If your NPO does work overseas, might be worth pondering the risks again

If your ministry recruits staff and sends them overseas to carry out your programs, you might want to spend a bit more time thinking about the risks your staff face. A court ruling in Norway found a charity liable for the physical injuries, psychological harm, and aftercare of a staffer who was kidnapped in Continue reading

Arguments in favor of harmful aid

Blogger “J” writing at AidSpeak recently experienced another round of lousy arguments in favor of harmful aid. He developed an inventory of the bad arguments in play. I’ve mentioned “J” a number of times on my blog. He has helped me stretch my understanding in general and especially on the difference between doing aid well Continue reading

Before you get too far in planning that short term mission trip….

….read Once more, from the top at AidSpeak. The author, “J”, wrote the article It’s a Crappy World, that I mentioned here. The article discusses, then demolishes, a number of the arguments for volunteers going overseas to help. Here’s just a few thoughts for your consideration: Aid and development are professions, not hobbies. It Continue reading

Trying to make the world less miserable is complicated and messy

One of the big reasons I blog is to help me sort out this big, complicated, messy world. “J”, an anonymous blogger and novelist at AidSpeak, helps in general and especially with his recent post It’s a Crappy World. He points out 5 of the tensions and paradoxes of the aid and development world. Continue reading

The world is complicated – the ‘you-can’t-even-just-hand-out-a-wad-of-cash’ chapter

I don’t understand why, but there has been a lot of tweeting in the twitter world about the wonders of addressing poverty by just giving everyone a handful of cash. That would make a number of aid issues a lot easier to deal with. However….. The world is complicated. Everything has unexpected side issues. Continue reading

Another unsettling thing I’ve learned while blogging – the definition of poverty p0rn

If you want to stretch your brain farther than you thought possible, start blogging. You can stop laughing now. As a cautious, restrained, introverted CPA, it is usually a half-inch journey to travel the entire distance of my comfort zone. Starting my own business stretched that zone. Blogging shredded it. One of the opened frontiers Continue reading

Time to un-mis-educate donors about what efficiency looks like

The phrase un-mis-educate is coined by “J” in a post, Rethinking Efficiency, at AidSpeak. J suggests one of the reasons NPOs (NGOs for my international readers) are under so much pressure on overhead ratios is that NPOs have spent a generation mis-educating donors that organization X is better than Y because 90% or 98% Continue reading

Two more cautions on how to interpret overhead ratios

Came across two more articles reminding us to be careful in how we use overhead ratios to assess nonprofits. The functional allocation is a useful tool but needs to used and interpreted carefully. Meaningless Fractions is a guest post at AidSpeak from Fredrick. His concern is that the way overhead ratios are emphasized creates confusion Continue reading