Seven steps towards strategic corporate philanthropy

Last year, U.S. corporations donated more than $18 billion to nonprofits — and billions more if you include the value of employee volunteerism. Successful companies now recognize that philanthropy is a key component of corporate citizenship and overall business strategy. Too often, corporate philanthropy is random and uncoordinated. To be truly effective, it must be…

All investing is impact investing

In the United States, nearly $1 trillion is committed to philanthropy — sitting in foundations, donor-advised funds and elsewhere. Donors have transferred ownership of these funds to separate entities and received their tax deductions. Yet only a small percentage of those funds is expended on charitable donations for the public good. The great majority of…

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…

Employee engagement builds better companies, stronger communities

Being fully “engaged” at work profoundly influences an employee’s willingness to learn and perform, and has real impact on a company’s bottom line. Engagement is defined as an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to a job, to colleagues and to an organization. Unfortunately, 71 percent of employees in the United States are either “not…

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…