Tag Archives: Philanthropy

Foundations Listen Up: Why PRI’s and L3C’s Matter

Whenever I see something that looks GREAT, I wonder if I am missing something…You know, the old; “Too good to be true”. Over the last many months, I have been doing due diligence on the most appropriate corporate structure for a film project I am working on called “Time To Impact”. The film has a social agenda; use the film to inspire philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and civic engagement to turn around Paterson, NJ, the third largest city in the state and one of the poorest in the nation in 365 days.

The biggest concern is raising money for the film project. I wondered whether I should set up as a for profit or nonprofit. Going the for profit route didn’t seem to feel good. For one thing, I didn’t want to have a perception that we were doing this just to make money. In addition, I wasn’t comfortable being the guy who says; “Oh, this is going to be the greatest thing since An Inconvenient Truth and Supersize Me. The appeal isn’t in how MUCH people can make, but for the benefit that the film will have from a social standpoint. The pure for profit model just didn’t feel right. On the other hand, setting up a nonprofit involves setting up a 501(c)3, a process that takes many months, requires a board of directors, and other things that just seemed to be a distraction from the main goal at hand. Compound those issues with the fact that we are in a very difficult fund raising environment, we are likely to be grouped with everyone else asking for money, the grant process itself is a labor intensive process, and getting access to for profit money is less likely (if not eliminated), and the nonprofit model also didn’t seem to fit. Months of contemplation on this, and still no decision. Recently, I started taking a closer look at L3C’s.

The more I learned about L3C’s, the more attractive they looked for our film project. Over the last month or so, I have had discussions about my project with some of the top minds in country on the L3C. They seem to agree. This seems to be the perfect fit. So what’s so great?

L3C’s are hybrids of for-profit and nonprofit entities. They are a for-profit company that first and foremost has a social agenda, and making money secondarily. This seemed to address my concern about the issue of perception of my motivation of “doing this just for money”. My understanding is, there are no limits to the profit, as long as the mission is socially oriented. Second, and what I perceive as most beneficial and cutting edge, is the fact that L3C’s automatically qualify as “Program Related Investments” (or PRI’s) for foundations. This is a big deal. Why?

According to Foundation Center, Program-related investments (PRIs) are investments made by foundations to support charitable activities that involve the potential return of capital within an established time frame. PRIs include financing methods commonly associated with banks or other private investors, such as loans, loan guarantees, linked deposits, and even equity investments in charitable organizations or in commercial ventures for charitable purposes.”

So what does that mean? It means a lot. Foundations are required by the IRS to give away 5% of their assets each year in order to maintain their tax status with the IRS. Traditionally, this 5% takes the form of grants to 501(c)3 charities (the kind we would have been). As a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional, I look at the 5% requirement this way. Starting with 100 percent of the foundation’s investment portfolio, 5% is given away. Those grants hopefully are being given out to worthy causes who will “invest” the money effectively and use it prudently, however it is difficult to determine what the “social return on investment” actually is because in many cases it is difficult to measure the actual social return. I could write another entire column on just that subject alone, but let’s not go there right now. So what is the actual social return on investment of the 5% money? Enter the L3C.

L3C’s are businesses just like any other. Good ones should have a tight business plan and expectation that they are going to earn a profit or else they would not exist. If a business goes to a bank for a loan, the bank wants to know what the likelihood the loan is going to be repaid. That is determined largely on the strength of the business. The BIG deal with the L3C and for the foundation, is that a foundation can invest in the L3C and has the opportunity to actually earn a return on the money. Better yet, the foundation’s investment into a PRI (L3C), COUNTS toward the 5% they must give away each year. Ok let’s stop and recap now.

From a purely capitalistic “non social” viewpoint for a second, the 5% given away represents a 100% loss (looking at it strictly as an investment). Foundations give to good causes which is why they are able to get a tax deduction for the contributions when money is put into them.

If a foundation has an opportunity to earn a return on money and get it back to give again by investing in profitable social business ventures, AND it counts toward money they must give away anyway, why aren’t more foundations doing this?

In an environment of depressed investment portfolios, isn’t this a wise thing do do?

Worst case, the investment doesn’t make money and you lose your investment. Consider it a grant, which is what you are already doing anyway.

Am I missing something here?

If I have piqued your interest, watch the video below. (I’m “The Philanthropic Advisor” in the trailer)


Foundations, let’s make a difference and turn around a city. Please consider helping us fund this film. Email me at rich@timetoimpact.com to inquire.

Join the Movement:

Time To Impact Website

Facebook Fan Page

Time To Impact on Twitter @ImpactMovie

Richard J. Krasney on Twitter @PhilanthropyCFP

Richard J. Krasney on LinkedIn

By the way, nothing in this should be considered legal or financial advice and you should not rely on my opinions or the information expressed here in place of doing your own due diligence. Consult your financial professional before making any important financial decisions. This is just my opinion. End CYA.


