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

Charity makes you healthier

Raising funds is complicated.  It always has been and if current times are any indication, it will always be.  We’ve gone from the donor pyramid, a nice linear progression to lead donors up the ladder, to the donor vortex, that makes me grind my teeth (if you like the gear visual of how this vortex operates) or get dizzy (if you like the circular arrow for the visual).  We may not have always appreciated it, but life was simple back then.

View image | gettyimages.com

We’ve gone Read more

Chicken Hits the Fan

The world is a tough place these days for nonprofits.  Not exactly a news flash.  But I’m just returning from vacation, where I tried hard to concentrate on the waterfront, books that never used the word “nonprofit”, my tennis game, and, yes, forgetting.  Now, I’m back and playing catch up with, among other things, my reading.  And it feels so perilous out there that I’m reminded of a words from “Blood in the Water” (from Legally Blonde), describing to first year law students what makes Read more

What’s Behind the Numbers?

Numbers tell a lot.  On Monday of this week, as members of the military read the names of the dead from each war going back to WWI, I stood and counted each from this small, suburban Philadelphia community, noting that this community lost as many soldiers in Vietnam as it has, thus far, in the war on terror.

On Tuesday, on NPR’s Morning Edition, the First Lady cited two telltale statistics: an American child spends an average of 7.5 hours a day looking at a screen Read more

Zero Sum Pie Tastes Bitter

Why does the scrutiny always get focused on the charities instead of the funders?  Are the latter immune from wrong-doing or questionable-doing?  And I am sure in far too many circles, the mere fact that I’m suggesting that a funder might do wrong is blasphemous and minimally cause for tar and feathering.  After all, look what happened to Rell Grrls  when an employee tweeted about Comcast!  But two different articles, read hours apart, just got me thinking.

Go get the nonprofit!  The New Jersey Division of Read more