Giving: New York Times Style

1257975184-s-gift-homepageThe New York Times is out with their annual Giving supplement. Bookmark the page and check out the complete section; meanwhile here are some highlights:

New Fame for the Everyday Donor

After years in the shadows, the everyday donor is emerging as philanthropy’s newest hero, the driver of a more down-to-earth approach to charity.

… “This is one of those all-hands-on-deck moments where we absolutely need to engage everyone, whether they are able to give 50 cents or $50 million,” said David Salzman, executive director of the Robin Hood Foundation, famous for annual benefits where billionaires routinely hand over $20 million.

As Foundations Close, Anxiety for Charities

Foundations that increase grants to spend down their endowment and then close are proving to be a boon to charities in the short run, but the trend is also causing anxiety among the charities about their future fund-raising.

Some 9 percent to 12 percent of foundations are in spend-down mode, and roughly a quarter are considering the idea, surveys by the Urban Institute and the Foundation Center found.

Charity Bankruptcy Leaves Many Donors in Distress

A cautionary tale for donors who entered into two time-tested, long-term giving arrangements – charitable gift annuities and donor-advised funds – has emerged from bankruptcy court.

Galas Dispense With Some of the Froth

The world of charity galas and fund-raising parties has always been a world of fantasy and illusion: white voile-draped dinner tents, towering long-stemmed centerpieces, big society bands and black tie or tails. A little buttery beef and champagne, a winning bid for a high-ticket auction item, and blow the check dry. From museums to hospitals to foundations and other not-for-profits, it’s New York’s institutional gravy train – over 275 events last month alone, from Carnegie Hall’s opening night gala to Project Migration’s wine-tasting party.

But the illusions this past year, during the Great Recession, have been of a different order, and there’s a new rags-to-riches story at the ball: how do you take an undraped tent, short-stemmed flowers, a DJ and business attire or worse – casual dress – and make a glittering evening out of it?

Clicking for a Cause

The age of social media has empowered amateur journalists, fledgling presidential candidates and creative corporate marketers. Now, some say, it is time for nonprofit groups to harness the power of 140-character Tweets and Facebook status updates to recruit volunteers, spread awareness and solicit donations.

“Big checks don’t scale,” said Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water, a nonprofit organization devoted to digging fresh water wells in developing countries. “The only way we can truly expand our efforts is through tapping individuals through social media.”

image: courtesy The Forward