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Filed under ECONOMY, FOUNDATIONS, INVESTING, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, strategic philanthropy, TAX

Philanthropic Analysis Paralysis

Face it, many of us “wonks” (which I lovingly use) in the philanthropic sector have become enamored with being able to measure things. We also like to complain a lot when we can’t measure something.

Lately, all of the talk has been on the various ways to measure an organizational outcome. Under Ken Berger’s leadership, Charity Navigator has set a new course and begun studying ways to incorporate measurement of outcomes into their charity rating system. I applaud Ken and Charity Navigator and believe that for too long, we have not been focusing donor attention on the entire picture. It is inherently good to ask the question, “How effective have you been at actually achieving the thing we’ve been giving you money for?”. To be able to create mechanisms that address that question could potentially have a huge impact and be a game changing moment for the nonprofit sector.

In my work as an investment adviser, I choose investments to put money into. For the most part, I frankly don’t care how much a company spent on advertising expenses or other overhead costs, I care about their earnings. I care about their dividend. I care whether the company is growing or contracting. I care how much market share they have relative to their competitors. These and other things tell me how healthy a company is. While it is useful to compare the overhead of Home Depot to Lowes, it is pointless in my opinion to compare it to Johnson & Johnson if you are interested in the metrics of the home improvement business. They do completely different things. Measuring the right things is something that we’ve done a poor job at and it seems like good people are committed to making real improvements to how we track effectiveness. This is long overdue. Have we missed something along the way though?

When I first started becoming interested in philanthropy as part of my business, I wanted to help charities tell the planned giving story. When I went to become a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional, I saw the tax wizardry of Charitable Remainder Trusts and was amazed when I saw that one could potentially leave more money to heirs through the use of these and other kinds of charitable vehicles. I thought, “Wow, why doesn’t everyone know about this?” I felt that many more people would give to charity if they knew what kind of tax benefit they could get and that if heirs actually wound up receiving more in the process, well that would certainly be a win for everyone but the government. Over time, I learned that while many people do give for tax reasons, more give because they are inspired to do so for one reason or another. They give from their heart. They give to give something back or to make a difference.

While the measurement issue is a critical one, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we also need to be focused on showing people the way into philanthropy. We need to be creating opportunities to make new philanthropists by showing the world that we all make a difference and have the ability to do so. I discovered philanthropy. A business coach asked me to write my own eulogy. After a few minutes of sitting there, staring at him, and thinking about the question, I answered. I said, “I guess I would want people to say I made a difference…” The rest is history.

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Filed under ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCIAL PLANNING, FOUNDATIONS, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Can Bernard Madoff Earn Forgiveness?

For months now, we’ve taken great comfort in reminiscing and sharing in our disgust of Bernard Madoff, and as Rabbi Marc Gellman of “The God Squad” put it in his “Open Letter to Madoff” in Newsweek, his “financial terrorism” against his own, and against charities who do good for others is “an abomination”.

Earlier today, I had a discussion with Deborah Coltin, Executive Director of the Robert I. Lappin Foundation who was one of the charities that was bankrupted by Bernard Madoff. I was interested in speaking to her because I had been intrigued with an article she wrote that I came across on eJewishphilanthropy.com where she discussed in detail how Bernard Madoff came into the life of Lappin, and then bankrupted the foundation. While this is a story that has been repeated over and over, this one was different. It came as no surprise to me, but it was the first one that I had seen that proved to me that I might be onto something. You see, the Robert I. Lapin Foundation is rising like a phoenix from the ashes, fueled purely by the passion of its employees and of Mr. Lappin himself, an 80 something year old man with left with little, who said, “I will not quit”. Shortly after seeing this story, I saw another story about Elie Wiesel’s foundation vow to rebuild from the ashes. From these two stories, I made a gentleman’s bet with my friend Robert Powell who writes for Marketwatch. I bet Bob a dollar that we would continue to see more stories of these charities rebuilding from ruin, and passion overcoming what others see as impossible. What drives these people? What lessons do they have to teach us?

At some point in life, we all will take a look and ask the important questions. Did I lead a good life? How will people remember me? Did I make a difference? What I have I recognized in these stories, and in others like my friend Jim Maclaren, one of my heroes, is that we define our limits in life. Nobody controls our destiny, not even Bernard Madoff.

