Korean nonprofits know fundraising: post from Seoul

first_imgSuzyQuzy, FlickrPhoto from today of me with my hosts at the Beautiful FoundationI’m in Seoul, where I was fortunate enough to present to 300 nonprofits at a fundraising conference organized by the Seoul-based Beautiful Foundation. The Beautiful Foundation, which bears the slogan, Beyonnd Charity Toward Change, is a nine-year-old public interest foundation here that grants $7 million annually. Its flagship giving campaign, 1% Sharing, is well known to South Koreans and has inspired a growing philanthropic sector. It urges people to give 1% of their money, time or talent to a good cause. The foundation staff say their name comes from a Dorothy Parker quote: “To a charitable organization, money was sent with good will. What is beautiful is not the words, but the will.” (Personally, as a fundraiser, I like the Dorothy Parker quote, “The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘cheque enclosed.’”).Giving in Korea is beginning to take off as the country enjoys prosperity. Two-thirds of South Koreans give money and a quarter volunteer, and the amount donated is increasing annually. I wanted to highlight some of the foundation’s great fundraising work, which seeks to build on these trends. Their Lego-like building block project had people collect coins in building blocks, which were then put together in the city to showcase charitable giving. You can see some of the blocks behind us in our photo above. And there is a great write-up of the project here.Supporters bought colourful Lego block banks to collect their donations. These were purchased online or in bulk and given to business employees or school students. A leaflet explaining how people could take part was distributed with each block bank. The leaflet also had stories from various supporters who came from all walks of life. Over the event period, supporters collected their monies in the block bank; on 6 December 2008 they brought their block banks to a central location in Seoul to join in a group Lego-building activity. Those who lived outside the capital were able to send their block banks before this activity.This year, they are creating a project that involves real leaves imprinted with the slogan that has a double meaning of roughly, “Hope does not fall,” and “hope can’t be defeated.” Here are two leaves they left with me.What they have done so well, particularly with the Lego project, is not only inspiring giving but making it participatory and visible. This is so important in creating a sense that giving is growing and establishing a new social norm. It is a great model for all of us to follow.What can you do to make the act of giving more engaging?last_img

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