Mulago's Links: February 2024

The best stuff for doers and funders obsessed with impact at scale. Every month or so.

Don’t Feed The Zombies by Kevin Starr

There's still too many charities stumbling around accomplishing little and measuring less. We call them zombies, and they survive because funders keep feeding them. When funders are on the hook for to drive impact, the zombies either up their game or go hungry. Stanford Social Innovation Review

The Economist: Special Report on Philanthropy

The Economist had a (great) special report on philanthropy last month that talked a lot about trust-based philanthropy. It seemed like there was a piece missing so Kevin wrote them a letter. To our shock, they published it. Read the letter on LinkedIn - it provoked more debate than we expected.

An Experiment to Get People to Donate More

The GiveDirectly website gets a lot of traffic. They ran a fascinating little experiment and found that an embedded donation form made people much more likely to donate. We scroll through a lot of non-profit websites and it baffles us how often organizations fail to make it easy. Come on!

Youthquake: Why African Demography Should Matter To The World

This is an excellent book about African demographics and population projections. Here’s the punch line: There's going to be a lot more young people. We need to make sure they have the ingredients of a good life. We can't afford to fail them.

The two graphics below bring the demographics to life:

The Long, Slow Death of Global Development

Ok so this long piece in the American Affairs Journal is a bit of a downer and these very well-informed authors don’t see bright prospects ahead. We don’t agree with all of it, but anyone funding in the global south should read it.

New Additions to Our Portfolio

We’ve added 4 new remarkable organizations to our portfolio. We’re betting on them taking their brilliant solutions to their full potential. You should too.

  • uses advocacy to get marginalized people what they’re owed by their government.
  • Conserve Global ensures thriving landscapes and resilient communities through community-led conservation of distressed concessions.
  • Mafisa introduces regenerative cattle grazing that results in healthy rangelands and more profit for pastoralists.  
  • PemPem are creating a traceable commodity trading platform to end commodity-driven tropical deforestation.
  • Planet Indonesia uses community commons management to create healthy tropical ecosystems and thriving communities.

And finally

This is a bit long in the tooth, but so on point…

39 Cents - SNL