Category Archives: Cross-Disciplinary Conversations

The Decline Effect & “Proven” Nonprofit Interventions

One of the great buzzwords of the effective philanthropy movement is the idea of “proven effective” programs. Since so many nonprofit programs are never tested and are based on ideas that have little research behind them, it makes sense to encourage the funding and deploying of programs that have proven to be effective. While sensible, […]

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 […]

Underperformance is Philanthropy’s Natural State

This is my latest column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Is Underperformance Philanthropy’s ‘Natural State’? By Sean Stannard-Stockton | Chronicle of Philanthropy The nonprofit world is full of technocratic conversations about how to measure and improve results. But two new books, Leap of Reason, by Mario Morino, and Give Smart, by Thomas J. Tierney and […]

Collective Intelligence in Philanthropy

This is a guest post by Eugene Eric Kim of Blue Oxen Associates. Eugene works with organizations to help them develop collaborative strategies. His past clients include NASA and the Wikimedia Foundation. By Eugene Eric Kim Recently I spoke at the GEO Learning Conference on collective intelligence. My focus is on collaboration, but thanks to […]

The Necessity of Debate in Philanthropy

One of the reasons the field of philanthropy tends to avoid disagreement and debate is that it seems uncouth to criticize someone who is taking a voluntary action in an attempt to help the greater good. But I’ve always felt that debate is one of the most critical elements needed to forge a high impact […]

Pay For Success

President Obama’s 2012 budget includes an innovative proposal called Pay For Success that has the potential to revolutionize the way the government provides funding for social services. The program creates a framework for government payments to be contingent on positive program results rather than paying for program delivery. Pay For Success is a nonpartisan program […]

The Value of Mapping Philanthropic Beliefs

One of my readers asked me via email what exactly would be the value of a Philanthropy Compass. Before going further in designing the framework, I thought I should answer this question. Philanthropy is in the most general terms about “doing good”. But it is about specific type of good. While government is “public action […]

The Philanthropy Compass: Mapping Donor Beliefs

A few weeks ago, I laid out a framework for thinking about the various roles that donors can play; philanthropic investors, charitable buyers and strategic philanthropists. The framework was meant to focus on the functional roles available to donors and to help link these roles to donor behaviors. But what about the role of philanthropy […]

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” […]

Governmental “Crowding Out” in Philanthropy

In economics, “crowding out” describes the way that increases in government spending may lead to a reduction in private spending. The theory suggests that government spending does not have as large an effect on the economy as might be expected because the impact is offset due to the crowding out of private spending. It turns […]