Monday, December 11, 2006

Give and Get

Last Friday, I was invited to write a post in the Fearless Voices section of The Huffington Post. Below is the full text.

If you are like me, you are getting inundated with year-end appeals from charities and non-profits. Many of these requests are compelling, and you want to drop some money in the envelope and send it back.

horiz_gglogo.gifBut here is the sad truth. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, if you put $100 in the return envelope, the charity itself may wind up with only $35. Considering list acquisition, printing, production and mailing, costs can be as high as 65%, and most organizations don't have the size and scale to lower that ratio. And to top it off, you usually don't even know exactly how your money is being used, or what impact it ends up having.

That is one of the reasons I co-founded GlobalGiving. GlobalGiving is a far cry from my previous life at the World Bank, where I spent 14 years and oversaw over a billion dollars of large projects. There, too, the waste was significant, and the impact of the projects often not all that clear.

GlobalGiving allows you to direct your donation to any of 400 projects of your choice in over 70 countries around the world. If you want to support women's education in Afghanistan, we have it. If you want solar power in Nepal, we have that too. How about nurses on motorcycles in Zimbabwe (for $10 you can pay for one nurse to deliver healthcare to 90 people for a year)?

When you give to a project, we ensure that 85-90% of the money gets there - within 60 days. Furthermore, we believe that you deserve to know what impact your money has had. So project leaders in the field send in progress reports, in many cases with pictures and color commentary. And you don't have to come looking for them - we'll deliver them to your inbox.

We recently introduced Gift Certificates, which allow "shoppers" to give meaningful gifts, and recipients to choose the projects they want to support. They have been a huge hit. Parents are giving them to their children, friends are giving them to friends, companies are giving them to employees and clients. A friend sent me an email the other day that said "I am so tired of sending my siblings stuff they don't need - this is great."

GlobalGiving gives everyone choice, provides a direct connection with powerful work around the world, and enables people to give the gift of giving. What could be more fulfilling during the holiday season?

See for yourself -