I’ve been asked to speak at both the Yale Philanthropy conference and the Center for Effective Philanthropy conference next March on the topic of Information Sharing in Philanthropy. Information sharing is a bit of a different topic than transparency (information sharing is about market participants sharing information to the benefit of others, transparency is about connecting with your community and exhibiting authenticity), but you can see the interest I have in the FORGE story.
I just got off a phone call with a friend of mine who reminded me that the current economic crisis was precipitated (to a large degree), by the lack of transparency within the financial sector. For-profit investors are still worried about what they might not know in regards to banks and other financial players. That lack of trust is stifling their willingness to invest. I believe that this lack of trust due to limited transparency is a systematic issue within the nonprofit sector. It is not a near term issue that stifles investment like it is in public financial markets, it is a pervasive problem that fundamentally diminishes the public’s trust in the social sector and minimizes their willingness to fund nonprofits.
Is being transparent going to save FORGE? I don’t know. But I do know that they are earning my trust.