A couple of ideas I thought might be applied in some way in our little island home. (As far as I know, they haven’t already been.) Let me know what you think :)
Evaluate charities and publish findings on a web site, like Charity Navigator does.
In its own words, this organisation, “America’s premier independent charity evaluator”, “works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of America’s largest charities”. In rating charities, Charity Navigator looks at two broad areas:
1. Organisational efficiency (programme expenses, administrative expenses, fundraising expenses, fundraising efficiency etc.)
2. Organisational capacity (primary revenue growth, programme expenses growth, working capital ratio etc.)
(See a fuller picture of Charity Navigator’s method here.)
If applied on a somewhat smaller scale in Singapore, this may work together with the recent beefed-up governance rules to improve the confidence of donors and volunteers.
Provide for microfinancing for studies and healthcare, through alumni associations and the like.
I find the Kiva web site among the most illustrative of the idea of microfinancing. You can see businesses in need of financing, and how much the businesses need, and how much they have raised, and if enough has been raised, how they are doing.
To me, the power of microfinancing comes from being able to have a personal relationship with one’s loanee. This has been exploited in a way by many charities – one can sponsor children in need, or a dialysis patient. However, the transaction in this case is not a donation, but a loan, i.e. repayment is expected, and the loan is typically used as a seed for some moneymaking endeavour. To make money, one needs to work, and to work, one needs skills and health. In this sense, microfinancing for studies and healthcare (e.g. operations) may be feasible. One problem is, of course, how the loan could be guaranteed, so to speak.