Citizen Philanthropy

The Huffington Post has joined with AssignmentZero to cover the 2008 Presidential campaign using citizen journalists.

AssignmentZero is trying "pro-am" journalism, matching professional editors with reporters, bloggers, community activists around the country. You get quality editorial selection with an unmatched reporting force in terms of scale, diversity, and access.

So, how about citizen philanthropy?

What if you took the best of grassroots activism - local knowledge, connections, networks, honesty - and hooked it up to thoughtful strategists who could step back and see broad trends, lessons from history, and make connections between areas of expertise? Take the ground-level analysis and due-diligence that Global Greengrants and/or GlobalGiving and/or GiveWell have developed and supported it with foundation-funded research, program analysis, and strategy development. You could:

  • Find a wider range of social change efforts and monitor them on the ground;
  • Share strategy, get feedback in real time and adjust;
  • Influence other people's money, driving more resources to effective actions and solving problems with proven solutions;
  • Spark a move toward quality and measures of success;
  • Reap a return on the foundation investments in research and administration across the philanthropic industry;
  • Aggregate philanthropic funds
Here's another analogy, sparked by conversation with several dozen grants managers today. Its like getting the best of Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Brittanica - we don't have to choose, citizen philanthropy can have the best of both.

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