Named gifts, posthumous reputations, and judgment day

I didn’t expect to bump into fundraising in the pages of Michael Kinsley’s touching, funny book, Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide. But there it was, capping off his chapter-long riff on the Boomer Generation’s quest for immortality. Kinsley latches on to a favorite of the non-profit world – the named gift (a modern-day “indulgence,” in […]

Generosity in quotes: David Brooks

“By assuming that people are selfish, by prioritizing arrangements based on selfishness, we have encouraged selfish frames of mind. Maybe it’s time to upend classical economics and political science. Maybe it’s time to build institutions that harness people’s natural longing to do good.”   David Brooks, political and cultural commentator, from his New York Times column, […]

IF you want to change your board, THEN . . .

The always insightful Seth Godin’s reminder via his blog that “all change involves an if/then promise” speaks to almost any aspect of organizational life. However, if you’re a regular reader of Generous Matters, then you expect me to apply Godin’s wise principle to board governance and/or fundraising. Not wanting to disappoint, that’s what I’ve done […]

Generosity in quotes: Reinhold Niebuhr

“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be […]

The most generous among us were home schooled.

In generosity, that is. The earliest and longest lasting stewardship education begins at home, as parents and grandparents talk and walk the importance of giving to others. To paraphrase the author of Proverbs, when we train up children in the way they should go, the training sticks – including when it comes to stewardship practices. […]

Generosity in quotes: Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet    

When saying thanks, downplay the part about you

When I wrote here about a friend’s rant over a thank you gone wrong, I didn’t anticipate a part two on the theme – at least not this soon.  But I’m back a few weeks later with a sorry story of my own about a thank you that missed the mark. (Let’s hope there won’t […]

Generosity in quotes: ABBA

“If you need me, let me know, gonna be around. If you’ve got no place to go, if you’re feeling down. If you’re all alone when the pretty birds have flown, . . . Take a chance on me. Gonna do my very best and it ain’t no lie, If you put me to the […]

Sometimes not-doing is the best thing to do

With the June 30 fiscal year-end barreling down on them like an out of control locomotive, it’s no surprise that a whole lot of nonprofit folk are exhausted. The last leg of the annual race for the gold is the most taxing, always, and weariness is to be expected. Fortunately, quieter days in July and […]

Generosity in quotes: Tom Kaden

“We don’t help people experience the abundant life by telling them they should be experiencing the abundant life. We show people how to experience the abundant life by modeling an abundant life first. We help others experience the abundant life by taking a genuine interest in them and reminding them that someone else thinks their […]