Elsewhere online
December 15, 2014

Donor-Intent Conflicts on the Rise, Philanthropy Experts Say

Unhappy donors are increasingly seeking "refunds" of charitable contributions they contend have been misused or spent in a way that departs from their motive for making the gift, The Wall Street Journal writes as part of a package of stories on philanthropy.

Giving experts say the ease of accessing nonprofits' financial data online and a string of high-profile court fights over donor intent are fueling the change. “Donors are becoming savvier, [and] they are becoming more engaged in how their money is being used,” said Doug White, head of Columbia University's graduate program in fundraising management.

Attorneys interviewed for the article advise donors concerned about such disputes to craft agreements with prospective recipients before making a gift, and to familiarize themselves with how their state regulates charitable giving.

Other pieces in the Journal package look at the latest research on what makes people give; how foundations and philanthropists are collaborating on projects to maximize impact; and the tax and financial implications of donating art.