Due Diligence on the Ground

Schaffer & Combs personnel spend a lot of time at project sites. The trips are intense, because time is by definition short and the stakes are always high. For several days last summer, Arthur Combs traveled through Kenya representing an S&C client, an innovative private philanthropy, and staying busy to say...

Give it away, give it away … now

Five quick reasons off the top of my head you should give a version of your service or product away for free.  And if you think this only applies in a for-profit context, see Part 2.   Here you go.  The reasons you should give it away: You will...

A Remedy to the Three Cups of Tea Problem

Philanthropic Investment Management: a Rigorous Practice that Minimizes Fraud and Waste Last Sunday, 60 Minutes ran a story questioning the veracity of Greg Mortenson’s phenomenally successful memoir, Three Cups of Tea.  The investigation was spurred by complaints from former board members and donors to the NGO Mortenson founded, the...

The Art of Rest

You’re burning calories, but are you performing? I’ve had the privilege of befriending a number of impressive athletes. It’s true that when you’re struggling to keep pace on a bike ride or long run, they all look quite similar: they grow increasingly small in front of you, and then...

Do you like to fight? You should.

Dear market visionary, with your piercing eyes and enviably precise understanding of what customers want RIGHT NOW, Are you all passion, and no discipline? When the nuts-and-bolts people in your organization talk about process or risk, do you feel artistically neutered, or robbed of the excitement that gets you...

NGOs Can Learn Something Crucial from Coca Cola…

If sales data are an indication (and they are) Coca Cola and McDonalds executives probably listen to locals more carefully than your average NGO manager… Western NGOs that try to work solo in the developing world almost always fail to achieve their aims. Strong local partners. Lots of trust....