The Challenge of Being a Donor

  I recently got an email from a reader frustrasted by how little he has learned after 30 years of being a donor to international developement causes. With his permission, I am posting our email exchange here: The letter I have been giving to aid organizations such as Oxfam America and Trickle Up for over… Read More »

Reader Question – Can you share some of your experiences in which inexperienced nonprofits did more harm than good?

Dear Alanna, I too am starting up a very small nonprofit, and I admit that I am not comfortable with all of the issues you raised in your blog on November 8th. Can you share some of your experiences in which inexperienced nonprofits did more harm than good? DR Dear DR, Here are four ways… Read More »

Reader question: When is it okay to start an NGO?

Hi Alanna, I have been reading your blog for some time. I was particularly struck by your entry on founding NGOs. While in the context you are speaking I completely agree with you, I am curious about your opinion on something: I am part of a (very) small NGO whose mandate is to help a… Read More »

Reader Question – International Social Work

Dear Alanna, I have one main question: from your experience, what would you say the need for international social workers is in NGOs? Background info: I have an MA in international and I work for a NGO in the US, in their Africa dept – as a program associate, so I don’t go to Africa.… Read More »

Choosing between China and Burma

A reader asks “How do I choose between China and Burma for my donation?” Answer: For once, this one is easy. Don’t choose. Give to the organization’s general emergency fund. They are professionals. They’re not going to spend your donation on Tequila and Beer-Nuts. In fact, legally they can’t. So let them choose where the… Read More »

Reader Question #2

So, my reader questions are nothing like I expected them to be. Which probably makes them more fun to answer. This question has to do with sexual identity, so skip it if it’s not something you are comfortable reading about. Q: Why did we begin using the term MSM? I thought it was because not… Read More »

Answering my first reader question

I’ve got my first question to answer (and it’s not what I would have expected): Q: I am moving to [redacted] in about a month, to work as a coordinator for a large NGO on a refugee project. It’s a one-year contract. This is my first field posting, and I really have no idea what… Read More »