Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Last summer, the ice bucket challenge went viral and took the internet and the world by storm all for the benefit of future ALS research and raising awareness. While awareness was certainly raised,  ALS organizations raised large amounts of money as well. The question on many people’s’ mind quickly became, “What will they do with all that money?” and many feared that such organizations would instead funnel the money toward other viral attempts.


One organization that raised a lot of money, the Washington D.C. based ALS Association (ALSA), was quick to act on the growing ice bucket challenge trend that is said to have began in a Massachusetts community showing support to resident that was diagnosed with ALS years earlier. Although many criticized the ice bucket challenge as just another internet trend similar to the Harlem Shake craze, the end result shows just how successful it was.

By the time that the ice bucket challenge began to lose momentum, ALSA had raised over $115 million. Other organizations around the world supporting ALS research and awareness also saw similar results, as the trend became a global phenomenon. But then the challenge became what to do with all that money and, more importantly, how to use it properly.

ALSA has been one of the organizations to release a breakdown of how they spent that amazing windfall, which amounted to five times their usual revenue for the previous year. Those who donated and those who were at first critical of the power of the ice bucket challenged became worried that instead of putting the money to use toward ALS related issues, nonprofits would instead use it to continue gaining attention in attempts to go viral. However, the breakdown provided by ALSA, which has received the most out of any organization related to ALS, proves that those fears weren’t realized.

Of the $115 million raised, 70% of it went to funding ALS research, 20% is being spent on ALS patient care and community service. The remaining 10% has gone toward continued fundraising initiatives and covers administration costs


7 Signs The Charity isn’t Legit

When natural disasters strike, people are quick to open their hearts as well as their wallets to help out those in need. But it is always important to remain vigilant of individuals or groups that are ouDavid Mantekt there to steal your well-intended donations.

With the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal earlier this month, the outpour of support around the world has been incredibly and very welcomed. But it is during times like this that donors can become careless in an effort to help as quickly as possible. Understandably, time is of the essence when it comes to situations like those currently faced by the people of Nepal but the best and speedier help can come from well-established charitable organization.

If a person wants to help out the thousands displaced by the earthquake, H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau, recommends giving to established organizations that already maintain a presence in the affected area.

Along with that, the Wise Giving Alliance has some signs that donors should look out for to discern legit charities from those that may have ill-intentions:

1. Only accepting cash donations or wire transfers

2. Can’t breakdown how donations will be used

3. Can’t verify their nonprofit status

  • It is important to note that legitimate nonprofit organizations, in order to maintain their status, have to make public a wealth of information regarding their operations, assets, employee salaries, and security. This information is easily accessible through organizations that track charities.

4. The name sounds like the name of an already established org.

5. Puts pressure on donating immediately

6. Requests donations over the phone

7. Little to no proven track record



Tab For Cause

tab For cause david mantek

What if I Told you theres a charity out there donating money every time their users “open a new tab”. No, seriously… A web app called Tab For A Cause will transform your browser’s blank canvases and turn them into a convenient way to donate to your favorite charity. Every time you open a “new tab”  in Chrome or Firefox, the app populates the page with blogs about causes like education and poverty, oh yeah – can’t forget the advertisements.

Giving over the rights to your browser tabs now allows you to help empower communities and establish local language for kids. Some charities that are receiving donations via Tab For A Cause are,, Room to Read, Human Rights Watch, Conservation International, International Peace Institute and Save the Children.

“Created by Silicon Valley residents Alex Groth and Kevin Jennison, Tab For a Cause donates one-tenth to one-fifth of a cent each time a user opens a new tab, the Los Angeles Times reports.”

Alex Groth, 22, told the la times that his sole motive was to try and make giving easier. Groth graduated this year from Pomona College in California, He states “In college it doesn’t seem like any donation I can give to a charity is going to be very impactful,” he said. “And I kind of wanted to create a way where everyone can be giving to charity regardless of your monetary worth at that time.”



Spartan Race Investigated for Charity Claims

The well known international brand known as Spartan Race is coming under even more fire due to misconceptions related to their charity givings. Specifically In 2014, Spartan Race was found to donate less than 50 cents per competitor to military charities. Spartan Race marketed their action sports company as a military friendly organization and pledged that some proceeds would go to help military families in need. What angered people was that some racers in these events paid more than $100 to compete, and less than 50 cents per athlete went to the charitable causes.imgres-10

Spartan Race’s CEO and founder, Joe De Sena is quoted in saying, “we wish it could be more,” said at the time the investigation came to light, and he promised a better change in 2015.

After more questions were raised in the spring of 2014 about the organizations charitable givings, Spartan Race stopped discussions about their charitable status with other military based organizations. Spartan Race did however continue their strong encouragement of racers fundraising paired with their own training and participation in the event.

Interestingly enough from 2013 to 2014 the Spartan Race organization reported that donations from participants went up 360%. Since the stories began to rise the company has added onto their charity program. Racers can now achieve free entry to the events if they raise a certain amount of funds for pre-selected non-profit organizations.

