By Richard Marker [Despite the opening paragraph, this post is not about politics; it is of relevance to philanthropy.] This week, at the annual national Prayer Breakfast, the current president issued a strong statement advocating the repeal of a limitation on political lobbying from the pulpit. That particular issue is not one I feel super strongly about, but it does, en passant, elicit thoughts about a philanthropy matter about which I … [Read more...] about Transparency and Tax Exemption for Religious Institutions in the USA
By Richard Marker Whew! The end of the year solicitation onslaught is over. It is safe to look at your email again - and even to open some of your snail mail. If an end of the year contribution was on your agenda, you have made sure it was paypal-ed or stamped by Saturday evening. Time to return to more contemplative and plan-ful philanthropy. I am not an expert in fundraising at all but I have to assume that all of those solicitations work … [Read more...] about New Year’s Eve Procrastinators and New Year’s Strategists
By Richard Marker [Caveat: This post contains both a philanthropy and political point of view.] Being a funder is a power position. The more money one gives or can give, the more power. Whether that is the way it should be is beside the point. The NGO/NFP sector is existentially dependent on the largesse and beneficence of those with money. The challenge of how to accept, mitigate, reject the power of those funders is real and all … [Read more...] about Transparency and Self-Dealing Matter
By Richard Marker Venture capitalists and innovation funders share a motivation: to discover and cultivate a successful startup that makes a big difference. In VC, the payoff is a big payday. In philanthropy innovation, the payoff is a big “impact,” however elusive the definition of impact may be. Those of us who have been on the funder side of innovation know that it is high risk. Evidence is always derivative since the idea or project has … [Read more...] about In Innovation Funding, the Second Funder Makes All the Difference
By Richard Marker A few years ago, a noted professor of History of Education invited me to speak to a graduate class about my role over the course of my career in the creation of a number of interesting and cutting edge nonprofit organizations. With the vantage of a rear view mirror, he noted, whether by serendipity or opportunity, I had been involved at an early stage with a surprising number of well-known and often honored ones. In inviting … [Read more...] about Is Non-Profit Impermanence A Synonym for Failure?