Seth Godin on the gift of fundraising

Let’s say you were head of fundraising for a cause you really care about. Whether it’s buildings on campus, or the ACLU, or anything in-between. Clearly, free is not an option, because then it’s not a donation anymore. Why would someone give $100,000 to have a building named after them? Is it rude to ask a billionaire to spend $100,000…

Article: The Guardian Long Read on The White Helmets

This article – about the tragic death of James Le Mesurier, co-founder of The Mayday Rescue (also known as The White Helmets) – is both an inspiring story of a life of service and a dispiriting account of cynical politics at its worst. It’s also a good example of the administrative challenges of work in NGOs in contexts where most…

Satrijo Tanudjojo on collaboration as skill and commitment

We may be different, but we can work together. When you leave the community you grew up in you will see differences, especially when you visit other countries or continents. Diversity is the reality of God’s creation – and it is beautiful. As I’ve moved around the world, lived and worked in ten different environments, with different cultures and religions,…

Orders of magnitude / next size up

There are lots of things that are easy enough to do once. Doing the same thing a second time can be almost as big a step: you’ll have learned some useful lessons the first time round but might also have used up non-renewable resources (available time, money, enthusiasm) or discover that you’ve picked the lowest-hanging fruit. If you’re serious about…

The unglamorous work of doing good (2)

I recently delivered some food parcels to families in our area. This was “helping those who have less” in one of its clearer and more concrete forms. I was happy to do it, but it didn’t feel that great: I loaded up my car, delivered the packages to some people who said thanks, and then drove home. It didn’t feel…

The unglamorous work of doing good (1)

The side of the tracks Among the most rewarding pieces of “good” that I’ve ever done was to start a micro-savings group for a small community of men and women who lived along a railway line in West Jakarta. It was hard: hot, dusty, dirty and smelly from the rubbish that they recycled for a living, always smokey from cigarettes…

Overcoming barriers

With this in mind… How does what you offer reduce the barriers to people consuming something important to them? In other words, how do you make it easier (or even possible) for them to get the job done? How do you (dramatically) lower the price? How do you make it available in places where it hasn’t been before? How do…

Efosa Ojomo on market-creating innovation and overcoming barriers to consumption

This is a powerful lens for thinking about how to unlock possibilities and bring about change, drawing on the work of Clayton Christensen. Market creating innovations are innovations that transform complicated and expensive products into products that are simple and affordable so many more people can afford them. Those people who historically could not afford existing products on the market…

Resource: Seth Godin on Business Models

I think of the business model as the enabling “wrapper” around the “technical” solution you make happen. If you’re a plumber, it’s all the business stuff. If you’re a teacher, it might be the whole infrastructure of a school. In a non-profit, it’s the rest of the “onion” around the thing you want to do that actually makes a difference…

The Life You Can Save

Singer’s work triggered the Effective Altruism movement, and his hugely influential book is now available as a free download in multiple formats – and as an audiobook – at thelifeyoucansave.org. I’m adding it to my reading list. This interview on The Ezra Klein show is a good place to start.