Q: What are some of the organizations that currently evaluate nonprofit organizations and charities? A: Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org; theAmerican Institute of Philanthropy, (Charity Watch) www.charitywatch.org; BBB Wise Giving Alliance, www.bbb.org/us/wise-giving and GuideStar, www.Guidestar.org are all excellent resources.
“One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four...” If you’re part of my generation, you may remember singing this English rhyme. In our early school days it served as a way to choose teammates, but now we are all grown up and finding ways to teach the next generation about the discipline and joy of charitable giving choices. One percent, two percent, three percent… ten, fifty percent or more! How do we educate young adults to become generous and committed to a life-long philanthropic strategy with their peers? Who will lead the Millennial 50 percent giving pledge challenge? Who will pick up the torch from the likes of Warren Buffett, Mark Zukerberg, and Bill and Melinda Gates? In 2011, Americans gave [...]
Bookmark: Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World, by His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV There is a season for every book and this is the season to read Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World. For those of us who believe we are passing through the economic, political and social "winter of our discontent," the Dalai Lama's message gives us hope for a common humanity based on actively practicing the "positive inner qualities of the human heart that arise from our core disposition toward compassion, and learning to combat our more destructive propensities." This is a guidebook to help each of us come to understand the importance of knowing and practicing our ethical awareness and inner values in a [...]
Q: Who described charity as a hallmark and an engine of American democracy? A: Alexis de Tocqueville described charity as a hallmark and engine of American democracy in his book, "Democracy in America," written in 1835. "There is nothing, in my opinion, that merits attention more than the intellectual and moral associations of America."
The everyday chatter of economic discontent, political debacle, and media dooms-day predictions makes even the most Pollyanna heart heavy. Negative energy begets worrisome thoughts, meaningless words, and selfish deeds. Our dark times hide the joy of philanthropic TLC -- the synergy of Trust, Leverage and Capital that philanthropy embraces. TLC provides the foundation for community and the "Ace up the philanthropic sector's sleeve" to effect change for a more harmonious and balanced world. The definition of an energetic and thriving community is one that openly demonstrates an abundance of trust, the collective leverage of financial, human and intellectual capital, and an innovative network of social capital working to focus on ways to promulgate the love of humankind in thought, word, [...]
Bookmark: The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie Andrew Carnegie's The Gospel of Wealth was originally published in the North American Review in June 1889, and again by Applewood Books, Inc., of Bedford, Mass. in 1998. "The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced," concludes Andrew Carnegie at the end of Part I of his timeless and poignant essay. This is a must read not only for every donor, development officer and fundraiser, but also for every politician, estate attorney and wealth advisor. Carnegie, a man whose riches were the product of our nation's capitalist principles, defends his position not unlike the modern day manifesto of billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, to give away a major portion of [...]
Q: It is true that "tax-savings" is the number one reason why people donate money to charity? A: No, absolutely not true. Extensive research has proven that people are first motivated to donate to causes that they believe will make an impact on specific issues or organizations that are meaningful in the donor's life and express the values by which the donor lives.
The greatest gift is the gift of listening. Not only do the ears need to be engaged and the mind alert -- the gift of listening demands much more. It requires an open and abundant heart. In this frenzied, multitasking, sound-byte society, being an active listener is perhaps one of the hardest skills to acquire and to do well. How do we know that we really hear what someone is saying? Can we take the time to shut out our self-centered thoughts and calm the urge to fill the silence with an instant response? Are we respectful of the hopes, fears and desires expressed by others? Can we find ways to convey the spirit and skill of being an active [...]
Bookmark: Like a Library Burning: Sharing and Saving a Lifetime of Stories by Scott Farnsworth and Peggy R. Hoyt Like a Library Burning: Sharing and Saving a Lifetime of Stories, by Scott Farnsworth and Peggy R. Hoyt is a wake-up call for all of us to "smell the roses." We must take the time to give a voice to those moments in our lives that reflect who we are and what wisdom we wish to pass on to family and friends. There is no perfect time except right now to start telling our story and encouraging others to share their stories, for, as the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "...you never know how soon it will be too late." [...]
Q: Can you recommend a charitable "primer" for children? A: Raising Charitable Children by Carol Weisman is one of the most entertaining and informative "primer" books that includes practical ideas to engage children in activities that are both rewarding to the recipient and the giver. This short guide (125 pages) packs a lot of easy-to-read, down-to-earth and humorous stories of how to create and enjoy meaningful experiences for the entire family while making a difference. At the same time, these experiences teach children and grandchildren what being charitable is all about.
Q: What is an ethical will? A: An ethical will is a formal but non-legal document in which the writer shares beliefs and values from past and present experiences and offers their hopes and wisdom for the future to their loved ones and family members. According to Barry K. Baines, MD, author of Ethical Wills: Putting your Values on Paper, the origin of the ethical will dates back to biblical times. Baines says, "Legal wills bequeath valuables, while ethical wills bequeath values."
