Lansie Sylvia: How to Give: Should I Start My Own Nonprofit?

So go out onto the corner and multiply the number of bars you see by 21 and think about what it would feel like to open up a bar on that newly envisioned corner. That’s what you’re up against in the charitable marketplace, because foundations and donors range from local to regional to national, and you’re going to need all of those levels of support to survive.

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Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much

One of the biggest questions in addressing poverty is the question of why people remain poor despite the many public and private resources available to them. Among those who make the case against charity, the theory is often that something is wrong with the person who is poor: they are dependent, they are entitled, they lack a strong work ethic. The solutions proposed follow naturally from the diagnosis: limit charitable giving to emergencies, develop an entrepreneurial spirit, teach people the hidden rules of the middle-class. In Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, economist Sendhil Mullainathan and behavioral scientist Eldar

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Being Stingy Doesn’t Work

Last week, I shared this post from Vu Le at Nonprofit With Balls. I excerpted this quote from it: Budget Testing allows a larger nonprofit to be able to grow, while smaller, grassroots organizations continue to struggle. Getting 10K, while great, is not nearly as helpful as getting 100K. With 100K, you can hire a full-time exempt person, an essential element in organizational growth. With 10K, you can’t do much; if you’re lucky, you may be able to Frankenstein some other sources of funding together to get a part-time person, or pay for other elements to help your program to limp along.

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Vu Le: Why Budget Testing is a Terrible Way for Foundations to Determine Funding Allocation

Budget Testing allows a larger nonprofit to be able to grow, while smaller, grassroots organizations continue to struggle. Getting 10K, while great, is not nearly as helpful as getting 100K. With 100K, you can hire a full-time exempt person, an essential element in organizational growth. With 10K, you can’t do much; if you’re lucky, you may be able to Frankenstein some other sources of funding together to get a part-time person, or pay for other elements to help your program to limp along. It’s like telling a kid, “Because you’re so little, I’m going to give you a few cheerios.

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Fred Clark: Subsidiarity is Really Important, Whether or Not You Call it That

Orphans — the sad but undeniable fact of orphans — highlight the danger and cruel stupidity of ideologies that preach atomized, exclusive responsibility. Those who allow themselves to be trapped within such ideologies wind up confounded by the existence of orphans. Who is responsible for feeding a hungry child? The parents, they say — only and exclusively the parents. They don’t want to hear any of this “it takes a village” business. But all parents are mortal, and some die too soon, and an ideology which teaches that parents are exclusively and solely responsible for children is unable to know

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Career Paths and Calling

I’m on the mailing list for Mazarine Treyz at Wild Woman Fundraising, so recently I got an email about “winning the game of fundraising careers.” It started with a short summary of what Treyz was looking for in a career before she became a consultant: she wanted a job at a university, where she “could have resources to succeed in my job, like a decent database, plus fundraising colleagues who would mentor me, and a career structure, and move on up to a position that paid enough to take vacations to Paris.” Of course, she’s willing to give the reader some

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Neil Edgington: 5 Fundraising Mistakes Nonprofits Make

I was talking to a normally very savvy foundation program officer the other day who wondered if one of his struggling grantees should think about launching a new gala event to raise some additional money. I swallowed my first inclination to scream “NOOOOOO!” in the middle of a crowded restaurant and instead calmly explained why events are a bad money fix, and why any short-term money generating strategy is probably a really bad idea. Neil Edgington: 5 Fundraising Mistakes Nonprofits Make

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Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It)

A few years ago, a book group at my parents’ church read Robert Lupton’s Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It). My parents were interested in my opinion, so they sent me a copy. I was surprised at what I read. What I didn’t know at the time was that it was my introduction to a genre of literature and an informal movement aimed at reforming charity, the nonprofit sector, and a culture of poverty. This movement has no leadership, no centralization, no comprehensive line of argument. It’s a set of authors,

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New York Times: Disparity in Life Spans of the Rich and the Poor Is Growing

The poor are losing ground not only in income, but also in years of life, the most basic measure of well-being. In the early 1970s, a 60-year-old man in the top half of the earnings ladder could expect to live 1.2 years longer than a man of the same age in the bottom half, according to an analysis by the Social Security Administration. Fast-forward to 2001, and he could expect to live 5.8 years longer than his poorer counterpart. New York Times: Disparity in Life Spans of the Rich and the Poor Is Growing

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Isaiah 58:5-8 (for Ash Wednesday)

Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and

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