Blogging Toward Philanthropy

Published in: GIA Reader, Vol 15, No 2 (Summer 2004)

Tommer Peterson

Following up on Stan Hutton's introduction to arts blogs in the last Reader, in this issue we're looking at the beginnings of the philanthropic blogosphere. As with many blogs covering a specific field, philanthropic blogs tend to offer either personal journals of opinion and ideas or periodic news round-ups, brief abstracts of articles or publications and links to the original. Some, of course, provide both.

As the sheer volume of material published both in print and online becomes too great for most mortals to manage, blogs provide an additional filtered route to professional information and resources. More like browsing in the bookstore than searching a library catalogue or Amazon, blogs offer the opportunity to stumble on something more interesting than what you set out to find, and serendipity is often rewarded. In the best examples, a blog is hosted by an individual with expertise in a field, and the postings include not only informed comment, but also links to other sites and publications. The editorial role of the expert host, complete with his or her biases and quirks, provides a different and more varied set of offerings than those generated by a blind search engine.

Philanthropy blogs are still fairly scarce, but here are a few sites of interest.

Philanthropy 2225
http://philanthropy.blogspot.com/

Keynote speaker at GIA's 2003 conference, consultant Lucy Bernholz hosts one of the more substantive philanthropic blogs. A pioneer blogger, Lucy has been at it since June 2002. Of particular note is her posting of April 24, 2004 "Fiddling while Rome Burns."

The Artful Manager
http://www.artsjournal.com/artfulmanager/

Buried in the ArtsJournal site, this blog by Andrew Talyor, director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration is probably one of the best arts blogs available. Taylor reads widely, and his thoughtful and substantive postings are peppered with links to other sites and publications. Taylor also casts a wide net, writing not only about management, but a range of topics from creativity and innovation to the semantics of advertising copy. As this issue of the Reader goes to press, he promises a report on the recent National Performing Arts Convention held in Philadelphia.

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP)
http://epip.blogspot.com/

Hosted by Rusty Stahl, EPIP's executive director, this blog primarily provides information about the organization's educational programs and resources. EPIP is a professional organization whose mission is "to support and strengthen the next generation of grantmakers, in order to advance effective social justice philanthropy." Their main Web site is http://epip.org/

Gift Hub
http://www.gifthub.org/

Gift Hub is a personal blog, hosted by Phil Cubeta, a financial planner by day and "charitable cheerleader" online. In the best blogging tradition, this site is a mix of hard information, opinion, and somewhat eclectic links to other sites reflecting his interests in philanthropy, Open Space conferencing, and use of Web technology as a community building tool.

Philanthrapoid: Give and Take
http://philanthropoid.typepad.com/

Philanthrapoid is hosted by an anonymous university development officer. Philanthrapoid is a prolific blogger, and the long essays and postings appear to be directed to an audience of other development professionals, although this is not explicitly stated.

Nonprofit Online News
http://news.gilbert.org/

Not technically a blog, but it looks like a blog and acts like a blog, but more importantly the content is a thorough round-up of news and resources related to online technology for nonprofits, including blogs. If you are feeling behind the curve, this site will probably confirm the fact. Nonprofit Online News is a free publication of The Gilbert Center, a consulting firm.

Beneficence
http://thinkitecture.typepad.com/

A brand-new anonymous blog purporting to discuss philanthropy. So far there is only one introductory posting.

Tommer Peterson is a former member of GIA's staff, an artist, and consultant to nonprofit organizations.