Hewlett's Paul Brest Advocates for On-Line Giving Markets

Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing Paul Brest, President of William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (pictured), speak to the Communications Network on the content from his forthcoming book, "Money Well Spent: A Strategic Guide to Smart Philanthropy."

Since the book hasn't come out yet, I thought I'd share a link to an article from Hewlett's 2006 annual report entitled, "Creating an Online Information Marketplace for Giving" , a topic that regular readers of this blog know is near and dear to my heart as well as Carla Dearing's.

Paul makes clear, and I wholeheartedly agree, "While information technology can play an important role in making information of this sort available to donors, the main challenges are not technological, but flow from the nonprofit organizations’ limited time and capacity." The sector and its investors could strongly benefit from a robust giving marketplace that would enable folks to give based on what a nonprofit does rather than who its staff and board members know. But years of trying and millions later, it is a vision that has yet to be achieved.

In his "President's Statement", Brest cites Guidestar, Donors Edge and Global Giving as contenders. Yet all have struggled to achieve critical mass. I worked for years in the community foundation advancing one such contender, ImpactMgr, that fell by the wayside.

My fingers are still crossed that some cadre of brave souls can pull it off, or that one of the current contenders (my best bet would be on Guidestar) will be able to grab the brass ring of philanthropy. Until then, I'm glad folks like Brest are championing the cause.

Susan Herr

Posted at 10:56 AM, Oct 08, 2008 in Accountability | High Net Worth Donors | Philanthropic Strategy | Scaling Philanthropy | Permalink | Comment