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Weekend Link Roundup (May 7 - 8, 2011)

May 08, 2011

Our weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Ballesteros_goodbye Disaster Relief

On her Good Intentions Are Not Enough blog, Saudra Schimmelpfennig shares a list of "dos and don'ts to help you make the best donation decisions after a disaster."


On his personal blog, Charity Navigator president and CEO Ken Berger shares the foreword he penned for the Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox, a new book written by Robert M. Penna that "digs deep and provides us with many jewels that can help nonprofits begin to perform more effectively and hopefully restore our confidence in the sector...."

On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, CEP president Phil Buchanan explains why his organization decided to invite Esther Duflo -- "an MIT economist and renowned proponent of 'field experiments'" -- to speak at its upcoming conference. Writes Buchanan:

I know emotions run high in the evaluation community when it comes to these issues, and for good reason. Experimental design has sometimes been promoted as the be-all end-all in ways that can be harmful. After all, whether a particular evaluative approach makes sense depends very much on the context.

However, I believe there is an important place for experimental design. There is a right time and place for the kind of approach Duflo espouses and, in those contexts, her approach to analyzing what works can help, quite literally, to save lives. Many lives....

International Development

After reading Jon Krakauer's Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero Lost His Way, Joanne Duhl writes in a recent post on the Deep Social Impact blog that "it is now clear that much of Mortenson's recounting of his experiences in Afghanistan was created from whole cloth...."

Nonprofit Management

On the Social Standard Innovation Review blog, Kelly Kleiman -- who blogs as The Nonprofiteer -- explains why groups created by business leaders with the specific purpose to "redefine the nonprofit model" do everything but. Writes Kleiman:

Whether the discussion purports to be about Low Profit Limited Liability Corporations (L3Cs) or public benefit corporations or triple bottom lines, the argument is always the same: Nonprofits should just get with the capitalist program, identify lucrative markets, and earn their keep like every other good red-blooded American.

This approach ignores the fact that nonprofit markets usually consist of clients who are not profitable to serve -- because if they were profitable to serve, the for-profit sector would be serving them. The better a nonprofit is at finding and serving its market, the poorer it will be, because though for-profit clients are a profit center, nonprofit clients are a cost center....

In advance of the release of Darian Rodriguez Heyman's Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, Idealist founder and executive director Ami Dar shares a foreword he wrote for the book that includes ten lessons he has learned over the last decade and a half. (To hear more from Dar, check out the "Flip" chat video we did with him last summer.)


Uncharitable author Dan Pallotta takes a look at some of things Warren Buffett "could have done to achieve massive systemic change with about $1.7 billion annually" -- roughly the amount Buffett has given to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation every year since 2006, when he pledged 85 percent of his wealth to the foundation. "Instead of directing the money to specific causes, Buffett could have revolutionized the system, or the context within which the causes he cares about have to operate," writes Pallotta. "Had he done that, he could have multiplied the impact of his gift by God knows how many times and changed the face of charity as we know it...."


And in honor of Mother's Day, Annie Newman, a communications officer at the Gates Foundation, chats with foundation co-chair Melinda Gates about the progress being made on the maternal health front. Gates also shares "the most important value" passed down by her mother and encourages other mothers around the world to use their "voice to tell governments that it's important to save women's lives."

That's it for now. What did we miss? Drop us a line at rnm@foundationcenter.org. And have a great week!

-- Regina Mahone


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Quote of the Week

  • "Public education does not serve a public. It creates a public. And in creating the right kind of public, the schools contribute toward strengthening the spiritual basis of the American Creed. That is how Jefferson understood it, how Horace Mann understood it, how John Dewey understood it, and in fact, there is no other way to understand it...."

    — Neil Postman (1931-2003), American author, educator, media theorist, and cultural critic

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