Jennifer Lentfer's Blog (168)

How much does the US government spend on global development? (And 4 other things you might not know)

Few would disagree that the aim of US foreign assistance to developing countries must be to help people help themselves. But did you know…?

1)   Foreign assistance is a bargain.

For the last few years, the US devoted just 0.7 percent of the federal budget to poverty-focused foreign assistance. In FY2014, the US government spent $23.4 billion on it…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on April 2, 2014 at 8:00am — 3 Comments

Guide to Storytelling

Stories matter to people, and when you get one that really hits, it’s incredibly powerful – irresistible even.

Americans alone spent over 34 billion dollars to watch movies in 2010. 

Story is about connection.

Stories are containers—holding experiences, history, and values.…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 18, 2014 at 9:26am — No Comments

40 ways to help your organization survive tough financial times

By Isaac Roy Kyeyune, Director at FIND Partners International in Kampala. (This originally appeared as a guest post on how-matters.org.)

The year 2013 saw trends that are changing resource politics for civil society. These are a wakeup call to not only strengthen, but diversity your…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 28, 2014 at 7:00am — 2 Comments

The global development "players"

"The development landscape has never been more cluttered than it is today," wrote Marc Bellemare in Foreign Affairs last week.

"Oh great, what have I missed?" I thought, as I had already prepared my intro lecture for International Development Communications. The industry exists, fueled by…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 13, 2014 at 9:48pm — 1 Comment

How would you teach "international development" to public relations/communications students?

2014 begins a new endeavor - my first foray into teaching. Beginning this week, I'll be leading International Development Communications at Georgetown University's Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications program. The class is associated with the Center for Social Impact…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 6, 2014 at 8:45am — 2 Comments

“Create” nothing: A new social good mantra

Aid workers and development practitioners, how many times have you seen a paragraph like this in a proposal?

“Community Mobilization: To ensure communities are… community management committees (CMCs) will be formed. Based on accepted cultural practice, CMCs will be chosen by the community members themselves with strong encouragement on establishing a gender-balanced CMC. The CMC will represent the community and be responsible for ensuring effective community…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 25, 2013 at 10:47am — 2 Comments

Wanted: Films that illustrate how aid works

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The Social Impact Media Awards, organized by DEEDA Productions, have announced their 2nd annual call for submissions for their juried 2014 awards. Filmmakers and do-gooders, show us your video-based products that portray people grappling with the realities of aid programs on the ground!

SIMA is looking for…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 21, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments

Who’s thinking about social change?

We are! Are you?

I’m in Johannesburg this week for the Barefoot Guide 4! Twenty-eight participants from 16 countries are here in a collaborative "Writeshop" to lay the foundations for the next Barefoot Guide. We’re writing a book (or is it?) entitled, “The Real Work of Social Change.”…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 20, 2013 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Moving day: An aid analogy

What does it feel like to be a citizen on the receiving end of international aid? Here’s an analogy to try to help do-gooders understand:

Let’s say you’re moving across town. You have to be out of your old apartment by 5pm that day. You’ve got the boxes already packed and the moving van rented. All you need is some muscle to help you move the heavy stuff. You ask your friend to come over early. The plan is to…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 23, 2013 at 7:49am — No Comments

From one Cornhusker to another: Peter Buffett, philanthropy, and how we can frame the dialogue

Dear Mr. Buffett,

The charitable industrial-complex, philanthropic colonialism, conscience laundering and inequality – these are topics a fellow Nebraskan like me wants to have more conversations about. So that’s why I was glad to read your New York Times op-ed this weekend, the …

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 1, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments

Time to listen? Time to address our personal barriers

When Time to Listen: Hearing people on the receiving end of international aid came out earlier this year, I was excited to see how many organizations, including my own, were interacting with the multi-year study and its authors. (See previous how-matters.org…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 26, 2013 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Something "knowing thyself" requires

When emotional intelligence is missing in a leader, everyone knows it. Ian Thorpe on KM on a dollar a day yesterday discussed the elements of this and the challenges in developing one's self-awareness in aid work, a subject near and dear to this blog as well.

He describes it as, "recognizing and understanding who you are and…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 19, 2013 at 8:37am — No Comments

Spotting community ownership: A reminder

These days I spend more of my time talking country ownership than community ownership, but they are one in the same, just at different units of analysis.

So reposting a part of "Spotting Community Ownership" to remind myself as much as anyone.

***

The processes of decision-making within…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on June 18, 2013 at 8:47am — No Comments

Preserving the "I don't know" within big data

My main concern with an increasing reliance on big data is that the space for possibility and the need for control or certainty too often operate in an inverse relationship. In international aid and philanthropy, our work is often focused on unanswered questions. But are some unanswerable questions?…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 28, 2013 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

I just came from Haiti too...

A blog comes in handy at times, like when Nora Schenkel's piece in the New York Times yesterday was not open for comments. "I Came to Haiti to Do Good..." is one of those pieces that elicits mixed feelings for me as I just came from Haiti just last week.…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 17, 2013 at 9:02am — 2 Comments

7 things you need to speak truth to power

Financial mismanagement. Lay-offs of local and international staff. Inappropriate conduct by leadership. Finally, a visit planned from headquarters to see what’s going on. What do you do?

A superior continues to make passes at you. You find out you’re paid less than someone doing your exact same job. Someone takes undue credit for work you did.

The rules don’t…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 16, 2013 at 6:41am — 1 Comment

To change the world, you need a pulse.

No matter how self-aware we are when we come into international aid, philanthropy, or social enterprise, most people, especially in the beginning, operate from a worldview in which change in poor people’s lives is possible with our help.

As I've written before, the jury is still out on this in my mind.

In my career, I have…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 5, 2013 at 4:24pm — No Comments

The Power of No

Imagine not being able to turn away from a problem that you see in this world. You are compelled by a sense of responsibility, passion, and the audacity to believe that you can do something about that problem. You have decided to take the leap and start an organization, an initiative, or a social enterprise.

To do so, you of course need resources. You don’t have them. You have to ask those with money to invest in you.

Imagine sitting across the table from a potential donor,…

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 31, 2013 at 7:00am — 1 Comment

Leading From Love: The attentiveness that brought accountability

A guest post on how-matters.org by Rajasvini Bhansali

It had been six months since I started my new role as a management advisor for a network of youth polytechnics[1] in rural Kenya. The Wakamba village elders in Maseki village where I lived had named me Mutanu meaning “one who smiles a lot.” My career, coursework, and …

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 30, 2013 at 11:10am — 4 Comments

Not your usual listening exercise: 6000 people's perceptions of aid delivery

A guest post on how-matters.org by Mike Keller, a self-described aid agnostic.

When a friend recently pointed my attention to Time to Listen: Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid, a “book” by an organization that I’d never heard of, …

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Added by Jennifer Lentfer on January 24, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

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