Category Archives: Transparency

Philanthropic Impact & The Search for The Truth

When we talk about measuring the impact of philanthropy, we are in essence discussing how to know the truth. We are examining how we might best understand the reality in which we live and the ways in which our actions affect the world around us. While “impact assessment” can sound like an academic or theoretical […]

Curmudgeonly Comments: Online Capital Markets for Nonprofits?

This is a guest post from George Overholser of the Nonprofit Finance Fund. This post follows the bullet point format George used when he wrote the Bullet Point Manifesto guest post last year. By George Overholser Someone recently defined nonprofit “mid-caps” as organizations with revenues in the $5 million to $25 million range. We need […]

The Cost of Information Sharing in Philanthropy

My last post on the way that information has different characteristics in the social sphere compared to the for-profit sphere, generated a string of reader comments. The comments covered a lot of ground and I encourage you to check them out here. But one recurring theme pointed to the costs of sharing information being something […]

Hewlett Foundation Employee Comments on Idealist Debate

Jacob Harold, a program officer in the Hewlett Foundation’s philanthropy program, has chimed in on today’s posts (see part 1 and part 2) about Idealist: Jacob writes: I applaud Ami for his forthrightness and am rooting for Idealist; they’ve played a critical role in the nonprofit world for years now. (Just as I loved Kjerstin’s […]

Ami Dar on Idealist Debate

Ami Dar, the executive director of Idealist, has left a comment regarding today’s posts (see part 1 and part 2) about his organization. Ami writes: Thanks so much for this. First a couple of updates. In the week since we put up the counter that Rich referred to, another 1,500 people have given close to […]

Idealist Debate Part 2

Two weeks ago, the executive director of Idealist, a nonprofit job board, sent out an emailsaying his organization was facing a critical financial challenge. The openness with which he discussed the issues they were facing reminded many people of the public appeal by FORGE over a year ago that ended up raising significant money from […]

Idealist Debate Part 1

Two weeks ago, the executive director of Idealist, a nonprofit job board, sent out an email saying his organization was facing a critical financial challenge. The openness with which he discussed the issues they were facing reminded many people of the public appeal by FORGE over a year ago that ended up raising significant money […]

Glass Pockets: A Revolution in Foundation Transparency

“We think the foundation should have glass pockets.” – Russell Leffingwell, Chair, Carnegie Corporation, 1952 Hot on the heels of rolling out real time tracking of foundation grants in support of Haiti, the Foundation Center has quietly launched a new project with the whimsical name Glass Pockets. With a mission to “bring transparency to the […]

How to Fail with Style in Philanthropy

I’ve long written about the value of learning to fail as an element of successful philanthropy. I believe that endeavors which are difficult (such as effective philanthropy) must be approached with a mindset that recognizes that failure is an inevitable side effect of taking smart risks. One of the first posts of mine that “went […]

The Upside of Philanthropic Failure

Back in May of 2008 I wrote a piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review about Jim Canales of the Irvine Foundation and his challenge to philanthropy to fail more frequently. Jim’s point is that failure goes hand in hand with taking risks and if philanthropy never fails it means no risk is being taken […]