CF of the Lowcountry | Launch of The Giving Marketplace

In the Community

Launch of The Giving Marketplace

July 01, 2015
The Giving Marketplace, a new offering of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, is a web-based initiative that provides comprehensive information about local nonprofits in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton Counties.
You know how to shop for a book. You go to the fiction or biography or cookbook section of the bookstore or website, and then narrow it down by author, reviews, cost, whether or not it is on the bestseller list or other factors. You look at the table of contents, consider when it was published and may even be swayed by its heft or jacket notes.

You know how to shop for stock.. You research the industry and the companies therein, you lookat the health of the company, price to earnings ratio, revenue growth, profit margin, debt, whether or not if offers dividends, and so on.

But do you know how to shop for a nonprofit organization in which to invest?

One way is to log into The Giving Marketplace, a new offering of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. It is a web-based initiative that provides comprehensive information about local nonprofits in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton Counties. Donors are growing more sophisticated in how they make philanthropic giving decisions. They want to know that the nonprofits are not only financially stable, but are making a positive impact in our community. They want to know that these nonprofits are being run efficiently and effectively and with transparency. They want to know that effective processes and procedures are in place. And they want to see measurable outcomes. The Giving Marketplace provides detailed information about all of this – information that donors can’t obtain from any other single source.

In The Giving Marketplace, each nonprofit creates a profile that is individual to its organization. Each profile includes general information and, more importantly, specific information about programs that can include measurements, impact and outcomes as well as exhaustive information about operations, finances, management and governance. It’s like a one-stop shop where the community can get the facts they need to make confident and informed giving decisions.

On July 7, you can sign on to The Giving Marketplace here and search for an organization either by its name or by its category or type. You can compare local nonprofits, print easy-to-read summaries and even see video clips and the organizations’ printed materials if those items have been included by the nonprofits.

Additionally, the program gives community members the ability to donate to specific organizations via The Giving Marketplace. If someone is looking at a nonprofit’s profile and is moved to give, they can make an online gift right then and there. That’s one of the most exciting features of this site.

In March 2015, as we started the process of populating the database, Community Foundation staff began training nonprofits how to correctly complete their profiles – a step that is vital for accuracy and credibility. Each profile is specific to that organization. Many of the fields are required, which means donors will be more easily able to compare nonprofits on similar measures. However, there are additional fields that the nonprofit can complete that aren’t required. Nonprofits are encouraged to complete as many fields as they can because the goal of The Giving Marketplace is to provide the public with as much information and as much transparency into each nonprofit as possible.

As time goes by, we will encourage more and more nonprofits to receive training and complete their profiles. Nonprofits across our four-county service area will become more visible to a broader audience, will have a new way to tell their story (mission, accomplishments, needs) and will make it easy for donors to find and contribute to them. Donors will learn, either on their own or with the assistance of our staff if they prefer, about local organizations so that they can shop, using the criteria most important to them, for charitable investment opportunities. And if your favorite local organization does not have a profile, ask them to contact us so that they can be listed as well.

So, now you know how to shop for a book, a stock, or an impactful, efficient, transparent, well-managed organization. You know that The Giving Marketplace will continue to grow, so come back often. We hope you discover how easy it is to live generously.

Denise K. Spencer
President and CEO

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