Tag Archives: Charity

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

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

Tune In To Hear Me Interviewed On The “E-Factor”- Tuesday, March 18th, Noon Eastern Time

I’m about to be interviewed on the E-Factor. I invite you to listen in and be part of it! The date will be next Tuesday, March 18th, at noon, Eastern Time (11:00 AM Central, 10:00 AM Mountain, 9:00 AM Pacific). Read below to find out more.

E-Factor is the popular bi-weekly, 60-minute conference call show, which explores the mindset of success, and the people who make success a reality. These are ordinary people from all walks of life, who do extraordinary things. They have become masters at who they are, what they do, and on this show, these remarkable people share their inspirational stories and secrets to help you create success in your own life.

E is for energy – the Energy of Success.

NEXT ON THE E-FACTOR: TUESDAY, MARCH 18TH

Personal Wealth: (an interview with Personal Chief Financial Officer and Coach, Rich Krasney)

For some, insight comes from overcoming a tragedy, or some other monumental life event that causes them to see life differently than they had before. For Rich Krasney, it came from reading a book.

About a year ago, this Personal Chief Financial Officer and Coach for a select group of business owners and entrepreneurs read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”, and experienced an “Aha” moment, seeing his life purpose clearly for the first time. 

He realized that money is simply a means to an end, and as a result he now delivers his message of “How Money Can Buy Happiness: Balancing Life and Wealth” to audiences (including the Napoleon Hill Foundation, itself). Additionally, Rich is currently in the midst of developing “A Work in Progress”, a documentary exploring how one person can make a difference, and the creation of a new charity.

Dial in to the E-Factor on Tuesday, March 18th to hear why Rich now sees inspirational messages everywhere, and how in being of earnest service to others, you best serve yourself. 

Go to http://www.the-efactor.com/ to register for the call!

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Oprah’s “The Big Give” Reality Show: What Do YOU Think?

Oprah’s Big Give

So what did you think of the premiere of “The Big Give”? Personally, I think it’s a breath of fresh air to see a television show that has a mission of actually helping people. For those of you who missed the show, 10 contestants (I think it’s 10…) battle each other to be crowned “The Biggest Giver (ala The Biggest Loser show?) and the winner will win $1 Million dollars. In the first episode, contestants were partnered and broken into five teams. Each team was presented with worthy cause and challenged to raise as much money and make as big a difference for their cause as possible. At the end of the show, the person who is judged to have made the least difference is sent home packing. The show was sort of a cross between The Apprentice and The Biggest Loser. I’m already a fan and am looking forward to the next episode.

What’s the moral?

While this was just the first episode, I hope the show will deliver more than just inspirational and heartwarming stories to viewers. I was quite disappointed to see that the first one voted off the show was treated like one of Donald Trump’s contestants with a “You’re Fired” type sendoff. The show should tread carefully on this precarious ground or risk doing the opposite of what the show intends to do, inspire giving. One might perceive that only certain types of people are tallented at giving and that it should be left to charities or the “good givers”. In reality, everyone has the ability to make a difference and we should applaud all efforts when people step forward to help another person. Other people have mentioned that people are only giving so that they can win the $1 Million prize. I’m not sure I would make such a leap, however I would say that the biggest givers are those who don’t expect anything in return. If the show is able to demonstrate this, it has the potential to not only entertain, but also inspire good in the world.

What do you think?

 

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Having It All- From Student to Teacher

About a year ago, I read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. After I read the book, I had what I call an “Aha” moment, seeing my life purpose clearly for the first time. Like most people, I have a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to people talking about “seeing the light”, and I don’t believe in magic pills or cure alls. I do believe that when people are ready to be open-minded about life and learning about themselves, magic things happen. For some, insight comes from reading, overcoming a tragedy, or some other monumental life event that causes them to see life differently than they had before. For me, it came from reading a book. After I read Think and Grow Rich, I felt it had opened a door to curiosity. Over time, I realized that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Serving others and making a difference has become a central theme in my life. In the last year, I stayed in touch with the Napoleon Hill Foundation and Learning Center and even attended one of their open house programs last year. Since I began getting more involved in helping others, wonderful things have opened up for me. I’m happier in life than ever before and i’m making a documentary called “A Work In Progress” about how one person can make a difference in the world. Since things became clearer for me, I began seeing inspirational messages everywhere I went. You can see clips from some of those stories on the page “Film in Development”.

It seems things come full circle. I’ve stayed in touch with the Napoleon Hill Center and am honored to be speaking at this year’s Napoleon Hill World Learning Center open house on the campus of Purdue University, May 5-9th. During my discovery process, I became much better at understanding what’s important about money. Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I am excited to be speaking on “How Money Can Buy Happiness: Balancing Life and Wealth”. 

I am honored to be included on the list of speakers that last year included Bob Proctor from “The Secret”. I look forward to sharing my passion with others and showing people how to harness passion within their financial plan. Hope to see you in Hammond.

