Philanthropy’s Role in Society: Why Effective Giving Matters

Host Organization: Lilly Family School of Philanthropy


Phil Buchanan, author of Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count, and president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, in conversation with Catherine Herrold, Assistant Professor at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

In a moment of political turmoil and concern about inequality, some have argued that philanthropy just perpetuates a broken system. Others have argued that the nonprofits philanthropy supports are largely ineffectual, lacking in the “discipline” and “performance-orientation” of business. But, argues Phil Buchanan, author of Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count, these takes are wrong.

Philanthropy and the vast and diverse nonprofit sector it supports are, in fact, defining strengths of the United States. Even with all its flaws and room for improvement, giving has contributed to much good we take for granted. And nonprofits and their staff are often unsung heroes, doing the work that markets and government can’t, or won’t. But giving effectively requires rejecting prevalent myths: that giving is like investing; that nonprofits should operate “like business”; and that we should judge our giving using the kind of measures that are prevalent in the business world.

Join Phil and Catherine Herrold, assistant professor at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, for a lively discussion focused on Phil’s new book. Giving Done Right, published by PublicAffairs, has been called “a must read for those who really want to make a difference” by Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and “required reading for anyone looking to better understand how to achieve more effectiveness in their giving” by Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable.

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