Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

Ah, scale. Foundations, nonprofits, anti-poverty programs all pursue scale. Advice on how to scale abounds, in reports and articles like Getting to Scale, Strategies to Scale Up Social Programs and Three Things Every Growing Nonprofit Needs to Scale. But scale is not impact. Indeed, there’s often tension between the two. “If you have $1 million to spend, …

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Five years ago, a young foreign service officer named Daniel Handel arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, to begin a new assignment with USAID. Listening to NPR online, Handel heard a Planet Money story about the nonprofit GiveDirectly, called “The Charity That Just Gives People Money.” In the story, Paul Niehaus, a founder of GiveDirectly, which delivers …

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There’s not enough critical reporting about philanthropy.  It can feel churlish and even uncharitable to find fault with those who seek to serve others, particularly when they do so with a big heart and the best intentions. The trouble is, as the poet Robert Burns observed in To a Mouse: The best laid schemes o’ …

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Helping the world’s poorest people escape poverty is, in principle, a simple matter: Give them cash! The trouble is, there are too many of them: About 700 million people — more than twice as many people as live in the US — are thought to live on less than $1.90 a day, according to best estimates …

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Of the countless well-meaning efforts to help the world’s poor, only sixteen are currently endorsed by GiveWell, a meta-charity that rigorously investigates nonprofits. Three of those are run by a little-known nonprofit called Evidence Action. This is no accident. While GiveWell evaluates programs and Evidence Action operates them, their values are aligned: Both seek to …

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The onslaught began last week. “Mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday,” said the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “One week until #GivingTuesday,” said SHOFCO. Triple your gift! Double your impact! An estimated 35,000 nonprofits participate, according to New York’s 92nd St Y, which launched Giving Tuesday in 2012. Does #GivingTuesday do good? That’s …

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Social entrepreneur Leila Janah is a regular on the do-good circuit: She’s been to the Clinton Global Initiative, the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Fortune Global Forum, SOCAP, BSR, SXSW and Tedx. She’s a media darling. She’s got a new book out. But what has she accomplished? Let’s have a look. There’s lots to admire about …

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