So the topic of this article was “Can Bernard Madoff Earn Forgiveness?”. Can he? As a member of the Jewish community, I shared the disgust and outrage felt by so many others. It is my opinion that Bernard Madoff did not know or have any ability to comprehend the harm his actions could have on charities, and his own people. To allow my mind to think otherwise would be to go to a place reserved only for the true monsters in history. I cannot allow myself to believe that a man would knowingly line his own pockets at the risk of what has actually come to pass. Ask yourselves, did anyone foresee the financial meltdown in the markets that has actually occurred. While a few people might have, the financial community at large did not. I believe that Madoff’s greed caught up with him when he could no longer hide what he was doing. I don’t believe he ever could have anticipated his greed would have harmed so many people. I have to believe this for my own sanity and peace of mind.

So as Bernard Madoff sits in his cell reflecting on what he has done, I must imagine he is remorseful. It pains me inside to think of what kind of pain he must be going through. For those who have been hurt by him, this is likely the kind of pain they and other members of the Jewish community wish on him for all eternity. I began thinking, regardless of whether one is Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, or Hindu, I believe that religion makes room for those who repent and express remorse for what they have done. From a scholarly perspective, I began to wonder what would God say? What would Bernard Madoff have to do in the eyes of God to be forgiven for perpetrating such harm on his fellow Jews and on his fellow man. My next question is aimed at the Jewish community. If Bernard Madoff consulted with rabbinical leaders and made good in the eyes of what Judiasm deems as acceptable, would it be enough? While we would all be quick to say “no”, think about that one and get back to me.

Are some crimes so outrageous that no good deed can repair the damage, regardless or how much remorse is shown? Is Bernard Madoff doomed to Hell, or can he earn forgiveness? What do you choose to remember, Madoff, or the stories of heroes who are brushing themselves off after being knocked down. Do we in the Jewish community have responsibility to all lend our hand and right the wrong that has been done? We all have a little hero in us don’t we? I prefer to hang in the company of heroes who know that ordinary people achieve the extraordinary and know that one person can make a difference. The secret is, life’s a lot more fun when you let your passion lead the way in good times and bad.

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Filed under Current Events, FOUNDATIONS, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY

Nonprofit Recession Survival Guide to Getting Donations

First the markets, then Madoff, now the Obama administration is proposing reductions in the charitable tax deduction for your biggest donors. What else could possibly go wrong? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the snow day and nobody came to work. One thing is for certain; raising funds in the current environment is much more difficult that it was last year at this time. Here are some specific suggestions and things to keep in mind as you talk to donors:

Speak the Unspoken Truth
Personally, I like this tactic. Call it like it is. What are the most powerful four words in the English language? “I NEED YOUR HELP”. Talk to your existing donors about what is happening and the state of your organization. Tell them you need help. Let your donors know how the current environment is impacting your organization.

Be Specific With The Ask
This is something that is always a good idea. Even before the mess the last year, donor fatigue was certainly an issue. I believe that in general, nonprofits do a poor job marketing themselves when it comes to being specific about their accomplishments, how donations help, and making specific connections between the ask and the impact. Kiva.org is the opposite of everything I just said. Their supporters choose the cause (lending to a specific entrepreneur who needs a loan), and Kiva reports back on the status of the loan from the individual it was given to. It’s a terrific example of the donor getting involved directly with the cause that they support. Strategic, venture, or tactical philanthropy; call it what you want, people have been demanding more accountability in recent years. This trend towards greater accountability and transparency is only likely going to increase. Help your donors go from a “spray and pray” approach go giving, to being focused and knowing exactly what they are giving to.

Create A Donor Adviser Panel
Invite your top donors into a room for a “Manhattan Project” style round table. The objective of the group is not to gang up on them and tell them how badly you need their money, but to come together and brainstorm new ideas for raising funds. Let them know how much you have appreciated their past support and you are offering them a “no money required” way to help make a huge difference with the organization. Ally you want is their input. Not only will they feel appreciated, do you think there might be a possibility they could cough up a little extra after sitting in on that? If I were a betting man, I’d say your odds are pretty good. That’s not the objective though. Remember that. You are after their ideas and things you are not thinking about right now.

Address Financial Fear
Your donors are shell shocked with what’s going on in the markets now. Everyone is. Do you want to be someone’s hero? Address this head on. This is the one I think that nonprofits have traditionally been the most uncomfortable with. Even large organizations that have planned giving departments have struggled with “the line of control” that exists between donors and their professional advisory team. While planned giving folks want to “get that seat at the table”, and be INVOLVED in the conversation with the financial adviser, attorney, or CPA at the time giving decisions are being made, often they are not. Understand that there is a line, and there should be. Generally speaking, the unspoken truth is that donors know that planned giving officers have one motive, to get money for their organization. This is nothing new though, so what?

