Pennywise but Pound Foolish?
Why giving through Pennywise is smart and necessary in a world of corrupt charitable donations
You may or may not have heard of the old saying, “penny wise, pound foolish”, but it was a large part of the naming of our little organization. It’s meant to describe someone that is financially smart on a micro scale, yet may overlook the bigger picture and end up spending more in an effort to do just the opposite.
A great example is someone who drives to multiple grocery stores to find all the best deals, yet ends up spending more on the gas used for transport to these various locations.
What this means for our organization is simple: We work to identify and support specific approaches to nonprofit service delivery that are proven to generate more effective, efficient and enduring solutions to persistent problems. We provide comprehensive information donors need to make the best decisions about their giving. Decisions that we think should be based not only on what an organization is doing but also on how they are getting it done and why their methodology is likely to be successful over time. In this way Pennywise is able to match creative giving with creative problem solving.
Pennywise was created in an effort to rewrite how charitable giving can be done. To create a foundation built on transparency, sustainability, and innovation. We are proud of how we approach this sector through our unique model; finding “pennywise-ey” organizations to which our supporters can trust easily and give freely.
This, in contrast, to the greater world of charity that exists in the world today.
For example, Charity: Water. Don’t get us wrong, this is an incredible organization that brings clean drinking water and thus life saving hygiene to some of the most desperate corner’s of the world. It’s their “100%” model that makes things tricky.
Charity: Water claims that 100% of every donor dollar goes directly to the affected communities, no overhead, nothing. However, this means that very specific private donors are giving large sums of money separate from the main pot to fund the staff and leadership behind this massive organization.
Further, the precedent that 100% giving sets for smaller organizations doing their best to shoe 99 or 98 percent giving straight to grantees can actually be very damaging. Because of their exceptional marketing and wide reach, this pledge is becoming the norm for charities.
They’re making donors believe it’s possible to fund a non-profit without overhead while also demonstrating the notion that overhead expenses are bad. They’re not, and they’re necessary. Especially in a well-run charity.
So we’re here not to give an all encompassing solution to the sometimes misguided and nearly always confusing world of charitable giving, but just to highlight some things that we’ve been looking at.
And also, of course, to highlight our innovative Pennywise “spiral”, a graphic which highlights what we do, how we do it, and why it’s unique. After all, the smallest and most passionate groups can create the most impactful change.
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All of our staff here at Pennywise work to contribute to the blog, either as an author, behind the scenes researcher, or just someone to bounce ideas off of! We hope you enjoy our collaborative and creative collection of work.