From Upcoming Events, Speaking and Training

2013 set records for charitable giving

If you’re waiting for a rising tide of charitable giving, you may already have missed it.

Charitable giving in the U.S. reached an all-time high of $416 billion in 2013, according to the Atlas of Giving’s latest report on giving in the last 12 months, an increase of 13.3% over 2012. Looking ahead, the Atlas projects giving growth of just 4 percent for 2014.

The 2013 Atlas of Giving report was released today, via a live stream announcement featuring Rob Mitchell of the Atlas.

Giving to philanthropies that receive most of their gifts from major donors and foundation grants grew the most. Human services received 19.1 percent more gifts and grants than in 2012. Environmental organizations saw giving grow by 18.5 percent. That’s because a booming stock market and recovering real estate caused a huge jump in the value of assets, according to Mitchell.

Religious organizations did not fare as well, reflecting their reliance on the current incomes of less affluent donors. With employment high and wages flat, giving to religion rose just 8.8 percent.

Looking ahead, you still have a chance to claim a piece of 2013’s stock market Read more

Is your nonprofit contributing to the income gap?

Anyway, while we can be proud of the work of the nonprofit sector providing direct supports and advocating for policy change to correct income imbalances, we also must acknowledge our own sector’s contribution to the income gap.

How many of our own workers are we paying poverty wages?
How many of our own workers lack health care coverage?
How many of our own workers will lack pensions when they retire?

Read more

How does your money management stack up?

Here’s a chance to contribute to a study on nonprofit investment policies and performance – and get an inside look at the results for free. Raffa Wealth Management has launched The Study on Nonprofit Investing to identify best practices in money management at charities, public foundations and trade associations.

The deadline to register to take Raffa’s 10- to 15-minute survey is January 18. Raffa says participants will be able to download the full report when it is completed soon after the end of February. This will be the first in an annual series of money management surveys for nonprofits, according to Raffa.

In her last post, Gayle wrote about benchmarking – the practice of measuring your  organization’s performance against information from peers and learning from their best practices. Gayle pointed out how difficult it can sometimes be to get comparable information. In this case, you only have to take an email survey and Raffa will do the rest.

The Spirit Level – a case for equality

Could we dramatically reduce or even eliminate a vast range of seemingly unrelated social problems, from child abuse and school failure to adult crime and mental illness, simply by reducing the breadth of the income gap between rich and poor in our state or nation?

That’s the question asked, and answered with a “yes,” in The Spirit Level, Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, public health researchers from the United Kingdom. With a wealth of graphed data and analysis, they show that the incidence of nearly any widespread social problem: obesity, drug abuse, teen pregnancy or adult incarceration, correlates with social inequality. You can look at some of their data at their website the Equality Trust.

Over and over they show that less-affluent but more equal nations and U.S. states outperform unequal peers with higher incomes on almost any measure of well-being. They draw on behavioral psychology to explain and support their conclusion that social inequality, not absolute poverty, is the powerful common cause for all of these seemingly separate problems.

That’s why, the authors go on to tell us, that most current responses to social dysfunction are inadequate at best and irrelevant at worst. Read more