Weekly Reader – June 13, 2016

What we’re reading and recommending this week. We add to this post throughout the week and look for your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, June 13

Nobody’s (Philanthropically) Perfect (Scott Brazda, The Stuller Family Foundation, PhilanthroFiles) We’re all going to make mistakes, especially when we start new positions. But once a new director assumes the center chair in a philanthropic mission (substitute yourself for Star Trek’s James T. Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard, and your foundation for the Starship Enterprise), remember this: You were hired for a reason. Your board members liked what you did before they offered you the job; in fact, that’s why you were brought in, and, for the most part, they want that person, filled with abilities and potential, to grab the reins and take the foundation to the next level. You were a go-getter before; why stop now?

Tuesday, June 14

Is It Time to Ditch the Word “Nonprofit”? (Allison Gauss, Stanford Social Innovation Review) The sector has already navigated similar changes in terminology, such as the decline in use of the word “charity.” As organizations have evolved, so has the terminology. To elevate the sector’s authority and ability to solve the world’s most dire social problems, individual organizations and media outlets must now adopt a name for it that indicates the value and power of its work.

Wednesday, June 15

Philanthropic Unicorns and a Stable State in Giving USA’s 2015 Numbers (Ruth McCambridge, Nonprofit Quarterly) Giving USA 2016’s eye-catching headline touts 2015 as “America’s most generous year ever.” A record amount of $373.25 billion was raised, reflecting annual growth of around four percent. Additionally, no subsector of nonprofits appears to be falling behind in receipt of these gifts except foundations, a category that is essentially volatile. But here’s the thing about tracking fundraising in an economy where ever-more-marked structural inequality exists: the numbers of that overall philanthropic recovery can be just as skewed as in the whole economy.

Thursday, June 16

ICYMI: In Search of Sustainable Funding: Is Diversity of Sources Really the Answer? (William Foster, Ben Dixon, and Matthew Hochstetler, Nonprofit Quarterly) Funding is a constant and pressing concern for nonprofit organizations across the United States. It is surprising, therefore, how little information exists about patterns in funding at a level below that of broad domains (such as youth services) or the sector overall. Such information could be of enormous use to both practitioners and funders, because it could provide guidance about what tends to happen in the financing of specific types of nonprofits and the consequences of those tendencies.

Friday, June 17

Report: IRS Nonprofit Office Needs Improvement (Chris Vest,  Associations Now) A new report from the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) found that the IRS office that oversees tax-exempt organizations isn’t prepared to do its job.


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Nikki Powell

Nikki Powell is PEAK Grantmaking's effective practices director. You can find her on Twitter @nikkiwpowell.

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