In recent months, tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombings and Oklahoma tornadoes have ignited the spirit of giving. It’s no secret that in the wake of disasters, many people are all too eager to donate their money and resources to help victims, which speaks volumes about the ever-present good in society.
At the same time, unfortunately, tragedies also have a tendency to bring scammers out of the woodwork. These people are ready and willing to prey upon the public’s good intent, all for the sake of a profit.
So, if you find yourself wanting to help through monetary donations, how can you be sure where your money is really going? How do you know it’s in good hands and will be allocated appropriately? The following tips can help you avoid charity fraud and give you peace of mind that your donation will be put to good use.
1. Do your research. Try to find as much information as possible on the charity or non-profit you wish to give to, including an address, phone number and tax identification number. Check out rating and evaluation sites like Charitynavigator.org and Charitywatch.org, which rank charities based on transparency and efficiency.
2. Don’t respond to email solicitations unless you know the charity or non-profit well, and never give to organizations that ask for wired donations or cash. Also, be wary of phishing emails designed to look like legitimate charities; if you wish to give online, go directly to the organization’s website and find a secured page.
3. Check out the charity’s registration details with your state’s Office of the Attorney General. Most states require charities to register with a state government agency before they are able to solicit donations. If you’re having trouble finding proof of registration, chances are the charity isn’t legitimate, in which case you can also contact the Office of the Attorney General to report charity fraud.
4. Be wary of online fundraisers you may find on Facebook or any other social networking site. Look carefully at their cause, goals and the amount of support they’ve received. Some may contain malware to steal your personal information. If something doesn’t look right, go with your instinct.
5. Don’t fall for high-pressure tactics used to solicit donations, whether over the phone or online. Legitimate charities will never pressure you into giving right away.
PSGive is partnering with GoodCompany Ventures to help promote their entry into the Philly DoGooder awards. They’d like to help get the word out about their video, and have passed along a new iPad to a PSGive user who helps spread the word about this great cause.
The Philly DoGooder awards help encourage social innovation and action through storytelling, something which GoodCompany Ventures is doing through their latest video to explain the purpose behind their company. The video takes a productive approach to the idea of “first world problems,” but we’ll let the video speak for itself below.
Great idea, right? Not only will you be able to help spread this message of connecting innovators of social good with donors, but you’ll have a great shot at winning a prize too. All you have to do is just share the video. Remember that you can enter in multiple days too! Tweeting about it different days will earn more tokens and increase your chances of winning.
We all want to have a great time ringing in the new year tonight; please be safe so that you can have a great 2013.
Planning to have some adult beverages? Many cities and towns across the nation are providing free transportation so that you don’t have to worry about driving home unsafely. (Be sure to double check the options for your locality before heading out for the night)
The most well known and widespread assistance comes from AAA, which is offering their Tipsy Tow program in select areas, helping you and your vehicle get home safely whether or not you are a member.
There are many other options to find as well - please take 5 minutes to do a quick search online (add your local area) and see what options are around you. For example, a funeral home in Rockland County, NY, is offering its third annual “Safe Drive Program” with free rides between midnight and 4am.
Of course, since you might expect long wait times with the above options and don’t want to be tempted to drive, your best plan would be to find a designated driver, or plan to stay the night wherever you’ll be partying.
PS Have a great idea of your own to share? Let us know on our Facebook page!
In the wake of the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut this past weekend, many people are looking for ways that they can help the community. Thankfully, there are many opportunities to be able to make a difference for the families and community connected to Sandy Hook Elementary School. We wanted to highlight some of them below:
Newtown Memorial Fund This fund has three goals over time: To cover funeral expenses, to help assist the town of Newtown with a suitable lasting memorial, and also to help establish a scholarship for students of Newtown Public Schools moving on to college.
United Way of Connecticut Sandy Hook School Support Fund The United Way of Connecticut has set up this support fund with the Newtown Savings Bank to provide support services for the families and community that has been affected. The site also notes that the “United Way will be working with a representative group of Newtown community leaders and members to determine how the funds will be used.”
One of the great things about psGive are the non-profit partners that we are constantly working with. All of these partners are listed on our charity page, where you can donate directly to them at any time. We evaluate every non-profit based on rankings and criteria used by independent evaluators, so you can feel confident that your donation is going to a good place. Over the upcoming weeks, we’d like to highlight some of the great non-profit partners that we’re honored to support.
