Category Archives: Spreading Ideas

An Idea That Spreads: Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance

I’ve written a number of times about the tension between logic and empathy. I think it is critical that the effective philanthropy movement recognize that while data is an important input to good decision making, it can also dampen the very emotions that drive giving. That’s why I think it is critical that high performing [...]

GOOD Buys Jumo, Seeks Social Connective Tissue

Jumo is supposed to be Facebook for nonprofits. Founded by Facebook co-founder and chief digital organizer of the Obama 2008 campaign, Chris Hughes, Jumo launched with great fanfare and grant funding from the Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network and Knight Foundation. GOOD is a publishing and marketing company “for people who want to live well and [...]

The “Power & Influence” of Social Media in Philanthropy

(Update: The Nonprofit Times emailed me to point out that I should have disclosed that I write for the Chronicle of Philanthropy when I wrote this post. They’re right, I should have. I write a monthly column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy.) The Nonprofit Times has released their annual Power & Influence Top 50 list [...]

The Rebranding of Philanthropy

A lot of effort has gone into rebranding philanthropy from “giving away money” to “making a social investment”. While the shift has supporters and detractors, I think the most useful and interesting way to think about the underlying motives for the shift is as an attempt to move philanthropy from the “should” category (you “should” [...]

The Language of Philanthropy

I’m a self taught writer. I never wrote anything of note before launching this blog. I’d like to think that I’ve improved and I’m pleased that my brother, an award winning journalist for many years, grudgingly thinks I’ve learned a thing or two. I’m always appalled at the number of typos that end up in [...]

Good Intentions vs. Good Results Part II

Saundra commented on my post about her anti-TOMS Shoes video from Friday: “I may occasionally put things too harshly, but it’s often because I’m one of the few people out there making noise. I’ve seen some extremely questionable donor advice out there and myths and misconceptions are commonly reinforced by the people that donors turn [...]

Speaking at New Profit’s Gathering of Leaders

Next week I’ll be in Miami speaking at New Profit’s Gathering of Leaders. While I’ve often focused on New Profit’s “investing in nonprofits” approach to grantmaking, they also have an “Action Tank” that works to strengthen the ecosystem for social entrepreneurs and the environment in which nonprofit capital markets are being created. In 2007, New [...]

Bill Gates’ Annual Letter & Brilliant Video

In the wealth management business, many money managers write quarterly or annual letters to their investors. Far from simple boilerplate memos, these letters are read closely by investors and seen as important sources of knowledge. Philanthropy has a little bit of this dynamic, but not much. For the most part, foundation annual reports are ignored [...]

Communicating Evidence to Drive Social Change

Many people tend to have a sense that things were better in the past. Yet most all data of social welfare show a strong positive trend over time. Take crime rates. Most of us tend to feel that the world is a more dangerous place than it use to be. But actual crime statistic show [...]

External vs Internal Leverage in Philanthropy

People in philanthropy love to talk about using “leverage”. Leverage refers to finding ways to make actions create bigger results. The word leverage comes from the word lever, a simple mechanical tool that allows a force applied at one end to be magnified at the other end. In their excellent report What’s Next for Philanthropy, [...]