THE 5 Ps Of Effective Philanthropy

Effective fundraising made easy by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Make It Better:

Fundraise Like The Pros In Honor of National Philanthropy Day

Etymologically, “philanthropy” means love of humankind.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, philanthropy means “the practice of giving time and money to help make life better for other people.”

However you define philanthropy or choose to practice it in your life, you can celebrate it this Saturday, Nov. 15 on National Philanthropy Day. This day is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), which generates philanthropic support for a wide variety of charitable institutions.Philanthropy

The holiday is meant to recognize the great changes that philanthropy has brought to the world and to encourage people to work to better the lives of others. President Ronald Reagan officially proclaimed Nov. 15 as National Philanthropy Day in 1986.

Tips for Wise Giving (and How Make It Better Can Help):

According to the AFP, there are five Ps to wise giving: Passionate, Proactive, Prepare, Plan and Powerful.

Here is how Make It Better applies these five P’s to our philanthropic efforts. We would be honored to help your favorite nonprofit this way, too.

Power of PhilanthropyPassionate: At Make It Better, we support organizations run by people who are truly PASSIONATE about the work they do—whether they work to improve education, fight for social justice or save the environment. We believe the attitude behind an organization fuels its long-term success.

Proactive: Make It Better PROACTIVELY seeks organizations to partner with across the North Shore and the Greater Chicago Area that are working to grow their support network and spread their mission. We are always open to hearing from new nonprofits. You can connect with us through our website at or email our Philanthropy Editor, Maura Flaherty, at

Prepare: Once Make It Better decides to partner with your organization, we will PREPARE a contract called a media sponsorship agreement. This agreement allows us to learn as much information as we can about your organization’s history, mission and fundraising events and details your role as our partner.Prepare

Plan: Make It Better prefers to partner with an organization several months prior to important events or fundraisers so that we can PLAN the most effective editorial coverage around them.

Powerful: By planning which editorial coverage to use with your organization, such as placement on our Online Calendar of Events, Better Letter Sponsored Listing or in the Give Time, Things Support section of our magazine, Make It Better allows your organization to receive maximum impact and POWERFUL support from our readers and followers.

Part 1; Best Annual MIB Supported Chicago Fundraisers

2013 MIB Philanthropy Awards

North Shore philanthropists use their love of big ideas, unique experiences, family fun, great home design, fashion, drop-dead glamour and ladies lunches to support a plethora of excellent causes. Over the next eight days, I’ll give you a sneak peak at Make It Better’s list of top annual fundraisers supported by our audience.  Of course, we’re starting with the annual events for the nonprofits who won our 2013 Philanthropy Awards.

See the full list of winners here. Please click on each organization to view their fantastic work and see the video we awarded each organization, within each links;

(Watch our Video of the 2013 MIB Philanthropy Awards Here)

If you are looking for a special experience tied to a good cause to support, we recommend any of them to you too. Stay tuned over for the next seven posts to cover fabulous NFP organizations in the following categories;

Service & Schools

Ladies Luncheons

Top25 Galas Supported by the North Shore

For Fashionistas

For Families

Art, Antiques & Home Decor

Fabulous Experience Auctions

Please subscribe to the blog to be sure you don’t miss this series. Thanks!

A Future Stronger Than The Empty Nest

My youngest child, Emma, will be a freshman at Harvard this fall.

Emma Noyes in the graduation dress made by her sister, Skatie.

Emma’s good news could have been my bad news because of the Empty Nest Syndrome. Fortunately though, my future as a publisher and social entrepreneur is too exciting to dwell much on this loss.

For this, I particularly thank John Lavine and Tim Bingaman.

About eight years ago, I asked Lavine to mentor me through a newly found calling to become a publisher. He had sold a publishing empire, founded Northwestern University’s Media Management Center and successfully reorganized Medill School of Journalism as it’s Dean.

John Lavine, Director of Northwestern University Media Management Center

Lavine agreed on the condition that I accept simple principles – prioritize online, identify an audience, and honor what it wants. For these reasons, Make It Better was born May 1, 2007 as a little website for North Shore women. It’s mission – to be the most trusted, easiest to use community resource that helps make life better for our audience and the businesses and nonprofits they support.

We called it Make It Better because that’s the innate inclination of this audience; helping is their most common denominator and the overarching connector of their collective lives. They make it better for their children, parents, husbands, friends, schools, churches, synagogues, less privileged others, book groups, sports teams, favorite nonprofits…etc. If – and only if – there is any time left over, they try to make it better for themselves too.

This year, we completed our first official audit by the Circulation Verification Council (CVC), which is run by 15 of the largest advertisers in the country and annually audits publications representing over 70 million readers. A readership audit is not an easy process. Imagine willingly inviting the IRS in to examine all your business.

Fortunately, our audit results were spectacularly good. Our valuable audience loves Make It Better. No hyperbole.

In fact, the audit data was so remarkable that the CEO of CVC, Tim Bingaman, asked to personally guide us through the good news and recommend a simple, rocket-fueled path to growth.

Tim Bingaman, CEO of the Circulation Verification Council (CVC).

When is the last time a CEO of an organization serving 70 million called you out of the blue and volunteered to help? This request caught our attention.

In short, our audience of affluent, educated women far exceeds national and North Shore norms. Because these women control their hhi budgets, they are uber valuable to advertisers.

Bingaman’s words energized me and our talented staff. I hope to thank him for them in person some day. In the meantime though, I’m also using them to focus on building an even better future as an almost empty nester.

Nonetheless, please don’t hold it against me this fall, if you ask me about my kids and detect a hint of tears at the edge of my answer.

$3,000,000.00 raised for nonprofits!!

