In the early-ish days of blogging, it was normal to have a blogroll: a list of links to other (often more popular) blogs that the author was interested in. The blogroll would sit calmly in the sidebar and let readers browse their way to other blogs and other authors, discovering fresh ideas and insights. Now, nobody maintains a blogroll. The best hope you have of finding someone else is to follow a link in the body of a post or in a comment or in a link dump. Around here, they also show up in link posts that I share fairly frequently.

But the fact is that I kind of miss the blogroll, and I think that it’s worthwhile to share some of the blogs I read and a note one why I read them. I’ll try to put up one example every couple of weeks.

This post’s person I read is Maeve Strathy (and the other folks) at What Gives???.

I’m writing about Maeve Strathy this week partly because I was critical of a post of hers early last week. The fact is that I like most of the content at What Gives???. Strathy and the other writers there provide rock solid advice on fundraising. And it’s advice that I think is particularly useful for small shops because it’s advice that often cuts to the quick of fundraising challenges. It’s advice that helps me do my work even when I don’t have a lot of resources – funding, staff, etc. – to put behind it.

Moreover, and importantly, Strathy is willing to question her own assumptions and statements. She loves the idea of ‘donor love’. She’s also willing to say that it has its limits. She likes the idea of talking about beneficiaries as assets. She’s also willing to admit that she may not have communicated her idea as well as she would have liked. That’s something that I respect a lot, especially in an era when criticism tends to cause us to dig in deeper.

So go read the folks at What Gives???. Especially if you’re looking to be an effective fundraiser in a small shop.

Right now, there is a movement in churches and nonprofits arguing that charity is toxic, that helping hurts, and that the entire nonprofit sector needs to be reformed to truly lift people out of poverty. These charity skeptics are telling Christians that traditional charity deepens dependency, fosters a sense of entitlement, and erodes the work ethic of people who receive it. Charity skepticism is increasingly popular; and it is almost certainly wrong.

Now available from Wipf and Stock’s Cascade Books imprint, Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) weaves together research and scholarship on topics as diverse as biblical scholarship, Christian history, economics, and behavioral psychology to tell a different story. In this story, charity is the heart of Christianity and one of the most effective ways that we can help people who are living in poverty. Charity—giving to people experiencing poverty without any expectation of return or reformation—can save the world and help make God’s vision for the church a reality.

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