The Professional's Guide to Strategic Philanthropy
Dr. Harrell's Opinion Page
The Federal End Run Targeting Philanthropy
This past September, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service pulled an end run on the philanthropy sector by quietly proposing that charities file a new “information return” to substantiate contributions. Naturally, as all such test missiles go, the new return would be voluntary, not mandatory and only apply to gifts of $250 or more. But here is the wolf hiding under sheepskin. The IRS would be provided the name, address and social security number of each donor.
It seems that George Price, an American economist, studied the question and developed a mathematical formula (now known as the “Price Equation”) describing how characteristics of altruism can prove disadvantageous to the individual butcuriously improve the state of the average group member.
Read more....download Dr. Harrell's recent comments and what we can learn from George Price.
A recent article from The Economist (Jan 21st print edition) may be very instructive to philanthropists. Recent research explores the hypocritical sense of entitlement and the moral pliability that seems to follow people who exercise power.This sense of entitlement explains why powerful people in high office misbehave.Powerful people do not break the rules simply because they can but because they genuinely believe they have a right to do so.
Letter to the Editor: Wall Street Journal Re: “What’s Wrong With Charitable Giving & How To Fix It” by Mr. Pablo Eisenberg Monday, November 9, 2009, Section R, pgs. 1,4. Sir: Mr. Eisenberg allows his heart to over-rule his intellect when he chooses to ignore the basic fact that several studies have demonstrated that foundation spending around the mandatory minimum of 5% annually generates an even larger flow of dollars over time than those foundations spending at higher rates.The often mystical effects of compounding returns on a stable capital base tend to be over looked in such discussions.
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Dr. Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University won the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics for her research into the role of voluntary associations in solving a wide range of public challenges. Typically, society manages its “public assets” (i.e. fish in the ocean, lumber in public forests, etc.) in one of two ways in order to avoid uncontrolled consumption: the marketplace, or regulation. She won the Nobel for her work exploring a third way to govern the use of public assets known as “voluntary agreement”. This is where foundations should pay close attention to advocacy that starts with grassroots support.
Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) recently issued a new report by Nancy Burd titled “On The Money” the premise of which is to shame donors into recognizing their culpability for the demise of many otherwise worthwhile nonprofits.Having done so, GEO now apparently expects to see donor flagellation on a massive scale. Hold the whips!
A new report from Barclays Wealth surveyed 500 high net worth individuals in both the U.S. and U.K. and found that donors are becoming more strategic in their giving. These donors are much more "hands on" and ambitious philanthropists in that they seek to strike problems at the root rather than simply being charitable and relieving suffering. What's more, in spite of the implosion of the world economies, more than 75% did not decrease their giving and fully 26% actually increased their gifts over the last 18 months.
Darwin didn't discover private foundations. If, instead of exploring the Galapagos Islands in the Beagle, he had landed amidst a community populated entirely by private foundations, he would most certainly not have concluded that the survival of a species depends on the speed, cunning, and determination of its strongest members.
Read more.....download Dr. Harrell's comments on "Great Ossification" below.