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Storytelling has become an important channel for showing an organization’s impact in a way that engages hearts and minds. When a beneficiary tells, in their own words, about how your donors have brought something good into their lives, it has a credibility and authenticity that can’t be topped.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet many extraordinary people who have overcome significant challenges. It’s always a joy for me, and I hope for them, to show the world how donors have made a difference in many lives including theirs!

Read the rest on LinkedIn for some DOs and DON'Ts for great results >

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As a voracious podcast consumer, I’m always excited when one of my favorite podcasters does an episode about philanthropy and fundraising. Sure, there are lots of podcasts out there devoted to the topic but I think what delights me is that these issues are being heard by a more general audience. Maybe it will reduce the number of people who ask, “So…What, exactly, do you DO?”


b2ap3_thumbnail_backstory-logo.pngWhat Gives? Generosity in America

Backstory with the American History Guys

Episode Description: Tis the season for giving. And on this episode, we’re going to give you the history of that. The stories we’re working on explore gifts in the American past and consider how ideas about charity, philanthropy and generosity have changed over the centuries. Sometimes, it paid to be poor — but not too poor. In earlier days, philanthropy had humble aims: to foster community and put the idea of charity out of business. Along the way, we’ll also look the questionable notion of the “free gift,” the idea of reciprocity in Native cultures, and the back story to the Salvation Army Santas.

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When you were a kid, did you ever Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF with the iconic orange box? That tradition started in 1950 when Mary Emma Allison, a school librarian, saw a UNICEF booth in a department store while shopping for winter coats for her children. The booth inspired an idea and Mary Emma drafted her three children into service going door-to-door collecting coins that Halloween.

"We were real little, and my mother was behind us, and we were trying to explain it, and there were these memories of terror, actually," said daughter Mary Jean Thomson. "But people are generous. We got money and candy, so my parents knew it was a go." [source]

The first year they collected $17 which they donated to UNICEF to help children in postwar Europe. What started as a family activity spread to the local community and in 1953, the U.S. Committee for UNICEF took the campaign national. By 2010, the year of Mary Emma's death, the campaign had raised $160 million.

"If you tell children how much power they have — a dime can buy 50 glasses of milk — that's really kind of powerful," Thomson said.

Photo: U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Flickr photostream: Historical Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

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