Matthew Gerken

Matthew Gerken joined American Philanthropic after serving as a program officer at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, where he organized the Institute’s first-ever collegiate debating symposium. He studied intellectual history as an undergraduate at Yale, and has experience in education, event planning, and foundation research. An Illinois native, he currently resides in Wilmington, DE, with his wife.

What Do Confederate Flags Have to Do with Notre Dame?

In the wake of the fire damaging the Cathedral of Notre Dame, philanthropic elites pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in support of restoration. Is this a good use of philanthropic funds?

Two cheers for Giving USA

While Giving USA’s annual reports fulfill a need for serious study of the charitable sector, fundraising professionals would do best to ignore all the buzz and focus on data that is more relevant to their specific organizations.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of direct mail tactics

Shady direct mail tactics, like crying wolf, have diminishing returns over time.

3 fundraising fads you should ignore

Like cats on the internet, fundraising fads can be fun to play with. But they ultimately harm your organization by fixating on lower return strategies, implicitly endorsing false premises, and misallocating precious resources.

3 shockingly common hiring mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Until the moment of need strikes, the high costs of employee turnover are rarely dwelled upon by nonprofit leaders.

Beware of shady direct mail firms: 5 red flags to look out for

For too long, direct mail companies have been taking advantage of nonprofit leaders with empty promises, underhanded tactics, and confusing contracts that serve their interests rather than the nonprofit’s.

John Bogle, Boring Philanthropist

Philanthropists should learn from the late John Bogle’s humility and localism. Because of his selfless business decisions, we had one less billionaire philanthropist and millions more middle-class givers spread throughout the world.

The madness of metrics

How philanthropy’s obsession with metrics makes complete gibberish out of grant proposals.

4 ways foundations make bad decisions

If you work for a foundation, you probably don’t get much negative feedback. As a neutral party, I’m here to tell you what your grantees won’t.

Contradicting the cult of conciseness: why less isn’t always more

Perhaps we’ve gone too far in our obsession with three-word slogans and bullet-point presentations.