The following is a guest post by Jennifer Lentfer. Jennifer has worked with various international NGOs and philanthropies in east and southern Africa over the past decade, focusing on organizational development and learning. Currently, she is the creator/editor of www.how-matters.org, where this article originally appeared. How-matters.org is a blog site aimed at raising the level of human dignity within development assistance and putting real resources behind local means of overcoming obstacles.
The bottom line question for many donors is seemingly simple—How many people were reached? The smaller the program, the more easily-answered or easily-gathered the information is.
But the larger or more complex the program, the effort and amount of resources required to know and verify beneficiary numbers rises greatly. This often becomes a huge drain on financial and human resources, especially for under-resourced local organizations who act as the implementers of larger international non-governmental organizations.
The question then becomes, are…
Posted on June 13, 2011 at 4:00 am
While I’m on “sabbatical” I’m reposting some of my previous posts that readers may have missed.
“Hit the ground running”
As a Crisis Corps Volunteer (part of the US Peace Corps) I was sent back to Thailand to help with the tsunami recovery efforts. Before my departure Peace Corps sent out a press release which stated:
So essentially we were to go into a government office, work with them to determine needs, develop a program, find funding and resources, implement the program, and ensure that it was sustainable – all of this in the span of just six months – there
Posted on June 9, 2011 at 8:00 am
A few years ago, Fonase Banda, of Chikandwe Village, Malawi, was photographed with her daughter Milika by a major INGO. At the time, the two were told that the INGO would arrange for Milika to have a pen pal with someone internationally. The connection with the pen pal, however, was never made.
When I talked about this with Fonase and her husband Bauleni last year, at the start of the Perspectives of Poverty project, they were quite upset that nothing had happened. “We only see them driving in their trucks, but they do not come here,” they said.
As someone appalled by how rural Africans have been characterized in the media and in fundraising campaigns for INGOs, I began…
Posted on June 6, 2011 at 8:00 am
While I’m away I’m sharing reposts of previous posts I think would interest my readers. This post originally appeared in March of 2010.
In yesterday’s New York Times Nicholas Kristof proposed a solution to the critical shortage of debate teams and basketball coaches affecting developing countries.
In my mind, Teach for the World would be a one-year program placing young Americans in schools in developing countries. The Americans might teach English or computer skills, or coach basketball or debate teams.
The program would be open to Americans 18 and over. It could be used for a gap year between high school and college, but more commonly would offer a detour between college and graduate school or the real world
Actually, Kristof is not proposing a program in which Americans meet the needs of developing countries but instead is proposing a program in which
Posted on June 2, 2011 at 8:00 am
This guest post was written by Kate, a soon-to-be MBA grad determined to do good while doing well. She’s interested in how to increase giving to the highest-performing non-profits, and the intersection between for-profit and non-profit social innovation. She blogs at PhilanthroKate.
This guest post is to ask for your feedback on a potential donor education tool. I’m one of a team of four MBA students at Drexel University who won first place in the Liquidnet Impact Challenge. The focus of the competition was to come up with an idea to get more money to the most effective nonprofits by increasing the number of savvy donors who give based on research. We invested a lot of time, research, brainstorming, and deep thought into this competition, and came to really believe in our concept. So winning felt very good. We’ve been getting quite a bit of positive feedback…
Posted on May 30, 2011 at 8:00 am
As part of taking a break, I thought I’d go through and share posts that have remained in my draft file for one reason or another. I’d completely forgotten about this post. It’s some of the findings from a reader survey I conducted back in August of last year. My readership has doubled since then (it’s been a big year), I’m curious to know how this has affected readership. For more results from this survey read A few results from the reader survey.
Question #1 – How would you describe yourself
- Students – 31%
- Nonprofit staff member 24%
- Volunteer 23%
- Individual donor 20%
- Aid worker 16% (very few people identified themselves as both aid worker and non profit staff)
- Researcher 10%
These findings surprised me. My target audience is individual donors and donor advisers. It’s obvious that I’m not doing enough or the right things…
Posted on May 26, 2011 at 6:00 am
This guest post was written by Katherine Wertheim, CFRE. Katherine has been a professional fundraiser for more than 20 years, she blogs at Werth-It.
I admit it, I’m a dinosaur. When I first started fundraising, if I wanted to see a U.S. nonprofit’s tax filings, I had to go to the Foundation Center in Washington, D.C. and look it up on microfiche. I feel like I’m channeling my grandmother’s crotchety old voice: “You kids these days have it so easy. If you want to look up tax filings, you can go to www.guidestar.org and see them in seconds, anywhere in the world. In my day we had to use microfiche!” (End crotchety voice.)
But why would anyone want to look up the tax filings of a nonprofit organization, you might ask? Well, my answer is this: if you’re going to invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars…
Posted on May 23, 2011 at 8:08 am
This is yet another post that has lingered in my “draft” file for months. It was inspired by the post Peace Corps: America’s most extensive SWEDOW (stuff-we-don’t-want) operation? on Dave Algoso’s blog Find What Works.
I am essentially a Peace Corps poster child. I never set out to be one, it just happened. I was a Peace Corps volunteer, a Peace Corps Fellow (a program where returned Peace Corps volunteers receive their masters degrees while working), a Peace Corps recruiter or mini-strat (weirdest job title ever) and a Crisis Corps volunteer (a program where former volunteers are sent back to help in a crisis). Despite all these experiences – or perhaps because of them – I remain skeptical as to the cost/benefit of having a volunteer.
Here’s examples from my own experience. My first site specifically said they did not want a volunteer – yet I was placed there anyway.…
Posted on May 19, 2011 at 4:39 am
The car is packed and I’m off for a laid back job in Yellowstone National Park for the summer. My goal is to come back rejuvenated and reenergized in the fall.
While I’m away a new guest posts will be up every Monday (with the exception of this week) and either reposts or an occasional new post from this blog will be up every Thursday. There are still a few slots for guest posts in August and September, for more information see Taking a break.
I wish everyone a great summer and look forward to reconnecting in the fall.
Posted on May 15, 2011 at 6:09 am
Here’s my last link roundup before I head out. I can see from the number of posts that I let it go too long, sorry about that.
Donated dress and a struggling industry – TheStar.com
Minding our Qs and Ps: Questioning Power and Privilege in Philanthropy (version 1) - Can? We? Save? Africa?
How can we curb the proliferation of NGOs in a crisis? - The Guardian
Who gets the most remittances? – Foreign Policy - some surprising results
Mendacious crap . . . – Open The Echo Chamber - Takes on an op-ed giving misinformation on the cost of shipping food aid.
U.S. Leads Developed World…in Income Inequality – Government in the Lab
Barefoot in Church – How Matters – One persons experience on the receiving end of charity
How Africans Want to Be Seen – Scene
Posted on May 14, 2011 at 6:05 am