Overhead Aversion: Yes, There Really Is Such A Thing

Among the most important developments in 2019 in the nonprofit sector is that cracks are emerging in the disastrous Overhead Myth wall. This concept was first formally described ten years ago in The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle, a groundbreaking article in the prestigious Stanford Social Innovation Review. We've written about it several times including most recently in Smashing The Overhead Myth: A Step Read More

Donor-Advised Funds: New Reform Proposal

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) have enjoyed spectacular success in recent years, and the most current data show this trend not only continuing but accelerating.  But along with this popularity has come considerable criticism from many quarters as well as attempts by federal and state lawmakers to regulate them.  Recently, two of the philanthropy sector’s leading scholars, Professors Roger Colinvaux (Catholic Read More

Gifts in Kind: CA Bill Vetoed

During the whirlwind 2019 legislative session in California, lawmakers considered hundreds of bills including one that, if approved, would change the law on how charitable gifts-in-kind (GIFs) are valued for accounting purposes.  Assembly Bill 1181, backed by Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra, “easily passed the Assembly in the spring….” In late summer, the Senate also gave its approval by a wide margin. The Read More

Tainted Donors in a Scandal-Prone Era

“Finding funders has never been easy work,” writes The Nonprofit Quarterly’s Martin Levine in How Nonprofits Consider Donations Differently as Donor Challenges Proliferated (September 4, 2019). But it’s much harder now “... in this time of public accountability for societal malefactors and philanthropic money launderers….”      Tainted-Donor Predicament Mr. Levine describes the current tainted-donor dilemma facing Read More

A New eDonor Bill of Rights

More than a quarter-century ago, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) spearheaded an effort to create a list of “rights” to define and govern the important interactions between charitable donors and the organizations they choose to support financially.  Now, there's a new version for eDonors.  In 1993, AFP joined with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the Giving Institute: Read More

Gift Substantiation Final Regulations: At Last!

It’s taken an excruciatingly long time: almost 10 years. Treasury Regulations first proposed in 2008 are now approved and final as of July 30, 2018. They are published under the title “Substantiation and Reporting Requirements for Cash and Noncash Charitable Contribution Deductions,” designated as Treasury Regulation Sections 1.170A-15 (cash), -16 (noncash), -17 (qualified appraisals and appraisers), and -18 Read More

Surge Donations for the Charitable Community

The events of November 8, 2016, were - not to put too fine a point on it - unexpected. The sudden reality of a GOP-controlled Congress and White House caused jitters around the nation including in the philanthropy community. Many nonprofits rely financially on a generous federal budget and their charitable beneficiaries face catastrophic consequences if services and benefits are slashed. Amidst this doom-and-gloom Read More

Issues in Online Giving

When government regulators meet, they make lists of the most pressing topics that keep them up at night. These lists aren’t static, especially given the fast pace of technological change that is having an impact on many aspects of the philanthropic sector including - of course - fundraising. One of the hottest topics right now is online fundraising and technology. With technology driving so much of today’s social Read More

Charity Shenanigans of the Billionaire-Philanthropist Doctor

In “Patient-Advocacy Nonprofits’ Dark Ties to Industry,” we examined some practices in the nonprofit sector that need a huge dose of sunlight on them to expose apparent conflicts of interest. Specifically, we referred to the often too-cozy relationships between patient-advocacy organizations and drug companies or other healthcare businesses that fund them. This post tells the tale of  Patrick Soon-Shiang, M.D., a Read More