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Why Global Giving now? Or: Why not to put all your eggs in one basket

Here at Building Markets, we have a tendency to put all our eggs in one basket. Of course, the old adage warns us to avoid this. After eight years in the game, we’re still working on it. And we have a hunch that the crowd-funding platform Global Giving can be part of the solution.

The eggs, in this case, are our donors. Supporting entrepreneurs with high impact services requires resources, and there are only so many donors who can foot the bill. We depend on these donors, and we are extremely grateful to them. But it doesn’t mean that we couldn’t make our monotonous pie look a little bit more like this one:

Large government donors – who happen to be our biggest funders – have all sorts of stipulations regarding the money they give nonprofit organizations like Building Markets. This includes everything from which indicators to collect data on to what percent of the funds can be spent on administration and fundraising costs. Sounds like a complaint is coming, but I assure you it’s not. Stipulations are necessary and are an important way to ensure that donors and their implementers are on the same page and making an impact. Standards are always important, even if some might be misguided or have adverse consequences (I’ll save that for another post).

However, having donors like these often means that our projects are less flexible, less efficient and less experimental. If a donor tells us we have funding for two years, then that’s all we’ve got, no matter what happens in country during those two years. Likewise, how are we going to know the best way to improve upon our projects if we can’t experiment? (If you know anything about our founder and CEO, it’s that he likes experimenting or, in his words, “moving fast and breaking things.” I turn to exhibit A, B, and C.)

The answer is to diversify funding, i.e. adhere to the egg basket saying. With a variety of donors, some of whom won’t have strict requirements, we’ll be able to run experiments, improve our services, adapt to each country’s special needs and better vocalize our projects and their impact.

But of course, it’s easier said then done. Over the last year, we’ve begun this process and laid the foundations to get better at it. You may have noticed a few, like changing our name and redesigning our Web site. Behind the scenes, we’ve brought on some major players in the corporate and foundation worlds. But we’re hungry for more – which is where Global Giving comes in.

Global Giving can be instrumental in raising unrestricted money that will act as an extra cushion to enable us to experiment and improve our projects.  Simply put: Global Giving can make us a better organization.

In order to have a permanent profile on Global Giving, we first must raise $4,000 from 50 unique donors during the month of September! That’s a lot of eggs, and we’re going to need help. So if you believe in what Building Markets is about: empowerment not handouts, entrepreneurs not helpless victims, investment not aid – and more importantly, you want us to get even better at it, then please consider donating to our Global Giving page. Help us weave ourselves another basket.


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