Category: strategic philanthropy

Effective Altruism Probably Isn't

Effective Altruism Probably Isn't
Last Sunday’s New York Times included a column by economist Tyler Cowen lauding the currently fashionable notion of “effective altruism.”  The Nonprofiteer responded to Professor Cowen in an e-mail she reproduces here in full: Dear Mr. Cowen, Your August 16 article lauding “effective altruism” failed to note the central weakness of this form of economic... Read more »

The Myth of Nonprofit Sustainability

The Myth of Nonprofit Sustainability
The myth of nonprofit sustainability dogs every charity in the sector. Not only must we have world-changing ideas and sound plans for how to execute them, we must know how to continue executing them indefinitely—even before we’ve started. So a 21-gun salute to this guy, who has finally said aloud what we’ve all been thinking.... Read more »

Who's missing from the education conversation? Parents, students, non-AFT teachers and progressive philanthropy

Who's missing from the education conversation?  Parents, students, non-AFT teachers and progressive philanthropy
Who’s missing from the education conversation?  Parents, students, non-AFT teachers and progressive philanthropy.  Is it possible that lack of representation pre-determines the outcome? Thanks to our colleague Rick Cohen at the Nonprofit Quarterly for his sound critique of a Forbes-sponsored forum on the subject.
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Generosity or Democracy: Beneficiaries Are Not Citizens

Generosity or Democracy: Beneficiaries Are Not Citizens
This op-ed from Sunday’s New York Times is the clearest assessment yet of the troubling choice posed by our reliance on private donors to supply public goods: generosity or democracy?  Of course we’re grateful for assistance in the fight against malaria, or in efforts to improve our parks; but when we’re always depending on the... Read more »

Julian Bond, Julius Rosenwald and the best way to do philanthropy

Julian Bond, Julius Rosenwald and the best way to do philanthropy
Over on another site, my thoughts about Julian Bond, Julius Rosenwald and the best way to do philanthropy.  If any of the Nonprofiteer’s readers happen to have control over any large pots of money, she hopes they’ll consider following the Rosenwald example. Yes, there’s the “go big and then go home” part–facing today’s needs is... Read more »

What social entrepreneurship won't do (and its advocates won't tell you about)

What social entrepreneurship won’t do: This piece is a particularly acute account of the way things work, or don’t, in the nonprofit sector. The money graf, for the Nonprofiteer’s money: An uncomfortable truth: there are important social goods that nobody really wants to pay for. If you’re selling a product like an iPhone or a... Read more »
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First World Problems Need Solutions, Too

First World Problems Need Solutions, Too
A newcomer to the nonprofit sector recently mentioned to the Nonprofiteer that one of his co-workers, an immigrant from Pakistan, dismissed most of Newbie’s concerns as “First World Problems.” This is in keeping with a recent spate of articles and books claiming that the only charity worthy of the name is alleviation of poverty in... Read more »

Cash Transfers to Poor People: Is the simplest solution the best?

Cash Transfers to Poor People: Is the simplest solution the best?
Check out this fascinating piece about how well cash transfers –the simple process of providing money directly to poor people–seem to work. In addition to the program results, the article offers a quick summary of attitudes about poverty from the left and the right, each of which (the article suggests) makes the problem more complicated... Read more »

Strategic Philanthropy Exposed As Nonsense: Just Write the Damn Check!

Bill Schambra’s takedown of so-called strategic philanthropy is delicious, and completely accurate.  While it’s a great idea to search for root causes of social problems, many of them don’t have a single cause.  Or if they do, it’s a cause not curable by philanthropy, e.g. poverty. The essence of his argument: Having a lot of... Read more »
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    Nonprofiteer

    The Nonprofiteer is Kelly Kleiman, principal of NFP Consulting, which provides Board development, strategic planning and fund-raising services to charities and philanthropies. Through her consulting practice and in her guise as The Nonprofiteer, Kelly has spent the past 25-plus years helping small and mid-sized nonprofits organize themselves better and raise more money. These days she focuses especially on helping them use high-skill volunteers. Kelly is also a lawyer and freelance journalist whose reportage and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and other dailies; in magazines including In These Times and Chicago Philanthropy; in the alternative press; on websites including the Huffington Post; and on the radio, including the BBC and WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. She and her fellow "Dueling Critic" Jonathan Abarbanel present a weekly podcast of their reviews of Chicago theater at DuelingCritics.net. Earlier in her career she was dean of admissions of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and Executive Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and practiced real estate and zoning law with the firm of Rudnick & Wolfe. Kelly holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago. She was a founding Board member of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits and also served for 5 years on the Board of the Association for Women Journalists–Chicago. She can be reached ("Dear Nonprofiteer . . .") at KellyNFP@yahoo.com.

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