The real opportunity to be a hero here is to talk about some of the things that donors are afraid of now and things that they can do to feel more financially secure. The number one concern of the wealthy is that they will lose what they have. While this has always been the biggest concern, the fear is now being realized. Understand that unless your donors feel financially secure, they will likely not give at the levels they had given previously. You cannot help them feel more secure, but you can make recommendations that will. One of the things that’s at the top of the list is recognizing that donors and high net worth clients traditionally have had multiple advisers giving them advice. Their accountant is discussing their returns, their attorney discusses their will (or might not have in a while), and their “financial adviser” is talking only about their investments. Most people have no idea who they should be talking to about the big picture and their ability to achieve what’s important to them.  No wonder you have such a hard time getting a seat at the table, that’s because there usually IS NO table. The advice your donors receive is sporadic and fragmented in professional silos and generally NOBODY is discussing the big picture! Markets aside, the tax changes occurring are faster than the drop in their portfolio value and now is a good time for them to be meeting with their team to reassess where they are and reevaluate their goals.

The key to success lies in your ability to have a trusted relationship with your donor, understand what attracted them to you, what inspires them, what they are afraid of, and how to connect them with the appropriate resources who can help them achieve everything that’s important to them. To the extent you make yourself a master networker and not make it about you and your cause, you’ll be a hero. Ask your donors, “How can I help, YOU?”

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Filed under Current Events, ECONOMY, ESTATE PLANNING, Financial Life Planning, FINANCIAL PLANNING, INVESTING, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, TAX, venture philanthropy

Is Obama’s Plan to Cut Charitable and Mortgage Deductions Really Stimulus?

The news is out. President Obama announced plans to cut the deductions for charitable contributions and mortgage interest incurred for Americans who earn more than $250,000 per year and raise the top tax bracket from 35% to 39.6%. I have some very sharp opinions about this proposal. For the sake of full disclosure, I voted for Obama but am a registered Republican. I vote issues and people, not along party lines. You might say I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative. That said, I have big problems with this proposal. Watch a CBS News Video about the plan here.

When I went to school to become a Certified Financial Planner Professional™, economics was one of the things they taught. Specifically, they discussed the role that taxes play within the government, how the Fed and IRS work, and how it is the job of the Executive Branch to drive an agenda through tax policy. Generally speaking, I believe Republicans perceive that adjusting taxes downward equals growth through increased investment, while Democrats view taxes as a way to redistribute wealth. While this is a simplistic way of looking at things, this is exactly the way I see the proposed tax changes that Obama introduced.

I believe that changes in tax policy direct our actions. For example, generally given the choice of withdrawing money from an IRA versus a taxable brokerage account, I would typically recommend that people first take from the taxable account because capital gains rates are typically lower than ones income tax rate that they would be subject to if withdrawing funds from the IRA account. The tax benefit drives the actions. Add a 10% penalty for an early withdrawal on top of an ordinary income tax rate, and the IRA quickly becomes the funding source of last resort. Taxes and penalties drive the behaviors of Americans. Good tax policy is meant to create healthy economies. That is exactly the opposite of what Obama’s proposal does.

Charities are struggling to keep their heads above water right now and the housing market has already gone under. The housing mess is the most pressing issue facing the economy in my view. While the government struggles to pay for all of the various “stimulus” packages, charities that provide essential services for the needy, the arts, and everything else are closing their doors in record numbers due to a combination of losses incurred from the stock market and lost donations from their donor base. In my opinion, the last thing the Obama administration should be doing is creating ANY disincentives away from charitable donations or from mortgage deductions. While some may say that this only impacts the wealthy, we all know how Wall Street has come to Main Street in the last year.

Mr. President, you should be INCREASING the mortgage and charitable deductions to INCENT people into these areas, not reducing them. Rich, poor, it doesn’t matter because while these initiatives may not take effect for some time, perception is reality when it comes to human assumptions. The dire economic situation that the nonprofit and real estate sectors face need all the help they can get in order to be put back on a more solid footing. I believe in the end, these moves do nothing but exacerbate an already bad situation in two of the areas that now require the most help.

Traditionally, charitable contributions have served as a great way to reduce taxes and everyone won. Charities provided services that the government wasn’t as good at providing, Americans got a tax deduction for funding them, and the government didnt’ have to do that job. Everyone won. By changing this balance now with charities struggling already, this will mean less donations, force charities to close due to ANOTHER financial setback caused by poor government policy, and put the onus of providing the services that these charities provided, squarely back on the government’s shoulders. This sounds like a very Democratic thing to do from a fiscal standpoint. As a fiscally conservative Republican, I fear the consequences this will have on the system at a time of such economic distress. There are lots of things I don’t agree with in the Republican party (like energy and environmental policies for one), but when it comes to this proposal, I would never side with the Democrats on this. It stinks.

