Young Girls Taking the Lead
In reading idealist.org's blog today, I came across an interesting entry on the non-profit organization "Girls Helping Girls." GHG follows a particularly interesting business model, as it is headed by Sejal Hathi, a high school student from San Jose, CA. This youth-led organization seeks to give voice and power to girls internationally, in a response to the frightening statistic that "94% of youth in America feel powerless to make a difference."
GHG is one of few non-profits led by the population to whom it is trying to give power, and raises an interesting question: which is a more effective philanthropic investment- giving to a community that represents itself, or giving to a community that is speaking for another group? Though the latter often has quite a few advantages: a greater economic pool, grant-writing experience, and/or professional networking capabilities, the former category seems like the best bet for instituting effective change. Having real experience in the matter which one is attempting to alter is a priceless tool, and when an organization is populated by members of the community, it will be more likely to address the real-life needs of that community. In this way, too, community-led organizations will attract large numbers of volunteers and members, as the population will feel comfortable becoming part of the non-profit's peer-led efforts. Thus, part of GHG's success is the fact that it is headed by a high school student that is working for change. Sejal inspires other girls internationally, and makes them realize that they, too, can bring about change in their communities, despite their age and experience levels.
Girls Helping Girls' slogan, "Empower a girl, Empower Her nation", speaks for the whole of non-profit giving as well. If we look to donate to organizations that are internally-led, we will help to directly empower various organizations and populations. It will be less likely that funds will be shoddily used or misdirected, and more likely that the giving will go straight to those areas that need it most.