15 Principles on Philanthropy

Nonprofit leaders have learned that there are many motivations that inspire people to contribute, whether it means donating money, time or expertise, or working full-time in philanthropy.

In his book “Risk Only Money,” Jack DeBoer offers 15 principles on philanthropy, which he has seen from several angles: entrepreneur, business mogul, and supporter, financially and otherwise, of nonprofit organizations.

DeBoer writes that his principles have guided the giving he has done, as he has watched the work nonprofits do and the ways they have gone about accomplishing their mission and raising revenue. DeBoer’s principles:

  • Giving is personal.
  • Philanthropy is a free market. Need meets passion.
  • Family foundations add value for hands-on donors. (De Boer and his wife Marilyn started a family foundation.)
  • Put dollars where dollars are scarce.
  • Focus.
  • There are ego-holics and there is anonymity.
  • Money isn’t the only kind of currency — or even the most important.
  • Identify good leaders and back them.
  • Bring others along for the ride.
  • Fix leaky roofs.
  • Commit to loyalty and teamwork.
  • Use your brain.
  • Encourage those on the font lines.
  • We’re not an ATM.
  • Visit and listen.

About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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