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…

In disheartening and divisive times, philanthropy can spark hope

Many Americans are disheartened by recent events and trends. Issues like terrorism, mass murders, global warming, police/citizen violence and death, drug addiction, infectious diseases, economic and social inequality — and more – are generating a tremendous sense of hopelessness. In addition, the strident partisanship and dysfunction of the current election cycle result in less civility…

Six years, six important lessons about philanthropy

Six years ago, I began working with individuals, families, foundations and businesses across the United States — helping them design, implement and evaluate a wide variety of ways to make philanthropy more impactful for themselves and their communities. I have been privileged to assist dozens of clients. Plus, I have written 72 columns on strategic…

Plan well to avoid random acts of giving

Well-off individuals and families recognize the need to plan for their future security and their legacies — and often go to great lengths to do so. Usually, they work closely with experts who make up three legs of the planning table and help them achieve sophisticated tax-, financial- and estate-planning goals. Tax experts advise about…

Corporate giving hits $17.8B in the U.S.

When it comes to corporate giving, the news is encouraging. More U.S. companies are engaging in smart and strategic community investment initiatives — and seeing positive results from their efforts. The 2015 Community Involvement Study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship found that: Corporate community involvement contributes to key business goals — including…

Thanksgiving: Feast or “Famine?”

Soon, people across the United States will gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends to indulge in abundant, delicious food — and to give thanks for their many blessings and freedoms. Typically, we eat and drink to excess and enjoy leftovers that will last for days. Dinnertime conversation ranges from expressing gratitude for…

Impact investing gets IRS boost

Impact investing is one of the hottest topics in the philanthropic sector. It involves investments made with the intention of generating not just a financial return, but also a social or environmental impact — the double bottom line. Until just recently, some foundation directors with an interest in impact investing felt restrained by their fiduciary…

Finally busting the charity overhead myth

Over the past few years, philanthropic leaders have begun to successfully challenge the “overhead myth” — the belief that high administrative costs reflect a charitable organization that is poorly run and not worthy of support. The well-intentioned and generous family, corporate and foundation donors we regularly work with often recite versions of the overhead myth. They tell us,…