Of Tax Law Changes, Impact Investing and Mission-Aligned for Profits

Not even a full month into the new calendar year, and we’re seeing reports about the impact the 2017 tax bill changes are having on nonprofits.  We’ve got a survey on our website right now.  I’m not willing to call it research because some is questionable, some preliminary and, some really is just guesswork, especially since many nonprofits concede they are still trying to tally what came in by the end of 2018.  Given those caveats, please read on.

Inside Philanthropy, culling the thoughts of many, Read more

Talk to your Donors

No surprise, 2018 has brought a lot of anxious questions about the implications of the new tax bill, especially when it comes to charitable giving.  At this point, we don’t know what is going to happen, but rather than wasting time worrying, let’s learn the facts and be proactive.

As soon as a change to the charitable deduction was proposed, studies came out of the woodwork forecasting how much money would be lost to charities by increasing the standard deduction.  The predictions were all over the Read more

Lucky Nonprofits

While many are chattering about Fidelity Charitable (which collected—don’t call it raised—philanthropic dollars totaling $4.6 billion last year) firmly bumping United Way (which only collected $3.7 billion) from the top of The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s newly released “Philanthropy 400” list, I’m having very different thoughts—though they are pretty much the same thoughts I have every year when I look at this list.

First, is there any real value in this list? Does it actually do some harm?  To the extent that the American public learns about Read more

Reading is Fundamental

For many of us, taking time to read feels like something of a luxury.   While we might carve out some stolen moments for the time-honored summer read, professional publications and articles often make their way to the bottom of the work pile.  Let me be your occasional collegial clipping service, offering a brief synopsis of some timely printed materials I’ve managed to read that might be of interest to those involved in the nonprofit sector.

One more note of background to explain my motivation.  I am Read more

Nonprofit Confidence Crisis

My recent Google Alerts for nonprofits have yielded a sorry snapshot of the sector.  Eight of the three dozen or so stories were announcements of newly formed nonprofits, three were about organizations or their employees in trouble with the law and two were about how to check up on the “goodness” of a nonprofit.

So, what does this say, beyond the obvious?  First, the sector must stop growing.  While their origin stories may differ, the screaming question in each case is, “Did you really have to Read more

Nonprofits Rolling in Luxury

The front page of the October Chronicle of Philanthropy had an alarming headline: “1 in 3 Americans Lacks Faith in Charities.” It just as easily could have said, “2 in 3 Americans Have Faith in Charities.” But it chose the statistical spin that would make the heart beat faster and bordered on yellow journalism. There are enough media outlets in this country that spin the worst about nonprofits, it shouldn’t also come from within our own ranks. But that’s not the (main) point of this Read more

Who do you Trust?

Election season is looming and I’m thinking about ethics (why would that be?)

Trust:  a simple word, but a complex phenomenon and not easy to win and maintain.   Yet I am reminded on an almost daily basis how much nonprofits take it—yes, the very lifeblood of their organizations–for granted.  I am amazed at how easily they trifle with it, ignore it, presume its steadfastness while doing things that blatantly dare others to challenge it and then open the doors wide so that it is so easy Read more

Life at the Bottom

Does the nonprofit sector have a mind of its own; or a backbone? Consider the 9/22/11 issue  of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.  This issue was consumed with exposing—and it did feel like a tabloid expose–the data on high salaries for nonprofit leaders.

In so doing, it helped do the homework for those attorneys general around the country who want to “do something about exorbitant salaries” for nonprofit executive directors.  In so doing, it pandered to the concerns of these attorneys general, the media and the donors Read more

Ink on my Fingers

Funny what we will and won’t do, to what we can and can’t adjust.  A voracious reader, I love my e-books.  I can take as many books as I want wherever I go to fit my mood, whatever it is, and I don’t need to schlep an extra suitcase.  I will not, however, read a newspaper on line.  Couldn’t figure out why, what was stopping me, until recently.

It was the May 5 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy that helped me to understand why.  Online, Read more

A Dog Eat Dog World

As much as it pains me to admit this, there have been times in my life when I found it just didn’t pay to read a newspaper (add, in today’s world, use any means to keep abreast of the world affairs).  Today might just have to be the start of one of those periods. 

Did something major happen today?  No, I just started doing a little catch-up reading at lunch, and my reading started and ended with the March 12 Read more