Billionaire Jeff Bezos’s recent Tweet for suggestions about how to give some of his fortune away has inspired several media stories, including commentary and an open letter to Jeff Bezos about focusing on immediate suffering vs. creating a long-term strategy. Where, how and in what a philanthropist chooses to invest his or her philanthropic capital are all extremely important decisions. For someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, like Bezos, those decisions will no doubt reflect some new and different thinking. For the field of philanthropy, where many giving practices are deeply entrenched and sometimes outdated, “new and different” can be a very good thing. But no matter where, how or for how long Bezos chooses to be charitable, and no matter whether his philanthropy is wildly unconventional … Continue reading Five Things Jeff Bezos Needs To Know Before Giving Away Billions
It feels great to play Santa. If you celebrate Christmas, there’s nothing like a Christmas holiday to make you remember that giving is fun. You find a present, wrap it up nicely, see the joy and excitement on someone else’s face, and feel good about what you’ve done. For many philanthropists, it’s the same: you write a nice check, present it to a nonprofit, see the joy and excitement on their faces, smile for the camera, and then feel good about what you’ve done. But then what? The problem with Santa-style giving is that it’s a once-a-year gig. But during the other 364 days of the year, the organizations you’ve made grants to still have ongoing needs, unexpected challenges, and … Continue reading A Little Less Santa, A Little More Staying Power
We all know the feeling. When that sense of excitement and possibility on the drive to work is replaced by stress, dread or boredom. What’s a grantmaker to do? It’s natural to face burnout and frustration from time to time. Processes and routines get old. Results are less than hoped for. Grantees approach you with an air of resigned diligence – or worse, apathy. You watch them jump through hoops your foundation has created and wonder what compels them to soldier on. When that happens, it’s easy to lose the big picture and remember why what you do matters – and what drew you to philanthropy in the first place. Fortunately, there are ways to put the joy back into … Continue reading Isn’t This Supposed to be Fun? 5 Ways to Put the Joy Back in Philanthropy
Years ago, my father owned a company that made a business of storing information on microfiche. (Remember microfiche?) As the computer age dawned, he was definitely an early adopter and enthusiast in our home. He was swept up in the latest and greatest developments and it seemed as if he read everything published about computers and computing. He was caught up in all the chatter and noise about this new industry, but the irony is, he missed the one true signal he needed to hear: computers would revolutionize the information storage industry. If he had paid attention to the signal instead of the noise, perhaps his company would have been an industry leader today. But instead, he missed the opportunity … Continue reading What is Signal and What is Noise?
Did you know that donating to a good case can help your business? I was quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article that highlights how small companies should give to charities. Here is a summary of what it recommends: 1. Connect your cause to your company — A pet supply company will gain more traction donating to an animal shelter than to the opera. 2. Ask employees for their ideas on causes to support – Employees will be more engaged in your charitable efforts if they help to create them. 3. Support causes you care about in your backyard – Employees will be more appreciative that company philanthropy is supporting the communities in which they live, and local customers will too. … Continue reading Small Business Tips for Charitable Giving
Cyber Monday is behind us (thank god!). Now it’s time to finish your holiday shopping so you can do what you truly enjoy during the holidays: spend time with friends and loved ones, take time off work to relax, volunteer to help those in need, appreciate all the wonder and beauty of life, and oh yes, attend all those holiday parties! Why not put your holiday shopping dollars to work for a great cause? I’ve put together 13 fabulous gift ideas, so you can give gifts that will be cherished while supporting nonprofits that are making a difference at home and across the globe. Give the Gift of Giving – A flurry of organizations are offering charitable gift cards, allowing … Continue reading The Philanthropy411 2010 Charitable Gift Guide