The Case Against Philanthropic Donations
.hj barraza
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This is perhaps a well intended article, but has several straw-men and blind assumptions that need to done away with. One can never presume to know the intention is behind a corporate donation. You can make them for all sorts of reason outside of direct monetizable ROI. There are times when grants are what’s called for in a corporation’s toolbox of CSR or philanthropic engagement, there are others when impact investment makes more sense. Another problem is the assumptions that NGO’s do not have capacity to do impact reporting (measuring, evaluating and reporting on what donor dollars are making possible in particular communities). For the past ten years or so this has been a major issue that the NGO community has started to make major headway on. Another problem is your characterization of the limits of profit under NGO models and the concomitant idea that social enterprises (by virtue of their more likely profitability) are more likely to have a positive social impact than an NGO. Its a reasonable assumption under certain conditions but completely unverified and unverifiable given the diversity of NGO and social enterprise models that exist worldwide. You’d be better defining clearly what type of NGO model you’re referring to in which legal & corporate environment and sticking with that as you greatly underestimate the diversity of the field globally. I agree with a lot of the assertions about focus on symptoms with many NGO, but again, this is less and less there has been more focus and focusing of NGO work on measurable impact. Its never been a one way dialogue, this a been a dialogue between the various elements of the philanthropic sector, corporations, wealthy individuals, foundations and major NGOs.

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