Study Shows a Way to Double Charitable Donations

Cupped hands holding coins

A recent study shows which part of a charity receives donation money can affect the amount donated.
Image: Shutterstock

New research published today has come up with a way to potentially double charitable giving.

In a study appearing in Science, University of California San Diego researchers, led by Uri Gneezy, determined that assuring potential donors that their contributions would not go to charity overhead costs increased the amount of donations.

The idea, Gneezy suggests, is to reassure donors that their contributions are going directly to the cause versus more general operating expenses.

The study focused on two unspecified charities, each starting with $10,000. The researchers randomly solicited 40,000 Americans for donations. Some of these letters promised none of the donations would go toward overhead, while others focused on matching donations or existing seed money. The dollar-matching letters brought in $12,210, while the overhead-free letters brought in $23,120.

Gneezy suggests those giving to charity want to feel they are directly affecting the causes they care about, rather than paying for background support.

It doesn’t seem to be the overhead itself has a negative effect on donors: a previous study showed that the percentage of overhead didn’t deter donors—they just didn’t want to have to pay toward it themselves.

However, Gneezy and associates warn that absolutely no support of overhead could be detrimental to charities even if they are receiving more donations for other areas. After all, basic operating costs are what charities have to deal with day to day to keep doing the work they do, and without financial support, they can’t accomplish their missions.

One solution might be to separate donations for overhead costs from donations that go directly to the cause. Charity: Water does this, letting private donors cover overhead costs while other donations go to clean water projects. However, in order to make this work, a charity would have to line up some dedicated private donors willing to entirely fund the overhead costs while others get to be in the spotlight.

A Wine Program that Gives Back

A cat walks across a counter near a wine bottle

One Hope Wine donates a portion of each purchase to charity.

ONEHOPE Wine has been around for a few years and is a wine version of a social entrepreneurship community. With winter headed our way, what better way to entertain than to host a wine-tasting party that benefits the charity of your choice?

ONEHOPE has always donated a portion of each purchase to charity, but the company’s Hope at Home program is especially unique in that it will allow you and your guests to choose a charity to sponsor that is close to your heart. That charity will then receive donations from any bottles you purchase.

The idea for ONEHOPE came to Jake Kloberdanz after a close friend of his had a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis. Kloberdanz wanted to launch his own venture in order to give back to causes like this. “I had thought about the idea of building a brand that all-year-round was making an impact,” says Kloberdanz of his efforts to create a charitable program that gives back all the time, and not just during brief campaigns.

Starting with just $10k in the bank in 2007, ONEHOPE Wine received national distribution and sold over 100k cases. Soon after, ONEHOPE signed on with Whole Foods and partnered with well-known winery Robert Mondavi Jr. “There were eight of us and we all came from Gallo Winery, which is a distributor of wines here in Los Angeles,” ONEHOPE Wine president and co-founder Tom Leahy tells Samaritanmag from his office.

Now American Airlines offers ONEHOPE customers who are traveling onboard transcontinental or Hawaii flights can sip a glass of wine for a good cause. Offering ONEHOPE wines inflight allows American Airlines to bring people together for three worthy causes, while at the same time, providing our customers with the finest wine possible,” said John Tiliacos, Managing Director – Onboard Products. With so many major companies like American Airlines and Whole Foods offering selections of ONEHOPE Wine, it has been able to give more than $1 million to its partner nonprofits.

So grab some friends, taste some wine, and give back to a good cause. Every bottle makes an impact.

5 Creative Ways Businesses Can Give Back

Close up of business suit with red heart in lapel pocket

Here are 5 ways to encourage philanthropy in a business setting.
Image: Shutterstock

It sometimes can be hard to find a way to give back, especially for start up businesses that are just getting off the ground. Even in structured work environments, we all get sucked into our day-to-day responsibilities. Below are five unique ways your business can give back.

Lead by Example with the Top Execs. If the top execs at a company are showing their involvement in the community and encouraging their workers to come to future opportunities, it is likely some will. It can be a great team building and networking activity for a business.

Sponsor a Local Charity Event. If your company sponsors a local charity event, your team will get involved with supporting the organization of the event or maybe any initiatives to market it. This is a good way to bring value to charity organizations without asking your employees to front money.

