Friday, May 31, 2019

Buchanan's 5 Mistakes of Mega Donors

I saw the following tweet today (and yes, I really should get off Twitter ....) from Phil Buchanan about an article published today on entitled "5 Mistakes MacKenzie Bezos and other Mega-Donors Should Avoid":  


Phil Buchanan (@philxbuchanan)

5/31/19, 9:39 AM

5 mistakes MacKenzie Bezos & other mega tech donors should avoid -- just out in ⁦‪@WIRED⁩…

You may remember Phil from my Wednesday post as the current President of The Center for Effective Philanthropy.  First of all, I didn't realize that Jeff Bezos was getting divorced, but that being said, apparently his ex-wife took the Gates/Buffett Giving Pledge and as a result has scads of money to give to charity.  Accordingly, Mr Buchanan has some helpful advice to give to Ms. Bezos as she contemplates her philanthropy.   I won't give away all five (so that you'll read his article), but here's the first few:

    1.   "Thinking a single, quick-fix 'innovation' will solve complicated social problems

    2.   "Looking for one-size-fits-all performance measures"

Read the article for 3. 4 and 5.   I personally would add two more mistakes, however:

    6.   Not funding overhead costs, and

    7.   Bribing your favorite nonprofit into mission creep.

If you've bee in the nonprofit grant-making world for even five minutes, then I don't need to explain 6.   I recognize it isn't sexy to pay for employee health care coverage or the light bill, but work - even charity work - does not get done by sick people in the dark.     Seven is related, however - all too often I've seen charities take on large projects that monopolize their time, assets, and people to the detriment of their core mission, including diverting resources to overhead to support donor vanity projects that can't be paid out of the grant funds.   

What would you all add to the list?


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