Fresco by Allessandro Allori. “Odysseus’s boat passing between the six-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. Scylla has plucked Five of Odysseus’s men from the boat.” Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Amanda Levinson
Oct 29, 2017 · 10 min read

“So,” one asked, “Why aren’t you a nonprofit?”

Donor focus on frugality in the nonprofit sector is the wrong barometer of impact.

A “purpose only” mentality stifles the ability of NGOs to scale their impact.

“IDEALS” is one of 12 boulders in Gloucester, MA, carved by Roger Babson with imperatives to do things work, save, and be on time. Copyright Ellen Lefavour.

The focus on profits for social startups sacrifices long-term achievement at the altar of quick gains.

What if we flipped the script and made our interactions with nonprofits and businesses about the pathway to solving problems, rather than about the pathway to frugality or profits?

Like Tantalus, we keep reaching for those fruits that always seem to be just beyond reach. (Gioacchino Assereto [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

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Amanda Levinson

Written by

Co-founder of NeedsList.co, a marketplace for humanitarian aid. Mom to autistic & NT boys. Optimist. Nomad.

NeedsList

NeedsList

NeedsList is the world’s first marketplace for communities in crisis. We connect you with ways to directly support the most effective organizations providing support to displaced people worldwide. Give global, buy local.