I try to live by the principle, “Everyday, seek to give a little more than you receive.”
As an Evaluator, I spend my time helping organizations be more efficient and effective in improving people’s lives. Of course, I get paid a fair rate for my work. To ensure I am giving a little more than I receive, I’ve made it a policy to donate at least 1% of the income I make from Social Impact Squared to nonprofits.
I am very pleased to have been able to support the following nonprofits over the last couple of years, and I encourage others to support their causes.
Social Venture Partners – Toronto (SVPT)
SVPT’s model of philanthropy is an example of the kind of win-win situation that I love. They are a network of engaged philanthropists that are looking to make a real difference by pooling their time, expertise, and donation dollars to support local nonprofits. Not only do they provide grant dollars, they also invest the skills of their amazingly experienced members, who help charities build capacity with planning, marketing, IT, evaluation, and other management issues.
The charities win because the networks’ skills produce benefits that couldn’t be achieved with money alone.
SVPT members win because they gain skills, connections, and an increased ability to support their community.
I started to help SVPT’s grantees with evaluation as a “Friend of SVPT.” Then, an anonymous person that must have appreciated the evaluation work that I was doing , offered to sponsor me to become a full SVPT partner. I greatly value that opportunity, as the experiences and connections that I gained through working with SVPT greatly helped me in getting Social Impact Squared up and running.
Inspired by that anonymous donor, I used some of the profits from Social Impact Squared’s first year of operation to sponsor another promising young professional to join the SVPT network.
Evidence for Democracy
Evidence is so very important to evaluation, so it was an easy decision to support Evidence for Democracy’s efforts to promote transparency and evidence-based decision making in the Canadian Government.
They are a relatively new non-profit that is doing a lot to keep the Canadian public’s attention on issues affecting science, research, and evidence-based policy making. I hope that you will check them out and get involved with their campaigns.
Future Possibilities for Kids (FPK)
FPK’s programs help kids practice possibility thinking and develop their leadership potential. Their main program “Ready, Set, Goal!” gets kids to set their own community contribution goals, and then sets them up with a coach to help them achieve those goals.
Their concept of possibility thinking can have a huge impact. Often, kids in disadvantaged situations have a limited view of what is possible for them to achieve. I personally experienced that situation. I can remember thinking that my family was too poor for me to go to university and that I was destined to work as a labourer (not that there is anything wrong with labour; it’s just not good to think you don’t have options). Eventually, I decided to rebel against my social situation and achieve whatever I wanted to achieve. That is what FPK programs seek to do: help kids have the confidence to believe they can achieve great things and create significant change in their communities.
FPK’s programs are another win-win situation. Not only do donations help FPK serve more kids, FPK will help those kids achieve their community contribution goals, and some of the kids will grow-up to be passionate and skilled leaders committed to making their communities better places to live.