Chronicle of Philanthropy Column

There was an unstated irony in the theme of my Financial Times column yesterday being that “the Second Great Wave of Philanthropy is alive and well.” At the end of this month, the Financial Times, suffering along with most all newspapers, will be eliminating their Wealth section where my column and all their philanthropy coverage resides. While I’m sorry to see my column go, I’m also disappointed at the loss of the outstanding philanthropy coverage being done by the staff of the FT.

But the end of one chapter is always the beginning of another. Starting in March, I’ll be launching a monthly column in the Chronicle of Philanthropy titled Tactical Philanthropy. While my Financial Times column often focused on nuts and bolts issues in philanthropy since it was geared towards a mass media audience, my Chronicle of Philanthropy column can assume the audience is well versed in philanthropy.

So as a reader of this blog, what issues would you like to see me explore in my new column?


  1. Autumn says:

    I’m sorry that Financial Times has cut back but am very glad to know you will be on the Chronicle of Philanthropy. I read that very frequently and I think you will get a good amount of traffic.

    I’d enjoy reading about the current trend of “social impact” and how the young entrepreneurs are tackling philanthropy and social impact versus the older generation. Mainly because there seems to be a huge divide between those using technology to engage many as opposed to those who do not and remain closed within their personal giving circles. Keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks Autumn. Thinking about how philanthropy can leverage technology would make a great column. It isn’t just a generational thing, but that is certainly an important part.

  3. Meet our newest columnist, @tactphil:

  4. Meet our newest columnist, @tactphil:

  5. Brad Rourke says:

    Congratulations on the well-deserved new column. The Chronicle is a very important publication and your voice is needed.

  6. Carrie Varoquiers says:

    Hi Sean,

    Congratulations on the very well deserved column. I would be interested in learning your thoughts on operating foundations. What are the costs/benefits of going that route? As philanthropists take a more strategic and hands-on approach with a focus on measurable outcomes, how do they make the decision about whether or not they should run their own programs? It might make for an interesting discussion.

    Congratulations again, I look forward to reading your column.

  7. Carrie, I’ll certainly be writing about the pros and cons of foundations running their own programs. Throwing operating foundations into the mix is a good idea.

    Thanks. Are their any theme I’ve explored on my blog that you think I should develop for a future column?

  8. Congratulations, Sean! I would like to see you write a column on the role of transparency in an effective philanthropic information marketplace. It would be great if you could provide some specific examples of instances from your experience in which transparency has worked well for all parties, and other instances in which it has proven problematic or has not happened because people thought it would be problematic.

    On a related topic, I’m also interested whether you see a role for anonymous rating systems in such a marketplace, the way that they exist in applications like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Amazon, etc. One thing that intrigues me about this is what might happen if a foundation found itself getting substantially negative feedback through such a system. Would it provide a new lever of accountability because of the concern over public image, and if so is that a good thing?

  9. Thanks Ian. For a Yelp-like website for nonprofits, check out Great Nonprofits (I’m on the advisory board).

  10. Sean,

    Congratulations on your column in the Chronicle of Philanthropy! That’s great news. Given today’s economic climate, I think one topic that would be especially interesting for readers is to focus on how certain forms of philanthropy actually contribute to developing the economy. For example, non-profits can help entrepreneurs to create thriving businesses that generate jobs in developing nations, transforming local communities and spurring the growth of entire industries around the globe. This type of “bottom-line-driven” storyline can help non-profit organizations keep corporate donors engaged and philanthropy sustainable in today’s cash-deprived environment.

    I look forward to reading your column.

    Bruce McNamer

  11. Thanks Bruce. You’re right that too many people seem to think that philanthropy is separate from everything else instead of being completely intertwined. Glad to count you as a reader!