As of Feb 28, 2014, Make It Better has officially raised $3,009,451 for nonprofits.

Thank you to the Make It Better staff, readers, advertisers and nonprofit partners. It has been a great pleasure growing a valuable and effective community resource with you.

You are officially invited to the $4 million party. Our goal is to have it by National Philanthropy Day, November 15, this year.

How to Raise More Money for Your Favorite Nonprofit – Please Join Me

Only three spots left!

Only three spots left for my workshop this Friday at 1 pm and a few more next Thursday at 5 pm (wine served with this one) on “How to Raise More Money for Your Favorite Nonprofit.”

Find more information and register here.

We will discuss and expand upon the following tips:

1. Bring the mission of your organization to life with a short, heartfelt story, article or video that demonstrates its impact. Make others laugh, cry, think and want to take action.

2. Prove that money is efficiently spent.

3. Develop an easy-to-attend annual fundraising event that is also FUN-raising.

Bcureful to Host Wine Dinner for TSC Cure

Bcureful is a nonprofit started by a mother, Julie Scroggins, whose daughter was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) in 2009.  It was a disease she had never heard of, and finding out that her own daughter had it spurred her to raise awareness and accelerate research toward a cure.


Affecting 1 in 6,000 newborns and approximately 1 to 2 million people worldwide, TSC is a genetic disorder that causes non-malignant tumors to develop in the brain and other vital organs.  A very high percentage of people with TSC develop epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Though there is no cure, a cure for TSC means there will be a positive influence on these diseases as well.

You can help Bcureful work towards a cure that will benefit millions.  The organization is holding its 2nd Annual Bcureful Wine Dinner on Thursday, June 27th at 6:30 PM.  It will take place at the Deer Path Inn: 

255 E. Illinois Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045

Make It Better Foundation is a very proud media sponsor of this event.  More details are on their website.

Peter Sagal Is Right – Philanthropy Should Be Fun

In the Chronicle of Philanthropy video below, Peter Sagal (host of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me) uses running a race in his underwear to raise money for a serious disease as an example of philanthropy made fun. And he’s right – philanthropy should be fun. It should make you feel great.  (Read an article about him here.)

Karl Casell and Peter Sagal of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”

That’s why putting the FUN in FUNdraising leads to more money for the cause.

And you have to believe that everyone watching Peter in his undies had fun too.

Watch his video here.

Lives Made Better 92,901 and counting

Giving as Life Celebration

More and more, significant life events by the blessed with excess set — such as landmark birthday and anniversary parties, bar and bat mitzvahs and later-in-life marriages — are celebrated with requests to donate to charities or participate in local service projects in lieu of gifts.

If you too are plenty blessed and want ideas for where to give when next the opportunity arises, you will find outstanding nonprofits in the Better List.

Top 3 Rules for Running a Successful Fundraiser

The first fundraiser I chaired raised $7000.  It was for the Baker Demonstration School, about 15 years ago. The last fundraiser raised over $1.8 million, for the Lyric Opera Of Chicago, last year. Working with people you enjoy to support a cause you love can be a great delight, if you follow a few common sense rules. Learn more here, and my 3 simple rules below:

1. Make sure every volunteer feels special.

2. Do the job because you love the cause — not to feed your ego.

3. Emphasize “fun” over “fund” — when guests enjoy themselves, money flows.

How to Judge a Charity

How To Judge A Charity – Giving For The Maximum Good

With a little research, you can accomplish maximum good with each dollar you donate.

Easy tips here from Make It Better. Here’s a summary below;

Experts in the philanthropic field recommend doing your research before writing a check to an organization.

“Review charities using a three-legged stool approach,” says Sandra Miniutti, chief financial officer of Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. “The first leg is financial performance, what is the financial health of the organization? The second leg is accountability and transparency. Finally, what are the results of the work? Are they having impact?”

So how can you best determine which charities to finance? After verifying that the organizations vying for your dollars are 501(c)(3) nonprofits, follow these guidelines:

1. Identify your cause. What are your specific goals? If you want to support programs for autistic young adults, do you want to donate to the national Autism Research Institute, or someplace more local like Our Place of New Trier Township?

Adriane Glazier, a consultant who acts as an intermediary between donors and charities at Foundation Source, suggests that donors ask themselves questions like: “Is your goal to help find a cure for cancer in general? Or do you want to fund a particular research project that will make a difference in specific lives? Is leaving a legacy part of your goal?”

2. When telemarketers call, hang up, says Charity Navigator’s Miniutti A 2011 study in California found that even some prominent charities, including Amnesty International, lost money that was raised through professional telemarketing fundraising operations. Overall, the charities got back an average of just 10 percent of funds raised by for-profit fundraisers.

3. Get beyond the storytelling. The emotional tug of your heartstrings can lead you astray when it comes to giving.  What you really need to know is if the charity can articulate its challenges and goals. Check out the website. Volunteer and find out firsthand what’s happening.

4. Do they need your money? According to Adriane Glazier, some organizations with large endowments may not be looking for smaller contributions.

5. Are donations used wisely? This gets back to the accountability and transparency question. Charity Navigator recommends that a baseline of 75 percent of donations be used for programs, 25 percent for administration costs. “Keep in mind that museums have higher overhead, food banks are the opposite,” Miniutti says. “Try to benchmark against similar organizations.”

Executive compensation is a thorny issue. Remember that these execs aren’t working for free, but Charity Navigator’s Miniutti says “When salaries approach $1 million, that’s unreasonable.”

6. Consider an annual charity budget. Just as it sounds, identify each year how much and where you want your money to go. Create a reserve fund for disaster relief that you can distribute on an as-needed basis.

However you choose to donate, consider these words from Andrew Carnegie: “It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it in the first place.”