Featured Interview: Lisa Tomasi in NJBIZ

Last week, our president Lisa Tomasi was featured in online publication NJBIZ.com to speak on the founding of YouGiveGoods, the importance of work-life balance and to provide a few crucial tips for women at work.

We've highlighted a few key excerpts below:

The best part of working at YouGiveGoods
"No matter what happens in a workday, knowing that later in the week we will be delivering thousands of pounds of food to a food pantry or toys to help children or pet supplies to animal shelters makes my job the best job ever."

The most important takeaway from education
"How to learn, solve problems and manage time in order to accomplish your goals. ..If you can master critical thinking and learn to look at problems and solutions in unique and intelligent ways, successes in and out of the classroom will find you."

Top five things for successful women to master
"Believe in their abilities and intelligence. Lead by example and actions. Be fearless. Know that failures are a part of success. True failure is not learning from the mistakes. Be your own person. Make decisions and take actions that are true to you and your beliefs."

Best advice regarding work/life balance
"The most useful thing to balance the pulls of work and life is fun. To be happy and fulfilled, work-life and life-life has to contain a high degree of enjoyment and satisfaction. If one part of life (or both) does not have the “fun” element, then the balance will fail and personal, financial and business success may be elusive."

Visit the full article at NJBIZ.com.

Our Record of #GivingTuesday's 2014 Moment

2014 was a watershed moment for this big day — the year #GivingTuesday officially moved from campaign to national holiday status: blessings received from The White House; high-fived by a whole line of celebrities and stars, from Hugh Jackman to Yo-Yo Ma to Ellen Degeneres; and championed by no less than 68 countries around the world.

To YouGiveGoods too, this new tradition was important to honor.

We decided to hold a site-wide #GIVE10 event. For two days, on #GivingTuesday, and the day after, we offered to the public a gift code that granted an additional 10% cash donation on top of any donation of $50 or more to any charity drive hosted with us.

The turnout was inspiring. Together, for the two-day event, we raised nearly $20K for charity: in soup kitchen basics, pets supplies, toys and more — pounds of profound impact.

In that spirit of thanks, we're excited to share with you our recap of our #GIVE10 event. View the full list of participating partners and beneficiaries, browse through key highlights from #GivingTuesday conversation, learn a few fun facts (most popular donated toy! The three most popular donated food items!), and top it off with a letter from our president Lisa Tomasi, looking towards #GivingTuesday 2015.

A holiday like #GivingTuesday is a jumpstart of inspiration at the end of the year, to remind us always of our original mission, and to continue into the New Year with open arms hearts and hearts.

Thank you again for your inspiration!

Happy Thanksgiving! And a Toast

Bear with us - it's going to get a little cheesy!

(But that's a requisite for the holidays, no? Cheesy, but in a painfully great way? Like pumpkin-scented candles and really big hugs?)

This year, our team has much to give thanks for. At YouGiveGoods, we're now three years strong and going.

So in the spirit of looking back, and looking forward, we'd like to raise our glass as a team and give a Thanksgiving toast to a few of the best things that have changed us over these three (packed! but amazing) years, since YouGiveGoods' launch.

So cheers! Cheers and toasts to the following:



To the generosity of our partners and volunteers.

Over the years, we've grown, changed, and been impacted irrevocably by the meaningful connections we've made: with our nonprofit and charity partners; numerous teams across companies and schools; as well as individual volunteers.

When it comes to pulling off a successful online drive, from start all the way to delivery, there are a lot of helping hands involved. From running the drive; to mobilizing employees, friends, families to give; to delivering that shipment of goods at drive's end; to the charity then serving their community.

Can we just say: every time we hear news of a shipment's arrival to a charity's doors, it's the best feeling in the world? It never gets old! To us, the arrival of goods celebrates everyone's volunteer efforts at every step to make sure, ultimately, that our most underserved are cared for.

That is no small feat of generosity.



To the power of an item to change a life.

This belief is central to what we do at YouGiveGoods. In many ways, of course, a tangible good is practical and sensible: you get to pick where your money is going; it saves time and hassle for everyone, for coordinators and charity recipients alike.

But let's leave logistics aside for a second. At the heart of this transaction between you, the charity, and the served, is the powerful fact that it can take just one donated item to ease another's suffering. Most of us are very lucky to be gifted with daily comforts.

For most of us, in another context: we wouldn't take a second look at the toothbrush by our sink, a notebook on our desk, a blanket folded on our bed, or a can of food at the back of our kitchen shelves.

It's when we try to imagine a life where we reach out a hand, only to come up empty, that we can come even remotely close to the impact we can make with a tangible good.



Lastly, to our conviction that giving is at the core of it all.

