The GiveWell Blog

Welcome to the Donors’ Liberation Blog

If you think the Donor Power Blog is about respecting donors, perhaps you also think the 1950s were about respecting women.

Jeff (like many people) didn’t enjoy my argument that the goal of giving should helping people, not feeling good. But it’s not because he disagrees with my “should.” It’s because he disagrees with “the belief that there’s something wrong with donors who don’t think or act like us (the smart, good, aware, evolved, or whatever people).” He hates the concept of educating donors.

In other words, we nonprofit people can criticize and have high expectations for each other – but when it comes to donors, we should never challenge them to be more than what they are. Sweetie, you don’t like math? Don’t worry about it! It’s your brother’s problem! You’re pretty!

It comes down to what you think respect means. Is respect when people treat you like an equal, tell you when they disagree with you, and demand that you be all you can be? Or is it when they’re nice to you, flatter you, and pay for your meal, to maximize their odds of getting what they want from you? Is it when they try to connect with you by opening up, or connect with you by nodding their head, all the while believing that they’re “as different from [you] as a poet is different from an old barn”? (Yes, that is a quote.)

Old barn, you may want to think about proactive giving: writing your own checks, without a relationship to the fundraiser. It’s an unconventional lifestyle, to be sure. You may get some stares. But I like to say that a donor without a fundraiser is like a fish without a bicycle.


  • Allan Benamer on October 14, 2007 at 11:20 am said:

    Hey, what’s with the picture of the two women about to kiss? I don’t see how it relates to the article content. Did it just go right over my head?

  • michael vassar on October 14, 2007 at 7:44 pm said:

    I think that it’s a suggestion that partners should be similar and have similar roles, as opposed to seeing the donor as a woman to be conquered by a rational and condescending male fundraiser.

  • Ari Shapiro on October 30, 2007 at 9:08 am said:

    There is a feminist catch phrase: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” It seems to me that the last sentence and the picture are a variation on this theme.

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