The Nonprofit Hippocratic Oath
A headline in a recent Kellogg Insight grabbed me, in part because of the many conversations I’ve had of late, and partly because it is a question that, in various forms, I am constantly trying to get nonprofit staff and boards to ask of themselves.
The headline reads: “Why Well-Meaning NGOs Often Do More Harm Than Good.” The variations on this theme that I ask of staff and boards go something like this: Should a nonprofit that does more harm than good continue to be Read more
Making the Band-Aid Stick
One of the enjoyable debates I have with students, and those who are philanthropically minded, is about addressing root causes vs. applying band-aids. It often flows from a mention of Andrew Carnegie and his philosophy on giving and the responsibilities of the wealthy, much of which is laid out in his “The Gospel of Wealth.” His thinking makes it easy to jump to the question of whether to fund organizations that work at eradicating the root causes of society’s problems or those that provide band-aids Read more
The Solution or Part of the Problem?
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to 35 international who had spent the last three weeks travelling this country meeting with, hearing from and listening to nonprofits, funders, community partners, etc. They were here through the International Visitor Leadership Program, sponsored by the State Department, with the goal of learning all they could about American nonprofits. I was their wrap- up/integration session before their next day departure. I always enjoy when I’m invited to address invited guests of State. The experience is always Read more
Peter Buffet, meet Andrew Carnegie.
Peter, one of Warren Buffet’s sons, has been “trending” of late due to the op-ed piece he had in The New York Times recently. He makes two very prescient observations that are likely to cause many well-intentioned philanthropists to shudder. I hope, however, that once the shudder stopped coursing up and down their spines, they, and all of the other philanthropists who read his piece, paused to really think about his point.
Point one, he talks about “philanthropic colonialism”—the philanthropists “urge to save Read more