Small Yet Beautiful Acts of Generosity

Working professionally in the world of philanthropy for the last two decades, I am often asked to volunteer with the business, legal or fund development aspects of managing a non-profit corporation. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been involved with the “retail” end of the charitable world in which you make modest appealsContinue reading “Small Yet Beautiful Acts of Generosity”

Solving the World’s Problems Over Breakfast

A few months ago I was invited to join a breakfast group that has been meeting every Friday morning for the last 30 years. It’s one of those gatherings of old men who get together once a week to pontificate over a cup of coffee about how to solve all the world’s problems. Apparently, myContinue reading “Solving the World’s Problems Over Breakfast”

Fraud in the Non-Profit World

Those of us who work for non-profits like to think we’re immune from the rash of corruption that seems to have overtaken the for-profit world. We see convicted felon Bernie Ebbers who perpetrated an $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom. There’s Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay of Enron who were sentenced to decades in jailContinue reading “Fraud in the Non-Profit World”

The Art of a Capital Campaign

Many of us often say that Door County is a special place. Indeed it is, particularly when it comes to charitable giving. Our level of charitable giving is far greater than you would normally find in a community with less than 30,000 permanent residents. There are few counties across the Midwest in which such anContinue reading “The Art of a Capital Campaign”

Giving is a Key to Success

As the fifth of our six children moves into her first apartment this weekend, I cannot help but pause for a moment to celebrate the giving person she has become. This daughter spends hours dreaming up wonderfully imaginative birthday celebrations for others because she knows how much it will make them smile. When she heardContinue reading “Giving is a Key to Success”

An Accounting-Fraud Tool Applied to Nonprofits

Frank Benford was a physicist in General Electric’s research laboratory almost a century ago. During that era, data sets were typed or written out by hand. One day, as he was looking through pages and pages filled with numbers, he noticed a fascinating pattern that was consistent across all his voluminous ledgers of work. First,Continue reading “An Accounting-Fraud Tool Applied to Nonprofits”

Lessons for Nonprofits from 50,000 Wills

People’s reluctance to talk openly about their charitable giving has always frustrated me. Most folks will excitedly share stories about their beautiful new sailboat or the vacation they took to some exotic, far-away land. Yet when it comes to the charities we support, we tend to be far more hesitant to share. I’ve always foundContinue reading “Lessons for Nonprofits from 50,000 Wills”