• Ken Berger

    Thank you Paul for your excellent rebuttal of Bill Schambra’s recent article. As you may know, Bill and I had it out during a debate earlier this year and the essence of the debate was published in NPQ not very long ago – http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/philanthropy/22083-debating-the-realities-of-ranking-charities.html

    His arguments remain the same and continue to puzzle me. Bill and I got to spend some time together before and after our debate and I found him to be a very thoughtful and sincere adversary. In fact, on many other topics we are quite in agreement. However, in this case I think Bill is an apologist for an irrational heart based giving alone.

    I do agree with his argument, that if we make a fetish out of measuring things and do not also have a heart based passion about the cause, we can run aground. Some within what I would call the “outcomes movement” do indeed take things to the extreme (effective altruism seems to slouch in that direction from what I understand of it), but I know that you do not subscribe to head based giving alone. I hope that we can find a balanced view that meshes heart with head based decision making to drive money to grassroots, national and international charities of the best quality going forward.

    Ken Berger
    Charity Navigator

  • Mark Griffin


    I have read both posts and many of the comments under Bill’s initial article. I feel many people’s passion about just getting the job done but at the end of the day you are completely right – It is all about balance. Heart and passion can drive a program towards achieving positive outcomes. A scientific or strategic approach on the ground can help improve those outcomes. From a philanthropic or foundation perspective, they have to make decisions with a finite amount of funding between different projects. It is hard to make these decisions effectively without any scientific basis. I literally just wrote my last blog post on about the value in creating logic models as part of a broader “Intentional Program Design” framework. Reading the above has inspired me to knock-up another one: Making an Impact: Local Knowledge & Passion vs Science. You can find it here:http://rugby4good.com/

    Mark Griffin
    Founder & CEO, Play Rugby USA

  • fnord

    Straw dog argument. Whether miasma or fecal contamination, the wage-earners are dying and dead, and the rest of the family has no food.

    Write the bloody cheque.