Alliance magazine: Divining a vision for Markets for Good


Alliance magazine


Buzz Schmidt

The latest free article published on the Alliance website is a paper from Buzz Schmidt, a visiting scholar at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, founder of GuideStar and GuideStar International, the chair of the FB Heron Foundation and Nonprofit Quarterly, and a member of the boards of TechSoup Global and the Institute for Philanthropy.

In his paper on the recently launched Markets for Good initiative, titled Towards a successful internet-enabled philanthropy ecosystem, Schmidt looks at the utility of non-profit sector information over time and the potential to establish integrated information, objective setting, performance monitoring and feedback systems throughout.

In this extensive look at the current state of online philanthropy, Schmidt identifies “opportunities for social entrepreneurs to intervene productively.” By considering what he terms four “component systems”, Schmidt explores why each is important, what are the barriers to making each function effectively and what are the main opportunities for innovative social entrepreneurs.

“…Our efforts to promote online philanthropy are stuck in a tangled web of ineffective and inconsistent practice that extends throughout the universe of philanthropy. We have sought, though our sophisticated tools and exhaustive data, to untangle a part of that web. Certainly there have been bright spots. Modest untangling and change has occurred here and there. But the pace of that change has been painfully slow. This paper argues that change will continue to be hampered unless we invoke strategies to untangle the entire web, that is, remove impediments that inhibit progress throughout the entire philanthropy ecosystem...”

“...if we can step back, and examine the methods, signals and accountability of the entire philanthropy ecosystem, we will not only improve the prospects for the existing online intermediaries, we will identify multiple additional opportunities for fruitful intervention. We will recognize that far from a zero-sum shoot out among the current group of online entrepreneurs, if we are to elevate philanthropy and non-profit practice appreciably, many more savvy intermediary actors will likely be needed to innovate in what may yet become a vibrant, continuously improving philanthropy ecosystem. But first, we should attempt to reach agreement on a vision for an ecosystem that we intend to help build together…” Read more >

With a detailed evaluation of the state of the current online philanthropy ecosystem and an in-depth consideration of the opportunities this presents, this article is an insightful and thought-provoking read for both donors and entrepreneurs.

Read the full article on the Alliance website >

This article was published as part of the free content available on the main Alliance website. To discover more about subscribing to access the full content of the magazine, visit

Tagged in: Guidestar Markets for good

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