Month: October 2016

On Mission Trips

Mission trips have gotten a lot of criticism. Some of that criticism is deserved: there are mission trip volunteers who focus on tourism instead of service; there are organizations that make poor use of the volunteers who come to serve with them. But these criticisms seem to rest on a single set of questions: are

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People I Read: Eric Reitan

In the early-ish days of blogging, it was normal to have a blogroll: a list of links to other (often more popular) blogs that the author was interested in. The blogroll would sit calmly in the sidebar and let readers browse their way to other blogs and other authors, discovering fresh ideas and insights. Now,

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Ministry Matters: On Haiti and Getting Nothing Accomplished

Every year I go back, I see visible, meaningful progress. The first year, they showed us a newly purchased piece of land where a high school was to be built. In 2014, there was a foundation with rebar sticking up out of it. In 2015, there was a beautiful new building filled with eagerly learning 7th graders.

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Free-Not-Free

One of my pet peeves is the marketing tactic I call ‘free-not-free.’ For example, a nonprofit consulting firm or software company might offer a ‘free’ white paper with research and advice on fundraising, social media, web design, or a dozen other subjects. All you have to do is enter your contact information in the little form.

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People I Read: Maeve Strathy

In the early-ish days of blogging, it was normal to have a blogroll: a list of links to other (often more popular) blogs that the author was interested in. The blogroll would sit calmly in the sidebar and let readers browse their way to other blogs and other authors, discovering fresh ideas and insights. Now,

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Bartolomé de las Casas… and Beyond

In honor of Indigenous Peoples Day (or Columbus Day), I link to this comic from The Oatmeal. It includes this great statement: Bartolomé de las Casas started out a lot like Columbus. He was a wealthy adventurer who traveled to the New World, where he owned a large plantation with many slaves. Unlike Columbus, however, de

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Turning Beneficiaries into Assets (and Why It’s Not a Good Thing)

Sometime around 1739, the founders of London’s Foundling Hospital were the first people in the modern age to use the word ‘philanthropy’ to mean the project of forming “a voluntary enterprise of private persons, moved by ‘an Inclination to promote Publick Good.’”1Robert A. Gross, “Giving in America: From Charity to Philanthropy” in Charity, Philanthropy, and

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