#73 Why Nonprofits Need to Stop Begging: Jennifer McCrea

Do you believe you can make a difference?  What improvements to the world have been made by nonprofit organizations?  What lessons have been learnt by philanthropists about delivering services and furthering their cause?

These and many more questions are answered here by our guest, Jennifer McCrea.  She's a leading global expert on giving and fundraising.  Jennifer works to transform the practice of philanthropy She discusses her important work with the Born Free Africa collaborative, which works for the eradication of mother-to-child transmission of H.I.V.

"While of course we have to get money moving in support of the work we are doing," Jennifer tells us, "it's not about money at the center of the relationship."

In her course at Harvard University, Jennifer has worked with leaders from the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors to improve their organizations results from fundraising.

"I keep the work itself at the center of the relationship and money just becomes the gas that goes in the car."  Philanthropists need to avoid "a begging bowl mentality," she says.


  • Philanthropic groups need to be collaborative, working in concert with other organizations in their space. 
  • Transparency and learning from those who these groups are trying to help should be part of their DNA. 
  • For those of us who give money to nonprofits, sign up for more than donations. Be part of their cause. Monitor their mission.
  • In our personal lives, when someone needs our help, listen openly and don’t always try to fix their problems.