One Post Challenge

Get ready for the first annual Tactical Philanthropy “One Post Challenge”!

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy encouraging the philanthropy blog conversation and prodding foundations to launch their own blogs. Now I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.

During the month of November, anyone who wants to post a blog entry to Tactical Philanthropy can do it. Just email me your post, with a short bio. Every coherent, relevant post will be published.

But wait, there’s more!

The point here is not just to express your views, but to engage in conversation. Therefore, the author of the post that generates the largest number of commentators will win the challenge. I’ll personally write a check for $250 to the nonprofit of the winner’s choice [update: Network for Good has matched my grant and we will jointly award a $500 “Good Card”, the new “gift card” from Network for Good that let’s the receiver make a grant to the nonprofit of their choice] and buy the winner their choice of one of these newly released books:

So who should enter? If you’ve always wanted to launch a blog, but don’t have the time. If you write a non-philanthropy blog and want to write about giving. If you’re a philanthropic leader who thinks you can’t blog, but can email me your thoughts. If you’re young and new to the field and have something to tell the world. If you work for a nonprofit and want to tell foundations a thing or two. If you work for a foundation and want to tell nonprofits a thing or two. Or if you already write a philanthropy blog, but want to win the competition!

Entries will start being published on November 1. The last day for entries is November 30. The winner will be judged by the number of individuals who comment on the post (not the number of comments; the number of unique people who post a comment including the original author and myself). The comments will be counted as of December 3 at midnight pacific time. Anonymous posts will be included as long as you provide context for who you are (for instance, “I am a program officer at a large foundation”). You can also submit your post via the comment function on this post if you really need to protect your identity. I will retain the right to decline or edit posts for any reason (although I expect to do neither).

Here’s your chance to help jump start the conversation. Post your own thoughts. Talk your boss into writing just one post. And no complaining about not understanding technology or being too old for the online conversation. If you need some inspiration, read about this 95-year-old blogger.

I can’t wait to read your posts!


  1. Chris Casquilho says:

    This is not my posting, but this is one of the most interesting posts I’ve read in a long time, and it generated quite a lot of discussion. If anyone wins $500 for this, it should be Andrew Taylor, the Artful Manager:

  2. Thanks Chris, I passed your idea on to Andrew Taylor with an invite to participate.

  3. Tracy Gary says:

    Changing the conversation from “Where do you work?” to “What do you care about, and do you use your money and time for the public good?”, is my favorite daily cause. When I sit on planes, buses and rails to get to my destination, inspiration or “bridging the great divide” simply manifests that way. Why take the story of my trip from San Francisco to New York. When I shared my love of giving and the importance of each of us giving more and more strategically, inevitably I have an interesting exchange. Try it, I say, and lets get out of the same old ways.
    Why one of my seat partners on a bounced up first class Continental flight, was a worn out Silicon Valley, twenty something, who had dropped out of Stanford to toss in his software skills for the almighty buck. Six years later, at age 25, he was spent. Exausted and without the slightest work-home-community, balance. Half way to NY, after hearing me share the people who excited me in our same community, he was committed to joining a nonprofit board and going to do some selfless service to get his soul back. And you know what…he joined Edgewood Children’s Home’s board as the youngest team and sent me $1000 as a gift to pass on. Changed his life he said! When he emailed six months later to get some help with his marriage on our next trip to New York…my answer was easy…”Join TV Free America,” I said. Now I’m not Dr. Ruth, but taking the TV out of your bedroom and putting in some serious play time is good for the best of us. Imagine my delight when I hear his next call. We grow great donors at Inspired Legacies, and the work of it is the pleasure of change making the culture. May we shape the society we long to live for and with. Thanks for the inspiration, Sean. But pass on your enticement, or pay it forward, with our buy one and give one free offer, for Inspired Philanthropy. You might for that $500 enable 20 new donors to get into transformational giving! Hey, there’s a story of gratitude on the horizon. Catch it! Meanwhile, I’m off to my next plane ride.

    Tracy Gary, jet sitter with the to be inspired..
    and author of Inspired Philanthropy: Your Step by Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy.

  4. Jo says:

    I love Inspired Philanthropy. I have 2 copies in my office, just so I can led one out at any time.