Bookmark: Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer Parker J. Palmer, author of highly acclaimed books such as The Courage to Teach and A Hidden Wholeness, is highly regarded as one of the most influential senior leaders in higher education. In his book, Let Your Life Speak, he compassionately challenges and cajoles the reader to "live more deeply into the selfhood that is our birthright gift." As he illustrates through his personal life-journey of darkness and light, a more attentive relationship with our deeper, truer self, leads to greater personal fulfillment, "communion with others, and ways of serving the world's deepest needs." Parker seeks to answer this question for himself (and is successful) [...]
How does one survive and thrive in the age of specialization? No matter where we turn for advice -- in the medical, legal, financial or philanthropic field -- information is so fragmented. It's no longer possible to see the "entire picture." In many cases, even when several qualified experts analyze the same information, their advice to the client or donor differs greatly. How does everyone get on the same page? Is it even possible? I believe it IS possible by embracing the elements of collaboration, a process that fosters creativity, transparency, communication, consensus and impact. I believe it's imperative that nonprofit and for profit professionals collaborate to ensure the survival of the Third Sector (nonprofit institutions) as the tax reform [...]
Polarized political rhetoric seems to be the norm these days and the hype has us all on edge. As a matter of fact, it has many of us going over the edge and tuning out altogether, just when our nation needs to unite in purpose for the greater good of all humanity. Significant historians believe our nation is experiencing the “winter of our discontent” with hope of an imminent spring renewal faint on the horizon. Philanthropy in America continues to be a pace setter in returning our nation to the fundamental virtues and values that made America strong and united in community. Alexis de Tocqueville first identified the “spirit of self-interest rightly understood” in his historic saga, Democracy in America. [...]
Bookmark: Four Titles to Inspire and Inform For those who want to add timely, informative, and inspiring books to their library, let me suggest four recent books published by John Wiley & Sons. Attendees at the national Partnership for Philanthropic Planning conference earlier this month in New Orleans had the opportunity to meet and talk with the authors (including yours, truly) at the booth sponsored by the publisher. Michael J. Rosen, Margaret May, and Brian M. Sagrestano The potpourri of topics included two books hot off the press, The Philanthropic Planning Companion by Brian M. Sagrestano and Robert E. Wahlers, a one-stop resource detailing donor/client behavior, and A Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Board Members by Julia Ingraham Walker with [...]
Q: How do you prepare children to manage money and become knowledgeable about philanthropy? A: Charles W. Collier, senior philanthropic advisor at Harvard University (retired), gives four examples in his second edition of Wealth in Families (ISBN 0-9786345-0-0). Set a good example Provide consistent guidance Allow them to make mistakes Consider the use of mentors
No matter what you call it, charity, giving, or philanthropy, the topic certainly is not in the mainstream of most conversations whether it’s among friends or family members. In fact, as vital as the giving of time, talent, and money is to the well-being of the fabric of our society, unless you are in the nonprofit profession, the topic is seldom brought up in private or public conversation. One could surmise that it is either taboo or just awkward to know how to start a conversation about giving. Could talking about issues and causes that pain the heart and prod open the checkbook be considered boasting, prying, or self-interest? And if so, how can we change the course of conversation [...]
Bookmark: The Psychology of Happiness: A Good Human Life by Samuel S. Franklin Reading this book has made me acutely aware of the seemingly endless political rhetoric superficially bantered around "the pursuit of happiness," during this highly charged campaign season. These incessant and incomplete sound bytes are all the more reason to read Franklin's book and find out what Jefferson actually did mean when he wrote about "the pursuit of happiness" in our Declaration of Independence. The author makes a compelling case through extensive research as to why happiness is so much more than just a feel good state of mind. He provides a road map for "habits of living a good life," through a blending of Aristotle's principles [...]
Is there a prominent research institution that can synthesize the confluence of women, money and philanthropy?
Q: Is there a prominent research institution that can synthesize the confluence of women, money and philanthropy? A: The Women's Philanthropy Institute at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University connects the dots among these three issues in their upcoming online conference, "SHEMAKESCHANGE," Sept. 20, 27 and Oct. 4 from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. EST. The three sessions are: 1) What women really think about money; 2) Unraveling the myths; 3) Change your strategy to change the world. > For more information, download the SHEMAKESCHANGE conference overview.
According to sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson, “Cultural Creatives” are leading-edge creators of a new culture in America in this time of epochal change. There are 50 million people around the world shaping a new agenda for the twenty-first century. In their book, The Cultural Creatives, the authors extrapolate from their research the many ways a person’s values can relate to creating a culture in which reframing helps you look at old problems through a new lens. According to Ray, his research shows “that the more a person is engaged in social activism, ecology, philanthropy, and social justice, the more likely they are to be engaged also in developing their spiritual lives and personal growth. This [...]