How to Be a Charitable Cheapskate

It’s the kind of news story that makes national headlines every year or two: A person of seemingly modest means secretly amasses a small (or not so small) fortune while leading a frugal lifestyle, only to reveal that wealth by giving it all away to charity. The latest jaw-dropper came from 98-year-old Jack MacDonald of Washington state. He died in September and left a surprise fortune of $187.5 million to Seattle Children’s Research Institute, the University of Washington School of …

28 Ways to Heal From Tragedy

Many of us are experiencing grief and sorrow after the shock of the deaths in Newtown, Conn., on Friday. The tragic shootings have brought many issues to the forefront: gun control, school safety, mental illness and the daily tragedy of thousands of children around the world who die every day from violence, child abuse, neglect and hunger. How can we lift ourselves up from the fear, sadness and negativity? What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference? At …

Caring for the Poor and Disadvantaged – an Act of Kindness

Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, was recently quoted as saying “We have seen donations for a hundred years … and the problems and poverty are bigger. They have not solved anything.”  I’m perplexed by this statement. If you are a type A personality (like I am), you may think to yourself that Slim may be right.  Though global poverty has decreased over the last five years, according to a Brookings Institute study, the number of fragile states is …

Millennials: a New Hope for Philanthropy

As a Boomer, I have often shared my disappointment with my own generation on its performance and commitment to philanthropy.  We have a lot to learn from the preceding generation — the greatest generation — that not only recognizes the importance of giving and giving back, but sees it as a responsibility to be shared with the generations to come.  Actually, I think the Boomers will get there.  It will just take some time. Enter the Millennials (Generation Y or …

Three Ways to Cut Back on Fundraising Mail

 “Why do I get so much fundraising mail?” If you are in my position as a development professional, you sometimes get that call (or letter) from a donor that starts with, “Why do you send me so many requests for support?”  Obviously, if it’s “so much” it must be “more than I want.”  I usually get right to the point – how often would you like to hear from us?  Would you rather join our sustainer program? (A sustaining donor …

How Much Does Your Candidate Give To Charity?

It’s Super Tuesday and voters in 11 states are waking up to the opportunity to help determine who will be the republican candidate for president of the United States. From job creation to the deficit to the future of Social Security and Medicare, we put the candidates under our own microscopes in order to help us figure out which lever to pull. But what about their character? With all the mudslinging and canned debate rhetoric, how do you tap into …