Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chasing donors. . .

Here's a must read for anyone involved in the non-profit sector, anyone who works with donors or any donor who cares about the work of solid non-profit organizations. Written by Donald G. McNeil, Jr., I picked it up from The New York Times (Tuesday, April 22, 2008, p. D6).

Donor Attention-Deficit Disorder? Phony Press Release Is Joke, Sort Of

Since it was issued on April 1 by the Center for Global Development, an antipoverty study group, a mock press release titled “Road to Health: Paved With Good Inventions” has been circulating among global health experts. Though it drones on in admin-speak, it elicits rueful laughter.

“Officials from 50 of the world’s poorest countries announce the pre-launch of a new initiative to fight one of the greatest scourges in global health,” it begins. “The Global Partnership to Battle Donor Attention Deficit Disorder (to be known as GloPBADD) will develop preventive and therapeutic drugs and devices to increase the ability of those in the global health community to sustain their attention for up to two decades.”

The release envisions a new drug that stretches donors’ attention spans and contains an antidepressant in case of “exposure to negative headlines.” Research would be financed by the airfare saved by canceling endless meetings with donors.

“It’s funny because there’s more than a grain of truth here,” said Chris Hentschel, president of the Medicines for Malaria Venture, who read it on his BlackBerry two weeks ago. “We all ratchet up appalling carbon footprints attending such meetings.”

The mock release added that the World Bank’s ability to “write the same things again and again for more than a decade” was “proof of concept” that donors could be strung along.

The author of the release, Ruth Levine, says people have taken the joke “in good spirits.”

“I’ve worked in global health since before it was cool,” Ms. Levine said. “This was an occasion to poke fun at some of its zanier tendencies.”


Seriously now, I can relate! Any other non-profit folks or donors out there who relate to this? Let me hear from you.

Here's the link to the essay:


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