Make Philanthropy a Part of the Company Culture. There are many ways to make giving back a part of your organization. A couple options are giving employees a full day each quarter of company time to volunteer for an organization of their choice or allowing them to create partnerships with local nonprofits to donate time every month or quarter.

Give out an Annual Grant Stipend. If you give your employees money to use for philanthropy, they will likely feel obligated to put it to good use. This encourages employees to get involved without fronting their own money and researching areas they would like to be involved in.

Provide Incentives for Employees to get involved. There are many incentives that a lot of people will get involved for. Maybe it’s a day off for every $100 donated, or every $15 you donate to a charity, you get a business casual week. Make it fun, and don’t be afraid to get a little creative!

Teaching Your Children to Give Back

A child's hands holding a black and white heart

The holiday season is a great time to teach kids about the gift of giving.
Image: Shutterstock

With the holidays just around the corner, many of us have gift-giving and family time on the mind. That also is followed usually with overeating and over-shopping. However, there is a positive side to the season that doesn’t involve overindulging:  It’s an opportunity to give back to the community and start teaching the children in your life the importance of charitable giving.

As a parent, you have an obligation to teach your kids about more than just wanting. It’s a habit you can instill year round, but you can start with the holidays as a base point. By doing so, you are helping the future world along with your children. Giving can be shown to help raise self-esteem, develop social skills, foster an introduction to the greater world, and encourage kids to appreciate and recognize their own lifestyle.

Start simply. If you strip your kids of all the money they’ve ever earned or force them to volunteer for an entire day, they will burn out quickly. The more realistic the act, the easier it is for them to do. Maybe start by having them send a card to a friend or go through the closet for cleanup and to donate to charity. Help them see these acts in a new light of helping out.

Let them choose their own causes, too; don’t push them to donate to the American Heart Association just because you do. If they find it more interesting and are connected to the cause, they will be more interested and understand it better.

Incorporate giving into activities they enjoy, like birthdays or playtime. There are many ways to do this. It can be as simple as each birthday they choose one gift to donate to a local children’s hospital. Or even have each kid at arts and crafts create “giving certificates” where they promise to help out in volunteering some way.

Have you started teaching your children about how to give back? How did you begin instilling charitable values?


Variety Announces 6th Annual Power of Women Honorees

Variety logo

Variety will honor five women in the entertainment industry for their humanitarian efforts with the 6th Annual Power of Women. Image:

Jennifer Lopez, Viola Davis, Jane Fonda, Reese Witherspoon, and Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley will be honored at the 6th Annual Power of Women event. The five women are to be honored as Lifetime Impact Honorees for their humanitarian efforts, according to Variety.

“The women of the entertainment industry are among the most passionate champions of philanthropy and affecting change for various causes,” said Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, publisher, Variety. “We’re thrilled to once again honor, through our seventh Power of Women initiative, an outstanding lineup of women who do just that.”

Lifetime Television will present the event and the event works in conjunction with Variety’s annual Women’s Impact Report. The luncheon will take place October 10th in Beverly Hills, California.

The women are to be honored for each of their respective charities of choice. Fonda will be honored for her work with the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential, which focuses its efforts on teen pregnancy prevention. Lopez will be recognized for her efforts through the Lopez Family Foundation, which helps provide access to medical care for women and children. Davis works to support preventing child hunger through the organization Hunger Is. Witherspoon will be recognized for her efforts with the Malala Fund, which helps empower girls through education in developing countries. And Langley is to be honored for her efforts with a women’s development organization, Vital Choices.

“For over 30 years, Lifetime has been the entertainment industry leader in celebrating women. We are incredibly proud of our longstanding partnership with Variety‘s Power of Women event to showcase the great philanthropic work of some of the leading charitable voices in our industry,” said Nancy Dubuc, President and CEO, A+E Networks.

“Boob Aid”: Japanese Porn Stars Groped for Charity

An unusual charity event raised $40,000 for AIDS prevention in Japan

Boob Aid raised about $40,000 for AIDS prevention in Japan.
Image: Shutterstock

Throughout recent history, both activism and fundraising have taken many, ahem, creative forms. Recently, Japanese porn stars raised thousands of dollars for AIDS prevention by letting people grope their breasts. The nine participating women let thousands of men squeeze their breasts over a 12-hour period at the “Boob Aid” charity event in Tokyo earlier this month.

