Ask a Nonprofit Specialist - Arizona Gives Day

posted by
Anne Byrne,
ASU Lodestar Center

Question: We would like to increase our donations.  Is the upcoming Arizona Gives Day a good opportunity to do this?

 In the days leading up to December 10, my email and Face book page lit up with information and requests to participate in 2013’s Colorado Gives Day (  The requests came from organizations with which I have a connection as a former staffer, or in one case, by my son who works for the organization.    His appeal was my favorite – he asked all his family members across the country to donate to his environmental advocacy group in lieu of a birthday gift to him.  Does this represent a new level of maturity on his part?

I made my modest gifts, despite living in Arizona, and these, combined with over 88,000 other gifts raised over $20 million in one 24 hour period to support Colorado nonprofit organizations.  Wow! The organizations I supported raised $55,000, $35,000 and $25,000.  

Arizona nonprofit organizations can participate in our own Arizona Gives Day on April 9, 2014.  Presented by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits (, and Arizona Grantmakers Forum ( , and sponsored by FirstBank, Arizona Gives Day provides a terrific opportunity to use the power of social media to build support from existing and new donors and contribute to a thriving philanthropic culture in our own state.

Due diligence before you donate

posted by
Mandy Fricke
Community Manager

Americans donate nearly $300 billion annually to more than 1.2 million charities and religious groups, according to Giving USA. Most donors believe that they are giving to worthwhile causes, but few conduct the necessary research to determine how effectively an organization uses donations to accomplish its mission. People who wouldn't dream of investing money without performing the necessary due diligence may blindly give money to organizations that use the majority of donations for executive salaries, fundraising and advertising. This is why due diligence is so important before making a donation.

Here are a few tips for vetting a nonprofit before you give:

Align your goals

The first step in choosing a charity is thinking about what you would like to accomplish. If the scope of your aspiration is local, find charities that are based in your neighborhood or city. If you're most concerned about national and global issues, like worldwide hunger or cancer, look for nonprofits that are equipped for such a large challenge. Remember that you can't always judge a big organization by its publicity, since that may just reflect a large advertising budget. Also, be on the lookout for questionable charities that have a name that closely resembles the name of a well-known, legitimate charity; some sound-alike charities are scams.

Time to Give a Little

posted by
Kayla L. McKinney,
Project Specialist
ASU Lodestar Center

Reality: I think your cause is awesome. In fact, I think your cause is fantastic. You want to help the homeless? Me too! Rescue dogs? Me too! Make sure everyone has access to clean water? I’m on board! 

Other reality: I don’t have the time or money for your cause.

One more reality: I still want to help.


I know a lot of people who understand my plight. I’m a grad student, after all! And being a grad student means I’ve got more than a few limitations, economically speaking. So, how do you, as a nonprofit organization, get me to help you?

Jump head-first into the world of microgiving.

Microgiving is when a person donates small, seemingly insignificant amounts of money to a cause or a nonprofit. And it’s exploding in popularity, especially with our increasingly digital lifestyles. Many microgiving websites make it outrageously simple to donate, and with mobile giving on the rise, we can definitely expect an increase in the number of smaller donations.

I had a chance to chat with Leo Ramirez, President, CEO, and Co-Founder of MiniDonations, and he summed it up excellently: “When compounded, small donations of one's time, talent, and treasure can profoundly impact our world. Not only are these gifts more accessible — regardless of age or income — they're habit-forming: transforming a small giver today into a major donor tomorrow.”

In other words, it’s worth your time to get into the microgiving spirit. And there are lots of ways to approach it. What makes microgiving so neat is how creative some of the organizations have gotten with it. Below are a few of my favorite microgiving options — some your organization can use, some you can be inspired by, and some you can donate to yourself. So, go ahead - think small!