Last year, I wrote a review of  a terrific book called  “Who Really Cares?”, about the giving habits of Americans, and specifically, Republicans versus Democrats. Since we are on the subject. It might be a good refresher for those thinking about cutting areas that impact giving. It was a great book that anyone interested in this subject should read.

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Filed under Current Events, ECONOMY, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCIAL PLANNING, FOUNDATIONS, INVESTING, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, TAX

Expirements in Business Social Networking: What I learned on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

This is Part 1 of, well…who knows how many. Just have to check back if you like it.

It’s funny where inspiration comes from sometimes. This time, it came from a stupid question. “Anyone in the Professional Speakers Group on LinkedIn Using Twitter?”, I asked. I was looking to make a few new friends since I had just started using Twitter at the time I posted it. When I joined Twitter three plus weeks ago, I had zero friends and zero followers. I was looking for friends and help (aren’t we all?). So I posted the that “anyone using” question in a few LinkedIn Groups I belong to, however the Professional Speakers group overwhelmingly started raving about about Twitter and my question soon became one of the featured questions in the group since so many people had responded to it. I laughed at one response, “Fine, you folks seem to be passionate about it. I’ll give it a try.”. I thought to myself, “There is no try. Do or do not” as Yoda would say. You can take one look at the Twitter profiles of folks “trying it out”, but not really making the investment of time to find out how to be successful with it. I couldn’t tell them apart when I started. Now it’s easy. I invested the time, now hopefully I can share what I’ve learned. Taking pity on the fellow, and just because my nature is to help folks, I decided to write a detailed response back to him and the group. That response became the inspiration behind this series “My Experiments in Business Social Networking”, a tutorial, or memoir or sorts, of what’s worked and what hasn’t. I thought using myself as a case study might be helpful to some people. I’m not an expert, just trying to find my way to business and happiness through sharing and meeting “good like minded folks who give a damn about people other than themselves”.

My Business Objective:
As a wealth manager who specializes in “Business Owners, Families, and Donors”, my objective with my networking was to connect with “successful folks who give a damn” as I say. I wanted to meet people who were successful and also interested in philanthropy. I have a very unique offering that’s very collaborative and hands on since it involves multiple levels of collaboration with a client’s accountant, attorney, and other members of their professional team. The bottom line is, I only want to work with the right kinds of clients, and they are hard to find. How do you find successful folks who give a damn? How do you find Social Entrepreneurs? I began experimenting, believing there was “some club of those folks out there somewhere”. Seems like everyone I talked to said my business ideas were so badly needed in that market space but the problem was identifying those people who could identify with what I had to say and what I was passionate about. I wanted to meet successful like minded people. Now that I think about it, I actually met my wife online so perhaps there is something to this networking for like minded people thing. We met in 2000, before it was “cool” to meet people. Perhaps going social for business is the right thing to do I thought..

LinkedIn
A few years ago, my friend recommended my first social networking site, LinkedIn. For the first 6 months, I didn’t do much with it. After friends started sending me lots of invites, I decided to check it out further (like the poor soul who finally gave into Twitter I mentioned). I put up a real profile. I got the hang of LinkedIn after a while. I realized being successful on LinkedIn is about building a network based on quality and quantity. Having not been an “open networker” (LION= LinkedIn Open Networker), I was only focused on building quality connections. After asking a LION what that whole “LION” thing was about, they told me that having LIONS in your network greatly increases the size of your 3rd degree”. The closer someone is in your network I have found, the more like minded you tend to be, regardless who you are connected through, and generally the easier to get introduced. There are certainly exceptions, however this is my experience. In reality though, in three years, I have only asked for an introduction a handful of times. I meet quality people spending time in the LinkedIn Groups in the areas I am interested in. When you are both members of groups, you don’t need an introduction, you can just invite them to connect directly. I only INVITE quality people, while I will accept an invitation from anyone. I have sent out thousands of invitations and have only been declined twice to my knowledge. Here’s a little secret; people want to meet like minded people. Just say, “I saw your profile and it seems like we have a lot in common with our blah, blah interest. Please accept my invitation to connect”. If they are really interesting, set up a time to speak by phone to find out more about them. Don’t try and pitch them on you.

My Issues With LinkedIn (LinkedIn, why won’t you listen?)
Recently, I’ve become frustrated with LinkedIn’s inability to help me understand who is among my list of 1st degree connections. As someone who has over 4500 1st degree connections, I want my relationships to be of value to me. If it is difficult to communicate with my connections, which I have found it to be very difficult, the network becomes less valuable. This is where Twitter has become EXTREMELY helpful. More on that later. Before Twitter, I had a huge network of connections on LinkedIn, but was hesitant to email everyone. I hate spam so I didn’t want to send business related messages to people who absolutely had no interest in what I do other than the value of our connection on LinkedIn (which might not seem that valuable to you). These people ARE important, because even though a recruiter LION likely has little chance of utilizing my services, they might be connected to someone who does. Sending wealth management related messages to recruiters isn’t relevant to them directly and what a waste of time and effort it has been to try and contact them. All efforts to try an make better use of my exported list of contacts has been time consuming and a painful process. LinkedIn needs to resolve this issue or their best users like me will wind up spending money on services that provide this ability. Twitter seems to be starting to fill that void.

