Category Archives: Individual Giving

The Meaning of the Gates/Buffett Giving Pledge

Yesterday, Fortune Magazine broke the news that Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett are launching a campaign to ask every billionaire in the country to pledge to give away 50% of their wealth. I think this development marks a major milestone in the expansion of the Second Great Wave of Philanthropy. But the importance […]

Building an Effective Philanthropy for Real Donors

Underlying much of the recent discussion about whether donors care whether nonprofits are effective and how to build a more effective field of philanthropy, is a recurring focus on how philanthropy experts think donors should behave. I thought the New Philanthropy Capital blog captured the silliness of this approach most aptly in their recent post […]

Tim Ogden on Whether Donors Care

Tim Ogden of Philanthropy Action weighs in on the recent debate: “Jacob has already pointed to the Hope Consulting study that Hewlett partly-funded. I encourage everyone to read it (it’s available at because it offers another important piece of the puzzle in this regard (note that, like Jacob, I have a connection to Hope […]

All Donors Care About Impact

In my post on Tuesday, I discussed a study that seemed to suggest that donors are not interested in information about whether nonprofits are any good at what they do. My conclusion was that donors are interested in this sort of information, but only if it is presented in an engaging way. In other words, […]

GuideStar Launches Expert Nonprofit Reviews

Last year, GuideStar, Charity Navigator, GiveWell, Philanthropedia, GreatNonprofits and Philanthropy Action put out a joint press release announcing their rejection of overhead expense ratios as the primary approach to evaluating nonprofits. GuideStar was a little bit of an odd group to sign the press release, because while they provide information about nonprofits, they do not […]

Crowdsourcing the SoCap Conference

Within minutes of announcing that there would be a Tactical Philanthropy track at this year’s SoCap Conference we started getting emails from people who had suggestions for panels and speakers. So I’m glad to say that our plans for designing the track include soliciting your ideas and comments. Below you’ll find a number of session […]

BusinessWeek on Effective Philanthropy

The Current edition of BusinessWeek includes a story on effective philanthropy that highlights Tactical Philanthropy Advisors and many of the charity evaluation groups that I write about regularly. Rethinking Ways to Give Wisely By Amy Feldman …At least a half-dozen groups have come up with different answers to the question of how to help donors […]

Best Charities for Last Minute Giving

80% of charitable giving is done between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. From stats I’ve seen from online giving portals, it seems that a big rush of online giving occurs in the last few days of the year. Readers of this blog know that I recommend donors spend time planning their giving, creating a written philanthropy […]

Using Your Head & Your Heart in Philanthropy

This is my latest column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. You can find an archive of my past columns here. Making Charitable Appeals to Donors’ Hearts and Heads December 10, 2009 | Link to Chronicle of Philanthropy A growing number of nonprofit experts are urging donors to channel more of their money to high-performing organizations, […]

The Future of Charity Evaluation

The “newsworthy” element of the anti-overhead ratio press release yesterday was the involvement of Charity Navigator. The group has 3 million users, is regularly pointed to by the mainstream media and studies show that their ratings affect donor behavior. The fact that they are transforming their system, a system that they’ve successfully built their organization […]