2012 was an extremely emotional and difficult year for me. During this past year I’ve lived in four different states, my mother died, and I got married for the first time (and hopefully last time).
I’ve found that as my life has changed, my need to be involved in donor education has also changed. I no longer have the drive that I once had and I’ve begun to feel that I have probably said all I have to say on the matter.
I will leave this blog/website up for another year as a resource for all the people that use it. If after that year I still find that my priorities and interests lie elsewhere, then I’ll shut the site down for good at that time.
I want to sincerely thank all of my readers, all the development professionals, and all the reporters who have been a part of my…
Posted on December 6, 2012 at 7:09 am
Just wanted to let my readers know that I’ll be speaking at the Poverty Action Conference at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia this October 5th – 6th.
Registration is still open for students interested in attending.
Posted on September 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm
This was sent to me from Al Jazeera, as it’s a topic I write about frequently.
Reporter Juliana Ruhfus and director Matt Haan travel to Phnom Penh to investigate Cambodia’s orphan business, and end up as undercover volunteers in a failing orphanage. The resulting grounding breaking documentary reveals how ‘voluntourism’ - the fastest-growing sector of one of the fastest-growing care industries in the world - is fuelling a high-profit volunteering business that sees volunteers’ dreams exploited and Cambodian children separated from their families.
—watch the video here
Posted on June 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm
An article in the Huffington Post’s Impact section caught my eye as the HuffPo once again heralded what is essentially questionable donor behavior.
In this particular article a man went down to a Kmart which was closing it’s doors and purchased every single item in the store and donated the $200,000 worth of goods to a single charity. What on the outside seems like a very charitable act brings up a lot of concerns for the problems the nonprofit is likely facing as a result of this unsolicited donation.
- First - were all of these items wanted or even useful for the charity? How much of the stuff is going to have to be given away to another charity or thrown away by the nonprofit that received it? Donors make a huge mistake in assuming that anything they donate is useful, it’s not. Imagine all the thong underwear,
Posted on May 24, 2012 at 4:41 am
My interview with AidWorks, (AidWorks is a radio show devoted exclusively to aid and development issues. We want to look at the world of international development from every angle, recognising the good that is being done but also casting a critical eye over the aid ‘industry’.)
Is it ever possible that so-called “aid” is doing more harm than good? Sending excess goods from rich countries to poor countries is a good thing isn’t it? Donating money to orphanages is surely a good thing to do? Volunteering to build a school in a developing country is a great way to spend your gap year? Actually, no, it isn’t. Saundra Schimmelpfennig is a consultant to the not for profit sector and runs the website “Good intentions are not enough” .
Through her work and on her blog, Saundra looks at some of the problems that beset the development sector,…
Posted on May 18, 2012 at 8:46 am
This is a guest post written by Krisca Te. Krisca works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent and distance education. When not working, you can find her actively participating in local dog show events – in support of her husband.
When a crisis hits in some far corner of the world, whether a drought in the North of Kenya or flooding in Sri Lanka, and the images of malnourished or orphaned children reach our television screens, we are naturally anxious to help out in some way.
But unfortunately, as the saying goes “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and while we may feel that organizing for a shipment of clothes or flying out to distribute free food is the solution, the reality is somewhat different. Our well-meaning gestures often do more harm than good, and unless we take the time to think…
Posted on May 13, 2012 at 8:13 am
I leave tomorrow for my wedding and honeymoon. Needless to say, I will not be online or taking phone calls until after May 10th.
As many of you know, I’ve been in Utah for the past two months taking care of my mother who was diagnosed with stage IV cancer just two weeks after we got engaged. We decided to go ahead with the wedding as waiting is not going to make anything better. However, we are going to elope as it would be too difficult at this time to have a large family wedding.
My aunt and cousins were kind enough to throw us a pre-wedding reception in Utah last month. We will have another pre-wedding reception in Oregon for his family.
We are eloping to the Oregon coast where my soon-to-be husband’s family had a cabin during his childhood.
Posted on April 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm
A 14 minute podcast by the Stanford Storytelling Project which discusses the 1 million shirts project, the blogosphere furor it created, and what finally happened. Click here to read the 60 posts written on the 1 million shirt debate.
Guides by Good Intentions are Not Enough
Posted on April 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm
As an entry for the Day Without Dignity 2012, I was sent a typical White in Shining Armor founder story. Someone that had left their good job to volunteer in Africa and ended up starting their own nonprofit at great expense to themselves. We’ve all heard stories similar to this before.
But here’s the thing, the personal journey of the founder doesn’t
matter guarantee good aid.
A compelling founder story, such as Greg Mortenson’s, doesn’t mean that the nonprofit is successful or even moderately helpful. A boring founder story doesn’t mean that the nonprofit is floundering or failing. There is no correlation between the compellingness of a founder story and the competency of their nonprofit. And yet we keep focusing on them.
Posted on April 20, 2012 at 6:25 am
This post is crossposted with generous permission from A View from the Cave.
TMS “Teddy” Ruge, Co-Founder of Project Diaspora and Joel Charny, Vice President for Humanitarian Policy at InterAction sit down on the orange couch yesterday to discuss the way aid is marketed and disbursed in Africa. “The dehumanizing comes into the fact we have to be continually looked at as recipients, as the poor, as if the only thing we have to offer are these beans so you can buy them in your coffee,” explained Teddy. That is why A Day Without Dignity came into existence last year and was held yesterday. The hope is to find ways to shift the story of Africa from a single continent of misery to a place full of many countries, people, desires, cultures and experiences.
Charny struck a middle chord which I believe to be right.…
Posted on April 17, 2012 at 8:02 am