Friday reflections on another week of Generous Matters

Lose the rubber stamp. Charity Navigator has handed members of nonprofit governing boards yet another reason to up their game. The watchdog group recently revamped its rating system, attaching equal weight to good governance and financial oversight. As reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the folks at Charity Navigator hope the change will “nudge nonprofits to improve their governance practices.”

According to Ken Barger, the organization’s president,

any charity that a giver should be considering should  have certain basic best practices, governance procedures, and openness in sharing information. Organizations that have those procedures, those practices, and that are open are less likely to get into ethical problems.

Value in mixing it up. If you’re thinking about trading in your old direct mail program for a newer, flashier online version, don’t. Per the research team at Blackbaud, it’s best is to keep both models in your fundraising “garage.” That’s the  finding of a 5-year study of giving patterns, including over 15 million donors and more than a billion dollars in fundraising revenue this past year alone.

While offline giving continues to dominate (90%), online giving is coming on strong – especially among younger, more affluent people. Interestingly, about a third of donors who make their first gift online switch to offline giving within two years. And a good number continue to use both methods. For more helpful insights (and great graphics) from Blackbaud, click here.

Topping out on happiness. A sidebar piece in this week’s issue of Time magazine cautions that, “earning north of $75,000 doesn’t accrue additional happiness.”  And yet North Americans continue to strive for more.

The reason? “We are doing things with our money that make us happy in the moment, but that’s not always the best strategy for long-term well-being,” says Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, who researches the psychology of happiness. The remedy? Spend on things that “offer longer term bang for the buck.”

Hmm. Reminds me of Jesus’ advice not to “store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6: 18-20). We can’t get any longer term than that.

What's your take on this topic?

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