Bookmark This: 5 Articles We Read In April

April 18, 2019

The only thing better than consuming good content is sharing it with others. Here are five pieces we came across recently that are worth the read:

  1. A Charity Accepts Uber Stock as Donations. Then Uses It to Pay Staff Bonuses. Is That OK?

This riveting piece from the New York Times looks at Charity: water’s innovative model, and the controversies surrounding it from the philanthropic perspective.

“We’ve been trying to reinvent and reimagine charity,” said Scott Harrison, Charity: water’s founder and chief executive officer. “The vision is to build a super transparent organization that looks more like Apple or Nike than my grandparents’ beige charity.”

  1. Winning the War on Poverty

This op-ed about Canada’s multi-sector network approach to reduce poverty, spearheaded in part by the Tamarack Institute. (Spoiler alert: it’s working)

“In the beginning it’s as if everybody is swimming in polluted water. People are sluggish, fearful, isolated, looking out only for themselves. But when people start working together across sectors around a common agenda, it’s like cleaning the water. Communities realize they can do more for the poor. The poor realize they can do more for themselves. New power has been created, a new sense of agency.”

  1. Back to Fundraising Basics as United Way’s Role Becomes Increasingly Murky

This piece from Nonprofit Quarterly takes a critical look at the declining role of United Way amidst shifts in fundraising trends.

“United Way’s increasingly desperate attempts to get between the donor and the “citizen giver” under the guise of providing the donor what he or she wants, even while cozying up to corporations who give the higher amounts…well, it may work for them in the short run, but it likely won’t work for all of us in the long run.”

  1. How Philanthropy “Captures” Social Movements: An Interview with Megan Ming Francis

This conversation with University of Washington political scientist, Megan Ming Francis, dives into “movement capture” and the complicated relationship between activists and their funders.

“I’m not sure what will happen in two years, in five years, and in ten years in terms of the relationship between these activists and these funders,” Francis said, discussing Black Lives Matter activists and their funders. “I’m not sure if a process of movement capture will happen. I’m probably most concerned about the subverting or the cooptation of activists’ goals and visions about how to fight and secure freedom in the contemporary moment.”

  1. The Fetish of Agreement

This thought-provoking piece looks at the “fetish” of agreement within the nonprofit sector, and why it’s actually okay — and even preferred — to disagree.

“In my consulting work, particularly with networks or platforms, most of the presented challenges disappear after I offer that they move beyond needing to agree on everything. Without fail, every time I suggest this, there is a sigh of relief and expansion of possibility. A reframe is made possible where differences are allowed to be and even designed for.”