At the end of the day (I hate that expression), I have only two objectives. The first is meeting professional contacts for business, and the other is meeting potential clients. Some is working really well, some not. Tune in soon…

Check my blog for the rest of this story. Part two deals with how LinkedIn and Twitter have worked together. :) For a sneak peak at how Twitter has helped, check out “5 Ways I’m Using Twitter to Meet the Right People” as well as “Wondering if you Should Use Twitter?”

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Filed under NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, RANDOM STUFF, TECHNOLOGY

List of Philanthropy People Using Twitter (Via Chronicle of Philanthropy)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy had a great idea to compile a list of philanthropy related users on Twitter. I encourage you to check out the list since they are providing folks a great way to introduce themselves to one another. For those of us who have ADD, I’ve taken the time to summarize the list of users and promise to keep the list updated. You can also post an update in the comments here and I’ll add it to the list.

Here’s another idea. Since I also use LinkedIn, I’d invite anyone who who is interested in charity, social entrepreneurship, non-profit, fundraising, corporate social responsibility, foundations, or anything else related to “folks who give a damn”, to list their LinkedIn profile here in the comments section. I’ll put a separate list of those folks together.

ANNOUNCING…The new CHARITWEEPS group on LinkedIn. Click here to join. For any of you folks who are interested in this list and are also on LinkedIn. After you join, check out the Discussion Board to list your Twitter profile, a quick blurb about yourself, and what you can offer to other folks. Please continue to add to the list here so that all of the Twitter profiles are listed in one place. Ain’t technology great? :)

WANT THIS LIST EMAILED TO YOU PERIODICALLY? SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAIL NEWSLETTER HERE

Names listed from Chronicle of Philanthropy as of 10am 2/24/09
@AmberCadabra
@atlantic
@AuctionCause
@beckstrand
@BethHarte
@bsttrach
@ChicagoRedCross
@christineegger
@conniereece
@createthegood
@dcvito
@easibey
@FullCourtPress
@gillwilson
@ginatrapani
@GiveForward
@HandsOnNetwork
@HildyGottlieb
@horizonsfdn
@idex
@impactsp2walden
@itsthomas
@jaygoulart
@jeanevogel
@JodyParsons
@kanter
@MackCollier
@magdrl
@marcapitman
@MartyKearns
@mercycorps
@nptechblogs
@p2173
@philanthoropy411
@philanthropic
@philanthropy
@philanthropyCFP (That’s Me!)
@philcubeta
@pistachio
@rarenaud
@rbrob
@RenataRafferty
@RosetttaThurman
@SeattleDonorBiz
@servantleaders
@sharonschneider
@silkcharm
@tactphil
@thefabgiver
@thelampnyc
@tracygary1
@UnitedWayEL
@UnitedWayTC
@wisdomkeepers
@WiserEarth
@worthwhilefilms

I Follow: (Still working on this)
@AlbertoNardelli
@amiecn
@andystoll
@appfrica
@AshokaTweets
@butterflytree
@carbonOutreach
@CaseFoundation
@danomi
@DoGooder
@dreamreaper
@drewmcmanus
@emelendez
@forimpact
@gambino
@GarinKilpatrick
@gatesfoundation
@gaylegifford
@grahamallcott
@grantgeekdiva
@greenwerks
@gregmcray
@gtroxell
@healemru
@imdane
@Inspiremetoday
@itrish
@itsaulgood
@JayDrayer
@jenergy
@jongos
@kailee009
@katbaloo
@kellykay30
@lazone
@lend4health
@manni_pattar
@mannytmoto
@marlonparker
@mattnathan
@mattymoran
@mdavis
@medido
@Michael_Hoffman
@modernsinglemom
@MOMboTV
@Nalden
@peterburkecbf
@Philanthropy411
@RichardAlderson
@richardbranson
@RichardSmedley
@rozic
@sadekhm
@safetrekker
@SCaldwell
@shinabarger
@socialactions
@socialcitizen
@twintweeter
@YouthActionNet

