Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact

Nonprofits often talk about inequality. Rarely do they talk about inequality in the nonprofit sector. But it’s a problem. Scale begets scale in the nonprofit world. Big nonprofits, with their brand names and hefty marketing budgets, grow faster than small ones, even when the smaller ones are demonstrably more effective. The rich get richer; the rest …

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AmazonSmile brings to mind the observation of late great media critic A.J. Liebling about The New York Times’ fundraising campaigns on behalf of its Neediest Cases.  “Readers are invited to send in money,” Liebling wrote, “while the newspaper generously agrees to accept the thanks of the beneficiaries.” AmazonSmile is bit like that. The website, created by Amazon.com in 2013, offers …

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We don’t have comprehensive ratings or rankings of the best nonprofits, and we probably never will. You can’t compare Harvard to Carnegie Hall to the DC Central Kitchen in a meaningful way. But, by using evidence, it is possible to identify nonprofits that have a positive impact at a reasonable cost. That’s what the Center …

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Advertising changes behavior. Why else would brands pay as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl? But measuring the impact of advertising, particularly in traditional media, is an inexact science at best. (“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted,” retailer John Wanamaker famously said. “I just don’t know …

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Funny, how timing is everything. Peter Singer, the Princeton professor, ethicist and author who has been called the world’s most influential living philosopher, laid out the principles of what is now known as Effective Altruism in a succinct 1972 essay called Famine, Affluence and Morality. “If it is in our power to prevent something very bad …

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Imagine that you are walking down the street, and a friendly, attractive young woman with a clipboard, wearing a T-Shirt that says Dazzling Cosmetics, asks for a moment of your time. She represents a beauty products company looking for investors. Will MacAskill lays out the rest of this thought experiment: She tells you about how …

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In a 1972 essay called Fame, Affluence and Morality, Peter Singer, the philosopher and intellectual leader of the Effective Altruism movement, wrote:  If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, then we ought, morally, to do it. Nearly 40 years later, Singer made …

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