Category: Giving

Last summer, my book Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) was published by Cascade Books. Some time in early December, I started seeing lists of the best books of 2019, like these from The New Yorker, Buzzfeed, Goodreads, and Publishers Weekly. And Radical Charity wasn’t on any of them. Of course, I didn’t expect Radical Charity to be on any of them. I didn’t expect that partly because it isn’t one of the best books of 2019. It is a good book. It is an important book. And if you want to argue against the charity skepticism that is part of the nonprofit landscape from…
If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all, you know that Puerto Rico is in crisis. While President Trump as tweeted attacks on the mayor of San Juan and other Puerto Rican leaders who have criticized the government’s response, FEMA and other agencies – both public and private – have been working to help the people of Puerto Rico. Whether the response has been adequate or not, untold numbers of people are waiting for food, water, medicine, power, and other necessary resources. It will take decades, perhaps even generations, to fully recover. And because the need is…
Yeah, we’ve seen just a huge influx of resources to create charter schools and to push more choice within our public school system. What people are maybe less familiar with is the role of Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation and ushering in the Common Core. The Gates Foundation got behind the idea of the Common Core in a big way and more than any single actor in U.S. education really made the Common Core happen. That’s an astonishing achievement for private philanthropy. You know, that a wealthy couple like Bill and Melinda Gates can, through giving a few…
It happens sometimes. A conservative friend will read something by someone like me – someone who suggests being more generous towards people living in poverty or someone who advocates for a universal basic income – and they’ll cite this fragment of a verse from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians12 Thessalonians 3:10: He who does not work, neither shall he eat. It’s a popular bit of conservative ethics. Unfortunately, it’s also torn from its context and repeated without any reflection. In this post, I’m going to look at this phrase and a few of the reasons why it’s wrong…
My post on planning to give made me think about tithing: the Christian practice of giving the first ten percent of income earned to charity. I found myself going in two different directions on this topic. So, while my thoughts aren’t particularly organized, I want to take a post to lay them out. On the one hand, tithing seems like a reasonable, achievable, and worthy goal. The post at ideas42 that I originally linked to pointed out that the average American gives about three percent of her annual income to charity, and believes that her neighbor ought to give about…
A couple of weeks ago, I posted this link to an article from the folks at ideas42. Here’s the key point: On average, survey respondents indicated that people should give 6.1% of their income to charity. This recommended level of donation is more than double the amount that people in the U.S. actually give… …One factor stems from the fact that people are rarely, if ever, prompted to think about how much they currently give or how much they want to give overall. As a result, people often end up donating by happenstance or in response to direct appeals, sometimes…
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…
A surprising number of churches – sometimes churches that otherwise have very little money – provide grants to nonprofit organizations. I know this because I write a dozen or so applications for these grants every year. And having filled out a few dozen grant applications, having answered many questions about mission and vision and impact, and having attached all of the required supporting documentation, I had to ask: is this really the best way for churches to be managing their mission budgets? Let me give an example. I recently submitted a grant that, in addition to a few pages…

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