SPECIAL MENTIONS (Still working on this)
@inspiremetoday
@philanthropic
@philanthropy
@kenscommentary
@StaceyMonk
@cpoizat
@dubel
@kenn_parks
@NurtureGirl
@PhilCubeta
@tactphil
@jefftrexler
@gordonjayfrost
USER SUBMITTED:
@DexterityCon
@ConsciousChange
@3Generations
@witnessorg
@kiwanja
@_jopsa
@katrinskaya
@whiteafrican
@jnovogratz
@lksriv

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Filed under FOUNDATIONS, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, RANDOM STUFF, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, TECHNOLOGY

5 Ways I’m Using Twitter to Meet the Right People

Ok, so I joined twitter about 3 weeks ago and while and I’m still finding my way around, I think I’ve picked up a few things that might help people. While it’s fun to use and completely different than any of the other social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, ultimately I’m there to meet new contacts for my business. I wouldn’t think this would come as a surprise to anyone, but there do seem to be quite a number of people there for social reasons. Since I’m there for business purposes, here’s what I’ve done to get over 800 followers in 3 weeks. As with anything, Twitter is what you make of it so you have to invest some time to get results.

  1. If you are there for business, post things that will be interesting to the people you want to connect with. Sometimes I’m a bit of a ham, but I let that come through in some of my posts even when they are unrelated to business. That’s me, I’m a ham sometimes and I just can’t stand not sharing the fact that both of my identical twins projectile spit-up on me almost the same time. Frankly that’s what makes it fun. All work and no play makes Rich a dull boy. I’m a real person and I let my Twitter follower people know it.
  2. If someone you are following posts something interesting, RT it (Retweet it). That means that “Hey, I just liked what you posted, so I’m sharing that with my own followers. When you do that, it let’s people know you are not just interested in having a one way conversation saying “hey everyone, look how great I am”.
  3. Follow people with similar interests. Don’t worry, if you follow someone they won’t think you’re stalking them. That’s what this is all about.
  4. If you follow someone with similar interests, look to see who they follow and follow those people too. This is how you expand your network. The more people with similar interests you follow, the more likely you are to be found by people you want to meet.
  5. Use Google to help you find people you want to meet. Instead of doing a standard search in Google, use the “Advanced Search” feature, then select “Search within a website”. Choose Twitter.com and type the search terms you are interested in. Example:

In my case, I want to meet successful social entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, CEO’s/ Business Owners, and Non-Profits. I go into Google, hit “Advanced Search”, then type “BIO Social Entrepreneur”.

Most of the Google results that come up are Twitter profiles with Social Entrepreneur in their bios. Click through the Google results one by one and see who interests you. Follow the people who interest you. If you are talking about the same kinds of things, odds are they will follow you back.

Ultimately, I believe that there are people within my areas of interest who will be looking for someone to help them with their wealth management needs. You can’t come right out and say that and people just don’t like to talk about money (especially now). Developing contacts is about developing trust. Using Twitter allows you to develop relationships and stay in touch with the people who you are interested in meeting and who are interested in hearing from you. Whether that winds up driving people to explore my services is another story.

Chime in with suggestions or send me a DM @PhilathropyCFP (Direct Message for you non-Twitter folk).

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Filed under TECHNOLOGY

Believe In This Thing Called “The Universe”? Strange Things Happen In Chicago; Part 2

So the rational skeptical guy starts wondering about this thing called “The Universe”. People say (not me of course), that when you figure “it” out (whatever the hell “it” is), that “the universe” will start sending you signs that you are on the right track. Okey dokey people…Have you visited you astrologer for a palm reading lately, I thought…So how do you explain the bus and the United 93 thing within a week of each other? Blahhhh, mere coincidence, right? Come on folks, we went to college, let’s grow up. There is no Tooth Fairy and no Santa, sorry to rain on your parade. Jump forward a year or so.

Since I had the “Aha”, realizing clearly that I feel fulfilled and have a sense of purpose when I feel like I make a difference, I just started going out doing things that made me feel like I was making a difference. I started volunteering for boards, helping charities, and having a real interest in everything philanthropic. I felt for the first time that I was on the right track in life. Once in a while, these little “coincidences” would happen that made me realize I was doing what I was supposed to do.

Soon my business began to transition from just investment management, into one that was deeply focused on helping people figure out what’s really important to them, then helping them transition their finances toward their values. Before, it might have seemed touchy feeley, but having had these experiences, and also working with other folks who felt the same way I did, really gave me a fulfilled sense of purpose. Philanthropy became a much more important part of my practice and helping clients carry out significant gifts became extremely gratifying.

