Tag Archives: change

The Classic Pamela Positive: “What Is My Life If I Am No Longer Useful To Others” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



“What is my life if I am no longer useful to others?” 

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



If you have ever lacked purpose, or feel out of alignment, know your life has purpose.  You don’t have to wait to find it.


The whole purpose of Life, and your life, is to bring some sort of goodness to the world.



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Yes, it’s that simple. You might get a Ph.D. and profoundly change how renewable energy powers our communities. But you might also simply smile peacefully and joyously to all that come your way.


Both change the world.  One is immediate, one is long-term.


The point is your life can and must be useful to others.


Stop the boredom, the frustration, the hurt. Your life is needed now. Give your smile and devote your life to doing good. Goethe got it right!



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was one of the rare giants of world literature. Throughout a long and full life, he demonstrated his prolific genius in many different areas. Goethe was born August 28, 1749, in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, to a wealthy, middle-class family. He was educated at home by his father and tutors until he went to Leipzig to study law. Following his university graduation, Goethe returned to Frankfurt. His mind was filled with many exciting ideas, and he devoted himself to philosophical studies. It was here that he wrote his first important metrical drama and then the superb short novel. These aroused widespread interest and admiration.

On his return to Germany Goethe lived in a state of semi-retirement and concentrated on his studies, writing and cultivate his wide interests. In 1806 Goethe married a woman who was his mistress for many years, and had a son in 1789. As the years passed he became acquainted with many of the most prominent men of his time and was highly regarded by all. Napoleon Bonaparte was among his most famous admirers and remarked when they first met, “Vous êtes un homme,” (You are a man). By the time of his death, Goethe had attained a position of unprecedented esteem in the literary and intellectual circles. Because of the breadth of his thought, his comprehension of human nature and optimistic faith in the human spirit, and his intuitive grasp of universal truths, Goethe is regarded by many as the outstanding poet of the modern world. He died March 22, 1832, but his work lives in its meaning and value for modern day readers.

Biosource: Wikipedia


Fig¹. Tim Gouw on Unsplush

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Our Doubts Are Traitors.” – William Shakespeare



“Our doubts are traitors.”

– William Shakespeare



William Shakespere



Don’t let doubt into for your life, for it is not a friend. He is not your companion in any way. Would you go on a special walk with Doubt in the hills? Take Doubt to lunch?  Get married to Doubt?

Then stop spending time with him  — especially in your mind.



William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 [baptized] – 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist and often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. His works and collaborations consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain.  His numerous works include Hamlet, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and Much Ado About Nothing. To this day his works have been repeatedly adopted, rediscovered, and reinterpreted in many contexts around the world.

Biosource: Wikipedia

Fig¹. Royal Opera House on flickr

The Classic Pamela Positive: How Mahatma Gandhi Teaches Us: To Be…Love and Change, Start with You Now

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

– Mahatma Gandhi


The key word here from one of our greatest leaders is ‘be.’ Every day we have a chance to be. And the most important being is loving. Being kind, gracious, and helping others. That can start today. We can and should whisk away frustration, for every moment of frustration is one not spent on being the positive force we hope to be. What type of foundation are you building? One that crumbles from exhaustion and disbelief, cynicism? Or one of solidity, brick, by brick, with each brick contributing Principle, Love, Kindness, Grace, Strength, Truth, Joy…? As Gandhi says… the other key word here is ‘you.’ No one can do this for you. Not your partner, your parents, your best friend or your spouse.  You… are the being.





Mahatma Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader during the Indian Independence movement. He preached resistance through non-violence and mass civil disobedience. He led the Indian National Congress and advocated for the end of poverty, for women’s rights and for independence from Britain. He also renounced religious violence and did several fasts in protest against it. Gandhi was deeply inspired by his Hindu faith, while also drawing on other religious philosophy, and advocating religious tolerance. He married Kasturbai Gandhi and they had four children together.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Read This If You Want To Know How You are Measured


“Don’t ever think that your grades are the measure of your capacity to change the world, because they’re not. 

Don’t ever think that your income is a measure of your capacity to change the world, because it’s not.

 There’s a different metric system if you want to change the world.”

 –       Bryan Stevenson



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There’s a different way to look at the world. It’s not about your grades.

It’s not about how much money you make. It’s not about your beauty.



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If you want to change the world, you have to come up with a different measurement system. You have to say and


make sure that things count that sometimes the world says doesn’t count.


I’m counting all the positive things about you,





The Classic Pamela Positive: Olympic Trainer and Nike Co-Founder Bill Bowerman Tells Us, It’s Already Inside


Everything you need is already inside. Just do it.

– Bill Bowerman






I love Bill Bowerman’s quote, as he speaks to the potential and belief in each one of us… We should always strive to be our best and to believe in ourselves, even if we don’t always achieve our immediate goal. The importance is in the process and our motives.


We should treat ourselves and others with the utmost care, meaning, “We believe!” The alternative is costly to our health, to what we can achieve, and to what the world will miss…


What I love is that Bill Bowerman translated this belief across many areas — personal values, sports training and business. Believing isn’t relegated to any sector!





Bill Bowerman was a track and field coach for the University of Oregon. Born in Portland, Oregon, Bowerman was raised in Fossil, Oregon by his mother after his parents split. In his childhood, he was part of the school band and the football team. He received his B.A. from the University of Oregon, where he studied journalism and played football. He also served in the military as a Major in the army during World War II. In his 24-year career he trained 31 Olympic athletes, twelve American record holders, 51 All-Americans and 24 NCAA champions. One year he won 4 NCAA titles. In 1964 he became the co-founder of Nike. He and his wife Barbara were high school sweethearts, married for more than 60 years and they had two children together. 

