Tag Archives: Leadership

Five Creative And Effective Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Ideas


I am so pleased to share UniversalGiving™ was featured in a Forbes Expert Panel article. This article focused on how to create more creative peer-to-peer fundraising techniques and you can read our response here. Scroll down to see our response on how to use social media to increase awareness.



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5. Leverage Instagram Sharing

“This is a great way to attain fundraising but also media awareness. Your friend posts an inspiring photo with a call to action on giving to their organization. You agree to viral it on all your platforms because through Instagram you can also post on Twitter and Facebook. Then you post your inspiring photo, call to action and cause. They do the same in sharing and they help you!”

 Pamela Hawley, UniversalGiving





Seven Strategies For Maintaining Mutually Beneficial Relationships With Nonprofit Partners


I am so pleased to share UniversalGiving™ was featured in a Forbes Expert Panel article. This article focused on how to maintain mutually beneficial relationships between a nonprofit and its supporters and you can see answers from the rest of the community here. Scroll down to see our response on the importance of consistence communication.



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2. Provide Regular Reports

“Forming partnerships requires communication. If you are about to sign or are in a contract, provide regular reports. They don’t have to be fancy, but communicate your intentions on the partnership and how you will serve them; you can remind them about the value you have provided. The corporate partner can respond and reinforce positively your summary and/or ask for changes.”

 Pamela Hawley, UniversalGiving





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!




The Classic Pamela Positive:”I Was Raised To Believe That Excellence Is The Best Deterrent To Racism Or Sexism. And That’s How I Operate My Life.” -Oprah Winfrey

“I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that’s how I operate my life.”

-Oprah Winfrey


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Excellence is a statement that speaks all on its own.


Where are you demonstrating Excellence?


Where are you not?


Take that clear inventory today. Be gentle, and then make the changes you need to to get to Excellence.  Every day is a day to live your best self. Start in some small way today to get to greater Excellence in your life!


I’m working on it too,






Media giant Oprah Winfrey was born in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. She entered Tennessee State University in 1971 and began working in radio and television broadcasting in Nashville. In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, where she hosted a hit television chat show, People Are Talking. Afterward, she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show. She later became the host of her own, wildly popular program, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired for 25 seasons, from 1986 to 2011. That same year, Winfrey launched her own TV network, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Winfrey has been in a relationship with Stedman Graham, a public relations executive, since the mid-1980s. They became engaged in 1992, but never tied the knot. The couple lives in Chicago, and Winfrey also has homes in Montecito.


In 2005, Business Week named her the greatest Black philanthropist in American history. Oprah’s Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000 for charitable programs, including girls’ education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.She also hosts her kids from the schools that she founded in her home.  In 1994, President Clinton signed a bill into law that Winfrey had proposed to Congress, creating a nationwide database of convicted child abusers. She founded the Family for Better Lives foundation and also contributes to her alma mater, Tennessee State University.

Eight Ways To Find And Land Valuable Partnerships For Your Nonprofit


I am so pleased to share UniversalGiving™ was featured in a Forbes Expert Panel article. This article focused on how to recognize and celebrate talented individuals within your nonprofit and you can see answers from the rest of the community here. Scroll down to see our response on the importance of tailoring your celebration to the individual’s preferences.



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7. Praise Them According To Their Preferences

People are different. Some want to be celebrated publicly while others prefer a quiet acknowledgment. In either case, try to acknowledge the team as a whole, as most great wins are done by a team. This does not necessarily have to be a grand celebration. Try to find ways to acknowledge your people and your team every week. It should be continuous, ongoing verbal positive support.”

 Pamela Hawley, UniversalGiving





The Classic Pamela Positive: What Motivates?


I had an hour and a half long conversation with a Dukie the other day, who pushed me to answer new questions! I love those conversations as they are so real and help us become better people, teachers, and learners.

Sinclair’s question was,


“You have a certain energy that inspires and drives people to action. How do you cultivate it, and how do you maintain it?”






I don’t think there’s any surefire answer here. But here’s what I said:

“Dear Sinclair,

What a lovely question to ask, and one that is important for all of us. First, I will say that I find you equally motivating. It’s just that we have different personalities. For example, I might be more enthusiastically inspired, but you are more quietly and grounded inspired. Thus we are drawn together, as I might bring a higher energy and you bring a special stillness. Does that make sense?”

Sinclair, there are many different types of leadership. Just because someone seems more extroverted and external with it, doesn’t mean that’s the only type of leadership. Leadership can be about quietness, about listening, and even about knowing when to pause. To be a great leader, you need to master all communication skills, which include when to speak, how to speak, what the tone is, and when not to speak. It also includes body language, and most importantly, it includes your inner values and soul.

“So how then do you stay authentic with who you are?”

The words authenticity and transparency comes up a lot these days, and I appreciate it. As we become more oriented around machines, computers, iPads, phones, and the social media explosion of Vine, no Vine, Instagram, Snapchat—it disappears, Pinterest—Facebook—Twitter—former Friendster; it becomes very confusing. Our identities need to be aligned. So here’s what I do, and it’s a constant quest every day. Leadership isn’t something you attain and let go. Leadership is something you believe in, live, and maintain. That’s what makes life so exciting!