Chicago: Take Two
I discovered an organization called Advisors in Philanthropy which was made up of a diverse group of financial professionals who were committed to integrating philanthropy into their practices, just like me. I had become a member of the organization and signed up to attend their conference. The conference was to be held in Chicago. Great, I thought! I’ve been learning to love Chicago :)

As I got to Newark Airport early that morning, I decided I would treat myself to a shoe shine (something I don’t get to do much since I stopped commuting to NY daily). Jokingly, I said to the shoe shine guy, “Huh, I wonder what’s going to happen this time. Strange things always happen when I go to Chicago.” We laughed a little and I didn’t give it much more thought. After I tipped the guy, I went into the newsstand to get my gum and water for the flight. As I was paying, there was a book above the register that caught my attention, as it looked out of place and it also didn’t seem like they sold books here since it was such a small stand. I glanced at the title, “Beyond Success” it was called. Hmmm, sounds like something I might like to read I thought, I wonder who wrote it? I looked over at the author’s name and nearly fell out of my chair (or at least my place in line). Randall Ottinger! HOLY CRAP!!! HE”S SPEAKING AT THE CONFERENCE I”M GOING TO RIGHT NOW!!!” While that may not seem like a big coincidence, there were only about 200 or 300 people at this conference. What are the odds of that I thought! “Do you sell this book?”, I asked the woman at the register. “No, someone left it here”, she replied. HOLY DOUBLE CRAP!!! (sorry for the profanity but sometimes I just can’t help it). Now someone was playing with me, I thought. Must be that “universe” mumbo jumbo…”May I see the book?”, I asked. Now I will do away with the vulgarities since the rest of the story speaks for itself and you can fill in with your own if you like…

I took the book from the woman and opened it up. Inside the book was a page of hand written notes with a bunch of illegible things and some stock quotes. The only thing I was able to make out on the page said; “Chapter 21: Advisors in Philanthropy”. Now I could hardly contain myself. I told the woman my shock and disbelief and she just chuckled when I told her why I was so taken back. I handed her my business card and told her I was taking the book and if anyone came looking for it, she should give them my name and I would be happy to return it to them.

As I read the book, I couldn’t help think I was reading my life story. The book was about building a personal, financial, and philanthropic legacy and it dealt with the very same issues I began to adopt in my wealth management practice. It was amazing that I had been handed this book, on the way to this conference, dealing with the very same issues, higher purpose, blah, blah blah…I just couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t wait to tell Randy this story when I finally saw him in Chicago.

Telling Randy
As I tell Randy this unbelievable story, he just begins to shake his head. “That falls into one of those THINGS YOU CAN”T MAKE UP category”, we said to each other. Thinking we had just closed the chapter on a truly remarkable story, we went about our business and attended to the other conference matters.

The next day, Randy comes up to me and says, “Rich, you are NEVER going to believe this…I sit down at dinner last night and introduce myself to this guy and he looks at me and says OH, I BROUGHT A COPY OF YOUR BOOK FOR YOU TO SIGN, BUT I LOST IT AT THE AIRPORT…” Randy tells me he just looked at the guy and said “I know”. Kevin replies, “What do you mean YOU KNOW?” Randy says to Kevin, “Because that guy over there has your book”.

That’s how I met Kevin. This is a story I will never forget. I’m starting to think there might be something to this “Universe thing” after all. Oh, and by the way, Kevin and I are working with Randy in starting a new organization in NY called the Metro New York Philanthropic Advisor Network. You might just say “The Universe made me do it”. Check out my post: “The Good Apples: The Rise of the NY Philanthropic Advisor Network here.

Have to run now, I have an appointment with the tarot card reader…

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Filed under A WORK IN PROGRESS, Law of Attraction, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, RANDOM STUFF

The Good Apples- Rise of the New York Philanthropic Advisor Network

What’s the definition of philanthropist? What are the biggest problems facing philanthropy today? How can we philanthropic advisors do a better job serving our clients who are interested in making a difference? What problems are high net worth clients having in discussing philanthropy with their advisors? What words of wisdom and advice do people like Bill Gates, Sr. have for us to make philanthropy easier to carry out? These questions and others are among the ones that we will be asking at the New York Philanthropic Advisor Network.

What originally began in Seattle as the Seattle Philanthropic Advisor Network (SPAN), an idea by Randy Ottinger of LMR advisors, is quickly springing up in other cities around the US. The idea? Have the biggest names in philanthropy talk to advisors who represent the gatekeepers of client wealth and teach them to be better philanthropic advisors. The idea took root in Seattle attracting such speakers as; Bill Gates Sr (watch the talk here)., Paul and Debbie Brainerd, Bill Neukom, Julia Boltz, and veteran philanthropic experts, Phil Cubeta and Tracy Gary. Now the idea has come to the Big Apple.

We are looking for potential speakers for our lunch discussion. Email me rkrasney@rjkwealth.com if you would like to find out more about the group or have ideas for potential speakers.

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Filed under ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCIAL PLANNING, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP