Network for Good & Financial Services

Last year I wrote a piece for the Chronicle of Philanthropy about my “predicted surprises” for 2008. The idea was not to make outright predictions, but to suggest events that could happen even though they would be a surprise. My thought was to create a kind of “stretch goals” list for philanthropy. One of the items on the list was,

“Network for Good will partner with a national bank to enable the bank’s customers to make donations from their online bill-pay account.”

As I understand the story, one of the board members of Network for Good read my piece and asked why they couldn’t actually do it. Conversations were held with a major bank to put the idea in place, but over time the idea morphed a bit. Tomorrow Network for Good will announced that they’ve partnered with Capital One (a credit card company) to allow donors to give to any nonprofit with their Capital One card and Capital One will cover the transaction costs.

This move puts online giving on par with off-line giving. When you write a check to a nonprofit, they get the full amount. But until this announcement, whenever you gave using your credit card the charity would only get about 95-98% of your gift with the rest going to credit card fees. Capital One has launched a special Giving site powered by Network for Good as part of the deal.

Now what about the rest of the predicted surprises? Any takers?

  1. The chief executive officer of a large nonprofit will launch a blog
    that quickly becomes the most widely read philanthropy blog. Fund
    raising at the nonprofit will exceed expectations on the back of a huge
    number of small, online donations.
  2. A foundation will decide to start publishing online the rationale
    for why it makes each of its grants. Its grantees will see increased
    donations from individuals who tell them they first heard of their
    organizations on the foundation’s Web site.
  3. Network for Good will partner with a national bank to enable the
    bank’s customers to make donations from their online bill-pay account.
  4. Google will bring its mission to “organize the world’s information”
    to the nonprofit sector. Working in conjunction with, Google
    will engineer the acquisition of a recognizable nonprofit data
    provider. The “buyout” target will be a nonprofit.
  5. A billionaire philanthropist with non-U.S. citizenship will
    establish a U.S.-based private foundation. Using the foundation to
    establish a global philanthropy brand, the donor will join Bill Gates
    and Bono on the celebrity-philanthropist list.
  6. Two large private foundations will merge. Citing the advantage of
    combining the expertise of their program staff and lowering operating
    expenses, the merger will create the second-largest private foundation
    in the country.
  7. A United Way-authored outcome-measurement template will be adopted
    by the sector as the standard format for nonprofit organizations to
    report on their effectiveness. The narrative-driven form will soon be
    available for download from the home pages of many nonprofits.
  8. A no-minimum national donor-advised-fund will be launched in partnership with a bank.
  9. After a major retailer’s cause-related-marketing promotion receives
    bad press for misleading advertising, a significant backlash against
    “embedded giving” occurs with young consumers.
  10. After Facebook’s Causes application is believed to have played a
    significant role in the increased voter turnout for the 2008
    presidential election among 18- to 24-year-olds, charities recognize
    the potential of social-media tools and finally get serious about
    integrated online strategies.


  1. David Lynn says:

    We’ve been working on a plan for #8. If any other readers would like to discuss, we’d be happy to. We’d love to see it happen.


  2. Teri Behrens says:

    Sean, while it isn’t “a foundation publishing on its website,” The Foundation Review (first issue coming in January) will address #2 on your list. The articles in this peer-reviewed journal will provide a description of why and what was funded as well as what was accomplished.

  3. Here’s my prediction…foundations will step up their uses of Web 2.0 and other social networking applications to create better connections with audiences, and let members of those audiences converse directly with foundation staff. For more about the benefits of increased use of this technology see a report produced for the Communications Network and released last week:

  4. Srini Kommidi says:

    Hi Sean,

    I need more info about “Network For Good”. Can this be used as Gate Way for online financial transactions

    {Eg:PayPal/ VeriSign gateways using ASP.Net}

    Thanks a lot for your help,

    Best Regards,
    Srini Kommidi

  5. Sorry Srini,
    I don’t know the technology. You can visit Network for Good directly.