Strategic philanthropy: Seven lessons in seven years

Seven years ago, I began working closely with families, businesses and foundations to help them achieve greater impact for themselves and their communities through philanthropy. Over that time, much has changed and I’ve gained practical experience and learned valuable lessons within this very special niche. The field of strategic philanthropy is more sophisticated and complex…

Changes to federal policies could drastically affect philanthropists, nonprofits

Ever since the United States was founded, charitable support of nonprofit organizations has been a fundamental part of its social fabric. Every day, nonprofits touch millions of Americans’ lives. They provide for essential human services, advocate for core democratic values and support people, animals, arts and the environment. Plus, nonprofits account for 11.4 million jobs…

Risk, philanthropy go hand-in-hand

Risk is the likelihood of an undesirable outcome. Every action includes an element of risk. Philanthropy is no exception to this rule. In fact, charitable donations — because they seek to solve seemingly intractable problems — are often referred to as society’s ultimate “risk capital.” Risk and return analyses are important considerations when making any…

Tax Form 990: A treasure trove of information for strategic philanthropy

To achieve their goals, philanthropic families and businesses seek to partner with nonprofits that can demonstrate operational sustainability and effectiveness over the long term. For those making this decision, IRS tax form 990 contains a treasure trove of available information. Many otherwise-savvy donors fail to take advantage of this useful tool. Each year, tax-exempt organizations…

Seven trends in philanthropy to expect in 2017

2016 was a great year for philanthropy. It included record levels of giving and impact investing and more strategic approaches to charitable efforts. 2017 will likely launch its own unique trends. I’ll be watching for these highlights: Reduced tax incentives for giving Many knowledgeable observers predict that Congress will reduce income tax rates for the…

The giving pledge for the rest of us

Since its creation in 2010, the Giving Pledge has been signed by 154 billionaires — ages 30 to 100, from 16 different countries, with combined wealth of nearly $800 billion — a sum greater than the GDP of most countries. These individuals have generously promised to donate at least $400 billion of their money to…

Rethinking and revising the “Donor Bill of Rights”

In 1993, four respected organizations worked closely together to publish a list of 10 “rights” intended to establish a stronger relationship between philanthropists and their nonprofit beneficiaries. However, 23 years ago the world was vastly different – as was the world of philanthropy. Because of far-reaching changes that have taken place since then, the Donor…