Reportedly, more than 4,100 pairs of hands groped the women. Around $40,000 was raised because of the event, as each participant was expected to donate $10 to the cause. The adult film stars sported yellow campaign t-shirts rolled up to reveal their breasts. According to The Telegraph, “Boob Aid” was part of a 24-hour Stop! AIDS campaign event, backed by the Japan Foundation for AIDS Prevention. This is the 12th event of its kind since 2003.

“I’m really looking forward to lots of people fondling my boobs,” Rina Serina told the Tokyo Sports newspaper before the event. “But I would be very happy if you would please be delicate.” Fellow porn actress Iku Sakuragi had no qualms about being groped by hundreds of pairs of hands. “It’s for charity,” said the 21-year-old. “Squeeze them, donate money — let’s be happy,” she said.

The “Boob Aid” charity event lasted from Saturday into Sunday morning. Many donors gave more than the expected $10, which is one of the reasons the event was such a success. According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, nearly 23,000 people are known to be infected with HIV or AIDS in Japan in 2013. This event raised both awareness and funds for the fight against AIDS.

Porn star Iku Sakuragi told news agency AFP, “I joined Boob Aid for the first time and I didn’t know this was an event thousands of people would come to. I think we should continue this kind of activity.” Controversial and sexist it may be, this proved to be an effective fundraising campaign among consenting adults.

George Clooney Starring in Downton Abbey Charity Episode

George Clooney will appear in an episode of Downton Abbey

George Clooney will appear in a charity episode of the popular British TV show Downton Abbey.
Image: carrie-nelson /

Downton Abbey fans rejoice! George Clooney, known as one of the most dashing and distinguished actors in Hollywood, is set to star in a special episode of the series, which is set in WWI-era Britain. Clooney has already filmed the scenes for the ITV network charity fundraiser, Text Santa.

The special episode is actually a sketch to raise money for Text Santa’s chosen charities: the Alzheimer’s Society, Guide Dogs, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Teenage Cancer Trust, Together for Short Lives, and WellChild. Clooney won’t be appearing in the full annual Downton Christmas episode, but British fans will get to see his part play out on Christmas day as a sketch for the fundraiser telecast.

British fans also have the opportunity to attend a red carpet premiere of Season 5’s first episode, as well as an exclusive Q&A with Julian Fellowes and the cast. This opportunity is part of a separate fundraiser between Telegraph Bespoke and CTBF.

ITV’s Text Santa raises money and awareness for several United Kingdom based charities, which help to offer life-changing services to people in the community. Clooney would be the latest American cast member to appear in “Downton,” following actors Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti, who previously played the mother and brother of Cora.

The exact nature of Clooney’s role in the special sketch has been largely kept under wraps in an effort to keep the secret until audiences have a chance to view it on Christmas day.

“All the other cast members and crew were also sworn to secrecy. It’s amazing it’s taken four months for someone to find out. This is the biggest moment in Downton history and shows it’s now the biggest drama in the world,” sources told The Sun.

Charity Rejects Funds Raised “In Honor” of Jennifer Lawrence’s Leaked Photos

Prostate Cancer Foundation logo

The Prostate Cancer Foundation rejected donations raised “in honor” of stolen celebrity photos. Image:

The Prostate Cancer Foundation has announced it will return all of the money from one of the organization’s top fundraisers that included a group of Reddit users. Upon discovering that the Redditors had donated “in honor” of Jennifer Lawrence’s hacked photos, the Prostate Cancer Foundation understandably wanted to distance itself from the scandal.

Earlier this month, news broke that Jennifer Lawrence, Brie Larson, Kate Upton, and other stars had had their privacy deeply violated when private, intimate photographs were leaked on the Internet. It was sites such as Reddit where these images were rapidly spread, and where much of the controversy was rooted. Lawrence’s representatives have called the incident “a flagrant violation of privacy,” and a federal investigation is underway to find the hacker.

