Harvard MBAs biggest opportunity for career impact? Giving their money away.

A guest post by Steve Hind, an Agora User and Harvard MBA c/o 2016, originally on Medium.

In a few short weeks, the 900+ students of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2016 will graduate. There is no doubt that these remarkable people will do great things in the world. But most likely, few will become CEOs of Fortune 500 corporations. Fewer still will be wildly successful entrepreneurs. Chances are, their efforts will improve the world without having a truly remarkable marginal impact.

We should be measured on our marginal impact.

Continue reading “Harvard MBAs biggest opportunity for career impact? Giving their money away.”

Global Philanthropy: Will China become a leader in giving?

To date, China has been extremely un-charitable. 

China ranks second-to-last according to the global charitable index (2015).

Global Giving 2015

Individuals in America give about 20x more than those in China in absolute terms ($300bn vs $15bn) and 10x more as a percentage of total GDP (US: 1.7%, China 0.15%), according to the latest available data.

However, giving in China is growing rapidly. 

Continue reading “Global Philanthropy: Will China become a leader in giving?”

It’s Time To Open Source Philanthropy

How technology is solving the most fundamental issue in the nonprofit sector: transparency.

You want to be an effective and impactful donor, but how do you know the value created by a donated dollar? In traditional, for-profit markets, returns are easily calculated and understood: riskier investments offer the reward of larger financial profit, while less risky ones offer more modest returns.

With donating, on the other hand, the ‘returns’ are difficult to quantify. Too often, the ‘social returns’ donors receive are dominated by marketing and storytelling rather than data. The challenge lies in determining which nonprofits donors should entrust with your donations so that they produce the greatest impact in the causes you care about.

Continue reading “It’s Time To Open Source Philanthropy”

How Much Does It Cost to Give a Drink of Clean Water?

A guest post by Jacob Falkovich, Agora Research Fellow

Not a Drop to Drink

How much does water cost? I could purchase my water in the form of Voss mineral water, a $3.99 bottle supplies me with about a third of the drinking water I need per day. I drink New York tap water instead, at $0.00451 a gallon I feel like I’m getting a great deal. Once in my life, I spent a few months living in a tent and having to walk a couple minutes to fill an old canteen with water that was a little bit… dusty. But it didn’t suck too much.

Continue reading “How Much Does It Cost to Give a Drink of Clean Water?”

Click, Click, Give

Five ways nonprofits can start unlocking trillions of dollars in potential donations from younger individual donors.

Posted by Stanford Social Innovation Review, on 12/28/15

Millennials are unlike any generation to date. They think about impact, act on the move, and communicate as digital natives. By 2020, an estimated $100 billion dollars annually will flow from young donors into the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits who speak to them in their native language, communicate with technology, and offer them a wide range of ways to engage will benefit from this massive giving potential.

Continue reading “Click, Click, Give”

Malaria, One Trick Ponies and Lasting Change

A guest post from Julia Wise, previously posted on Giving Gladly.

I’m reading the latest debate about narrow vs. systemic charitable interventions.  Scratching a mosquito bite, I’m reminded of a public health intervention that took place in my own country.

When my grandparents were growing up, the American South was still plagued by malaria (or ague, as it was often called.)  And what was the effect of the disease?

Continue reading “Malaria, One Trick Ponies and Lasting Change”

The thing on your Thanksgiving table to be the most thankful for

What are you most thankful for this year?  Of the things on your table, the item that may actually be the most important may be what you take most for granted – micronutrients.

Micronutrients include things like iron, Vitamin A, and iodine, which are consumed naturally in our diet and also included in some of the foods we buy, such as iodized salt.  Much of the world lacks access to these important ingredients, and micronutrient deficiency is one of the leading causes of malnourishment and hunger.

Continue reading “The thing on your Thanksgiving table to be the most thankful for”

This holiday season, give the gift of clean water.

Did you know out of every ten people, one lacks access to drinking water, and three lack access to sanitation?

Water and sanitation are two of the most critical elements required to save lives and lift the global poor out of poverty.  The consequences of water-related diseases cause 6% of all deaths globally. Interventions are known and proven, and highly cost-effective: estimates suggest donating $1 to water and sanitation results in between $5 to over $40 in economic benefits.  

The widespread lack of global sanitation and water is surprisingly simple to address.  Highly effective nonprofits such as Water for People can provide those in need with clean water for an entire year for roughly one dollar.  Groups like Sanergy  and IDE are developing new solutions to provide the urban poor with toilets and sanitation.  These highly effective nonprofits tend to spend less on marketing and outreach to donors, which makes them hard to find – but high impact to support.

So this Thanksgiving, give thanks for one of the things we tend to take most for granted – clean water.  And, consider giving water to those in need by clicking here.

Continue reading “This holiday season, give the gift of clean water.”

How to be an effective donor

You want to make the world better. Where do you start?

Let’s look at what donors with the most resources choose to do. Major donors – those giving over say, $100 million per year – generally follow these three steps:

  1. Build a framework for their goals and mission
  2. Determine what actions and interventions will help them achieve those goals
  3. Find top nonprofits that can achieve these actions at a reasonable cost and with a reasonable degree of effectiveness (or pay groups to set up new programs if nothing currently exists).

This is called developing a Theory of Change.  

Continue reading “How to be an effective donor”

How do you choose where to give?

One of the most challenging things facing a donor is that the quality of a nonprofit’s website or annual gala often has nothing to do with the actual impact they are having on the ground. We’re used to consumer markets, where if you see a nice storefront or website you expect the quality of the product you purchase to be high. But in those markets, the payer is the same as the end recipient of the product, so companies have to invest in ensuring their output matches their marketing materials. The nonprofit sector is much harder to navigate, because the payer (donor) is not the person who receives the end product.

Continue reading “How do you choose where to give?”