    Thanks Tracy.

  5. Kevin Jones says:

    There are events like Hacking philanthropy, where people try to come up with new ways to crack the code of giving. There are events like Josh Becker’s zero tradeoff conference where a new group if funds say you can invest to do good at no discount to return. Both approaches are attracting a lot of people and attention. And I think they’re great, but I also think something deeper needs to happen.

    If you are hacking philanthropy, it’s like, in technology terms, that you are just hacking at the interface level; you are buying into the set of assumptions, the implicit myths that the system offers you. The true power of the open source Linux system is that it opens up the root level, where you can decide which interface, which set of assumptions you buy, or where you ca even create a new set. that’s where i want to play. At the root, superuser level, where you decide who you are, look at your resources and decide what impact you want to make in the world, without the hard and fast categories of giving and investing, two pocket thinking that you’ve had handed down to you.

    I want to hack at the root level, not just hack philanthropy or investing. I want to reconsider the basic equation. What impact do i want to make in the world? How much do i need, how much can i share for the sake of all?

  6. Keith O'Neal says:

    Public Policy 2.0

    By Keith O’Neal

    We have the web 2.0, we have business 2.0, we have the environment 2.0, well not quite yet but at least we’ve started, but for the greatest good, and to move the world as never before, we must finally, at long last engage Public Policy 2.0.

    If the public prospers will it help you prosper?

    If the world prospers will it help you prosper?

    What about the web, if it prospers will it help you? Will it help most businesses?

    If the environment prospers will that help you? Will it help most businesses?

    It’s never really been a secret, or some form of ancient code impossible to decipher, but the answer is yes. All of these elements are connected. As simple a truth as this is, few of our businesses and few of the public seem to get it, and these few only recently. If just a trickle of understanding, it is at least a start.

    Though the answer has been in front of us forevermore, businesses, governments and the public are just beginning to embrace the notion that what is best for the public is best for them. Slower than we should, the world is embracing this core truth of ecology and of life.

    So now we have Patagonia the company, thriving with a long list of green policies. We have people who won’t work for companies without a solid green foundation. We have, perhaps, the world’s most powerful organization, The Gates Foundation working to solve global hunger and poverty. We have a rock star, Bono, helping the Gates’ work tirelessly to end poverty and by example garner Time Magazine’s people of the year. We have Warren Buffet, Google and others donating billions creating the beginning of a golden age in philanthropy the likes of which have never been seen before in human history.

    What’s more, we have dot com millionaires and billionaires creating new companies, incubating new ideas designed to burst hundreds of small and burgeoning entrepreneurs into existence. Yes, doing so to make profit, but also in some cases because it is the right thing to do.

    Do the most good!

    It is really simple.

    So of course we have companies, institutions, even governments, spending gobs of money to lobby our politicians in Washington, to solve world hunger, to create better schools, to enhance the ecology and the lives of all the people, to save the world, to do the most good.


    No, not just yet.

    Traditional corporate public policy still rules – public policy 1.0 – designed to influence law-makers to make everyone and everything line up to favor the corporation. It is dumb luck if this results in the most good for the public. But here is the rub, it is rarely best for the corporation either. It is business 1.0 in a business 2.0 regime. You no longer can thrive with such a policy.

    Witness Microsoft versus Google. Microsoft produced a very useful product called Windows and then did everything in its power to deny choice and force people to buy Windows instead of ensuring that it was the very best product or inventing the next and even greater operating system. This eventually included a very powerful and expensive lobbying effort in Washington mostly to defend its questionable marketing practices. Microsoft may have been insidious at times but it was very good at public policy 1.0. It all worked to a point.

    Until Web 2.0 and Google.

    Search engines around the turn of the century seemed to focus on making money so they accepted advertising dollars for high placement in their search results – to the point that the search results were meaningless to the public trying to use this new product. Google seized the opening, recognizing how useful a good search engine could be without the paid placements. Of course the recent college graduates who created and ran a brand new company could afford a bit of idealism since there was no infrastructure or employees to support. Still, the model, to create something extremely valuable to the user/public in the most useful and accessible way, is or should be the goal and not the exception. Even Google’s advertising, its money-making charm, became the most useful form of advertising because it was the most relevant for the public using search.

