If you had to choose between saving one person’s life or lifting a hundred from extreme poverty, which would you pick? What if your choice was between saving a hundred lives or lifting only one person from extreme poverty? How do you compare empowering people through education to reducing suffering from illness or protecting the environment? These are the types of questions many thoughtful donors ask, and they have both moral and practical implications.
When choosing where to give, it isn’t enough to demonstrate that a nonprofit does good things. Donors interested in improving the world must consider the benefits relative to other giving options, even those that are very different. This is a challenging task, requiring a significant amount of knowledge based on information that is not easily available and controversial judgments. Though many people in philanthropy ignore difficult issues surrounding how to prioritize among multiple good causes, Reinventing Philanthropy puts them front-and-center.
Readers shouldn’t expect a feel-good book that praises every donor and paints a picture of all charitable giving as equally good, nor should they expect simple answers to difficult questions. Instead, Reinventing Philanthropy is a hard-nosed, critical analysis of the difficult issues that donors must address to make the most of their giving. It will make readers more thoughtful about their giving, and ultimately more effective.