Nonprofit news roundup for Aug. 24, 2009

Research looks at role of human nature in fundraising

Research by an economist at the University of Chicago has found over 75 percent of giving is driven by social pressure; that the more seed money a nonprofit has for a capital project, the more it will attract additional gifts; and that phone-a-thons are more effective than mail solicitations, Chicago Business reported Aug. 24 (see fundraising research story).

Nonprofits could suffer as wealthy lose wealth

For the first time in decades, the rich no longer are getting richer, and over the last two years, many have watched their assets decline, a trend that could lead to an era of greater income equality in the U.S., The New York Times reported Aug. 20 (see wealthy Americans story). The reversal of fortunes could have an impact on universities, museums and other organizations that have relied on large donations to boost their coffers.

Harvard endowment retooling strategy

The head of the endowment at Harvard University is repositioning its investment strategy by selling some holdings in hedge funds, private-equity firms and other money managers to bring more money under the oversight of her internal investing staff, which she recently began expanding, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 24 (see Harvard endowment story).

College endowments turn to safer investments

In the face of turmoil in the capital markets, university endowments have been shifting investment strategies, with endowment’s managers at the University of Chicago, for example, selling  $600 million in shares to buy safer instruments, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 21 (see Chicago endowment story).

Texas nonprofits hurting in recession

A recent survey found 53 percent of local charities in Central Texas lost donations in the past year, 66 percent reported greater demand for services, nearly 20 percent laid off staff, another 10 percent planned to do lay off staff in the next year, and 18 percent were worried they would have to shut their doors, the American Statesman in Austin, Tex., reported Aug. 23 (see Texas nonprofits story).

Corporations lending complete art exhibitions

After decades of acquiring and expanding art collections and even lending art to museums and other groups, mainly for marketing purposes, some corporations now are lending out complete shows, The New York Times reported Aug. 21 (see corporate art story).

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