We're not going to pull out the scholarly studies (and there are plenty of them), but we're confident that, at the end of the day, giving is the habit that makes us happiest.

It's when we attend to our innate compassion, our impulse to make sure our neighbor is as safe, warm, and happy as we are, that we truly recognize the frailty of life, and experience gratitude for our own fortune (but for the grace, and so on - isn't that right?).

To that end, every day (not just the holidays!), our team can't help but feel immensely grateful to be part of a process that recognizes that everyone, regardless of individual history, deserves a dignified and meaningful existence.

And we are grateful that you, too, are a part of it.

Cheers! To the fantastic journey ahead.

Why Donate through our #GivingTuesday Campaign

In many ways, #GivingTuesday can be overwhelming: how will you choose who you support? To help, we present the top 5 reasons you should donate to our #GivingTuesdayCampaign supply and food drives.

5) Your Favorite Nonprofit is hosting a drive: If your favorite nonprofit is asking for presents, you can’t possibly say no! They need these items to make an impact on their communities. Perhaps it’s dog toys, fresh produce or toys for children: every item donated has the ability to change someone’s life.

4) You don’t really know who to support: Perhaps you don’t yet have a favorite, or maybe you’re looking to start supporting someone new. This is a great one stop opportunity to peruse several different organizations, see what they’re doing, and get involved in a tangible way. You don’t have make to make just one donation. You could make several smaller ones to several different organizations. It all adds up!

3) You want to know your donation is making a difference: Cash donations, especially below $100 amounts, are often directed to nonprofit’s annual funds. The annual fund may support programs, operational costs or events. All of these items are needed, but if you really want to know exactly what your funds are buying then giving goods is the best way to go about it. The organization you are supporting receives the item and has very few options but to use it in the manner it was intended.

2) #GivingTuesday was created with the intention of including a worthy cause on your holiday shopping list: Our drives are the very embodiment of holiday shopping. In many ways they’re your nonprofit’s ‘wish list’ as most drives are created with the nonprofit’s input regarding what items they want made available for purchase. In some drives you can even purchase gift boxes that will give your cause a variety of most needed items. What better present is there to give to your nonprofit.

1) Our Community Give Back program: Donate more than $50 worth of goods to any drive on #GivingTuesday, December 2, and be sure to enter in the incentive code in your shopping cart, and we’ll give a financial donation worth 10% of your order to your chosen nonprofit. This way you get to do it all with one donation: give goods and cash!

The Princeton Eating Clubs

The Princeton Eating Clubs Holiday Food & Toy Drive Challenge is underway!

We were delighted to find out we would be working with the Princeton Eating Clubs on their holiday food and toy drive challenge.

You may be wondering: what are the Princeton Eating Clubs? The Princeton Eating Clubs serve as social and dining halls for approximately three-quarters of Princeton’s juniors and seniors. They are private, co-ed clubs located in elegant mansions, which serve as social hubs of the University, and have quite a history.

Eating Clubs at Princeton arose in the mid 19th-century with the first permanent Eating Club, The Ivy Club, officially opening in 1879. Famous Eating Club alumni include F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jimmy Stewart. (Fun fact: Fitzgerald makes the clubs the main setting in one of his major novels. How’s that for a tribute?)

While their history is enchanting, it is the Princeton Eating Clubs’ passionate mission for their food and toy drives that gets us excited. We can’t help but take notice, when college students take the time from their busy schedules to band together, and actively support the most needy in their community.

The Princeton Eating Clubs Holiday Food & Toy Drive Challenge runs now through December 5, benefiting the Mercer Street Friends Center and Food Bank in Ewing, New Jersey.

So, Princeton Eating Clubs, we’d like to say: here’s to you for making a difference today. Thank you for making the holidays brighter for families in need. And, can we come visit?

Thank You from YouGiveGoods

Thank you!

At this time of year, surrounded by holiday celebration, our thoughts turn gratefully to every member of the YouGiveGoods community with warm appreciation. Since launching YouGiveGoods three years ago, we've greatly enjoyed partnering with donors, corporations, individuals, nonprofits and organizations to raise goods for a variety of projects and missions. You inspire us with your commitment to community and changing the world.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy and laughter!

Why Donate to a Toy Drive?

As the holidays near there is a very important question we all must ask ourselves: what is the best technique for searching out and peeking at those "hidden" holiday gifts? Oh, come on, when you were a child certainly you had some ninja-like skills. For my part, I would slice open the tape, unwrap each gift, see what it was, and then rewrap it, taping over the cut tape in the exact same manner. My niece grew up in the digital age: she found her mother's receipts and looked up the UPC numbers on Google.

