If philanthropy was art, what would it look like?

art of philanthropyYesterday, I saw a news story about actress Tilda Swinton, who is sleeping in a glass box at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. While I’m not a huge modern art fan (but I’m not a hater either), I haven’t been able to get this story out of my head for some dumb reason. Whenever I have a free moment and my mind wanders (e.g. driving in the car, standing in line for coffee, cleaning dishes, etc), I can’t help but think about this modern art exhibit.

So, this morning while walking on the treadmill, it happened again. In a fit of frustration, I decided that I need to push past this because it is getting obnoxious. And then out of the blue, it hit me . . .

If philanthropy was art, what would it look like?

I think it would be fun if every DonorDreams blog reader took a moment to contemplate this question. Once you get a picture in your head, please use the comment box located below to share your thought or image.

Come on . . . this could be a fun little break from your very busy day!

Let me help get you started:

  • A painting of a child in a hospital bed with a nurse attending to their IV.
  • A theatrical production spoofing the life of a fundraising professional. The scene I’m picturing in my head has a donor being hit over the head and the fundraising professional’s hand reaching for their wallet. (Again, I emphasis this is a spoof. Please no hateful emails.)
  • Hmmmm . . . a modern art example?  How about a live donor pulling his pants down around his bum with a fundraising professional trying to swipe a credit card down their backside.

Did I take it too far?  Oooops. Sorry. But I bet that I brought a smile to your face on a stressful day and got your mind chewing on this question. So, come on . . . take 60 seconds out of your day and share a thought (either serious of silly) in the comment box below.

Do you need more inspiration? Click here or on the YouTube frame below to see Tilda Swinton sleeping at the Museum of Modern Art. Hopefully, it won’t haunt your thoughts like it is mine.  🙂

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC


About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on March 28, 2013, in Fundraising, nonprofit, resource development and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The Banksy graffiti art of the girl letting the heart shaped balloon go. “There is always hope.”


  2. I think of that painting of the dogs around a table playing poker and each one saying “instead of treating myself to some extra bones this week if I win I’m going to give my winnings to (fill in a charity’s name). I’m an animal lover and if we give to them I”d like to think that they would give back to us.

    • Oh Dee! I love that image. As a child, I owned a print of dogs playing poker. Hahaha! Dogs are so loving and loyal. You are so right to hold them up as the picture of philanthropy. Thanks for weighing in.

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