Philanthropy Conversation Wants You!

Rather than post today, I’m going to point you back to this post and encourage you to join the growing conversation in the comments section. I think the topic of this conversation is the most important issue facing philanthropy today. The fact that this conversation is centered around Google adds time sensitive relevance to the subject, but the subject matter at hand is far bigger than Google. The issue is how can we improve the available information about nonprofits so that the $300 billion+ donated to charity each year can flow to the best nonprofits. Improving the flow of philanthropic capital will completely transform the nonprofit sector and you won’t believe what we as a sector will be able to accomplish.

So click here and add your voice to the mix. Philanthropy needs you.


  1. My immediate thought, Sean, is in your post you say…”dollars to be given to the BEST nonprofits”BEST as in info from a charitynavigator type of ranking? While I whole-heartedly agree $ should go to those orgs that do good with $ donated and are serving donors, stakeholders and clients, and their mission well.

    But, I’m no so sure it should be like the survival of the fittest that gets the biggest cut of charitable donations. I mean what about the underdog, the smaller guys who have a good cause and a need to fill in a community or the world but need a nudge, capacity, steering, a little more know how. That takes money and expertise.

    I am usually in agreement with you on most posts, but this one, well, I gotta say that there are some charities that could be better and need the assistance. Perhaps the bigger questions is how do they get the info (on how to be the best) so we have better nonprofits doing better things? I bet there’d be too many to count that didn’t even know they had a ranking on a charitynavigator.

  2. kevin jones says:

    Interesting points. First, what’s wrong with survival of the fittest, a little beneficial transparency that leads to creative destruction in the non profit world? Why should non profits be immune from a basic law of nature and creation?

    Second, you can measure things and say who’s best, and that is of value, even if you use it to point the way for the laggards. our public education is stifled by an entitlement mentality, where you can’t reward the best and nobody even wants to acknowledge that there are bad teachers who should be put out of their students’ misery. My brother for 33 years was a fourth grade elementary school teacher in Salinas, CA. mostly to immigrant kids only one in four of whom had two parents at home, and only a few of whom spoke English as their first language. He proved from an input and output basis that he was the best school teacher, based on reading, math, language and other coming to going out improvement. He showed the report to the school board. They thanked him. and said there was no way to reward the best in their system. Non profits do not want to be in that position. You can reward the best and you can find out what best is. But the measurement has to be not based on a manufacturing metaphor and it has to produce more money if you meet the standard and the metric has to not harm the mission by its imposition. Amartya Sen on development as freedom is still the text to follow there.

    otherwise metrics’s an additive cost without additive value.