Healthy Tension

There are some things that people love to complain about.

Dealing with difficult relatives around the holidays. Drivers weaving in and out of traffic. The slow line at Motor Vehicles. Rude people. Unappreciative children. The guy driving by with his windows rolled down and the bass turned up. The inexplicable actions and thoughts of people with political views that are different from your own.  And, for nonprofit CEOs, working with a Board of Directors. Continue reading

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Simple Deduction

Given that I am neither a policy analyst nor an economist, I am surprised by the number of people who ask me (as though I possess some special knowledge) about the impending fiscal cliff. Then again, people also ask me my opinions about major league baseball, and I have never faced a fastball over 45 mph, or whatever my pals in fifth grade could serve up. So I am used to opining authoritatively on topics about which I have only a limited and distant understanding.

But for one specific question about the current negotiations, I have a ready answer: “Would reducing the charitable deduction hurt charitable giving?” And my answer is: “Yes, of course!” Continue reading

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Free Pass

Do nonprofits give their donors a little too much credit?

I’m not asking if nonprofits give their donors too much recognition. It’s fine to carve donors’ names into bricks, put their names on theater seats, or affix their names onto laboratory buildings. It’s great to honor them at gala dinners and list them in annual reports. I support all of that. Donors deserve the attention, and to provide it is wise stewardship on the part of nonprofits.

What I’m asking is whether nonprofits defer too much to donors in discussing how their gifts should be used.

Here’s what I mean: Continue reading

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