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Diverse giving

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By Todd Cohen

Charity should expand its reach.

Moving beyond fundraising goals and big gifts, charities must be smarter about getting the resources they need to pay for their operations.

Dollars clearly are important and, in the face of government cuts in support for social services, charities need to find new funding sources.

But donations do not need to come only from big donors.

Instead of courting only wealthy individuals and donor institutions, charities should embrace the idea that anyone can be a philanthropist, and that philanthropy involves time and know-how, not just money.

Because volunteering and contributing skills and knowledge can be as critical to a charity’s operations as financial contributions, charities should actively recruit that kind of support, and gear themselves to manage volunteers and match them with organizational needs.

And as our society becomes more diverse and as the Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 near retirement, charities need to target new donors, including African Americans, Latinos, women, technology professionals and young people.

Charities also should prepare for the future, using every opportunity to ask people to remember the organization in their wills.

The future will belong to charities that can tap new forms of support.


Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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