Spartan Race also said its direct donations to charity went up 12%, without any specific or concrete numbers available. Spartan Race also added a national television deal with NBC Sports this past year to join its existing national sponsorship deal with Reebok. Joe De Sena detailed to the press in 2014 that deals with venture capitalists mean profits come first. He was quoted in saying…

“With those profits, we’d like to give a nice portion to charities.” “We’d love for all our employees to donate to charities, but more importantly, we’d love for all our participants to donate to charities.”

Charitable Donations in America

Glenn Ruffenach of the Wall Street Journal gave us a closer look at charitable donations in the United States. The infographic below (which was provided by WSJ online and Harris poll online survey) — surveyed 2,306 adults in July 2014 in order to accurately portray the social responsibility of the living generations in the United States. The infographic also covers the contribution within the past two to three years from each generation.

Overall, 91 percent of Americans have made a charitable donation within the last two or three years. The top four are: used clothing, money, food and used items- blood came in last with at a 18% giving rate from US adults in the last three years.

Moreover, millenials have this ideal theory that it is their social responsibility to mae the world a better place by being active compared to today’s baby boomers and Gen-x’ers. Here are  the primary findings from a recent Harris Poll titled “Money? Time? Blood? What Are Americans Giving?”

genrational gap charity

Innovation and Fundraising

Some of the toughest challenges that charities face today are finding a way to attract new donors, re-engaging  with current donors and getting constant donations regularly. A recurring problem for developing charities is figuring out a way to request time, skill,  and funds from potential donors without the fear of suffocating their donors with the pressure of too many wants. Chalimageslenging traditional fundraising gives charities a chance to aim at an interactive market and engage more people in giving time and resources while measuring their charitable impact.

According to Nicolle Wilkinson there are four established charities looking to tackle innovative fundraising. These charities have been awarded funding from Innovation in Giving Fund run by Nesta.


  1. Age UK partner with Ecomodo(a platform used for sharing) to create a new platform for giving; this initiative allows both organization to have a broader social impact. Age Uk believed their top 2 challenges are finding enough contributors to support their new services and encouraging anyone 50 and over to become more involved with innovation and engagement.
  • The idea behind building on Ecomodo’s existing platform is allowing Age UK to explore newer business ideas based on sharing skills and encouraging the older generation to explore and actively engage in society.

What is AGE UK?

  • Age UK is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to making the most out of your later life.

Mission: Age UK’s vision is for a world where everyone can love later life.

2.   The Children’s Society

  • The Children’s Society plans to offer their supporters full transparency on the details behind their donation to a local project. The idea was developed in 2012 at the annual key supporter conference. During the conference, supporters stated they wanted to fully understand where their donations are being spent and how their making a difference.
  • The solution will be to utilize mobile, web, app and widget technology in order to give supporters real time updates to thank them for their donations.

What is The Children’s Society?

  • An organization fighting child poverty and neglect.

Mission:  To create a country where children are free from disadvantage. The Children’s Society continues to fight  for a change in the world that disadvantaged children deserve.

3.  Food Cycle

  • FoodCycle is looking to bring together 14 hubs and increase their charitable impact. The potential challenges would be ramping up local hub fundraising while figuring out what the best growth model would be to accomplish this goal. Food Cycle is partnering up to test new ways to grow as a volunteer hub network. They are now working with Chipotle, Mexican Grill – where stand up hub leaders can mentor volunteers.

What is Food Cycle?

  • FoodCycle volunteers and runs community based projects in order to provide nutritious meals to individuals in need.

Mission: To reduce food poverty


  • WWF is a leading conservation organization and they are teaming up with Scope, an organization that supports disabled people and  their families in order to solve common challenges. The organizations will utilize social psychology insights animgres-2d apply their findings to a recognized area of fundraising. Together, both organizations hope to improve the initial process of creating a network of supporters. Meanwhile, WWF and Scope will address important charitable issues like reasons behind stagnant donations and finding a new approach to making giving easier. WWF ands Scope have approached the need to improve the culture of giving at a advanced level and our finding innovative approaches to do so. They are looking to improve the recruitment and retention of supporters, while addressing the reasons behind stagnation in charitable donations. As well as finding new approaches that make giving easier, they have recognised the need to find innovative ways to strengthen the culture of giving at a systemic level. Both organizations are looking to offer various ways to give charitable supporters a way to control their funds in regards to giving.

What is WWF?

  • WWF’s mission is to protect nature and decrease the ongoing threats to existing life on earth.



Springfield Residents Unite to Aid Ebola Patients

David Mantek - Ebola Food DriveThis weekend, more than 5,000 Springfield residents gathered at the Springfield Expo Center and packed meal to be sent to Liberia to the hospitalized Ebola patients and their families. This drive called Meal-A-Million-Pack-A-Thon is organized by Friends Against Hunger, a program that has be active working since 2012 to send meals to the needy.

Executive Director of Friends Against Hunger, Karen Woods says that this year the program intends to pack and distribute 1.2 millions meals all over US and all over the world and the Springfield Expo Centre campaign targeted approximately 300,000 meals for the Ebola victims. Woods is also impressed by the citizens of Missouri and their passionate persistence in rising up to the challenge of helping the needy.