    Think customer, public, trust, do the most good. So who wins in the web 2.0 regime, and who loses?

    What about Steve Jobs and the iPhone? Why is it is not universally available? Why must everyone who buys one subscribe to one cell phone provider? Why can’t it be used with others? Why does it cost so much?

    But it’s cool, way cool.

    Steve Jobs does cool better than anyone and grabs tidy profits doing it.

    But, it is NOT do the most good. It is do the most cool. It will sell phones but it is still public policy 1.0. It is akin to making cool Nike basketball shoes knowing that kids everywhere who cannot possibly afford them will still pony up the $150 for a fancy pair of sneakers even if it takes a crime to do it. There is already a petition circulating across the web signed by not a few angry potential customers who want to force Jobs to make the iPhone universally compatible.

    Make money not good – public policy 1.0.

    Google, according to a recent Washington Post article, has set up shop in DC with a strong lobbying force. Hopefully, as a web 2.0 leader not only through innovation, but in doing some, if not the most, good, Google will not approach lobbying as getting anything at all that is good for Google, but in getting what is good for the public and molding corporate policy around services compatible with the corporate mission to achieve the most good. The former is lobbying 1.0 and the latter, lobbying 2.0. Nobody anymore should lobby Congress’s brains out merely in their own self interest because this is truly not best for your own self interest. It is biting Microsoft to this day and will eventually bite Steve Jobs as well (Google or someone like them could swoop in right now and create an ad supported cell phone network and offer the phone, unlimited internet access and cell service for free trumping the obsolete business 1.0 models of both cell phone companies and Apple – what an idea).

    Do the most good for it is equally the most good for the world, for business and for you not only because you will profit from it but because it will make you feel good, maybe for the first time. It is the next evolution in business and in society.

    So let’s create Public Policy 2.0.

    There was an article in the Washington Post on June 18, 2007 right on the front page about a t-shirt web company that has become very successful using “crowdsourcing” to design its t-shirts. Anything with the word crowd in it has a negative connotation like “unruly crowd” or “it’s so crowded” and is not descriptive of a very useful and developing process so let’s call it public sourcing. Public sourcing employs the notion that thousands if not millions from among the public can design t-shirts as well and even better than all the designers a typical business could afford to hire. There is a big bonus; the public will design not only what they want to wear but what they will buy thus establishing ready and accurate identification of the commercial appeal of a product without paying a dime for it.

    There are others who employ public sourcing. One service provides solutions to corporate problems such as those of Proctor and Gamble and other mainstream corporations, also profiled in the Washington Post article, by culling the best ideas from a vast public versed in problem solving from an array of day jobs. The one with the best idea is awarded prize money from the company that benefits. This model seems to be working well and gaining momentum. We, after all, have a publicly written encyclopedia (Wikipedia), copious amounts of video (YouTube, Rever and others), all produced by a vast and creative public.

    While making a better t-shirt and a better bar of soap are noble endeavors to be sure, there are perhaps just a few other kinds of problems that might be worthy of such synergetic thought and energy, the kinds of problems that all of us everywhere have vested interests in an effective resolution.

    If we reduce poverty are businesses better off? It would seem that more people could afford to be involved in the economy by purchasing things, any things. Witness the development of China and India. If we resolve world conflict and make a world at peace what might the result be for the world and for our national economy? Hmm.

    How about immigration, crime, recovery from natural disasters, terrorism? Think the government should do all this?

    Let’s ask Google. Is there more about business than “do no evil”? Can we maybe do just a bit more? Are we just part-way to where we are going? Instead of pouring money into lobbying efforts on every little Congressional issue du-jour per public policy 1.0, why not divert some of those enormous resources into solving major problems? Why should the government alone be left to resolve such problems when most of us believe, the mantra of capitalism, that competitive companies are far more innovative and efficient? Who, for instance, would you trust more for cyber security, the government or Google?