Five Reasons Nonprofits Don’t Receive Matching Gifts (And What To Do About It), Part Two


Today, we continue with Part Two of Five Reasons Nonprofits Don’t Receive Matching Gifts (And What To Do About It). Part One is available here



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3. They Don’t Submit On Time

Unfortunately, many nonprofits are overloaded with day-to-day responsibilities. They may be entrenched with serving homeless people on the street and concerned with serving others through their mission. They might be burned out from working 12 hours a day. Their heart is in the mission, and they are doing good, but they haven’t submitted the paperwork. This happens all too often.







My heart goes out to these nonprofits, as they sincerely deserve the funds. Yet, at the same time, if they don’t submit the documents on time, they won’t get a grant and often miss the opportunity.


4. Too Many Red Flags

Often, when we approve a grant for a matching gift program, there might be one item that doesn’t meet the guidelines of our corporate partners. Most of the time, our corporate partner will pass the NGO through. But if there are several red flags, the case is built to not approve them. Here are a few examples of what we consider “yellow” flags:

• Overhead is 35%.

• There is no regularly meeting board.

• There is a concern about potential political lobbying.

These yellow flags build up to general concern and a red flag. In that case, too many flags will mean the nonprofit does not get the grant.

5. Lack Of Separation Between Board And Team

It’s wonderful to include some employees on your board; it provides practical experience on your board of what the day-to-day realities are. In addition, when the board makes requests, that team member is able to be a witness to what’s actually happening on the ground.

Yet, far too often, nonprofits stack a board with employees. There is no third-party accountability. Basically, the “board” consists of employees, and “board members” approve the decisions that affect employees. Essentially, employees are directing themselves. This is considered a very grave scenario with no accountability. Often, nonprofits will not receive a grant due to this lack of appropriate governance.

Final Thoughts

We always hope that nonprofits pass all the tests for receiving matching gifts. As noted, matching gifts are an inspiring way to get employees connected to the community and to get foundations to support your efforts.

As a nonprofit, you can be prepared. Gather together the documents required and put them in a Google folder on Google Docs, Dropbox, Box, Tresorit or OneDrive so that you are prepared anytime these requests happen. We recommend putting in articles of incorporation, 990 forms, your mission statement, board members and other important governing documents.






Thank you to all the nonprofits for all you to do for the world. Thank you to all the employee nominators who help support these nonprofits and to the more than 65% of Fortune 500 corporate foundations that match these employee gifts every year. We’re all trying to make the world a better place!






Five Reasons Nonprofits Don’t Receive Matching Gifts (And What To Do About It), Part One


We’re excited to announce our Founder  and CEO Pamela Hawley was just featured in Forbes publication! The article is entitled Five Reasons Nonprofits Don’t Receive Matching Gifts (And What To Do About It), and was published on April 29, 2019. Please see below!



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Did you know that employees can recommend a donation to your organization? It’s called “matching gifts,” where the employer matches the employee’s donation request. And more than $5 billion is given each year through workplace giving programs such as this.

Started in 1954, matching gifts is a program held by corporations that love to help employees give back. This program allows the employee to nominate a nonprofit to which they would like to donate. Once the employee gives money — let’s say $125 — then the foundation of the company matches the donation. Would you be excited if you were a nonprofit that received $250? You bet!

But did you know that many nonprofits don’t receive the grants they’re given? Anywhere from $4 billion to $7 billion in matching gifts goes unclaimed.

This money goes undonated because every year there are employees who don’t nominate a nonprofit and so the company doesn’t match. So, for all you nonprofits that have board members or colleagues at various companies, be sure you leverage the double giving and encourage them to nominate you for a matching gift.






But let’s examine another scenario that is important to nonprofits: when employees do nominate you, and the nonprofit doesn’t accept. Why is this?

Let’s review five reasons nonprofits don’t receive a matching gift. You can take these lessons and apply them to the nonprofit you work for or help a nonprofit that you nominate. In the end, we all want to do good, and we all want to see nonprofits receive their funds.

1. Missing The Right Documents

When you are nominated for a grant from a foundation, they need to receive certain paperwork from you. This might include your mission statement, your 501(c)(3) status, your overhead calculation and more. At UniversalGiving, we have more than 24 stages that we have created for vetting an NGO. It’s called our “Quality Model” and is why we are unique. We allow our corporate clients to customize which vetting steps they apply for their corporate social responsibility programs.

Some nonprofits don’t receive a grant simply because they can’t find the paperwork, while other nonprofits don’t make the effort to find the paperwork. And if you can’t submit the necessary documentation, then you lose the grant.

2. High Overhead

Proper governance is a key factor in evaluating a nonprofit, and proper governance requires fiscal responsibility. That means that anyone who’s donated to you wants to know that the funds are being used wisely. Normally, an overhead between 10% and 12% is expected for top-rated nonprofits; truly great nonprofits are closer to 10%. A nonprofit can have an overhead of up to 25% to 35% in certain circumstances. It’s important to have a guideline, but also some flexibility.

If you don’t have the overhead according to the corporate guidelines, my biggest recommendation would be to share your plans for reducing overhead. If the corporate client sees that you are making a concerted effort to do so, they may still approve the grant.






While overhead is just one component of approval, it’s an important one. Fiscal responsibility and the proper use of each dollar is of the utmost importance in a donor’s mind, whether it’s the employee nominator or the corporate foundation who matches.


Stay tuned for Part Two of Five Reasons Nonprofits Don’t Receive Matching Gifts (And What To Do About It) tomorrow!