What should we talk about?

I've been away for quite awhile, vacationing and working in Australia, Canada, and several U.S. cities. All that time on planes means I've got a lot on my mind. Here's an opportunity for some reader feedback - please post a comment on which of the following you'd like me to rant about. Most (or most interesting comments) will determine next posts:

1) The possibilities for philanthropy represented in the Omidyar's recent $100 million gift to Tufts (Not your father's Alma Mater donation)

2) What Microsoft's shift to selling internet services might portend (Windows Live! Office Live! Philanthropy Live?)

3) All those big technology changes and huge gifts are fine, but what about the rest of us? (Cool philanthropic activities for the little people)

Stay tuned....


Rob Johnston said...

Missteps in corporate philanthropy. Amazon.com joined Stanford for the Nonprofit Innovation Award. They proceeded to give the prize (matching $790,000 in online donations) to the one nominee that is based on online donations, serves schools in the US, and had built a program to support schools affected by Katrina.

The result of this design is that DonorsChoose (one of the ten fine candidates) now claims the "most innovative" crown, even though it was merely fortunate to be the recipient of a number of supporting circumstances.

Issues to explore: 1) transparency. Amazon had people vote with their gifts. They will not release the results of the nine organizations that did not win. If I gave to KaBoom, hoping my gift would be matched, I would want to know how it did (and how another org beat it). 2) accountability. The organizations in the contest were not given the names of the donors until after the three month contest was over. As a result many were not able to thank donors for gifts given months before. Also, Amazon withheld email addresses in a contest that many saw as a chance to build online donors. 3) match of process with intent. Stanford assembled a worldclass selection committee and narrowed nearly 1,000 entries to ten innovative finalists. Amazon then put those ten into an online "give-off" to see which was the most innovative. Perhaps they should have celebrated the group of innovators and encouraged gifts to the pool. Perhaps they should have asked for votes on some substantial criteria and given a "peoples' choice" award.

I have posted a few items on this contest. See Amazon finalists chosen and How to improve the Amazon Nonprofit Innovation Award.

Also, you seem to be the victim of some posting spam. See the comments on these two stories.
Follow the Irish.

Sridhar Raamalingam (sridhar.raamalingam@gmail.com) said...

Dear Sir,

I am looking for donations to help clear my liabilities to help me lead a life of sufficiency from now.

Wondering if you or anyone else you know would be willing to help me.

You can write to me at my email address for details. I am willing to work with you to let you be convinced that the money wont be abused.

Thank you for your time.