Iowa’s Outreach, Inc., in partnership with Friends Against Hunger, has been responsible for sending consignment of meals to victims of Hurricane Sandy and Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan and is also responsible for sending 1.2 million meals to the Ebola victims in Liberia, including Springfield’s 300,000 to hospitals housing Ebola victims.

Walter Gwenigale, a resident of Des Moines, Iowa is the son of the Minister of Health in Liberia and says that it is essential for Ebola victims to receive plenty of nutritional meals to accelerate healing. The hospitals in Liberia are not equipped to provide the necessary meals so families have taken up this responsibility, which is now hindered due to the quarantine approach and that is why shipping these meals is helping save lives of the thousands battling Ebola.

For more details on donating to the cause, click here.

Millennials Giving to Charity

Charitable giving is being reshaped and millennials are now leading the charge.  In a recent NPR blog, Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of Charity: Water, mentions that this change comes from a previous stance of “I don’t know where my money is going.”  Before founding the organization, Harrison was working in New York promoting a models and bottles style service.  He realized that, if he continued, his legacy would only reflect that he got people drunk.  But a trip to Liberia changed his life forever.  After a short time in the country he saw children drinking out of murky water that Harrison said he wouldn’t even let his dog drink from.  He knew there was a massive problem and he had to do something about it.

davidmantek_waterHe started Charity: Water with the goal to provide clean drinking water to more than 800 million people across Africa and he would need donations to help his cause.  But with a common perception towards charity as a black hole, where money gets thrown with no knowledge to the giver what it is going towards, Harrison realized that he had to accomplish a second thing, making it easier and reinventing the way people understand their donation.

Targeting millennials was a big thing for Harrison and other charities in general.  Over 80 million millennials are now coming of age and are able to spend money on nonprofits.  Identifying how they’ll do so is vital to the future of the nonprofit landscape.

A forecaster for trends in nonprofit giving, Amy Webb, mentions that changing the language could be a simple but big step in the right direction.  Changing the language from donation to investment should help millennials understand where their money is headed.  Webb cites this as a good idea because of the constant sharing between individuals online through social media.

Harrison and Webb have seen millennials put their best foot forward in giving when the cause is shareable, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for example, and it will be continuing trends like this that will shape how giving happens in the next 20 years.

Volunteering in America

It has never been a better time for American adults to volunteer. Since the 2008 financial crisis, funding from public and private sources have been cut for nonprofits while the demand for their services has increased. Four in five nonprofits work with volunteers and seriously rely on their help. Volunteer tasks range from setting up tables to helping run the organization.

davidmantek_volunteerThroughout Long Island, there is a wide range of opportunities for people to volunteer for nonprofits to help fulfill their missions. Volunteers want to choose a organization that they can relate to and speaks to them personally. Some volunteers look for organizations that support a certain cause or those that serve specific groups such as children or veterans. While you try to find the right group for you, look at what you could potentially gain from your experience. Are you looking to meet new people, give back to the community or gain skills to help you in your career?

While you think of organizations and causes that speak to you, make sure you go with a well-run organization that has a reputable presence in your community. It’s also a good idea to visit the websites of third-party rating organizations such as Charity Navigator, GuideStar and the New York Philanthropic Advisory Service of the Better Business Bureau, which recommend charities based on various criteria.

Once you’ve found your perfect fit, contact them and figure out how you can be of help. Be realistic with the amount of time you have to volunteer and start small to get your food in the door. See how much you like it and then consider participating on a higher scale.

For more information read on at

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

A CBS News article written by Jonathan Berr mentions that until recently no one knew how to spread the word about Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).  That isn’t a problem anymore as a simple challenge has become and internet sensation and awareness is firmly in the know.

davidmantek_icebucketchallengeThe Ice Bucket Challenge was started by two friends with ALS and a group of pro golfers raising money from charity.  With the charities that received donations being associated with ALS, the Ice Bucket Challenge soon became an internet hit and now the ALS Association is glad that it did.  According to the association, from July 29 to August 18 they have received over $15.6 million in donations.  The ALS Association received the donations from 307,598 previous and new donors and the $15.6 million in the three week period was over a 750 percent increase from donations during that time the previous year.

The Ice Bucket Challenge hasn’t just been shared among friends on Facebook, it has reached celebrities like Justin Timberlake, sports athletes like Lebron James, politicians like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and high level executives like Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

As unfortunate as it is, because most donations to charities come from the private sector, all charities are often competing for the public’s donation.  That’s what makes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so fantastic.  As the article mentions, it is increasingly tough to get noticed by the public for a good cause with so many organizations in the loop.  The “media-saturated” age in which we are living makes the ice bucket challenge a feat because of who it’s reached.  While many donations before the wave of the Ice Bucket Challenge have come from an older crowd, the Ice Bucket Challenge has reached out to the younger generation.  The videos from participants keep coming and the ALS Association is hoping the donations do too.