Reflections on another week of generous matters

 App generosity. In previous posts, I’ve stated my awe of today’s young philanthropists whose entrepreneurial approach to doing good is transforming the meaning of time, treasure, and talent. This includes Jeff Martin, Kamael Ann Sugrim, and Debbie Clifford, the trio behind mPowering, a nonprofit that seeks “to help the poor help themselves out of poverty by combining mobile technology with on-site programs in economically challenged regions.” mPowering also “enables and encourages donors to the organization with a simple and transparent giving app that tracks and reports the immediate benefits from each donor’s charitable contributions.” (Quotes from the mPoweringwebsite).  

 mPowering’s projects in Orissa, India and Bhaktapur, Nepal target the needs of women and children. A customized app motivates Indian children to go to school and to stay enrolled. in return, they are their families are rewarded with food and medicine. In Nepal, mPowering’s app tracks points that mothers earn through days worked. The women redeem the points for rice and dahl.

I hope you’ll take a look at the mPowering website, and if you do, prepare to make a gift. The site pulls you into mPowering’s mission.

Where have all the poor gone? A staggering 1.3 billion of the world’s population get by on less than $1.25 a day, and contrary to stereotypes, fully three-quarters of the poorest poor now live in middle-income countries like India, Nigeria, and China. According to a piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, this shift is a source of cognitive dissonance within the international development community.  

Back in 1990, it was true that poor people (93 percent of them) lived in poor countries. In such a world, ameliorating global poverty is more straightforward. But when most poor people live in countries with substantial domestic resources, giving money isn’t enough. It pushes development in ultimately a more political direction. . . A careful look at world poverty throws a lot of conventional wisdom into question. To really help the poor now, the first thing is to think about development beyond aid.

Read with me. Consider the following advice from Coach Your Champions: The Transformational Giving Approach to Major Donor Fundraising (Mission Increase Foundation), the fundraising book on my reading list for this week.

Here’s the fascinating thing about major donors: Their natural way of thinking is to be cause driven, not organizationally driven. This is, they don’t initially get revved up about XYZ Rescue Mission or ABC Child Sponsorship Agency. They get revved up about helping wayward teens, caring for homeless people, and making sure kids around the world [including in Orissa, India] can grow up into adults. . .

Do some research into the amount of volunteer hours Christians are putting in around the country — not to mention around the world through the burgeoning short-term missions movement. Then study where the Millennial Generation turns when it wants to make a difference. It’s not to us nonprofit organizations. It’s to their far-flung network of friends on the Internet.

Generous always matters, but not necessarily in the ways we expect.

What's your take on this topic?

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