You may have noticed that our recent Aquaponic Garden Kit promotion with Back to the Roots was also an effort to benefit a group called City Hall Fellows. This non-partisan, non-profit organization was founded in March of 2007 by Bethany Rubin Henderson with the goal of placing recent college graduates in positions in local government to better their city. Through City Hall Fellows, recent students will evolve from community-oriented student to local citizen leader.
Just one successful example from City Hall Fellows is Chris Gustafson, who was covered in the Houston Chronicle last year as a part of that city’s branch. Having recently graduated from Arizona State University, Chris was assigned to the Houston Fire Department where he was able to serve the city in a very up close and personal context. Other recent graduates like Chris are working closely in specific areas of local government all over the country, and support of City Hall Fellows allows them to do it.
If you’re looking for some good entertainment in time for the holidays, we encourage everyone to tune in for the 12.12.12 concert that will be airing on TV and streaming online this coming Wednesday night at 7:30pm Eastern. Presenters and performers at this concert will be encouraging you to donate what you can to The Robin Hood Relief Fund, a large-scale relief effort targeted towards supporting those whose lives have been shattered by Hurricane Sandy.
Headliners for this show include big names such as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters, and many other hit artists. Promoters of the show have also even added The Rolling Stones to the lineup, who will be able to stop by during their 50th Anniversary shows in the New York Area.
We’re excited about this concert not only because of the great names involved, but because it’s one of the best examples we’ve seen of cause marketing in action. Bands being a part of the show will be able to attach their brands to the relief fund cause, strengthening their ties with not only the area affected by the storm, but also with fans who care about the causes that they support as well.
That relief fund will go a long way in making a huge difference for storm victims. Residents of the Upper East Coast are still struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and are still in need of your help. Organizers and performers associated with this show are bringing this struggle to light in the midst of the holiday giving season. Hurricane Sandy left approximately $50 Billion worth of damage in the Tri-State area, making the nation’s most costly storm other than Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Victims of this terrible storm are still in need of your help, and we encourage you to tune in and pitch in what you can.
We would like to note that if you’re in the New York area and are thinking about buying tickets for this show, it is sold out and you will be buying tickets from scalpers if you are able to purchase them. In the aftermath of the announcement that The Rolling Stones are on the bill, prices on StubHub have skyrocketed to a minimum of $600 each, with some of the most expensive tickets going for $32,000. While sellers on StubHub have been given the option by the website to donate proceeds to charity, it is not guaranteed that this will be the case. If you want to be part of this great event, there are live theater screenings that you can attend that will see their proceeds go directly to the Robin Hood Foundation Sandy fund.
With just under five days still to go, the Kickstarter funding project has far surpassed their original $100,000 goal and is now just under $180,000 in total. Over 3,000 individuals have backed the project, and will receive a Kickstarter reward from Back to the Roots to thank them for their support.
It’s not too late to place your bid to win your own Aquaponics Kit, worth $100. One token could win you your own kit, which you can earn just by joining in the conversation about the Back to the Roots and the kit. A tweet like the one below will earn three tokens, which you can use to try and place the lowest unique bid.
You can also earn a whopping fifteen tokens by uploading a video to YouTube, telling us why you would like your own Home Aquaponics Kit Perhaps you could show where you would put it in your kitchen, or show us some of the recipes that could include food created with the Kit. Just be sure to include the BTTR tag in your video.
Keep an eye on the Kickstarter page over the next week and a half to see how high their project total can raise. It’s quite possible that at the current rate, their total will be double to their original goal!
Over the holiday weekend, you might have been talking with family over the dinner table or with new friends in shopping lines about ideas in for your careers and family life. You might have also noticed a huge pile of leftovers in the kitchen, destined for the forgotten back corner of your refrigerator or even the trash can.
Getting ideas off of the ground as well as creating sustainable productivity from waste are problems that two companies are in the business of solving. The first is Kickstarter, a crowd-sourced funding website. It’s the platform behind the latest project from psGive client Back to the Roots called the Aquaponics Kit, which will allow owners to create their own food at home with help from a pet fish.
