"The Tyranny of the Donors," Which is Not a Fake Metal Band

Categories: News

Yesterday, the anonymously penned blog Don't Tell the Donor featured an item headlined "The difference between philanthropy and fundraising," in which the writer, who presumably has experience in the nonprofit fund-raising world, essentially argued it's better to have 2,000 donors writing $50 checks than one donor contributing $100,000. Because, "low dollar donors provide an important endorsement that the nonprofit's work matters." And, "all too often it can seem as if major donors are more interested in using their gift to avoid taxes on their wealth or to advance their own social status." Like, oh, Larry David.

The only person to respond to the essay was Jeremy Gregg, who happens to be the director of development for Central Dallas Ministries -- and, as it turns out, the author of the fund-raiser resource blog The Raiser's Razor. Gregg argues that the smaller donations come with their own headaches -- the time, money and staff power spent processing the tiny amounts of cash -- but also points to the larger problems that come with single, big-money donors: "the tyranny of the donors." As in, he writes, "I can tell you that there are people who have given upwards of $100,000 per year who suddenly stopped giving because we invited the wrong speaker to an event or our CEO made a comment with which they disagreed." Do tell, Jeremy. Just between us. --Robert Wilonsky

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