Tips for Making Informed Giving Decisions

by Linda M. Czipo

Every day, our lives are touched in some way by the work of charitable organizations. Charities play an essential social and economic role in making our communities attractive places to live, work and grow.

While a slow economic recovery and rising demand for charitable services mean that charities need donor support more than ever, donors may become overwhelmed by the various requests for contributions. For donors trying to sort through these appeals, wise giving choices have never been more crucial.

You don’t need to have an elaborate plan to “do good,” but you can take steps that will help you to be confident in the decisions you make.

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Why Equality is actively harmful to Equity

by Vu Le

Vu-Le-with-mug_180x186A few weeks ago, I gave a keynote speech to a large group of youth involved in philanthropy, along with a few of their parents and mentors. My topic was “The Role of Equity in Philanthropy.” It was awesome that we had kids ages 8 to 24 engaged in grantmaking and other aspects of philanthropy. They were smart and hungry and full of hope and possibilities, bright minds not yet beaten down to a haggard shell haunted by endless grant rejections and complex community dynamics and the sudden dawning realization of the ephemerality of existence, cowering in the supply closet on a fold-out cot, cradling a stuffed unicorn while Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” plays softly from a phone.

(What, like your Friday nights are soooo much more exciting.)

“As budding philanthropists,” I said to the youth, “you have probably seen the illustration of the difference between Equality and Equity. You know, the drawing of those kids standing on those boxes looking over a fence at people playing baseball.”

As if on cue, two kids came up to the stage with a drawing they had done earlier of the iconic image on easel paper. I stuck it to the lectern. “Get used to this image,” I said, “Have it burned into your mind. Because you will not be able to avoid it. It will haunt your dreams.”

Equality and Equity are frequently brought up in our field, oftentimes with colorful metaphors like “Equality is making sure everyone gets a pair of shoes, but Equity is ensuring that everyone’s shoes actually fits them.” A female colleague of mine once said, “Think about bathrooms. Equality is about men and women both having bathrooms. But Equity is ensuring that…uh…there’s more toilet paper in the women’s bathroom, because we need it more…”

Whatever the metaphor, there seems to be this general belief that Equity is an advanced version of Equality, or that they both are great but in different ways. But in the past few years, I’ve seen more and more evidence that Equality actually prevents Equity from succeeding. Equality is a strong force, and we are drawn to its sexy and hypnotic, but ultimately destructive power. Here are a few areas, some discussed in previous posts, where Equality’s gravity pulls us into its deadly orbit:

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10 Things To Do When You’re Having a Bad Day

by Joan Garry

Joan GarryYesterday morning I received an email from a coaching client.

Subject line: Do You Have Time? Feelin’ Wobbly.

Now I receive hundreds of emails from nonprofit leaders with challenges. Sadly, too many of them are of the five-alarm blaze variety. Toxic board members, a nonprofit ED who had been working for months without pay – you get the idea.

But yesterday, this leader was just wobbly. And he’s not a wobbly type. This particular client is hard wired steady. Or presents that way in nearly every situation.

Yet, a week of changing the world had left him “shaken,” “off his game,” and questioning choices and decisions. Wobbly. Just having a bad day.

Been there?

Yup. Me too. The donor you didn’t treat quite right lays into you. You review the candidate pool for an open senior position and there’s no there there. A volunteer drops an important ball. Plenty of war stories to go around.

Each thing independently is a nuisance or a solid challenge and yet, the collection of them makes you feel like a boxer feeling for the ropes to try gain some balance.

Today, I offer you my 10 Step Program for Wobbly Nonprofit leaders – how to steady yourself and get back in the game.

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