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Social Good Stars: Global Impact CEO Scott Jackson on International Philanthropy

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This is the eleventh installment of the Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the tenth interview with HopeMob CEO Shaun King here.

"Wherever there is a human being,
there is an opportunity for a kindness."
-Seneca

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Global Impact, Charity.org, has been providing innovative ways to give to causes, regions, and crises since 1956, always with an eye toward technology. Photo courtesy of Global Impact

Creating and increasing opportunities for kindness through giving around the globe is the calling card of Global Impact (Charity.org) and CEO Scott Jackson. In more than 20 years of non-governmental organization (NGO) and nonprofit experience, Scott has created enthusiasm and passion around helping at other visionary organizations like PATH and World Vision before joining Global Impact. He has a combination business and philanthropy background, with an MBA from the University of Edinburgh School of International Business, and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Puget Sound. Scott's passion is helping to create sustainable living standards for millions around the world, and assuring help for the world's most vulnerable.

US giving to international affairs has been growing rapidly. Online giving to international causes is growing, as well. Between 2009 and 2011, funding raised online for the international sector has jumped by 122%, according to a 2012 eNonprofits Benchmarks Study. In 2011, US-based giving through Global Impact generated more than $110 million, helping 400 million people receive aid through 11,400 organizations globally.

Mobile devices have had a lot to do with increased giving to international causes.

"Mobile is everywhere," notes Joseph Mettimano, Director of Marketing and Communications for Global Impact. "Many countries use handheld mobile devices to connect online far more than traditional PCs or laptops. Having this 'tech in the hand' creates easy giving opportunities."

Recently, Scott answered a few questions about how mobile, technology and real-time global connection through the internet and social media has changed giving on a global scale.

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International online giving is up 122% between 2009 and 2011, due in large part to mobile devices making giving fast and easy. Photo courtesy of Charity.org

What are some of the biggest changes Global Impact has seen in giving?

US-based nonprofits have been able to help individuals give to humanitarian causes around the globe through programs like corporate giving at a faster rate, and in easier ways, than any time in the past. Sixty years ago, US giving was about 1% to international causes. Now that the world is easier to see, and we can learn about disasters and crises in real-time, help can get to people faster. US-based giving to international needs is now up to about 10%. Things like video, geo-tagging, photos, and social media let us connect and see and feel events around the globe in a much more visceral way. And mobile devices make news and events real-time.

With the dramatic increase of mobile connectivity around the world in recent years, have you seen big changes in mobile giving?

Absolutely. Awareness of issues and causes has jumped, which has a lot to do with social media, and compassionate supporters sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with friends. From a giving perspective, mobile technology has opened up opportunities to donate very quickly and easily in seconds, from anywhere, so no opportunities are missed to let someone help at the exact moment they feel inspired to give.

Global Impact uses the GiveNetwork to facilitate matching this passion to give with mobile technology so donations can flow to causes easily and quickly. Powered by Give.Mobi, the GiveNetwork platform combines the use of publicly displayed QR codes and mobile URLs. With a quick scan, users immediately connect to Global Impact's online donation portal and can donate to the specific cause - in any amount - using a unique PayPal process. And it works from any web enabled smartphone in 190 countries throughout the world. Almost as fast as someone decides they want to help the cause, they can complete a real-time donation, any time, any place.


How have the global footprints of corporations and organizations changed the giving landscape?

The footprint of businesses based in the US in other parts of the world is expanding. Companies want to help the local communities they are in, whether in the US or abroad. We're seeing big changes in the overall giving landscape in India, China, the Middle East, Africa, and Brazil, as well as many other places. The 25-35 year-old demographic is heavily involved with social causes and is already tech-minded. People are looking for high-tech, high-touch ways to give - feeling a direct connection to their gift. Platforms like Kiva or Sparked create more tactile giving experiences for individuals and employees, and Global Impact helps design programs to let employees feel more connected to their giving through their companies.

US giving in 2011 was about $298 Billion according to Giving USA. Corporations gave approximately $15 Billion, with individuals making up the largest majority of US donations, $217 Billion (about 73%). So the real groundswell continues to be created by individuals. People everywhere are seeing, and feeling, more and more that human beings around the world are all connected.

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Scott Jackson, CEO of Global Impact. Photo courtesy of Global Impact

You can learn more and connect with Global Impact at Charity.org, on Twitter @charitydotorg, and on Facebook.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.