Similar to how investors take part in start-up businesses, Kickstarter allows anyone to back a creative project that they would like to take shape. These kind of projects could be a debut album from an aspiring musician, a documentary from a young filmmaker, or even a new fashion product that an ambitious designer is trying to get to market.
Users of Kickstarter can back any project by pledging any amount of funding to help the project reach its goal and become a reality. In return for support, the creators of the project can thank backers with a number of rewards, in many cases including the final product itself if the project becomes a reality.
One great Kickstarter campaign from new psGive client Back to the Roots hopes to also become a reality very soon. This company was initially founded in 2009 by UC Berkeley classmates Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora with the idea of growing gourmet mushrooms out of recycled coffee grounds. Since then, Back to the Roots has sold Mushroom Kits that allow for this same process to happen in homes, creating up to a pound and a half of home grown oyster mushrooms.
Home Aquaponics Kit in action
Back to the Roots is using the same concept of sustainable home grown food in their latest project, which is now live on Kickstarter. It’s called the Home Aquaponics Kit, which follows a similar concept as their Mushroom Kits, but also puts a live fish into the equation.
The product in concept on Kickstarter is a closed loop ecosystem which simultaneously supports a self sustaining fish tank and grows fresh produce at home. Along with keeping an easy to care for pet, the Home Aquaponics Kit would also allow for owners to grow spinach, beans, and other great foods right in the home kitchen.
Learn more about the Home Aquaponics Kit directly from Back to the Roots in their Kickstarter video below:
We’re all familiar with the annual shopping day known as Black Friday, and whether online or in-person, many of us have taken part in it. Black Friday has become just as much of a holiday tradition as cutting into the turkey the day before. While the rampant consumerism shown on the evening news can possibly be headache inducing, but a growing movement called #GivingTuesday may be the remedy for that.
#GivingTuesday originated with the 92nd Street Y in New York City, in a partnership with The United Nations Foundation. In creating the movement, the team behind #GivingTuesday has curated an opportunity for 501(c)3 organizations and for-profit corporations, schools, religious and community groups to give thanks by giving back.
Some of the partners participating in #GivingTuesday include Microsoft, the Animal Humane Society, the Empire State Division of The Salvation Army, and the Burger King McLamore Foundation.
Just as local businesses and large organizations alike are participating in Small Business Tuesday, many of these organizations are making a push for doing social good on #GivingTuesday. Whether it be through matching donation dollars, committing a portion of proceeds from holiday sales, or even giving employees a paid day off to volunteer for charity, #GivingTuesday encourages everyone to participate in a time honored tradition of the holiday season - giving back to those less fortunate.
With #GivingTuesday happening today on Tuesday, November 27th, the team at PSGive wants to ask you how you plan on giving back. Will you commit a percentage of proceeds to a worthwhile cause? Will you put aside a portion of your holiday spending budget as a donation? Or will you volunteer in your community? Let us know in the replies how you plan on giving back on this #GivingTuesday.
You may have noticed that things seemed a bit quiet for psGive. While things may have looked slow on your end, we have been incredibly busy this past summer refining psGive and are excited to tell you more about what you can now find from us. We spent the summer participating in GoodCompany Ventures, the oldest and most rigorous social-impact startup accelerator in the U.S. We were one of 13 companies selected to spend the summer diving into extreme detail to refine our business model, improve our cause-marketing campaigns, and refresh the psGive website. The companies we joined in this program all had really great ideas and amazing social impact; look for more on that later in this space.
The outcome is the new psGive 2.0. You’ll still be able to compete for great products and experiences like before; the difference now is that you no longer have to pay to participate! That’s right - you can compete for great prizes for free, and still help our phenomenal charity partners just by participating.
The benefit? psGive now increases brand equity and revenue by uniting brands with non-profits, encouraging ongoing sales and engagement across social networks.
You will earn tokens by interacting with brands and charities online, such as tweeting a particular conversation, recording a YouTube video, posting to Instagram, and more! You can also learn about some great non-profits, donate directly to those causes, and earn donations for those non-profits (or tokens) by shopping online.
To kick off our new model, pop on over and check out our promotion where you can win a cool Home Aquaponics Garden from Back to the Roots, benefiting City Hall Fellows.
If you know of a great company or cause that could benefit from a similar promotion, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
As always, I truly thank you for your continued support!