Community - DonateSmarter
"That kid just saved their own life!" How to find the best non profit organizations.
I live in Brevard County Florida. "The Space Coast". We're so proud of our space history we made our area code" 3...2...1". Honestly, the only thing better than visiting here is living here. I know because I came down for a visit fourteen years ago and I 've called the Space Coast my home for the last thirteen of them. I came down here and started studying philanthropy. You know, fundraising, nonprofits and all the stuff that makes the industry work.
I found there's a whole lot more to it than most people know. Maybe you knew that there are 1.64 Million charities registered in the United States. Did you also know that over half of them survive on less than $100,000 a year? I was shocked to find out that there are 3,000 charities registered right here in my county. But if you are looking for the best nonprofit to donate to or maybe your company could use a secret weapon to beat out your competition and you think corporate social responsibility is the answer, you probably won't have to leave your block to find a charity. But, if you care where your money goes or you can't risk your business reputation on a scandal, it's not where you look, but how you look that can make all the difference.
I've met a whole lot of passionate people who run great organizations. They work long hours, often after a day job and a family. They volunteer. Yes, most of them work for free and too many of them dip into their own savings to support the people or animals that depend on their cause. They lack the manpower to find government grants and the funding to hire outside help. The IRS calls them "small charities" yet, they make a real impact on our community every day.
I started asking these great folks a simple question: "Why do you do what you do? I found inspiration. If you are looking for help finding a charity worthy of you attention and support. I'm happy to show you how to find the best ones, right in your own backyard.
Carmen Glasser – Swim Safe Forever, Brevard County, Florida
Co-founder, Secretary, Board member
"I do what I do because.... I’m passionate about downing prevention. I’m passionate about drowning prevention because I’m passionate about the ocean… and you can’t enjoy any aspect of the ocean if you are not a competent waterman."
"So pretty much, my whole life has been diving and fishing and being out in or on the ocean, surfing, things of that nature…. are a part of who I am – my lifestyle - so I naturally became a lifeguard as soon as I could. I started teaching swim lessons at a young age… Joined the NAVY and then became an ISR Master Instructor and [now] I train other people to teach the skill of self-rescue to infants and children. and I founded the nonprofit Swim Safe Forever as a means to reach more people."
I met a family at a conference a while back and their resounding message was “I didn’t know”… and what they were saying was, that they didn’t know that childhood drowning was the number one cause of accidental death in children between the ages of 1 to 4 [years old]. That put a fire in my belly to not only educate my community but also to provide a means - a financial means - for parents to access rescue swim lessons for their kids.
There’s definitely a sense of satisfaction when teaching. When I see a child… and they are brought to me… I am honored that the parent trusts me enough to work with their child…Teaching a child is an honor. But I also understand that the child is coming to me with no ability to rescue themselves should they find themselves alone in a body of water. And by the time they finish, I see – with the older kids- I see them with a new sense of confidence that they take to other aspects of their little lives. With the babies, I see from their parents… that they are so excited that their baby has learned this skill - completely independent – and should they crawl through a doggy door and find their way to a pool or whatever [body of water], that they know how to roll on their back and breathe. Its just that skill of getting them to turn their head - to roll on their back and float – that will save their life.
Me: “We both know you saved my kid’s life. What does it mean to get a letter from a parent?”
From my instructor side – to get a letter from a parent and a story about how their child has used these skills to rescue them self – It fuels my non-profit side as well. But to know that it is working… Some of these stories, where it doesn’t matter what other layers [of prevention] were put in place, it truly was their last layer of defense, their last resort, to self-rescue… and you know, in that case, that that kids just saved their own life… That’s why I do what I do.
Me: “Amen…and Thank you”.