Protecting Donor Intent: How to Define and Safeguard Your Philanthropic Principles

The Philanthropy Roundtable
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The need for this guidebook is clear. Donors have made large gifts to charitable causes only to have the funds eventually spent on purposes they never would have supported. All too often, the trustees and staff of grantmaking institutions drift from intended goals, lose accountability, or pay insufficient attention to the principles that governed their founders' charitable giving. In some cases, assets have been put to uses that would have repelled the original benefactors, turning a generous and well-intentioned gift into a punchline. This guidebook offers detailed guidance to philanthropists who want to ensure that the assets they dedicate to charity are disbursed as they intend. It identifies common pitfalls, explains relevant tradeoffs, and describes successful strategies used by other donors. It lays a broad range of options before you, and suggests ways you can define, secure, and perpetuate your charitable intentions.
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Publisher
The Philanthropy Roundtable
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Published on
Feb 22, 2012
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Pages
61
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ISBN
9780985126520
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Language
English
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Genres
Reference / Handbooks & Manuals
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Donating money to modify public thinking and government policy has now taken its place next to service-centered giving as a constructive branch of philanthropy. Many donors now view public-policy reform as a necessary adjunct to their efforts to improve lives directly.

This is perhaps inevitable given the mushrooming presence of government in our lives. In 1930, just 12 percent of U.S. GDP was consumed by government; by 2012 that had tripled to 36 percent. Unless and until that expansion of the state reverses, it is unrealistic to expect the philanthropic sector to stop trying to have a say in public policies.

Sometimes it’s not enough to build a house of worship; one must create policies that make it possible for people to practice their faith freely within society. Sometimes it’s not enough to pay for a scholarship; one must change laws so that high-quality schools exist for scholarship recipients to take advantage of.

Yet public-policy philanthropy has special ways of mystifying and frustrating practitioners. It requires understanding of governmental practice, interpretation of human nature, and some philosophical perspective. Public-policy philanthropists may encounter opponents operating from different principles who view them as outright enemies. Moreover, public-policy struggles never seem to end: victories one year become defeats the next, followed by comebacks, then setbacks, and on and on.

This book was written to help donors navigate all of those obstacles. It draws on deep history, and rich interviews with the very best practitioners of ­­public-policy philanthropy in America today. Whatever your aspirations for U.S. society and governance, this guide will help you find the best ways to make a difference. 

Twenty-five years ago, charter schools hadn’t even been dreamed up. Today they are mushrooming across the country. There are 6,500 charter schools operating in 42 states, with more than 600 new ones opening every year. Within a blink there will be 3 million American children attending these freshly invented institutions (and 5 million students in them by the end of this decade). 

It is philanthropy that has made all of this possible. Without generous donors, charter schools could never have rooted and multiplied in this way. And philanthropists have driven relentless annual improvements—better trained school founders, more prepared teachers, sharper curricula, smarter technology—that have allowed charter schools to churn out impressive results.

Studies show that student performance in charter schools is accelerating every year, as high-performing models replace weaker ones. Charter schools as a whole already exceed conventional schools in results. The top charters that are now growing so fast elevate student outcomes more than any other schools in the U.S.—especially among poor and minority children.

Charter schooling may be the most important social innovation of our age, and it is just beginning to boom. Philanthropists anxious to improve America have more opportunities to make a difference through charter schools than in almost any other way. This book provides the facts, examples, cautionaries, inspiration, research, and practical experience that philanthropists will need as charter schooling shifts gears from promising experiment to mainstream movement bringing improved opportunity to millions of students.
An entertaining, informative, and eminently useful guide that draws on psychology, data, and real-world experience to explain what really drives successful fundraising.

In The Forgotten Foundations of Fundraising, Jeremy Beer and Jeff Cain, cofounders of American Philanthropic, a leading consulting firm for nonprofit organizations, offer practical lessons and unconventional wisdom for both nonprofit leaders and novices in the art and science of raising money. Drawing upon a wealth of experience, deploying an army of anecdotes, and using eye-opening American Philanthropic survey data, the authors provide a brisk, irreverent, and supremely useful introduction to fundraising for charities and nonprofits.

The book explains the hows and whys of a variety of fundraising techniques, from direct mail to planned giving programs. It explores the benefits and pitfalls of prospect research, the keys to donor retention, and the essential elements of a healthy nonprofit culture. It gives insightful advice on making personal meetings count, soliciting foundations, and training young fundraisers. And it does so with sprightly prose and sharp observations. You'll never read another fundraising book quite like this one.

Expertly deflating the pretensions of those who would make fundraising a bureaucratic and esoteric profession, Beer and Cain elucidate the practical knowledge and relationship skills that still matter more than anything else. They make an impassioned plea for the importance of civil society to American democracy and build a compelling case for fundraising as an honorable component of a healthy civic culture. Philanthropy is not about bottom lines and return on investment—successful fundraisers provide a platform for donors to affirm their ideals, values, and morals.

Fundraising is serious, but learning about it needn’t be a chore. The Forgotten Foundations of Fundraising is at once eminently practical and absolutely delightful.

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