- Latest Posts
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
After every conference we get questions that did not get answered at the conference and this year is no exception. I’m going to take a few and give my thoughts and invite yours. Each of us has different styles of giving and my perspective is going to be different from yours so I want you to feel free to throw in your own thoughts.
We have mostly given based on prayer. We just pray and listen to God and he has told us whom to give to and how much. And I think that is still a great way to give. But we learned that we can also ask questions about the organization's capacity, develop closer relationships with those to whom we give, follow up to hear how things are going, and pray for their needs.
Now that we’ve seen all these amazing sectors where you can give (e.g., human trafficking, church planting, medical aid, etc.) how do you organize all those interests into a giving plan? Or do you not "plan" and just give as God moves you to give? Does having a plan really matter?
My first response is most of us who have been doing this work do not pray nearly as much as we plan. Don’t give that up or think you can pray less! That is at the heart of what we do and yet we do not take it as seriously as we should. At one of our meetings for professional staff we set aside a time to pray for each other and our grantees and many said it was the best session of the conference. Keep prayer as a central part of what you are doing.
Plans are good but I would also advise you to think about what Peter Drucker called “shooting at targets of opportunity” just to see what people, organizations and causes fit who you are and the way you most naturally operate. Don’t be random but don’t allow a plan for giving to constrict you too soon in your learning. If you are just getting started you really don’t know enough to come up with a plan. Experiment. Try some “low cost probes” that give you a feel for what you like and the way you like to work. The time will come for you to have a plan but don’t push to get there too soon. Make notes and engage in conversations and then sit down six months from now and see if there is a pattern to what you are learning and who you are meeting.
The hardest advice I ever received was from Dr. Ray Bakke when I was just starting out learning about an area of interest. He told me to not do anything for six months – just listen. It was good advice.Comments
I had dinner with Don Palmer and Doug Wilson in Indianapolis this week and we were talking about the many conversations we have had with friends about the danger of leaving wealth to children only to ruin them. It started me thinking about the way we define wealth today compared to 100 years ago.
Today, wealth is almost synonymous with money and other financial assets. One hundred years ago it would have, typically, been the family farm. Leaving that wealth to the children was the plan and there was little thought about “ruining” them in leaving wealth to them. What was different? Parents started the children out early in their lives with a sense of responsibility. They had chores when they were young. They had animals to care for – not just pets. They had associations with others living on farms through FFA and 4-H clubs. As they grew up they had genuine ownership of the wealth. They had responsibility for it. They knew everything about it their whole lives and they were prepared to inherit it.
Not so today. We isolate children from the responsibilities and “chores” of wealth. There are no official clubs and associations for them to learn about wealth. They associate through private schools, summer camps and family vacations with others from wealthy families but they don’t learn about the “work” as they would have on a farm. Wealth is not tangible to them. It is a lifestyle. They don’t see it or feed it or plow it or contribute their labor to it. They are separated from it for the most part. They are the beneficiaries of it but not connected to it and so inheriting it becomes a completely different issue. Many of our children have no way of knowing how to care for the wealth they inherit, and so we worry about their being ruined by it. We didn’t worry about being ruined by the family farm because we were brought up and trained all our lives to inherit it.
What if we did the same now? What if we included our children in the care of wealth from early in their lives? Perhaps we might see fewer parents talking about the fear of ruining their children and more having the joy of their children inheriting what they had been grown to care for.Comments
Most of the people reading this blog will never come to the annual conference of The Gathering – for a number of reasons. It’s like any other conference for a particular affinity group – doctors, lawyers, educators, - in that the content is designed for individuals, families and foundations giving financial support to ministries. However, that does not mean some of the content is not interesting or useful for others.
Because of our arrangement with the media vendor (Dove Conference Services), I cannot give you a link just yet to a download direct from our site. However, you can go to their site and download everything that looks interesting to you. We don’t make money on it. It’s a breakeven service we provide. Here are three suggestions I would make right now:
The Curse of Human Trafficking: The United Nations estimates that 700,000 to 4 million women and children are trafficked around the world for forced prostitution, labor and other forms of exploitation every year. It’s an estimated $7 billion business.
Panelists: Blair Burns with IJM; Helen Sworn with Chab Dai in Cambodia; Jeremy Floyd with Equitas Group; and moderated by Dot Beck, Board member of The Gathering.
Hard Lessons We Have Learned: If you have been a donor for any length of time, you have learned some lessons; hard and perhaps even life-changing lessons. These Gathering participants share some of the hard lessons they have learned about giving.
Panelists: David Weekley, David Weekley Family Foundation; Steve Beck, Springhill Equity and Gathering Board chair; John Coors, Community Uplift.
On The Record: A Conversation With Two World Class Opinion Journalists: Both will address the particular challenges that come with being a Christian and writing in two of the most important newspapers in the world.
Panelists: Ross Douthat, New York Times; Michael Gerson, Washington Post.
Go to http://dovecds.com/store/index.php/cPath/121_278 for more information.Comments
I finished an article on rational funding earlier today, had a great conversation with a new non-profit about the importance of funders not responding to needs or filling gaps but looking for opportunities, and met with a group of donors to talk about how valuable it is to think about philanthropy in terms of investments that have clear goals, reporting and measurements along the way.
I read a number of articles on venture philanthropy and how to design metrics for results-oriented philanthropy. It was a great start for the day. The phone rang and on the other end was a friend on the board of a day care that has lived pretty much on the edge of survival for as long as I can remember. They have been kept going by a group of caring men and women who have propped it up and carried it for 30 years. They always seem to get through the year in the black because someone steps in at the last minute. I’ve looked at all their financials and their controls and accounting are fine.
Raising money for minority kids is just a hard assignment. “The air conditioner for the infant room has broken down and it’s 104 degrees here. It’s going to cost us $5,000 to replace the unit. Can you help?” Something came over me. I told her I would call her back. I sat there and thought about my long held belief in not funding needs but only opportunities. I thought about the prospect of creating dependency or the expectation that I would step in again and again and quickly do more harm than good. Then I thought about those children in the heat and called her back. “Carol and I will pick up $1,000 of the cost and are glad to do it.” Maybe turning 65 turns your brain to mush? I don’t know. Sure, I’ll probably follow up with a conversation with them about the importance of a contingency fund but, for the moment, I’m thinking about those children being cool.
Yep, I’m a hypocriteComments
Several years ago I was sitting in a marketing meeting listening to a discussion about how to engage boomers. The unanimous conclusion was boomer donors want to be “hands-on” and “engaged” with the work. There was then a strategy session about how to give them that experience without the expense of the infrastructure it takes to actually make people “hands-on”.
While that was not the birth moment of the short term missions movement (which began in the 1950’s with Operation Mobilization and YWAM) it was about the same time progressive churches began to create week-long mission projects, vacations with a purpose and other temporary assignments for amateurs. Skip forward a generation and we now have an even more compressed experience based on focus groups telling us what Millennials want. They want to “make a difference” and “change the world” but it has to be quick, convenient and low cost. In other words, infrastructure is not an issue because “hands-on” is not necessary. It is built on text donations of $5 that are collected by hundreds of “aggregators” who promise these donors are changing the world. We are eased along this path with quotes from Mother Teresa, Margaret Mead and others about the power of one small act of kindness having enormous impact.
This is not being cynical. I just think this is promising more than we can deliver…and depriving them of the discovery that change is hard work. Mother Teresa worked in India for 50 years with no intention of changing the world. That is the story we are not telling…but should. It is not about making a difference or changing the world. It is about a long obedience in the same direction.Comments