 Richard

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Arthur Brooks “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism”

Talking politics and religion can be a lethal mix so I’ll tread carefully here. When I make conclusions about things (especially when it comes to religion and politics), I try and be particularly careful to point out when i’m injecting opinion versus stating facts on things. Arthur Brooks’s book, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism” is a book that states the FACTS about who gives and who doesn’t in America. The findings detailed in the book were quite surprising to me, and to Arthur Brooks himself, as he states in the book. This book was the focus of an ABC News 20/20 report entitled “Cheap in America” Who Gives and Who Dosen’t” 

A common perception is that liberals and Democrats are more “socially concerned” than conservative Republicans, and one might make the natural leap that because of this, they are more likely to be charitable. According to the research that Arthur Brooks conduced though, it’s exactly the opposite. How could that be? That’s impossible!

Brooks himself thought there might be an error in the numbers so he rechecked them. There was no denying the facts. Conservative Republicans, (who some argue would fire their grandmother to improve profitability) are statistically more charitable (more than 30% more charitable) compared to their “socially concerned” liberal democratic friends. Don’t shoot the messenger if you don’t like this, read the book and see the statistics for yourself. Just the facts here…

So how could this be you are asking yourself? Well the findings point right to the heart of the perceptions that “secular liberal democrats are more socially concerned than religious conservative republicans”. It turns out that the secular liberals (the Democrats) belive that it’s the job of the government to take care of the poor (no surprise here yet) and are more in favor of “income redistribution”, taxing and redistributing resources from those who have money to those who are poor. Socially leaning political views have actually taken the place of their charitable contributions. Brooks’s research shows that regardless of which political party was actually in office or how effective politicians were in their policies toward the poor, that the religious conservative Republicans consistently gave more than their secular liberal Democrat counterparts.

Brooks is careful to point out that there are many examples of charitable liberal democrats and non-charitable conservative republicans, however the research clearly demonstrated wide and across the board differences in giving patterns along political party lines. That’s not the only thing. Brooks points out that among the both the Republican and Democratic parties, people who are religious tend to give much larger amounts to charity, giving significantly larger amounts to  both religious and non-religious organizations compared to people who were secular non-religious. Among all religious people, Republican conservatives still give a statistically significant greater proportion than Democratic liberals.

Brooks notes that “secular liberals” and “religious conseratives” are increasingly voting along political party lines, with religious conservatives tending to align with the Republican Party and secular liberals favoring the Democratic Party. The smaller groups that cross party lines, the “religious liberals” and “secular conservatives” both represent a shrinking percentage of of their respective political parties’ makeup. If this trend continues, these groups may find that their views are at odds with those of greater majority of their political party.

What’s clear are the numbers. Arthur Brooks says that these findings should be a wake up call to to the Democratic party and to secular liberals. The nunbers show that the charitable giving trends diving political parties are increasing. The message:  All are apparently not equal when it comes to being giving.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the findings, “Who Really Cares” is an entertaining read that will be sure to hold your attention and may change your perceptions.

Click here for video clip from “Cheap in America”

Next time…How giving makes you happy…

Who Really Cares

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A Work in Progress-Life Stories and Lessons of Success

This is a test that will serve as a witness to what happens when the seed of an idea gets planted and watered. How big will it grow? Who knows. Watch. Check back. Stay tuned. Read on.

I’ve decided to start this diary to keep track of what is happening and to document my thoughts as I go through this process from the point of breakthrough to what happens next.

Background

I’ve learned that education is critical if you want to get ahead. I’m not speaking about traditional schooling, but knowing where to get the knowledge when you need it. The key to knowledge is in asking the right questions in the first place. The right questions will lead you on the path to the answers you seek. In my case, the questions that I have asked have revolved around “what’s my purpose”, “what’s next?”. Go to the self help section of your local library or Barnes and Noble and you will have much to choose from. Over the years, many books have been written on the subject of self help, however few have stood the test of time like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I read the book a few months ago and something in me just clicked. A light-bulb turned on.

Think and Grow Rich was written in 1937 by Napoleon Hill, a journalist who was invited by Andrew Carnegie to spend 20 or more years documenting “the secret” Carnegie success formula to take to the masses of people interested to learn how success and wealth are created. It was Carnegie’s opinion that if this information was made available to the masses and taught in schools, that the amount of time spent learning could be cut in half. It has been reported that over 100 million copies of Think and Grow Rich have been published in one form or another over the years. That fact alone is worth noting. They must have had something interesting to say to sell 100 million books right?

All achievement, all earned riches, have their beginning in and idea! If you are ready for the secret, you already possess one half of it; therefore you will readily recognize the other have the moment it reaches your mind.”-Napoleon Hill 1937

I was ready. I don’t know why I was ready just then, but I was. It’s funny how certain events line up in just the right order where you see them a certain way. If events had come together in any other order, you would likely see them in a much different way. I suppose that certain events happen in ones life and you just become open to seeing things differently, perhaps understanding how we all color the world through our own shades of perception. In any case, I was ready.

Lesson one-Education of Self

Being ready is about leveling with yourself and being honest about your own strengths and weaknesses and not selling yourself short with excuses. Most of us go through life telling ourselves little lies like “I could do that whenever I want”, or “I don’t have time for that now”, “It’s really not that important”. That is lying to yourself. We do this as a defense mechanism to mentally protect ourselves from being hurt. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that this defense mechanism is keeping us from what we truly desire in life. The key to getting past this hurdle is recognizing and catching yourself in the act of making excuses for yourself.

Being open to recognizing when your inner voice is talking to you is the starting point. It was the point I needed to be in order to be able to implement the lessons being taught. For me, Think and Grow Rich represented a manual for how to guide an awakened mind.

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