Donate Like an Investor

So you gave on #GivingTuesday. Clam Lorenz wants you to do it all year round.

Clam Lorenz

“Most giving happens because someone asked you,” says Clam Lorenz, who serves as PayPal’s General Manager of Social Innovation. “You want to support your friend, or your kid’s soccer team needs money. And that’s great.” But Lorenz wants to build a giving economy that’s faster, bigger, and smarter than ever before.

In the wake of last week’s record-breaking Giving Tuesday—which resulted in a 66 percent increase over 2013—Lorenz has just one question: “Are we actually creating a larger philanthropic pie?” That is, on a global level, did this year’s Giving Tuesday generate more dollars for more causes—or did donors simply shift the giving they’d have done on December 29 to December 2?

Based on findings from the Case Foundation, Lorenz says it looks like the giving pie is, in fact, growing. For the last two and a half years, PayPal has partnered with Giving Tuesday to test incentives and donor responses. For 2014, PayPal is still in the midst of its most ambitious campaign yet, matching one percent of every online donation made via the PayPal Give Cheer campaign through the end of the year. “We hoped to stretch donor engagement throughout the month.”

And stretch it did. Lorenz offers up the example of disaster relief, which tends to spark more donations, but less money in aggregate. (The average online donation is approximately $100. The average disaster relief donation? Less than $30.) Lorenz tends to see these smaller gifts from casual donors, compelled to respond to a one-time crisis in the heat of the moment. Casual gifts are helpful for the cause they support, but don’t move the needle for the nonprofit sector as a whole.

But on 2014’s Giving Tuesday, Lorenz says he noticed more disaster relief donations from repeat visitors—at dollar amounts starting at $100. “These are committed donors. Basically, Giving Tuesday created an opportunity for them to give twice.”

Lorenz wants to emphasize that it’s not about the size of the donation. It’s about the philosophy behind it. If we’re going to revolutionize the giving economy, he says, we’ve got to commit to a cause and support it over the long haul.

That’s called philanthropy. And Lorenz—who’s been working in the nonprofit sector since his first job as a lifeguard for the Boys & Girls Club more than twenty years ago—has a few tips for those looking to give it a try.

“It’s fundamentally a mindset. It’s not about a checkbook. You can be a very effective philanthropist donating $100 a year. First, you’ve got to develop a ‘theory of change.’ What, ultimately, are you trying to do and why?”

Once you’ve determined what gets you fired up, it becomes a question of seeking the best existing solutions to the problem you’re trying to solve. Lorenz recommends resources like Charity Navigator and GiveWell, which consolidate research into the effectiveness of a variety of charities. “You wouldn’t buy a phone without reading a review. Why would you donate to a cause you care about without learning just how effective your $100, or $100,000, is really going to be?”

The third step in the process becomes identifying what your annual commitment to your cause is going to be. “What’s your budget, in money and time? If you’re trying to solve hunger in your community, you’re signing up for a long-term effort.” Unlike casual donations, philanthropy isn’t just about feeling good in the moment (though, as he’s quick to point out, giving does wonders for our mental health). Long-term giving, when done shrewdly, is a smart investment in your vision for the future.

As it turns out, hunger in the Bay Area—where PayPal is located—is a pet cause of the organization, which has supported spring and fall food drives with San Francisco’s Second Harvest Food Bank for a number of years. And on December 15, PayPal is teaming up with a socially responsible food start-up called Munchery to co-host a holiday feast for low-income residents in San Francisco.

Lorenz, who just returned from a big Thanksgiving meal at his aunt’s house in Florida, is looking forward to the event. “The nice thing about the holidays is that they force us to stop and make connections with our friends, our families, and our neighbors. And one of the best ways to do that is through volunteer service and charitable giving.”

Of course, Lorenz hopes the goodwill of the season will inspire you to contribute to the giving economy all year round.

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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