There are 172 entries in this category.
Feb 26, 2010
The images of people being rescued from the rubble in Haiti by international search and rescue teams were inspiring and have led some to call for more investment in search and rescue teams. But looking at the data, I think that’s exactly the wrong lesson from the experience in Haiti. As a public health practitioner, and someone dedicated to outcomes measurement, it seems likely to me that SAR-focused relief efforts improperly subordinate the good of the many to the good of a very few. In other words, there are much better ways to direct disaster relief than SAR.
Feb 24, 2010
What should people do who want to help Haiti’s children?
Jan 25, 2010
In an earlier post I argued that donors pushing for better measurement and accountability might not be as effective as non-profit employees pushing for those same reforms internally, but Mario Morino of Venture Philanthropy Partners takes it one step further and says external pressure might actually be detrimental.
Jan 22, 2010
As I see more and more advice on giving to Haiti appear, I’ve begun to wonder: how will we know if this proliferation of good advice has had an impact on the Haitian relief and recovery effort? What metrics will tell us that donors to Haiti and the nonprofits working there learned the lessons of the tsunami, Katrina, and Nargis?
Dec 21, 2009
Recently I was listening to Rory Stewart’s The Places In Between, the story of his walk across Afghanistan. Near the end of the book Stewart turns his attention to the aid agencies, public and private, that had come rushing into Afghanistan. His observations are worthwhile reading for anyone interested in making international aid more effective, so I’m excerpting them here.
Dec 04, 2009
None of the efforts to evaluate charities’ effectiveness are perfect and none of them provide a quick answer—but givers also have to understand that if they want their dollars to do the most good, they are going to have to devote some time to investigating and learning. You can make a quick donation or an effective donation. If your emphasis is on quick, you’re likely to get a commensurate return on the dollars you’ve invested.
Dec 01, 2009
Picking a charity based on the lowest overhead ratio is like buying the cheapest car that money can buy. You might spend less in the short run but it’s inevitably going to let you down.The question donors should be asking is, “How much of your budget are you spending on making sure your programs are effective?“
Nov 16, 2009
Impatient optimists are like investors in subprime mortgages in 2007. They can be so blinded by the upside that they fail to do their due diligence. In the end, their impatience and pursuit of outsize returns fuels waste and disappointment. Patient optimists, by contrast, have lowered their expectations of any particular program or intervention, but not their belief in a better world over the long term. If we’re going to succeed in making the world a better place, we need to convince more people to lower their expectations, too.
Nov 13, 2009
If you would only give to an intermediary in order to help someone on the street outside your home, why do you want to do away with intermediaries between you and a person on the other side of the world whose circumstances you don’t understand at all?
Nov 11, 2009
For substantially less than $10 million you can have a big impact on climate change by using the tools of behavioral economics to help individuals conserve energy. Specifically the widespread deployment of real-time use meters and commitment contracts can help people who want to save energy meet their goals—and it requires very little external funding.