This blog has become part of a blogging “community.” We read each other, we refer to each other, we comment on each others’ posts, and we probably think of each other as the “other charity bloggers.” I’m talking mostly about:
- Tactical Philanthropy
- Philanthropy 2173
- White Courtesy Telephone
- GiftHub (and its weird sister, Wealth Bondage)
- The Nonprofiteer
I think all of the blogs above are intelligent, sometimes entertaining, and generally worth reading for a charity nerd such as myself. I like having people to respond to and people responding to me; being part of this community is been a reliable way to get dialogue, as well as pick up readers. That’s cool. But I have two major problems with this set of people.
1. It’s just too small, and I think the people are too similar to each other. That’s been driven home to me by Sean’s recent interview with William Schambra. Read it, if someone holds a gun to your head and forces you to. In brief, the participants are acting like the fact that this guy affiliates with “conservatives” rather than “liberals” means that this affiliation is the only thing worth discussing about or around him, that every word he says must be nothing more than snake oil designed to protect conservative interests. They’ve used their stereotypes to come up with ludicrous, implausible interpretations of his motives, rather than challenging what he says to get at whatever biases he does have. There’s no recognition that conservatives sometimes think about things other than cutting taxes and oppressing minorities (and that some conservatives support neither of these things). To me, that’s a sign of insulation from other points of view.
(Can you tell I’m annoyed? Guys, if you’re reading this, I’ll get over it. Here’s an e-hug: (). But I do think you’re insulated.)
2. More importantly, none of these blogs ever talk about how to help people, which is an odd quality for a group of “philanthropy blogs.” My original vision for this blog was as a place to discuss tutoring vs. charter schools, bednets vs. water pipes. It hasn’t happened so far, mostly because we had to halt our research on these issues in order to focus on the business side of The Clear Fund. It still may not happen for a little while, because I’m just starting to learn about these issues myself, and at this point anything I wrote about them would largely be in a vacuum. But as we shift our focus to research, I expect this to change.
So, I don’t want to ditch the friends I have, but I want some new ones too. I do read a ton of other blogs, but the only ones I know of that discuss how to help people are Beyond Philanthropy and the Google.org blog (which is showing early signs of flakiness). Any suggestions?