Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

I spent last weekend in Charleston, WV, with my daughter, her husband and my two grandsons. They’re doing well. The same can’t be said about the state where they live. Nearly one in five people living in WV fall below the poverty line, which is $23,834 for a family of four. The percentage of children living …

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Haiti is a tough place to do business. The impoverished Caribbean nation ranks 181 of 190 countries analyzed by the World Bank. The cookstove business is tough, too. No one has built a profitable cookstove company at scale, even with subsidies. So why would anyone start a business making and selling cleaner cookstoves in Haiti? For Duquesne …

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I’m just back from a vacation in Tulum, Mexico. I found great places to eat using Trip Advisor (try El Tabano, above), and wrote several reviews once I got home. Trip Advisor’s a great service. So imagine, if you will, a nonprofit sector with its own Trip Advisor, a guide that would help donors, volunteers and …

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Listen to the customer. Businesses do it, albeit imperfectly. So do nonprofits. But the question for nonprofits is, who’s the customer? Most nonprofits listen to their donors. Those that raise money from individuals test their fundraising messages, and act on what they learn. Those that rely on foundations pay heed to what major philanthropies have …

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If, like me, you want to donate to the very best nonprofits–those that do the most good, at the lowest cost–Charity Navigator, the US’s most popular source of charity ratings, offers little help. Charity Navigator gives four stars, its top score, to 2,889 of the 7,971 charities that it evaluates. Nearly 4,000 more charities are …

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Several years ago, at Brainstorm Green, a conference on business and the environment that I co-chaired for Fortune magazine, Rick Ridgeway of Patagonia (the company) talked about Conservacion Patagonica, a nonprofit created by the late Doug Tompkins and his wife, Kris, that has protected more than 2 million acres of land and laid the groundwork for …

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Prizes have a strange hold on us. Some are just fun. (Cracker Jack has put a prize in the box since 1912.) Others create incentives that are intended to solve big problems.The Longitude Prize, established in 1714 by the British government, inspired clockmaker John Harrison to develop the marine chronometer, enabling ships to know their locations …

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