Remember these tips are only from me. You might find that other people have a different view. In order to stay authentic, I keep my priorities very clear. I know that my life calling is to be the best Pamela Hawley I can be, not just to deliver the best UniversalGiving. Therefore, I have to take a higher view than just my profession, my job, or even a calling. Even with a calling, you still have to put your identity and your values first. So how do I do that? First, you need to know that UniversalGiving comes third in my life. Yes, that’s right. As much as I love it, as much as it is my calling and not a job, it comes third in my life. So I’m going to be pretty naked here, and let you know how my life works.






#1. God, Love, and/or Nature

I believe in a governing force of good for our universe. That means our universe is run based on certain principles that are loving, kind, and filled with integrity. Some people call that God, some people call it Love (it’s not just human love), and some people may relate to it as nature. The point is that there is a law of options going on in the universe that allows for the greatest good to occur. It’s our job to hook into it, work with it, and accelerate as much good as we can in our lifetimes. That will then pass onto others and reflect the true goodness that exists in this universe.






Our foundation of the world and ourselves is based on goodness, and we need to pay more attention to that, rather than all of the nuisances, annoyances, negative suggestions, negative thoughts, and challenging interactions we have with personalities. You can make that a huge part of reality or you can go back to your view of a loving universe, and make that your focus. So you have to train your mind and heart, in God or Love, every day, every moment.


#2. Family (…and Friends)

Family is absolutely essential. It’s where we attain a sense of peace, grounding, and comfort. I know for myself, I grew up with a mom who baked me chocolate chip cookies, sat with me after school in second grade, and listened to me. We did workbooks together, we talked about life, and I felt she was always there for me. To this day, if I call her, ninety percent of the time she picks up the phone; she’s present. She’s family, and she’s my grounding, as are many other members of my family.






Family extends into many areas. For example, with my nephews and nieces, I was fortunate enough to take care of them many Saturday nights when they were growing up. I got them at the “meltdown” phase at around 3 o’clock and spent the night. I learned a lot! I bonded with them in ways I cannot even imagine. Today? I just called Connor, my 17-year-old nephew, to congratulate him on his soccer game. Maybe not so many teenagers would pick up their aunt’s call, but he does, and we have a conversation even if he’s in the middle of building a creative project for school. We just have that connection.

I really don’t see the point in life of being this major “success” if you don’t have that family to share it with. A family to inspire you, a family that you inspire. And with that, there’s a sense of peace. You know where you come from, you know what your values are, and when the world gets too heavy, you can go home to that values, whether that’s in a physical structure, or in your heart. It’s irreplaceable.






Equally important are friends. Those friends are absolutely a part of your family network. I have friends with whom I have standing weekly or monthly meetings. For example, my “second moms” are women who were a very important part of my life growing up. I have monthly or quarterly lunches set up with them. I don’t want to take them for granted and just see them at the holiday party. I want to know how they are, hear how they are, and support them as they have supported me. It’s a true, ongoing relationship rather than a once-a-year fond remembrance.






#3. UniversalGiving

I don’t have a job—I have a calling! Every day I get up, I love what I do. I love being a social entrepreneur, and I love serving the world. I love volunteering, and I love helping scale the fact that thousands of other people can volunteer. So for me, it’s just a constant flow of doing good for the world, and helping my team do that, as well as reach their best. In summary, UniversalGiving helps people donate and volunteer in hundreds of countries across the world.




Within that, I also rope in my volunteer events. I’m a consistent volunteer at City Impact, helping in the Tenderloin with everything from passing out food, doing apartment visits, to preparing Thanksgiving meals. I’m also a C.A.S.A., a Court-Appointed Special Advocate, which is a legal advocate for foster care youth who are often on the street. You work with them on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis to make sure they have food, housing, a listening ear, eyeglasses, job training, and whatever they might need. Many of them have had little or no training or modeling their entire life, so a lot of what you do also works on just helping them with social skills, and teaching them how to survive in the world.


#4. Improv

How I love improv! And you might think, “Well, how does this tie into the rest?” Improv is an incredible joy. It allows you to connect with your fellow actors on stage, and to be a true partner.






It requires great creativity and quick thinking. It equally requires great listening and taking the back seat. It’s about sharing.

It’s about building. It’s about creating a scene from nothing. And in order to do that, you have to have absolute trust with your partner.

And isn’t that what life is? Sometimes you have to respond immediately, you always have to listen, and you need to be a great friend or partner in life—whether that’s in business, a marriage, or a friendship. So it actually synergizes. But even if it doesn’t, it’s so much fun! You should have things like that in your life, that seem opposite to everything else you do. As my oma, one of the greatest flutists in our generation, and the first woman at Juilliard for flute said, “You need to get out there and kick up your heels once in awhile!” She was an extremely hard-worker and helped support her family during the depression. Her point was, get out there and dance. Get out there and have fun. Work hard and yet, live a little.






So, Sinclair, I’m not sure this fully answered your question, but this is how I try to maintain my true self and identity in life. Thank you for asking such an important question, and I hope this helps you in your journey!