Strategic giving: 5 steps to get the most bang from your philanthropic buck

During the holiday season, our mailboxes are overflowing with catalogs, holiday cards — and requests for donations. Our voice message boxes are not much farther behind. At this time of year, when people are feeling particularly generous, nonprofits work hard to raise needed funds for the upcoming year. Although critically important to nonprofit budgets, most…

100 years of community foundations: Accomplishments and challenges

The first community foundation was created 100 years ago in Cleveland. Within five years, additional community foundations sprung up in Boston, Chicago, Buffalo, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Today, there are more than 700 community foundations in urban and rural communities across the United States. With more than $50 billion in combined assets, they distribute an estimated…

Domestic microfinance helps people start businesses, alleviate poverty, and create jobs

In international microfinance, small loans are made to help people in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty. This concept also works domestically. In the U.S., nonprofit microfinance organizations help low-income people start businesses, create jobs, alleviate poverty and improve their opportunities. Traditional financial institutions were created to help people who already have money or…

Hunger where we live — the philanthropic response

For more than 30 years, I’ve lived in the same neighborhood in Denver. It’s nice – with neat lawns, friendly people and a great sense of community. Just a few blocks from my home, there’s a public elementary school. Recently, I received a flier that asked for food donations to help fill the Friday-afternoon backpacks…

The 7 Deadly Excuses for Avoiding Philanthropy

Millions of generous Americans donate to charities as individuals or as part of a family or business. At the same time, many other people buy into myths about giving — myths that undermine their willingness to give (or give more) to worthy causes. Some of the common excuses I’ve encountered over the years: I don’t…

Religious values fuel charitable giving

The world’s major religions actively promote philanthropy by encouraging charitable actions that address such pressing issues as income inequality, hunger, homelessness, climate change, discrimination and injustice. America’s religions do the same. In 1835, political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville observed, “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness…

Crowdfunding Fuels Philanthropy

Crowdfunding is a rapidly expanding Internet tool designed to allow large numbers of people to invest or contribute money in support of new businesses, people in need, interesting ideas or important causes. Its recent growth is impressive. In 2012, crowdfunding supported more than 1 million global campaigns. The amount raised was $2.7 billion, an increase…