Informed Opinions. Workable Solutions.

Al is not afraid of taking on controversial issues in the nonprofit world, including the impact of the widening wealth gap, the inefficiency and misdirection of major foundations, the disruption brought by donor-advised funds, the ethical and financial implications of Wall Street’s growing influence in the charitable world, and the power imbalance between funder and charity.

But Al offers more than criticism: he proposes solutions and new frameworks, and he does this with color and humor. In other words, hard truths need not be hard to read.

Al is an op-ed contributor to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Harvard Business Review, and other national journals. (See the links below for a sampling of his published articles.) His blog has attracted a diverse national audience, and he has been cited as an expert on charitable issues in media outlets such as The New York TimesThe Washington Post, Forbes, The Atlantic, ProPublica, Vanity Fair, and National Public Radio.

Al’s effectiveness as a writer carries over to his public speaking. Al has a reputation as a dynamic keynoter and presenter who can break down complex issues and connect with audiences. Nonprofit leaders, academics, and philanthropists call Al provocative, memorable, and stimulating.

Interview by Forbes Magazine

Sample recent keynote addresses

  • Adjusting to a Vastly Changed Philanthropic Landscape. In recent decades, seismic shifts in wealth, taxes, and the economy have upended traditional expectations about charitable giving. How should nonprofits change strategies to accommodate the new realities?
  • Investing in Mission; Investing in Staff. Over 80% of most nonprofit budgets are devoted to salaries and benefits. Those staff members are the people who deliver the program impact. Why, then, are organizations (and funders) so reluctant to invest in its people?
  • Keeping Strategy (and Fun) Front and Center. Nonprofits invest significant time in strategic planning, only to see the resulting plans sit on the proverbial shelf. Meanwhile, board meetings are painfully tedious and consumed with trivia. How about aligning meeting agendas with strategy? It’s really not that hard. And the results are fun and exciting — two words usually not connected to board service.

Published Articles

How Nonprofits Can Keep Strategy Front and Center

Published: October 12, 2022
Harvard Business Review

Fundraisers, Here’s a Way to Help Charitable Underachievers

Published: May 19, 2021
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Fidelity Charitable: Using Grants to Win Friends, Influence People, and Silence Critics

Published: October 21, 2020
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

In a K-Shaped Recovery, Nonprofits Should Lean on Major Donors

Published: September 17, 2020
Harvard Business Review

Nonprofit Leaders, Get Used to the Uncertainty and Focus on the Big Picture

Published: June 15, 2020
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Nonprofit Fundraising in the Age of Coronavirus

Published: March 15, 2020
Harvard Business Review

Save Lives Now, Grant Makers and Donors

Published: March 14, 2020
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Why Vested Interests Don’t Want Donor-Advised Funds to Do More for Charities

Published: March 4, 2020
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

How to Connect With Donors: What the N.H. Primary Teaches Nonprofits

Published: February 11, 2020
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Carved from Live Oak: What Makes an Effective Nonprofit Leader

Published: January 28, 2019
Philanthropy Daily

Donor-Advised Funds and Community Foundations, Reimagined

Published: September 6, 2018
Nonprofit Quarterly

Growth or Mission? The Silicon Valley Community Foundation Made the Wrong Choice.

Published: May 10, 2018
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Affairs of the Heart

Published: March 22, 2018
Philanthropy Daily

Key Questions About Donor-Advised Funds Ignored in New Study

Published: March 12, 2018
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Donor-Advised Fund Payout Numbers Don’t Add Up

Published: Jul 13, 2017
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

‘Pay It Forward Fund’ Sends Wrong Message to Donors

Published: Aug 8, 2016
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Nice Work If You Can Get It: Why Foundation CEOs Are Overpaid

Published: May 3, 2016
Inside Philanthropy

Donor-Advised Funds and the Shifting Charitable Landscape: Why Congress Must Respond

Published: Oct 23, 2015
Boston College Law School’s Forum on Philanthropy

Strings on Donor-Advised Funds Are Making Charity Supporters Angry

Published: Aug 12, 2015
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The False Allure of Charitable Endowments

Published: Mar 2, 2015
Inside Philanthropy

Wall Street’s Charitable Gold Rush

Published: Feb 25, 2015
Inside Philanthropy

Is It Immoral for Charities to Push “Amazon Smile”?

Published: Dec 15, 2014
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Donor-Advised Funds Let Wall Street Steer Charitable Donations

Published: Oct 28, 2014
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Charity Navigator’s Superficial Ratings Miss Major Flaws in Charities

Published: Oct 6, 2013
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Tax Laws Should Discourage Giving to Funds That Waylay Help for Charities

Published: Nov 11, 2012
The Chronicle of Philanthropy