Not every child has our stories. Their families may not have the funds for toys. They may be in a foster home, or hospital: somewhere where access to toys is limited. Their holidays are very different. Rather than rejoicing with their friends, they may be sad and lonely.

YouGiveGoods is proud to partner with a number of nonprofits including Toys for Tots and Easter Seals to raise toys to help children facing every possible setback. Each toy donation will put a smile on a child's face, encourage their imagination, and help them hope beyond their current circumstances. Each toy donation you make represents a changed life.

With a few clicks of the mouse, you can put a toy in the hands of a child and confirm that love is the true message of the holiday season. Give a child the opportunity to develop their snooping skills, and something to look forward to this season. Please visit our Explore page, and filter by Toys to view all our toy drives.

Philadelphia Eagles Lead the Charge for a Healthier Community

Unfortunately, too many people in our community go without the proper food choices and essential supplies needed on a day-to-day basis. -- Christina Weiss Lurie, President Eagles Youth Partnership, Eagles Social Responsibility

Truer words were never spoken. Food Pantries exist on donations. Translation: whatever they receive is what they have to give out. More often than not this includes various canned goods and pasta. It's not unusual to see many food drives stipulate that items are "fresh enough to serve in your own home". We can't blame them. Requesting donations of fresh fruits and vegetables are difficult. They need special handling, storage and have a very limited shelf life.

The Philadelphia Eagles are finding a way to lead change with their second annual Healthy Food Drive, benefiting the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger's Green Light Pantry. The online drive format, and our delivery service allows them to host a fresh produce and fruit drive.

For the first time, with the help of YouGiveGoods, food drives may offer fresh produce and fruit. YouGiveGoods will order and deliver the donations at the end of the drive; ensuring everything the Coalition Against Hunger receives is fresh and usable. Giving their constituents the opportunity to have a healthy, home made Holiday dinner!

The Eagles declared this year's goal as 5,000 pounds and the drive is just beginning! Let's all help them not on obtain their goal, but surpass it. Donate today and help families gain access to fresh, healthy food.

Our Military, a Girl Scout and Holiday in a Box


The Girl Scouts Gold Award is awarded for the highest level of achievement in Girl Scouting and is only open to girls who challenge themselves to change the world. Kate Porschke, Chatham High School sophomore, took this challenge to heart, and as her Gold Award project, created the “Holiday in a Box” Drive.
One of the hardest challenges for any military member is being deployed during the holidays. Away from home, family and community is a very lonely experience. Thank you's and gifts serve as reminders that their community is thinking of them, supporting them and missing them in return. For Kate this became stark reality when she saw her father’s cousin reaction after receiving a similar gift box during his deployment.
Drawing from this memory, Kate decided to find a way to bring her community slightly closer to its military members this holiday season. She sought out a list of the currently deployed alumni from her high school, and requested donations of nonperishable goods and personal care items. She plans to pack these items up and ship them as a packaged "holiday in a box" thank you for each alum.
She also added an element to help her wider community and alumni from around the nation to get involved: her online YouGiveGoods drive. It ran for 26 days and blew past its goal by 16% to raise just over $3,500 worth of goods.
Thank you so much, Kate for partnering with us for such a worth cause! Good luck with all the packing.

7 Simple Secrets to Totally Rock Your Online Drive

Here are 7 simple secrets to making your drive a success.

  1. Put a story on your Drive Page
    Tell the world what you’re going to do with the donations, how they will help. People like to be a part of something, and they hear “donate” all day long. Give them a reason they can’t deny to donate to your drive. It doesn’t have to be extensive, just a quick why.

  2. Use a Great Picture!
    Not everyone reads as closely as we would always like, so give them something they can't look away from. The image you pick will also become the face of your drive as it is the image that YouGiveGoods displays on the Explore page, the "Share This" email, and anytime someone uses your social media buttons.

  3. Comment/Update
    Comment or post updates throughout your drive. Others will do the same once they see you doing it. The more updated your page looks, the more people will want to be a part of it.

  4. Schedule updates on Facebook
    Here’s a great tutorial on how to do this. Just once, go through and schedule various posts about your drive. That way you don’t have to remember to do this again in the future, and people will be reminded to donate throughout the drive

  5. Send weekly emails
    Emails can be as involved as you want them to be. At their easiest, go to your drive page and click the "share this" located under your goal information. Just add in your list of emails (without spaces), and hit submit. You're done!

  6. Keep all your communication personal
    Tell your supporters about yourself and your team. Why you’re doing this, why you love this particular charity. It’s simply human nature to support things that are “real”.

  7. Enjoy!
    Have fun with this! It is fun, we’re raising goods to help our communities. If there’s something you want to try, but don’t know how — contact us. We’ll be happy to help you figure it out.