Gimme 5: Best of the web for the week of 24th March

Friday. Vendredi. Freitag. Viernes. Dydd Gwener.

Call it what you will, it’s that time again: the end of the working week and, more importantly, time for our top 5 charity and social investment stories from the web this week.

I warn you, there’s some heavyweight ones….


1) The most interesting philanthropy story this week, for my money, is the fallout from the TED talk given by Google founder Larry Page. Page suggested that rather than leave his money to a traditional nonprofit enterprise, he might instead give it all to entrepreneur Elon Musk to fund his for-profit venture to establish a colony on Mars to insure against future disaster striking the earth. Inside Philanthropy had an interesting article raising the important question of whether it is wise to use the finite resources of philanthropy to address future problems that are highly unlikely to happen, when there are so many problems that need addressing in the world right now. The always-excellent Reuters blogger Felix Salmon, meanwhile, puts forward a case for why Page’s approach might be the right one.


2) There was a long, detailed and very interesting piece in the Atlantic this week on “The Conservative Myth of a Social Safety Net Built on Charity“. As anyone who has read this blog will know, I’m pretty fascinated by the relationship between charity and the State, and it’s an issue that is particularly fraught in the US, where there is even more at stake than in the UK.


3) Forbes carried a couple of articles this week on the phenomenon of social investment stock exchanges around the world; one on where they can be found and one on why they are needed


4) The perils of technology became apparent this week, when it emerged that a significant number of people responding to the “#nomakeupselfie” fundraising phenomenon that was designed to raise money for Cancer Research UK inadvertently donated to UNICEF instead because they texted the word “DONATE” rather than “BEAT”. Even worse, a small number of people whose phones autocorrected “BEAT” to “BEAR” found that they had agreed to adopt a polar bear via the WWF! (NB: all the money has eventually found its way to the right recipients, so it’s OK).


5) And Finally, having joked on more than one occasion that there should “be a manual for charitable giving“, it transpires that the hugely successful “…For Dummies” series is to publish “Charity and Philanthropy for Dummies” next month. It looks quite US-centric, so maybe we need a UK equivalent? Maybe a Haynes Manual for Charitable Giving, with a series of low-quality black and white photos of people filling in Gift Aid declarations…?


Rhodri Davies

One response to “Gimme 5: Best of the web for the week of 24th March

  1. Thanks for flagging up the new For Dummies. I did ask Wiley and they did say it was relevant to UK audiences. Two of the authors work and consult with UK charities for some of the year. But yes, a UK-specific version would be valuable.

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