Make It Better Guide to Philanthropy & Fundraising

The World English Dictionary offers this definition of “philanthropy”:

1. The practice of performing charitable or benevolent actions
2.  Love of mankind in general

Philanthropy is a delicious word, isn’t it? And a magnificent feeling—knowing you can make a difference in the lives of others—especially those not so obviously connected to yours. Our goal is to empower you to be a philanthropist.

Fundraising falls under the philanthropy umbrella.  We define it as an activity consisting of equal parts of excitement and anxiety.

If you haven’t experienced it yet, you will. One day you’ll find yourself at a PTA, youth sports club, church group, Rotary, social club or some other nonprofit meeting raising your hand when the call goes out for a Fundraising Chair. Before you know it, someone’s handed you this year’s “stretch goal” and you’re wondering how you’re ever going to pull it off.

No worries! We’re here to help. Our Guide offers you great articles & tips that will educate and inspire. And we have built tools into our website and magazine that will help simplify, amplify and document all your philanthropic and fundraising efforts. We’ve also included books and a few other online resources as well.

If you’re interested in actual examples of fundraising in action, please visit our Get Involved section. Also, for additional inspiring stories about philanthropists, please visit Get Inspired.

How To Be An Effective Philanthropist or Fundraiser (And Everyone Can Be One!)

Fundraising Dos and Don’ts | See these tips in action: A Fundraiser’s Tale—Central School

Effective Techniques To Raise More Money In The Digital Age

How To Start A Woman’s Board

Prue Beidler: How To Be A Good Board Member

Using Philanthropy For Personal Celebrations Like Holiday, Birthday or Bar and Bat Mitzvah Parties

How To Fundraise For Cancer And Make A Difference

Get Inspired By These Better Makers

Lisa Watters, Benny’s World

Janet Meakin Poor, Philanthropist Specializing in Plant Conservation

Marcia Doniger, Northbrook Citizens for Drug and Alcohol Awareness (NCDAA)

Vickie Burke, McGaw YMCA

Gabrielle Rousso, The Art Center of Highland Park

Kathryn Guylay, Nurture

Carole Dibo, The Wilmette Theatre

Maureen Smith, Philanthropist, The Joffrey Ballet

JJ Hanley, JJ’s List

Michele Snyder, Jennifer Lynn Snyder Teen Heart Foundation

Diane Mayer, The Lyric Opera of Chicago

Susan Kauffman, The Michael J. Fox Foundation

Shirley Ryan, Philanthropist, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Northwestern and others

Barb Flanagin, KARING (Katrina Relief in Northbrook and Glenview)

Jodi Mulder, Organizer of Shop with a Cause and Fair Trade Activist

Connie Duckworth, ARZU Studio Hope

Wendy Serrino, UNICEF

Karen Thomson, Literature for All of Us

Alexandra Nichols, Philanthropist, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Music Institute of Chicago and others

Sheridan Turner, Kohl Children’s Museum

Judge Margaret Mullen, Mary Pat Maddex Place

Lisa Laurent Peckler

Barry Reszel, Libertytown Productions

Brian Paul, Saving Tiny Hearts Society

Tom Ricketts, Cubs Care and Cubs Charities

Mark Mulert, Family Resource Center

Sandra King, Graceful Conception

Phil Sheridan, Mobile CARE

Welz Kauffman, The Ravinia Festival

Sophia Siskel, Chicago Botanic Garden

Michael and Laura Alter, City Year Chicago

Robin Doerge, Children’s Memorial Hospital and Shedd Aquarium

Cynthia La Schiazza, After School Matters

Ellen Stirling, Shop Your Cause Lake Forest

Jennifer Sobecki, Designs for Dignity

Karen Marshak, Philanthropist, Midwest Hospice & Palliative CareCenter

Prue Beidler, Philanthropist, Chicago Children’s Museum and others

Susan B. Noyes, Philanthropist, The Lyric Opera, The Music Institute of Chicago and others

Pam Weston, Philanthropist, The Art Institute of Chicago and others

Patty Reece, Fundraiser, The Warren Cherry Scholarship Fund and others

Alpine Children’s Charity

Beth Drucker, Go Green Wilmette

Related Articles

Please visit our Get Inspired and Get Involved sections for more articles highlighting how your friends and neighbors are making a positive imapct on the lives of others.

How We Can Help You

Want Better Fundraising Results? We Can Help

Additional Resources:


Planned Giving: A Guide to Fundraising and Philanthropy (Wiley Nonprofit Law, Finance and Management Series)
Ronald Jordan

Inspired Philanthropy: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy (Kim Klein’s Chardon Press)
Tracy Gary

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Giving Back
Elizabeth Ziemba, J.D., M.P.H.

This guide, and our entire Make It Better media company grew from the articles and column Susan B. Noyes originated at NorthShore magazine and from the work of the entire Kitchen Cabinet who founded Make It Better.