Philanthropy Daily exists to strengthen civil society. Today our civil associations are crumbling and we are lonelier than ever. Not only do our politics suffer as a result, but we are less happy and less healthy.
By commenting and reporting on the nonprofit world—and offering high-level, actionable advice for professional fundraisers—Philanthropy Daily seeks to stand against the loneliness that creeps in through a thinning social fabric. Our goal is to support the “little platoons” of civil society by thinking through what healthy philanthropy looks like and by supporting fundraisers in their work.
This was an interesting year for the nonprofit community with several important books released (including The Forgotten Foundations of Fundraising by our publisher, Jeremy Beer), the first year of tax statements after the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the deaths of several prominent American philanthropists.
At the end of each year we collect our favorite articles from the year into a single post. This year I broke it down by category.
First, our “Practicalities,” which offer useful, professional advice for fundraisers and donors. It’s hard to pick the best ones, but these five cover a range and can help almost any development professional. I’d love to hear if you found these useful—or if you have any other topics that you would like us to cover.
I’ve been gratified to have several strangers this past year tell me that Philanthropy Daily provides the best commentary on the nonprofit community that they know of. These five Opinion pieces below represent what we’re about here at Philanthropy Daily, providing some thoughtful reflection on philanthropy and civil society. I think these pieces are the best of the best.
We also had several book reviews in 2019, so I picked my favorite five reviews. Not all of these books are new in 2019, but the reviews are new, and the books remain important and valuable for anyone interested in philanthropy and fundraising.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t draw attention to the articles we posted about philanthropists who passed away in 2019: John Bogle, Conrad Hilton, David Koch, and T. Boone Pickens. Of course, all Americans who support causes they care about are philanthropists worthy of recognition, but these four prominent individuals affected philanthropy in profound—and sometimes controversial—ways.
Thank you for being a Philanthropy Daily reader. If you’re not a regular yet, I hope these articles will draw you back again. Of course, the best way to stay on top of our work is to sign up for our weekly newsletter: one email on Friday morning with our top articles from that week.
Lastly, please be in touch. Shoot me a note if there is some area of fundraising you’d like us to cover or any topic or issue in the philanthrosphere that we’ve not addressed. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks and a happy new year,
Austin Detwiler, Managing Editor
Too often fundraising is reactive rather than proactive, hindering growth and creating a frenzied and hectic development culture. Take some time at the beginning of the year to set goals, plans, and strategies.
Success in fundraising depends upon setting realistic goals and crafting an actionable strategy. A gift chart can guide you through setting the goals and putting a strategy into action. Here’s how to build one.
In a recent piece in the New Yorker, Nathan Heller worries that GoFundMe exacerbates the problem of using stories to exploit the emotions in order to generate donations—rather than relying on more data-driven giving.
Rob Reich’s book “Just Giving” is thoughtful and serious. But philanthropy has more varied aims than justice, and the pluralism he celebrates can only be fully honored when we allow philanthropists to pursue their own highest ideals.
In “Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy” authors Paul Brest and Hal Harvey offer a vision of strategic philanthropy that is more concerned with social change than selfless love.
Philanthropists should learn from the late John Bogle’s humility and localism. Because of his selfless business decisions, we had one less billionaire philanthropist and millions more middle-class givers spread throughout the world.
Prior to his death, Barron Hilton and the Hilton Foundation took measures to protect Conrad Hilton’s donor intent. These are important measures for ensuring donor intent, and time will tell the foundation board’s commitment to these measures.