There is no doubt that this is an important phenomenon. Very large sums of money have been generated for philanthropy, particularly in the finance and IT industries. But despite its great potential, this movement is flawed in both its proposed means and its promised ends. It sees business methods as the answer to social problems, but offers little rigorous evidence or analysis to support this claim, and ignores strong evidence pointing in the opposite direction. Business will continue to be an inescapable part of the solution to global problems, and some methods drawn from business certainly have much to offer. But business will also be a cause of social problems, and as Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” concluded in a recent pamphlet, “we must reject the idea—well intentioned, but dead wrong—that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become more like a business.”
Links to the report a 110 page PDF, are located here.
I’ve never been much of a fan of eMail newsletters put out using tools like ConstantContact. I prefer to pull information using RSS. But of the couple of newsletters I do receive each month, the one from NonProfit Quarterly is always more than welcome. Recently they have published a report Just Another Emperor: The Myths and Realities of Philanthrocapitalism which discusses new trends in philanthropy, the role of social networks and the notion of injecting for-profit business ethics and methods into non-profit mangement.