The donors on the Reddit thread that was posted Monday suggested that the actress was involuntarily helping to curb prostate cancer, making a joke of the leaked photographs. Essentially, donations were made at the expense of a young woman’s violated privacy and only contributed to the controversy surrounding this assault and objectification of women’s bodies. Although thousands of dollars poured into the Foundation’s website, the charity did not share the excitement of the Redditors.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation released a statement Tuesday indicating that it wanted no part of the donations:

“A post appeared on Reddit late Monday afternoon, September 1, 2014. A Reddit user directed other Reddit users to make a donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation without the Foundation’s knowledge. We would never condone raising funds for cancer research in this manner. Out of respect for everyone involved and in keeping with our own standards, we are returning all donations that resulted from this post.”

The Reddit campaign for the Prostate Cancer Foundation had raised more than $6,000 for the organization by early Tuesday afternoon. The rejection was short-lived as users then started raising money for in honor of the star, but again the efforts were rejected.

In a day and age when Internet anonymity means violating the privacy of young women, it’s commendable of the Prostate Cancer Foundation to take a stand against this kind of deplorable behavior.

Blair a Controversial Winner of Philanthropist of the Year

Tony Blair receives GQ award

Tony Blair received GQ’s Philanthropist of the Year award last night in front of a stunned audience.
Image: 360b /

Yesterday former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair won the prestigious Philanthropist of the Year award, which he received at the Royal Opera House during a glamorous gala. The ceremony, hosted by men’s magazine GQ editor Dylan Jones, saw Blair recognized for his peace efforts in the Middle East and his creation of three charities.

Blair’s charities target a variety of issues. The Tony Blair Sports Foundation teams volunteer sport coaches with underserved students. The Faith Foundation works to promote cooperation amongst the three Abrahamic faiths. Perhaps Blair’s most ambitious organization, however, is the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, which operates in six African countries and helps to connect African leaders with definitive solutions to their countries’ challenges.

Upon accepting the award, Blair said he “would like to dedicate this award to the people that work with and for my organizations.”

While Blair has certainly accomplished many things with his charities, his receipt of the award was met with more than a little incredulity. When Blair was Prime Minister from 1994-2007, he was heavily involved with the controversial war in Iraq, and after retiring, he earned quite a bit of ire by doing consulting work with authoritarian leaders in developing countries. He has also amassed considerable wealth (a $49 million property empire, according to some) and has earned as much as £250,000 for making a speech.

Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said Blair’s receipt of the award was “a slap in the face for all the damage he has done to the UK.”

“It sends the wrong message,” agreed Labor MP John Mann. “This sort of award should go to an unsung hero who has given up their time for charity.”

Others honored at the event included Ringo Starr, Johnny Depp, and Kim Kardashian.


India Now Has “Rice Bucket Challenge” Charity

The rice bucket challenge urges Indians to provide rice for those in poverty

In response to ALS’s ice bucket challenge, India’s rice bucket challenge is taking off.
Image: Shutterstock

Inspired by the global charity chain that spread awareness about the disease ALS, Manju Latha Kalanidhi came up with an similar way to help those in need by utilizing something she calls the “Rice Bucket Challenge.”

In this challenge, all one needs to do is buy or cook a bucket of rice and feed someone who needs it. Just like the ALS challenge, participants should use the hastag #ricebucketchallenge and ask their friends to pay it forward.

The Rice Bucket Challenge is described on its Facebook page as an “Indian version for Indian needs.” The challenge is still in its infancy, with the inaugural donation made on Sunday morning.

Manju Latha Kalanidhi’s Facebook says, “Cook or buy one bucket of rice/biryani and feed the needy. Tag #RiceBucketChallenge and challenge your friends.”

“I hope Indians take it up in a big way and make [the] ice bucket challenge a secondary phenomenon,” Kalanidhi said in an interview.

In just a few days, the Indian twist has created quite a stir on social media with more than 1000 likes in a day and people already willing to take the challenge. While Bollywood celebrities and sports icons in India have been doing the Ice Bucket Challenge, Kalanidhi is encouraging Indians to help individuals close to home.

For those who don’t want to donate rice, medicines worth Rs. 100 can also be donated to any nearby government hospital where impoverished families can get affordable treatment.


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