The Future of Philanthropy and the Dog Food Problem

January 6, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Online donor-applicant connector GlobalGiving‘s Mari Kuraishi addressed the future of philanthropy at the Wharton School of Business’s Social Impact Conference recently, outlining “ways in which organizations are becoming more effective, and shar[ing] insights from the sometimes tough lessons she has learned along the way.”

One lesson includes a colorful metaphor:

[Kuraishi] believes [readily available online data] will be critical to addressing what she describes as the ‘dog food problem’ — that is, that humans produce dog food and dogs consume it, but dogs can’t say what they like or dislike about the food. Kuraishi noted that this sort of ‘broken feedback loop’ exists in charitable giving as well.

Hearing and understanding grantee feedback has certainly been a longstanding issue for donors; however, I’ve never heard the problem expressed quite this way.


Entry filed under: General.

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