Nonprofit’s giving portal aims to drive more donations to charities

February 5, 2012

The Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington, an organization that connects local nonprofits with donors, has established a workplace giving portal which officials say they hope will help drive more corporate funding to charities.

In the aftermath of the recession, charities have been scrambling for new revenue sources to make up for cuts in corporate, foundation and government giving. The new portal is designed to allow company employees to view the needs and volunteering opportunities of charities with operating budgets under $3 million. All the charities are screened by the Catalogue.

The Catalogue’s president, Barbara Harman, says the site is different from traditional workplace giving campaigns because it encourages giving year-round instead of only at the end of the year, and it allows employees to control where the funds are directed.

“We’ve all known how it is with workplace giving campaigns where you don’t really know where your money is going. Now people want to know. And they have control over that with this site,” said Thomas Raffa, founder of Raffa Consulting and Catalogue for Philanthropy board member.

Online giving campaigns have offered charities a new revenue stream. Online site Razoo last November raised $2.2 million for local charities in the first regionwide Give to the Max Day campaign. Last year, daily deal site Groupon launched its online giving campaign in the Washington region to raise money for a different charity each week.

“We are so happy that they came up with this innovative way to connect resources to causes that need the help desperately,” said Teresa Riddick, a director at Jubilee Jobs, a nonprofit that helps people find employment.

Jubilee Jobs had a $40,000 budget shortfall last year.

Integrity Management Consulting used the portal when looking for a nonprofit to support during last year’s Fannie Mae walkathon for the homeless.

It donated $8,000 to Jubilee Jobs during the walkathon and recently gave an additional $2,500 to the group.

Catalogue is accepting donations between $2,500 and $25,000 — depending on the company’s size — for businesses that adopt the site. Administrators say they will use the money to support the operations of the Web portal and for regular operating costs.

Some large companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton have started their own internal giving portals. Catalogue administrators say the portal may not appeal to large businesses with established giving programs or national companies that would want to see more than D.C. area nonprofits.

The portal was initially created by IT company CGI which began a partnership with the Catalogue in 2007.

“The portal can change the way businesses think about giving and the vision is to make this a model not just for the D.C. area and not just CGI but for all companies to think about,” said George Schindler, president of CGI US.

Vanessa Small covers philanthropy and nonprofits for Capital Business. She also spotlights newly appointed executives in the New at the Top column, which chronicles their journeys to the top. Small was raised in Orange County, Ca. and graduated from Howard University.
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