How Soon is “Too Soon”?: Southern Alberta Floods of 2013

Here in my province, there was epic flooding in the month of June, resulting in widespread damage and evacuations in many communities. The downtown area of one of our biggest cities was actually underwater for long periods. Many reacted by expressing moral support and by giving money to aid in the relief efforts. Some, however, [...]

Taking Dan Pallotta a Step Further

Dan Pallotta says a lot of shocking things about charity. His message about our attitude towards the charitable sector flies in the face of a lot of accepted wisdom. And yet - when you really think about it, it makes sense.  Except... there are elements of it that I agree with only conditionally; they make sense [...]

Activism: What’s in a name?

What comes to mind when you hear the word "activist"? For some, it's a heavily charged term. The first picture that springs to mind when I hear it is that of a militant, closed-minded fanatic; completely out of touch with the mainstream, wrapped up in his or her own activities; doing more to alienate people [...]

Solving the Wrong Problem

Here in Edmonton, there's a new tech startup trying to helping nonprofit organizations reduce their costs. I debated one of their founders on television last week. Across the country, legislators are working hard to adjust the tax structures and reporting rules that charities live by. Across the world, legal acrobatics are being performed to create [...]

Ethnic Diversity in Do-Gooding

Despite a desire for diversity on the part of organizers like myself, many do-gooding initiatives tend to be a bit homogenous, especially ethnically. To put it bluntly, we tend to get a lot of white people participating in our work. People of colour do not show up, volunteer, register, etc., nearly as much. If this [...]

Good is Good! Bad is Bad! Give Us Money!

Some time ago, I saw a speaker for a human rights organization give a laundry list of horrible things (child poverty, human trafficking, etc.) and declare that his organization stood against these things. So what did his organization stand for? According to the speech: justice, rights, hope, and imagination. Well, bully for them. They're fighting [...]

Non Profit vs. For Profit (And Why I Don’t Care)

What's the best tool for making change: non-profits, charity, traditional for profit business, social enterprise, what? This is one of the big questions in the world of social benefit these days. Here are three really interesting recent articles on the subject, (here, here, and here). Despite its popularity, this may be the wrong question. Don't [...]

Who Should Pay For Things We All Need?

A person's wealth should not determine their ability to access basic education, medical care, etc. This is why we have systems designed to make these things free of direct cost to anyone who needs them. For example: I recently discovered that both obstetricians and midwives are covered by my government health care program, meaning; they [...]

The Difference Between Giving to Charity and Going to the Dentist

I have a friend who complains that the version of charitable giving I recommend is too much work. He compares me with health specialists who recommend an unrealistic amount of work for whatever body part is their specialty: The dentist wants us to brush and floss after every meal. The personal trainer wants us to [...]

Charity vs. Charities

Last week, popular local blogger and 2012 Edmonton Do Gooder alum Kathleen Smith George posted a list of her Most Fascinating Twitter Accounts of 2012. I was honoured to be included as a runner up in the category of 'Charity Case', along with Jen Banks and Jessie Radies. Here's what really tickled me about it, [...]