    So let’s focus the vast public intellectual capital and creativity across the globe toward resolving the major public issues. Let’s move toward achievement, mega-achievement. Instead of giving money to non-profits, let’s create non-profits and provide the resources, ideas and know-how to achieve. Let’s employ public sourcing not only to cull the very best ideas from everyone everywhere, but to collect philanthropic good will to reward the best of those ideas, perhaps even all of them, AND to identify and match the best resources to the best ideas to actually achieve resolution to the world’s most difficult problems and improve life across the globe, for businesses, governments, for the planet and mostly for people.

    Google has the infrastructure and search engine technology needed to cut through the inevitable chaff, find the best ideas, “rank” them and match the best ideas to the resources that can implement them. Others do as well. Instead of just lobbying for achievement, companies can create the achievement. For every Google brainiac with a great new idea that actually rises to implementation at Google, there are hundreds left on the table and still thousands, nay, millions out there among the public. The Googlers and those among the public have unbridled enthusiasm. Google doesn’t have all the great ideas, neither does Yahoo or Apple. Congress has very few good ideas and then there’s the President. The point isn’t that any one public officer or leader of a major company is not creative or an ineffective problem solver. The point is that a far greater source of ideas, the public, and an untapped resource, businesses, have never been focused together toward public achievement.

    So let your staff loose, and the public, to create while they await the nod on their company ideas. Let them create non-profits or even for-profits that might find a better way or might just save the world.

    Google doesn’t have to step up, or Microsoft or Steve Jobs because someone else will.

    That is the age we live in, the best ever.

    Do the most good.

    The author is the founder of MegAchieve where the concept of Public Policy 2.0 is more thoroughly explained and a workable model outlined. Go to to read more.

  7. Chris Casquilho says:

    I read Kevin Jones’ post about operating change from or at the root of a system to create a process or interface that has the most impact. A thought and a corollary thought occur to me (with thanks to Jan Mosaoka of CompassPoint): 1. organizations exist to serve the needs of people, not the other way ’round; 2. there isn’t a problem without a first and last name. If I may continue to pirate great ideas (which seems to be the meta nature of this particular scene) let’s add to the brew Jim Collins’ brilliant scheme from “Good to Great” and get the right people and then get stuff done. So much of the conversation is trapped in some kind of pre-existing context – and sometimes it’s efficient to leave it there. Sometimes not. We don’t really need to focus on “fixing” systems, or motivating people or any other tinkering at the gearbox. The reality is much like a pile of undone dishes – they will get done when someone decides to do them, and they will be done in the manner that occurs to whoever takes the action. If you want to solve a problem, get a bunch of people together who really want it solved, and do whatever you need to do to get is done. One last example to belabor the point: if there’s trash along the scenic road to your house, or in the park across the way, you can adopt-a-highway though your business, you can form a nonprofit to meet on Saturdays and pick up garbage, you can lobby for a tax increase to pay the government to do it, or you can get some friends and a trash bag and go pick it up. Which is easiest?

  8. Louise Johnson says:

    Pride at Work is a great organization. They do great work in the union movement

  9. Scott Ramsey says:

    Pride at work should get the $500 dollars

  10. Natali says:

    My vote is for FORGE…great organization helping so many.

  11. great job by the people at pride

  12. nama says:

    Give it to blog active!!! Great site!

  13. Philanthropy 2.0

    One thing I think that many people of means have in common with each other is where to help without getting screwed. There are hundreds if not thousands of terribly inefficient organizations out there that spend a great deal of your money on themselves and don’t do what they say are going to do. Their existence seems to be to just get money from you to pay themselves to stay in business to pay themselves. When you start looking at where you will help out you will waste a great deal of your time and money on these organizations. So I designed this project to be able to be honest, verifiable and support itself soon but to start up and expand I need your help.
    100% of your considerations go to those we are trying to help and you can even pick them. I hope this provides you with a new feeling of well being and so give to help others and take the feeling of satisfaction that comes along with it knowing every cent you contribute goes to the people you want to help. You are also invited to come and give your advice and use your experience in helping us build this thing. Space here doesn’t allow for the all of the ways together we can help others so I ask you to visit the website and contact me with any quesions you have.
    Tom Canavan, The Benefactor

  14. Elaine says:

    I vote for FORGE!

  15. Lauren Calhoun says:


  16. Taylor Calhoun says:

    Forge is amazing and should win!