver on Give to the Max Day? Watch this week’s KARE11 News segment featuring (Super) Kris (in her everyday gear): 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Give When It Matters Most, In the Best Possible Way

Smart Givers Support Relief Efforts for Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan, the recent tropical storm that devastated the Philippines, Vietnam and South China, was the strongest ever recorded. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 people have lost their lives, and that millions will need basic aid, including access to food, medicine, clean water, and shelter, in the coming weeks.

Picture via

You can view specific organizations that are contributing to the relief effort here

The Charities Review Council offers the following tips on smart giving in disaster situations and how to exercise caution in addition to generosity when responding to disaster-relief appeals:
  • Give financial gifts. The best and most effective type of assistance is a financial donation to a relief organization already operating in the affected area.  Do not send goods to an organization unless specifically requested.
  • Ask Questions. When researching where to send a gift, consider the following:
  1. Is the organization legitimate? If an organization is calling you, be wary. Established disaster-relief organizations are often too busy to implement a direct phone campaign during times of disaster.  Don’t be afraid to say “no” over the phone and then contact the organization directly yourself to follow up. 
  2. Are you confident the organization has the infrastructure and capacity to put your donation to good use? Does the organization already have a strong record of aiding victims of natural disasters?
Learn more about making your donation count toward disaster relief efforts, and read the full article here.

Our Executive Director Kris Kewitsch recently shared five questions to ask before giving to a cause or charity with Kare11 News. You can watch the segment below or read the full piece here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Smart Giver and a Nonprofit Geek Walked into a Photobooth...

Question: What do you get when you renovate a 19th century horse barn, turn it into an open concept collaborative space, move a 67 year old organization into it, launch a new strategic plan, and invite a gang of strong nonprofits and engaged donors over for a party? 

Answer: A fantastic evening, and a mission that comes to life before our eyes. 

Kris Kewitsch (Executive Director, Charities Review Council), Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson, (Program Director, Charities Review Council), Kate Barr (Executive Director, Nonprofit Assistance Fund)
If you showed up to support us and see our new digs, we can’t thank you enough. Our doors opened right at 3:30pm, and friends aplenty (both old and new) stuck around until it was time to clean up. We had great conversations, a giving themed photo booth, and our event generated less than a half pound of waste, thanks to the incredible catering spread by Common Roots CafĂ©. We can’t promise a photo booth or catered appetizers every day, but we still would love to have you drop by and see us, especially if you haven’t had a chance to get to know us in a while.

At the Charities Review Council, we believe that giving is a blend of art and science, and that everyone can be a smartgiver.

Engaged philanthropy is about giving with your heart.

And also with your head.

You shared with us why you give with both, and your answers were powerful, insightful and inspiring.
We’ll be posting your answers on Twitter over the next few days using the #smartgiving hashtag. Please follow along and share. It’s the perfect time to talk about your personal giving ethos, since Give to the Max Day is right around the corner, and of course, since the giving season is upon us.  

Like us on facebook to see more pictures from our #Smartgiving Open House photo booth (including gems of nonprofit and philanthropic all-stars like the ones above).

Don’t forget to schedule your donation and show your support for the Charities Review Council on Give to the Max Day. Remember: your donation to the Charities Review Council strengthens the entire nonprofit sector.

-Kate Khaled, Engagement and Development Manager