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Charitable Giving Is More Complicated Than It Seems
Source: The Wall Street Journal  ·  November 14, 2009  ·  Excerpt

Pablo Eisenberg got it right in "What's Wrong with Charitable Giving—and How to Fix It" (The Journal Report on Philanthropy, Nov. 9), but he left out one of the most powerful forces at our disposal: volunteerism. To his list of nine suggestions on how to fix philanthropy, I would add a tenth: Redefine service and use it accordingly to drive social impact.

It's true that nonprofit organizations need more money at the precise time that funders have less to give. At the same time, however, our country is witnessing a renewed interest in service, the likes of which we haven't seen in 40 years.

We must seize this opportunity to rethink how service can impact social issues and act upon it by structuring volunteer programs that drive real results for our communities. This includes focusing on the strategic needs of nonprofits, clearly defining volunteer roles and expectations, matching talents and skills of volunteers accordingly, and holding volunteerism accountable for the same results we expect from cash philanthropy.

Our take
Capitalizing on cultural shifts in attitudes and beliefs is a hallmark of many successful organizations, and especially nonprofits. What's more, the new economy may very well be defined by doing more with less - and as the above article notes, this could translate for many to service and volunteerism.

  • Does your organization have a framework for utilizing the efforts of volunteers? Has service been identified as a channel for connecting with prospective donors and others?
  • Regardless of your need for volunteer service, how might its rising prominence affect charitable giving or other philanthropy in your discipline?

Compass Pointe is dedicated to helping you answer these questions. Contact us now or send us some brief information for a free analysis of your current challenges.


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