Definition of a briefcase (or suitcase) NGO: A fraudulent nonprofit organization, set up by only one or two persons, only to obtain money from donors but having no programs on the ground.
I have long suspected that the phenomena of briefcase NGOs is not as widespread as purported. (See robust discussion on the topic of briefcase NGOs via LinkedIn here.) Anecdotal evidence,…Continue
This post originally appeared on how-matters.org.
Stand-up comedy makes a person incredibly vulnerable. Just you on a stage, with all eyes on you, trying to make people laugh. In other words, asking them to “please like me.”
As L.A. comic Hasan Minhaj’s own story became central to his comedy,…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 19, 2014 at 8:18am — No Comments
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…Continue
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.…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on February 18, 2014 at 9:26am — No Comments
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…Continue
"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…Continue
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…Continue
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…Continue
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 21, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments
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.”…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on November 20, 2013 at 5:30pm — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 23, 2013 at 7:49am — No Comments
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 …Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on August 1, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments
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…Continue
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on July 19, 2013 at 8:37am — No Comments
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on June 18, 2013 at 8:47am — No Comments
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?…Continue
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.…Continue
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.Continue
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…Continue
Added by Jennifer Lentfer on May 5, 2013 at 4:24pm — No Comments
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,…Continue