Perfect Match

There’s something about a fundraising challenge grant that gets the juices flowing.

The nonprofit announces, “If we manage to raise X dollars by such and such a date, then the Y Foundation will match your gift.” We’ve all heard it before, but the match formula never seems to get old. And it works. It works very well.

So here’s the fine print: it barely matters how generous the match is. Continue reading

Share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail

Closing the Divide

(Note: This entry is cross-posted in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.)

In this election year we’ve heard plenty about the 47%, the 1% and the 99%. The expanding wealth gap has become a major election issue, as it should be. Decisions in the coming years about taxes, access to education, jobs and workers’ rights are intertwined with reversing the growing wealth imbalance.

Undoubtedly the most effective approach to narrowing the wealth gap is political. But is there a role that individual donors can play? There certainly is, but it requires a break from traditional philanthropy. Continue reading

Share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail

A Person in the Picture

My wife’s grandfather, a lovely and memorable man named Jim Nolan, had a simple rule for taking photographs: “Always put a person in the picture.”

A photo of Niagara Falls or the Eiffel Tower or the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens was okay by itself, but it was immeasurably enhanced, Grandpa Jim felt, when there was a family member or friend standing in front. Otherwise – who cared?

I think we should apply the same rule to how nonprofits describe their work. Continue reading

Share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail