Month: September 2011

Should We Plan?

After every conference we get questions that did not get answered at the conference and this year is no exception.  I’m going to take a few and give my thoughts and invite yours.  Each of us has different styles of giving and my perspective is going to be different from yours so I want you to feel free to throw in your own thoughts. We have mostly given based on prayer.  We ju ...[Read More]

The Family Farm

I had dinner with Don Palmer and Doug Wilson in Indianapolis this week and we were talking about the many conversations we have had with friends about the danger of leaving wealth to children only to ruin them.  It started me thinking about the way we define wealth today compared to 100 years ago.  Today wealth is almost synonymous with money and other financial assets.  One hundred ...[Read More]

Some Conference Highlights

Most of the people reading this blog will never come to the annual conference of The Gathering – for a number of reasons.  It’s like any other conference for a particular affinity group – doctors lawyers educators – in that the content is designed for individuals families and foundations giving financial support to ministries.  However that does not mean some of t ...[Read More]

I'm a hypocrite

I finished an article on rational funding earlier today had a great conversation with a new non-profit about the importance of funders not responding to needs or filling gaps but looking for opportunities and met with a group of donors to talk about how valuable it is to think about philanthropy in terms of investments that have clear goals reporting and measurements along the way. I read a number ...[Read More]

Making A Difference – Long Obedience in the Same Direction?

Several years ago I was sitting in a marketing meeting listening to a discussion about how to engage boomers.  The unanimous conclusion was boomer donors want to be “hands-on” and “engaged” with the work.  There was then a strategy session about how to give them that experience without the expense of the infrastructure it takes to actually make people “hands-on”. While that was not the birth momen ...[Read More]

The Scientific Study of Giving

In a couple of weeks I am going to join a group of academics and researchers being convened by the Lake Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.  The purpose is to have a roundtable discussion on a review of recent literature on faith and giving.  They sent out the forty-three page report ahead of time and I thought some of the observations might be interesting to a ...[Read More]

I Want Your Job

I Want Your Job

People often ask how they can get a position as a grantmaker with a foundation.  It seems sensible that donors with foundations would want help in the work of giving money.  Over the years, I have had scores of people looking for individuals, families and private foundations who recognize the need for staff or consultants to assist them in their giving. I am sure there are some degree programs out ...[Read More]


I don’t want to break confidences when I use personal correspondence for these blogs but these questions and concerns from Gathering participants are the best sources of thought for me. “One objection to the growing number of support and mentoring programs for young ministry entrepreneurs is that too much is made of the person/personality rather than the organization or movement that&r ...[Read More]

A Safe Place

The Gathering is a safe place.  That’s what all the surveys tell us.  In fact we’ve used the phrase ourselves for so long to describe The Gathering that we’ve stopped considering what it means.  That’s dangerous – not safe.  Last year we commissioned Dave Goetz and CZ Strategy ( to do interviews and research to find out (among ot ...[Read More]