Great News, But….

Taken at face value, it seems to be nothing but good news.

According to a February report by the Council for Aid to Education, charitable giving to U.S. colleges and universities went through the roof in 2013: $33.8 billion to higher education, an unprecedented number. 2014 has gotten off to a strong start as well.

I only have one concern based on my own understanding of why this laudable increase occurred.

The strong stock market is cited here as a reason for the increase, as it was in a separate study of an equally conspicuous spike in overall giving that I commented on in my February 14 post. I noted then that the market was a factor, but not the only factor. [Read more…]

The Tainted-Altruism Effect

No good deeds go unpunished? So what else is new?

The findings of a recent study by the Yale School of Management, published in Psychological Science, shouldn’t surprise anyone in the corporate sector or among foundations wholly dedicated to charitable giving. [Read more…]

Opportunity Atop the Tower of Babel

Last week was Philanthropy Week, a very different sort of event from, say, National Gumdrop Day.  The latter – there really is such a thing – is a one-off marketing event on February 15 to help people better appreciate (and buy) the noble gumdrop. But you won’t likely see squads of gumdrop lobbyists huddling every year behind closed doors with the likes of Harry Reid or John Boehner.

But that’s precisely what happens in our world as Philanthropy Week offers a durable pretext for foundation representatives to crawl the corridors of Congress, invariably clamoring against limits or floors on charitable deductions, lobbying in favor of excise tax reductions, and expressing concerns about the valuation of real estate allowances. [Read more…]

Smart Donors Need Smart Nonprofits

No one appreciates articles that smartly advise nonprofits how to pitch to donors more than the donors themselves. After all, assuming the advice is indeed smart, simple articles like this one from The Network for Good can save donors, be they individuals or foundations, significant time and some discomfort. We want to give money away, so it is in our interest to help you gain and keep our attention.

The Network for Good offers the following best practices. I’ve added my 2 cents on each. [Read more…]

What If Castor Oil Tasted Like Licorice?

In my February 24th post about the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases, I talked about the free rein accorded the scientists there whom we support in their work to eradicate gastrointestinal tract disorders. It’s immensely satisfying to know how much more than that they’re accomplishing along the way – larger-scale benefits that never occurred to us when we wrote the first check.

In a less direct but equally compelling way, I feel the same sense of welcome serendipity when I watch this video about The Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship. That organization puts thousands of disabled people, and especially children, on horseback so that the very movement of the animals has beneficial impact on the riders’ bodies. [Read more…]