Giving Compass' Take:

• In this Medium post from In Too Deep, The Omidyar Group's Rob Ricigliano discusses three short-sighted presumptions in the nonprofit sector that often lead to long-term problems.

• How can we adjust these beliefs, so that they account for more sustainability? As Ricigliano writes, humility is a good starting point: Admitting what we don't know.

• Heres how to measure the impact of capacity building for nonprofits.


I recently attended a two-day symposium on innovations in philanthropy. Though I have worked with The Omidyar Group since 2013, this was my first time being in-person with so many leaders from such a wide spectrum of philanthropies. I met a number of inspiring people and engaged in lots of thoughtful conversation about systems change.

I also heard several statements related to systems change that caused me concern–statements that seemed to represent mainstream views.

These statements are paraphrased below. Each started with the phrase, “We would all agree that…”

  1. “If we could train 300 health workers, it would be better to train 30,000.”
  2. “We would be better off giving really big funding to really big ideas.”
  3. “We should make it easier for donors to give more money to social change.”

On their face, these statements may seem like common sense. And they are sensible in traditional environments. However, I believe these statements, along with the thinking behind them, can be dangerous when applied in complex, dynamic contexts and to wicked or adaptive problems.

Read the full article about three beliefs in philanthropy that are worrisome by Rob Ricigliano at In Too Deep, via Medium.