News & CommentaryArchive
Apr 22, 2010
Some thoughts on Day 3 of the Global Philanthropy Forum including sessions on “flexible funding” and on measurement and metrics. I came away from the latter more discouraged than encouraged because it seemed that everyone needed to genuflect to the idea that randomized control trials, the gold standard of measurement, were too expensive, too narrow, too hard or just useless. If the sector continues to cast aspersions on the best tool we have for measurement, I despair that metrics will ever be used to make wise decisions rather than to justify what we already want to do.
Apr 21, 2010
The morning plenary of Day Two of the Global Philanthropy Forum focused on Global Health with presenters from the Gates Foundation, the Global Health Council and the White Ribbon Alliance. For me, it illuminated a lot of the core tensions in philanthropy, what you might call philanthropy’s cognitive dissonance. Actually it would probably be better termed philanthropy’s lack of cognitive dissonance. The presenters were saying quite different things, often contradictory, yet no one seemed to notice.
Apr 20, 2010
The most important thing about Singer’s steps is that they are all modeled on successful, cheap initiatives in other industries that didn’t require everyone to come to the table and agree in the first place. They are examples of individuals and organizations just starting their work and then getting others to join them. If we can replicate those successes in the nutrition space, we can fix this problem. We don’t need new innovations in nutrition, we just need to use the ones that are already there.
Apr 15, 2010
The past few weeks have provided some insight into the impact of rigorous evaluation of philanthropic programs on charities, donors and policymakers. Unfortunately those insights show that we’ve still got a long ways to go if the goal is evidence-based philanthropy and policy.
Mar 24, 2010
Recent posts at Stanford Social Innovation Review and Harvard Business Review cover Obama’s missed opportunity with his donation of the Nobel prize money and the coming P2P revolution in philanthropy.
Mar 22, 2010
Last Week, the Aid Watchers blog named it’s winners of the best and worst in aid for the last year. We’re proud to be named among the winners—all of whom are groups aiming to help people give better.
Mar 12, 2010
Good teachers are not born. Instead, research increasingly shows that effective teachers consistently possess attainable knowledge about their subjects and take specific actions in the classroom that promote student learning.
Mar 02, 2010
Some new materials on measuring the unmeasureable in philanthropy.
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.