Category Archives: Effective Giving

Valuing the Future: Discount Rates in Philanthropy

One of the most basic financial tools is the concept of present value. The present value concept simply assumes that value received in the future is worth less than the same value received today. You can see this dynamic working if you think about whether you would rather be given $100 today or be given [...]

How to Evaluate a Charity

Over the holidays I wrote a blog post about how to pick a great nonprofit to donate to with extremely minimal work. That post spurred Lucy Bernholz to write two posts (part one and part two) about her effort to help a 10-year-old pick a nonprofit to support. Lucy’s posts were great because out of [...]

Best Charities for Last Minute Giving

Last year on December 31 I wrote a post about how to pick a charity to support if you wanted to make a year end gift. The post has been circulating on Twitter this week so I thought I’d publish a slightly updated version… The majority of charitable giving is done between Thanksgiving and New [...]

Philanthropy Predictions: Giving in 2033

This is that time of year when people offer predictions for what will happen next year. Instead of just focusing on 2011, Lucy Bernholz, philanthropy’s resident futurist, has offered her thought for the next decade which you can read here. Following Lucy’s lead, I thought I offer my own predictions long term projection, so I’m [...]

The Best Charity No One Has Heard Of

The GiveWell team has issued a challenge to the smart giving movement. Their top rated charity, Village Reach, consults on health system logistics in high-poverty, remote areas to help life-saving supplies get to those who need them. According to GiveWell’s analysis, Village Reach is able to do the most with donated dollars to demonstrably improve [...]

Do-It-Yourself Guide: How to Evaluate a Charity

For all the talk about overhead expense ratios being a bad way to decide if a charity is any good, there aren’t many tools available that help donors do better evaluations. There are organizations like Philanthropedia, GiveWell, Root Cause, New Philanthropy Capital and GreatNonprofits, which offer information, but as a group they only cover a [...]

Charity Navigator 2.0

(Disclaimer: I’m a member of the advisory board to Charity Navigator on their effort to overhaul their rating system) Charity Navigator is the 800lb gorilla in the charity rating space. The website gets over 4 million annual visitors. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the site is mentioned by the mainstream press multiple times a day. [...]

Warren Buffett Discusses Goals for Giving Pledge

I had the opportunity last week to listen to the Giving Pledge conference call in which Warren Buffett fielded questions from the press and offered color on the purpose of the Giving Pledge. The big take away for me was that Buffett’s hope is that the Giving Pledge will lead to an increase in the [...]

Social Innovation Fund Announces Grantees

I’m thrilled with the Social Innovation Fund’s newly announced list of grantees. In many ways, the results read like my personal wish list for how I thought they should approach their decision. The Fund has announced 11 intermediary grantees, who will select subgrantees to receive the final funding. The full list is here. In the [...]

New Smart Money Award Winner

Back in April, I wrote about the Smart Money Award concept that an ad hoc team I was part of had thrown together during a Monitor Institute meeting. The concept won first prize at the informal idea contest and so our team decided to make the Smart Money Award real. I described the award in [...]