CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) — The city of Charlotte is home to many great charities and philanthropic efforts.
While the big-named charities are well-known throughout our city and attract a lot of media attention, there are a plethora of smaller charities who are just as worthy of the spotlight — if not more worthy. In truth, a lot of local philanthropic efforts are purely from the heart but are often overshadowed by bigger charities.
It’s no secret that the majority of big-named charities today are less about the cause and more about the funds that can be generated by the cause — funds that are often allocated towards bloated salaries and unnecessary expenses. Often times, when you make a donation to a well-known charity, most of your donation never finds its way to the actual cause the charity claims to support.
Have you recently donated money to a charity that called you on the phone looking for a donation, or through a direct-mail request? Guess what: more than likely, those requests are not from the charity directly, but rather from a telemarketer or direct-mail company that was hired by the charity — and it gets worse: telemarketing and direct-mailing companies can receive 90 percent or more of the money you just donated. Does this sound like “charity,” or does it sound more like Charity, Inc?
If you want to ensure that your money is going to the cause and not into an over-compensated CEO’s pocket, do your research. Find charities that are from the heart, who are honest and open about how their funds are allocated, and last but not least, keep reading our local monthly charity series — as we only highlight local philanthropic efforts that are from the heart.
This month, CBS Charlotte is shining our Monthly Charity Spotlight on Mike Spencer and his charity, Doing My Part.
Mike’s Bio: Mike Spencer is a Charlotte native and a graduate in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. As an online marketing trainer and consultant, Real Estate professional and active local community member, Mike has a passion and drive for social entrepreneurship projects and good old-fashioned community building.
We recently had a chance to meet up with Mike Spencer, and here is his interview with CBS Charlotte:
Q. When was DMP Founded?
A. The original Doing My Part charity was founded in a 3rd floor apartment in Camden Ballantyne in 2010. I had the domain name doinmypart.com, and at that time, I informed Josh Delaney (current co-founder) of my plan to do “something” with this name. Forty-five minutes later, the original concept of DMP was sketched out on a whiteboard. In August of 2012, we became an official non-profit and expect to be receiving our 501 (c) (3) in April 2013.
Q. How many founders are there?
A. There are two original founders of Doing My Part, and we also have the Founder’s Club — our professional and financial supporters that believe in our vision.
Q. Where did the idea to start a charity originate from?
A. It came from the sheer need to live with purpose. Josh and I were in the same spot in life…working everyday to make money for our own personal gain. All the while, we knew people were struggling, suffering, underprivileged and unfortunate in our city, and all around the world. Being entrepreneurs, we were used to taking on new challenges, but this time we wanted it to be a different kind of challenge. A challenge and a life decision not about us, but to give back and help those who need it. We scribbled out a plan for a brand name that screamed for united action…a brand name that we stood for and believed in. This plan and vision inspired us to a point that we had never been to before. Now, our purpose is giving everyone a simple chance to become part of the solution and joining a community of like-minded people — while changing lives in the process.
Q. What are DMP’s key initiatives?
A. Before we started this, Josh and I didn’t know who needed the most help. We wanted to help them all. Homeless children, cancer patients, wounded warriors and veterans, natural disaster victims, malnutrition, education projects and issues that build our communities from the ground up. We also want to inspire local action and build communities through our “Street Teams.” These are our local members and non-profits working together to create local solutions and enhancing grassroots non-profit missions through funding, volunteers and cause marketing initiatives. We aim to help non-profits with funding, volunteers and marketing through DoingMyPart.com.
Q. Since the start of DMP, what has been your most humbling experience while volunteering?
A. For our second project, I worked directly with a 13 year old child who I’ll call “Adam.” He grew up watching his father, who is currently in jail, abuse his mother. He was dedicated to his poetry and seemed to have a deeper sense of reality about him. Just speaking to a child like Adam, who has hope for the future, reminds me why we are doing this. We produced an event where “Adam” received a full scholarship to college. We will continue to track his progress while we also build our community to help the hundreds of thousands of “Adams” have a better life.
Q. What is the mission statement of DMP?
A. Doing My Part exists to offer an alternative ‘give back’ experience, available to anyone, that unites our communities in service through engaging, educating, and inspiring action — to create a long-lasting positive effect.
Q. How many people participate and volunteer within your organization?
A. We have 260 local volunteers in Charlotte and we have 210 community members “doing their part” for $3 per month, which is our “doing my part” fundraising campaign. This campaign is our main focus and we have a five year vision of 1,000,000 people doing their part for charity, through our platform.
Q. Where do you see DMP in three years?
A. In three years, I believe DMP will be distributing an abundance of resources and fundraising dollars to grassroots non-profits around the country, every month. We will also be doing digital media training to non-profits to not only be published onto our Philanthropic Entertainment Network but to learn how to promote their causes using digital tools and social media. Our purpose is to serve non-profits on the front lines and the individuals they serve.
Q. What is the ultimate goal of DMP?
A. The ultimate goal for DMP is offer an alternative donating experience that anyone can enjoy, and through that create a long-lasting positive effect on the world. Admittedly, I rarely donated prior to starting doingmypart.com. Not because I didn’t care but because the little money that I did donate, I never saw where it went. I think many people feel the way that I felt, so in starting DMP, our goal is to not only make it simple for anyone who cares to make a difference, but to give real project proof on video, every time — so we can all enjoy giving at the highest level. A place where we can experience our united impact together, every single project, every single month. I believe that when given the chance, people are good by nature and will step up for each other. We’re just making it easier to do that. Because it’s so simple to donate and help, combined with our dedication to build this the right way will hopefully lead to our organization becoming a household name, and a standard giving option for today’s conscious global citizen.
Q. If you could best describe your volunteers in one word, what would it be?
Q. What has working with the less fortunate taught you?
A. That not everyone is just looking for a handout. Some people are tied to situations that superman couldn’t escape. These are people who just need a helping hand. Some are veterans, some are single-mothers, some are KIDS. Sometimes their situation was caused by drugs, but other times it’s caused by circumstances beyond their control. Often times, they have no family and no one to turn to. I learned, almost immediately, that each situation is its own beast, and unless were walking in their shoes, we have no idea how they live. It’s not our place to judge, it’s our duty to serve. To serve those that want to be helped and are willing to work for it.
Q. Why do you feel it’s important to help those in need?
A. What if it was you in a life/death situation? What if it was your mother or your son or daughter? What if you came across hard times and lost your son in a house fire? And, what if no one cared? That’s why. Because if no one ever helped someone through a difficult time, then people would be left alone and left behind. If we don’t help, who will? Millions are left behind everyday, and even though we can’t save the world, to each individual it is their world. So, together we can save many world’s just by taking action — and that’s the purpose of doingmypart.com, to give everyone a simple chance to take that positive action, by doing your part.
Q. What volunteer opportunities do you have planned for this month?
A. All of our volunteer opportunities are posted on Meetup.com. This month, we have the Pawz Too Run Fundraising Adoption & Community Fair and volunteer opportunities to assist the homeless who call the streets of Uptown Charlotte their home.
Want to learn more about Doing My Part?
Check out their:
-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte