Category Archives: Philanthropy


May

19

2020
 2020 1/2  In the Time of the Virus, Ten Trends for Significant Survival

 2020 1/2 In the Time of the Virus, Ten Trends for Significant Survival

Essay By Jim Toscano with additions by Dania Miwa. As we typically do, we released our 2020 predictions in December of last year.  Then, in March all bets were suddenly off, as the infection and death rates started climbing and we began to realize the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for nonprofits. This is our attempt to re-forecast based on what we are telling clients, experiencing first hand and as we are seeing some national trends emerge. Leap Year 2020 did occur in February as did so many more events. We celebrated many of the anniversaries:100 years of women having…

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Jan

15

2020
Board Transformation for Nonprofit Organizations

Board Transformation for Nonprofit Organizations

By Jim Toscano & Dania Toscano Miwa Board members have many responsibilities: decision-making, planning, hiring and overseeing the executive, making their own generous gifts, bringing peers to the table, serving as ambassadors to the community with some members actively serving on the development committee helping to raise funds. Many nonprofits do not have such board helping to raise funds and it is at their peril not to. The ideal situation is to gradually move to an organizational culture of philanthropy, a culture of constituent development. This starts with the Board leadership but envelops all in the organization, including staff, volunteers…

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Dec

14

2019
2020: Ten Trends Affecting Nonprofits

2020: Ten Trends Affecting Nonprofits

Leap Year 2020 will see a tumultuous Presidential election, $10 billion in election spending, the decennial Census, 100 years of women voting, the summer Olympics in Tokyo, hotly contested Oscars, a thrilling World Series, a Rose Bowl with our new state of Oregon represented and substantial underlying changes in the nonprofit world. Here is what we see coming. 1. Rapid Underlying Change. Underneath a seeming stable overall sector, with slow growth over inflation, there are, and will be substantial underlying changes going on, with many organizations struggling to maintain this outward stability. Major flux will be the norm for many,…

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Dec

19

2018
2019: Ten Trends Affecting Nonprofits

2019: Ten Trends Affecting Nonprofits

Article by Dania Miwa and Jim Toscano.   Transition was the name of the game in 2018 for nonprofits, anticipating changes in government policy, especially in tax law, and trying to decide what directions should be taken. More than ever, large nonprofit organizations’ fundraising focus was on the top of the donor pyramid with programming focused on expansion. Almost everyone else tried to just hold on, with some nonprofits attempting to fill gaps caused by changing societal, economic, environmental and government trends through alternative funding strategies. Here’s what’s in store for 2019: Enlargement of the Civil Benefit Sector. With increases…

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Aug

04

2018
Ten Behaviors: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

Ten Behaviors: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

The idea of creating a culture of philanthropy is hot right now, either a fad or a real commitment by nonprofits to envelop boards, staff, volunteers and constituency (visitors, members, clients, patients, volunteers, staff, committee members, board members, donors, legacy leavers, etc.) in deep recognition of the overall importance of philanthropy in the life of the organization. (See my earlier posting on the Culture of Philanthropy) There are many websites talking about it, listing what to do in training, offering training, listing qualities to be achieved, selling packages, offering consulting and on and on. We know it takes years, often,…

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Sep

30

2016
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

New Twists on Philanthropy

Last week saw an interesting development in the world of philanthropy, usually defined as giving money to good causes. Often there is also an assumption that it’s done as a donation to a charity, with a tax deduction for the gift. Now we have two examples where that isn’t the case, or almost not the case. Variants on the impact investments of foundations and greater flexibility allowed private business, these new efforts have a much more defined focus. When the examples are provided by George Soros and Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, other philanthropists take notice. George Soros’ Focus on…

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Sep

08

2016
Let’s Prove Howard Buffet Wrong!

Let’s Prove Howard Buffet Wrong!

Here’s what Buffet believes: “Charity doesn’t solve a long-term problem. It addresses an immediate situation, but it won’t solve anything.” He still gives money philanthropically, but prefers to be part of the movement to achieve impact through entrepreneurial solutions. Yet, we in the nonprofit world, certainly up to our eyeballs in immediate situations, also know a considerable amount about longer-term solutions. Take homelessness. Much of the resources that are available are spent in the day-to-day task of sheltering and feeding those experiencing homelessness. Yes, true, although we do know that first obtaining secure, long-term, safe housing in an environment where…

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Jun

30

2016
Mixed denomination coins in various currencies

Is Impact Investing Working?

A Post from Jim Toscano An early indicator in preliminary findings in an ongoing study from the Wharton School is demonstrating that impact investing in companies doing desirable social or environmental work does not necessarily have to compromise financial return. The dual bottom-line goals of financial return and long-term impact seem possible. “Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investing” analyzed the performance of over 50 private equity funds focusing on impact investing. Examining more than 500 specific investments, the study found these investments had similar results as such indices as the Russell 2000. The private equity funds chosen…

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Apr

07

2015
A New Collaboration?

A New Collaboration?

Foundations must spend at least 5% of their corpus each year, under a federal requirement governing their activities. Imagine what could be done if all of their corpus–spending and investments-were directed at their missions? What about their staffs—those substantive and technical experts they hire—could they work cooperatively as truly equal partners with nonprofits and for-profits in the formulation of the very projects they all want to see succeed? For many years, a handful of foundations have been making program-related low interest loans to further their mission; others have been managing investments away from certain areas, e.g. cigarettes, fossil fuels, gambling…

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Feb

02

2015
A New, Old Fear

A New, Old Fear

Since the great recession of 2007-2010, gifts to charities have changed in subtle ways. Not only was there a temporary reduction in overall totals, but the mix has also changed. The interior and shape of the gift pyramid have changed. Donor behavior has changed. There are many bright spots as we emerge from the crisis. We hear many accounts of increases in digital giving, often in small amounts, although in larger numbers. Certain “days” resound with increasing totals, such as the Give to the Max and Giving Tuesday. Crowd-funding may be a new avenue, or a temporary fad. We also…

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