Giving Compass' Take:

• Jeremy Beer and Jeffrey Cain argue that the professionalization and bureaucratization of charity is hurting the nonprofit sector. 

• How can funders work to ensure that the nonprofit sector is efficient and effective? 

• Read an argument against bringing people from corporate and academic backgrounds into the nonprofit sector. 

Philanthropy—which finances civil society—has survived recession, depression, and war, but it could face an even graver threat today in the form of professionalization.

“Nonprofit studies,” says Seton Hall professor Naomi Wish, is “one of the fastest growing fields in academia.” At last count, according to another Seton Hall professor, Roseanne M. Mirabella, 292 colleges and universities offer courses in nonprofit management, 168 schools of higher education have graduate degree programs with a concentration in the subject, and at the apex of this sheepskin pyramid sits Indiana University, which in 2003 became the first university to offer a course of study leading to a PhD in Philanthropic Studies. (The first doctorate was granted in 2008.)

Working backward from the PhD, in 2010 IU instituted a Bachelor’s of Philanthropic Studies, and two years later the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropic Studies invested its Founding Dean. The department is peopled with men and women of goodwill, some of whom produce scholarly work of merit, and it graduates an earnest cadre of ambitious proto-professionals. Many go on to do laudable work in the nonprofit sector, but inevitably some alumni use the argot and secret handshakes of the philanthropic priesthood learned in school to keep the un-degreed in their place.

Read the full article about the bureaucratization of charity by Jeremy Beer and Jeffrey Cain at Philanthropy Daily.