Your Engaged Giving, Collective Action Return Big Impact On Small Investments

5 years, 11 months ago Comments Off on Your Engaged Giving, Collective Action Return Big Impact On Small Investments
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What would you think about getting a 200 percent return on investment on your charitable contributions?

A hundred dollars returns twice that in social impact or helps a student with the rising costs of college. A thousand or two and you – or you and a group of friends – helps a student help a nonprofit change the world.

Charitable Scholar Elese Daniel and Advisor Elissa Yancey, checking audio levels on a documentary project.

Charitable Scholar Elese Daniel and Advisor Elissa Yancey, checking audio levels on a documentary project.

That’s the value of supporting a Charitable Scholar – student interns with a passion for purpose – leveraged by collective action and pro bono guidance and connections.

The added value of your giving goes to the cause you care about. And you know your gift went right to a student to help with school expenses and a rising bubble of college debt. You will have real names and numbers on your balance sheet to prove it.

True story – stories you see here about the power of engaged giving and collective impact.

Since the Charitable Scholars/Learning and Lending a Hand program started a little more than a year ago, 32 students have been received scholarships. They have been “Learning and Lending a Hand” with partner nonprofits from Northside Cincinnati to Central America and many points between. Twenty-five volunteer professional advisors have engaged, bringing years of expertise and experience and hundreds of contacts and connections to pro bono resources.

The students’ paychecks have been modest but important to them. Charitable Scholars tracks the hours our professional advisors, pro bono work product values and in-kind contributions. The bottom line: Charitable Scholars have exponentially returned on the investments in terms of dollars raised, donors thanked, volunteers signed up and events attended.

We’ll get to some numbers below. But it’s hard to measure metrics such as a child’s joy of reading just for the un-tested fun of it, the minds of Alzheimer’s patients “opened through art,” or lives that may be saved years from now by a clean, self-help water source in a developing nation.

There’s no app for that.

The numbers are impressive, but as nonprofit marketing specialist Lori Jacobwith advises:

“No numbers without stories. No stories without numbers.

Here are a few Charitable Scholars success stories:

Scholar and Marine Veteran of Iraq Tyler Bell was assigned to People Working Cooperatively’s “Ramp It Up For Veterans” campaign, which kicked off with a video he produced as part of his internship. Tyler’s video about 98-year-old World War II veteran Anna Fields helped her remain in her home after volunteers pitched in to make much-needed repairs. Tyler’s video was shared with broadcast outlets and widely shared in social media. Media Library, Inc. a media monitoring and measurement service, tracked audience reach and “ad equivalency values” in tens of thousands of viewers and dollars, said Ron Henlein, PWC’s director of Corporate/Community Partnerships. “Ramp It Up for Veterans” went on to raise $190,000 by Veterans Day.

Scholar Tia Garcia’s web site skills were credited with a 2,000% increase in page views for Melodic Connections, a nonprofit that brings music therapy to special needs students. Executive director Betsey Neubeth said traffic increased from 269 page views to 5,512 during Tia’s internship and measurable impacts followed. “From 2008-2012, we had 6 volunteer inquiries,” Betsey said. “Because of website traffic, in 2013 we have had over 25 volunteer inquiries. Tia also produced a “thank you” video for an important donor, resulting in a $10,000 grant for Melodic Connections.

Amanda, a student at The East End Adult Education Center, improved three grade levels in one month during Scholar Sarah Jernigan’s internship as a tutor. The center offers tutoring for General Education Development (GED) testing for high school diploma equivalency credentials. Sarah reported that several students she was working with advanced two and three reading levels. Ten of them went on to pass their GEDs, giving them a better chance to get jobs and give back.

And, the experience changed Sarah as well.

“The internship led me revaluate my plans for after I graduate. Interning has shown me the struggles and triumphs that nonprofits face every day and has caused me to appreciate the entire “behind the scenes work” that happens at any nonprofit organization. East End has also portrayed the extreme pleasure one can receive from teaching and encouraging a student which motivates me to continue teaching others after my time at the center.”

(Sarah has continued her humanitarian work with a Village Life Outreach trip to East Africa and recently returned from working on a community development project in Baptist Town, Mississippi).

Those are impressive numbers, Scholars. Good stories, too.

By any measure, Charitable Scholars show impressive “returns on investments.”

The numbers, the outcomes, are measurable evidence.

But the value in lives changed: Priceless.

How to support Charitable Scholars and nonprofit partners

Charitable Scholars does not solicit, accept or manage donations to itself, but collaborates with nonprofits interested and in need of internships and other support. One hundred percent of collaborative funding should be directed to an existing 501(c)(3) organization or established scholarship fund.

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