Iain Bernhoft

Iain Bernhoft teaches college literature and rhetoric in the Greater Boston area. His writing has appeared in academic journals and journalistic outlets, including Modern Fiction Studies, the Cormac McCarthy Journal, and the National Catholic Register. He also works as a writer for American Philanthropic, a consulting firm whose mission is to strengthen civil society by improving the effectiveness of charitable foundations and nonprofit organizations. Iain holds a Ph.D. in English from Boston University, and lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his wife and two sons. 

Toward a recovery of philanthropy

Impersonal donor communication is harming nonprofit success and growth. On the latest Givers, Doers, & Thinkers, Jeremy Beer and Gabe Cooper discuss how nonprofits can be more “responsive” to donor interests—and make their work more interesting in the meantime.

jonathan haidt
Righteous minds: America in disarray

Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind” offers insight into why we disagree with each other and how we might better communicate. Late in 2020, it is an important book for Americans who are seeing the “lesser angels” of their compatriots.


seattle flu study covid-19
Swabless in Seattle

One thing we can learn from the coronavirus crisis is the importance of local initiative to manage even major problems. Centralization leads to “fragility” which does not respond well to disruption, whereas smaller, decentralized initiatives tend to be “antifragile”—more nimble in the case of volatility.

philanthropy storytelling for fundraising
The importance of storytelling: the dollar in the details

It is essential to use stories to cultivate donors, raise money, and strengthen your organizations. Here are tips on the details and tone you should employ in your writing.


philanthropy and fundraising story telling st crispin day speech
The importance of storytelling: the story of us

Successful organizations tell their story in a way makes it a story about their donors, too. Here’s how to help your donors identify with your story.

storytelling and fundraising for philanthropy
Fundraising and fairy tales: the importance of storytelling

Storytelling is essential for good fundraising. Here’s why it matters and how to do it well. The first in a three-part series.


university of missouri donor intent philanthropy
Schemes to protect donor intent gone awry

A questionable donor-intent protection scheme is resulting in a lawsuit of Hillsdale College against the University of Missouri.

Lawsuit promises to clarify donors rights over DAFs, leaves larger questions unasked

A lawsuit against Fidelity Charitable’s management of a donor-advised fund may begin to answer questions about the legal rights donors have over the these increasingly popular charitable vehicles.


Not all donor-advised funds are created equal

Donors would do well to consider the risks of large-scale DAFs and the benefits of boutique funds.