Utne Reader Online: Spread the Wealth
Wesley Roe and Marjorie Lakin Erickson
lakinroe at silcom.com
Sun Nov 26 00:07:21 PST 2000
Est. 1995 Nov 16, 2000
Spread the Wealth
15 Ways to practice the art of philanthropy
By <azBio.tmpl?command=search&db=dAuthor.htm>William Upski
<azBio.tmpl?command=search&db=dAuthor.htm>Wimsatt, No More Prisons
1. You dont need to be rich to be a philanthropist. According to
Independent Sector, an umbrella association for nonprofits, 82 percent of
the money donated by individuals in this country comes from people with
incomes under $60,000.
2. Spread love. People can give away millions, but if they mistreat others
in their personal or work lives, then this hypocrisy is going to catch up
with them and undermine their cause. It makes more sense to help people who
spread love wherever they go build a viable organization than it does to
support an established organization that still needs to learn about
spreading love. Support really good people who have a total commitment to
doing good in the world and who are willing to put their asses on the line
to do it.
3. Seek out originality and imagination. If an idea makes you laugh out
loud or say "Wow!" then support it.
4. Support unpopular truths. Look for people who speak from the truth of
their experience, no matter how unpopular it is.
5. Fund players with a long view. Seek out people who are strategic and
thoughtful about how their work fits within the context of whats gone on
before and whats coming next.
6. Look out of the loop and under the radar. Support people no one else is
supportingpeople who are less likely to have connections or be endorsed by
others who give away money.
7. Be effective and cost-effective. Support people who will stretch your
dollars as wisely asor more wisely thanyou would stretch them yourself.
8. Fund passion. Support people whose work is their passion in life, not a
9. Invest in self-help. Support organizations that empower disadvantaged
people rather than those that merely service their needs. This usually
translates to organizations led by people who come from the class of people
they are helping. If a charity focuses on "at-risk youth," I want to know
that its leadership is composed mainly of people who either are or used to
be at-risk youth.
10. Attack root causes. Self-help isnt enough. The solution to many social
problems demands changing the rules of the system as a whole. Yet the
organizations that have the hardest time getting money are the ones
fighting to change the system. These groups are where your money will go
11. Fund doers, not grant writers. I am drawn to people who are more
interested in doing their work than in raising money. These people are
usually not good fund raisers. So I give them a copy of Kim Kleins
incredible fund-raising video series along with my money. Let the savvy and
sophisticated fund raisers get their money from someone else.
12. Foster combinationism. Support people who combine fieldsthey arent
just into art, they arent just into politics, they arent just into
science, but instead they blend the strengths and insights of many fields.
13. Go for net gains. Funding an ex-con to become a community organizer is
a bigger net gain for society than funding someone with a college degree.
The college student can get another good job. The ex-con prob-ably cant.
14. Pay general operating expenses. If you really believe in an
organization, help it buy a building so it can become sustainable and quit
paying rent to a landlord. Dont dictate how it should spend the money.
15. Trust what inspires you.
-- <azBio.tmpl?command=search&db=dAuthor.htm>William Upski
No More Prisons
Excerpted with permission from No More Prisons.
Books mentioned in this article (Click to Order from
William Upski Wimsatt
Hood was Right: A Guide for Giving Your Money for Social Change
Chuck Collins and Pam Rogers with Joan P. Garner
Philanthropy: Creating a Giving Plan
Tracy Gary and Melissa Kohner
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