Category Archives: Donor Intent

Fighting O’Sullivan’s Law: Stopping The Drift from Our Principles

Fighting O’Sullivan’s Law: Stopping The Drift from Our Principles

Will a conservative (or, as you might variously describe it, right-of-center, libertarian, or right-wing) organization always keep its rightward orientation?

O’Sullivan’s Law suggests that without a firm mooring, it will easily lose its way. O’Sullivan’s Law, a product of British journalist and former Margaret Thatcher aide John O’Sullivan, states that any organization that is not explicitly right-wing will drift to …

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Measuring the Impact of Ideas Organizations

Measuring the Impact of Ideas Organizations

As we have previously discussed, donors give for many reasons (you can read about them here and here). Sometimes a donor contributes simply because she knows the organization’s president, or because he merely likes the look of the direct mail package.

Most donors, though, do seek some sort of return on their charitable investment. Of course, the level …

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Year-End Giving Considerations

Year-End Giving Considerations

We have just flipped the calendar to December. That prompts many of us to ponder our year-end charitable giving.

Some people dash off checks to the same organizations year after year, presumably after giving a bit of thought to the list and making sure their opinions of those groups remain the same.

Others survey the landscape of groups doing good …

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Philanthropy Horror Stories: Donor Intent Gone Wrong

Philanthropy Horror Stories: Donor Intent Gone Wrong

At DonorsTrust, one of the scariest things we see is when a donor fails to set guidelines around their giving, leading to a steady drift away from the donor’s principles after their death. Let’s celebrate Halloween – and, appropriately, All Saints Day – with a guest post highlighting some terrifying betrayals of donor intent.

Anyone who’s given a ten-year-old …

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Keeping Donor Intent by Knowing Your Mission

Keeping Donor Intent by Knowing Your Mission

What is the best way to ensure your donor intent is honored?

A new video from the Philanthropy Roundtable suggests that the critical first step is to craft a mission statement for your philanthropy. If you haven’t clearly defined the focus of your giving, how can you expect others to follow through?

The Case for Crafting a Mission

To avoid …

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Undermining our Influence or Practicing Charitable Choice?

Undermining our Influence or Practicing Charitable Choice?

Is the influence of conservative philanthropists overblown (particularly among right-leaning policy-focused foundations)? Howard Husock, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, suggests that the narrative of conservative foundations being bigger and more numerous than those on the left doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Husock notes in a piece in the April issue of Chronicle of Philanthropy (“Conservative Foundations’ ‘Win

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Government’s Creeping Influence in the Non-Profit Sector

Government’s Creeping Influence in the Non-Profit Sector

The other day we shared some thoughts on why private giving is more valuable than government “charity.” A new piece by George Will backs up this idea, albeit with a scarier perspective than I imagined.

Conservatives and libertarians generally support smaller, more limited government (we’re talking the views of Real People here, not the often backwards ideas elected politicians have …

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Donor Intent Plinko Shows the Challenge of Legacy Security

Donor Intent Plinko Shows the Challenge of Legacy Security

Do you remember Plinko from the Price is Right? Other than spinning the Big Wheel, Plinko was the game I always wanted to play if Bob Barker ever invited me to “come on down.”

If you’re having trouble remembering, imagine a large board with wooden dowels scattered throughout. At the top are a series of openings. At the bottom are …

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Consider Legacy Security for Your Charitable Intent

Consider Legacy Security for Your Charitable Intent

I cut my teeth in philanthropy as a program officer at what became one of the most significant foundation closures in the history.  Fortunately, closing the doors was the plan all along.

Why Legacy Security?

The John M. Olin Foundation completed its planned sunset in 2005.  Mr. Olin realized that while the non-profits he cared for would be around for

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Sunsetting: Taking Another Look at its Value and Impact

Sunsetting: Taking Another Look at its Value and Impact

Each month, an expert from the liberty movement shares thoughts on how we might be more strategic in our charitable giving. This month, Ingrid A. Gregg, who led the recent sunsetting of the Earhart Foundation, discusses how we can reduce the uncertainty in charitable giving through sunset plans that help donors secure their charitable intentions for the future. 

The apocryphal …

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