I’ve spent a lot of time over the last four years pushing back against the idea that civil society groups should “work like a business,” and that philanthropy should “operate like the market.” This debate has spawned hundreds of contributions from me and others, so I’ve collected a few of the most important ones together on this page to make them easy to locate.
In 2008 I wrote a pamphlet for Demos and the Young Foundation that kicked off the debate called Just Another Emperor: The Myths and Realities of Philanthrocapitalism, which you can download for free here. It was summarized in a piece called After the Goldrush which was downloaded over 50,000 times.
After the pamphlet was launched there were a whole series of blogs and op-eds in which I elaborated on my critique. Some of the most interesting were hosted by openDemocracy here and by Duke University here.
The pamphlet was later expanded into a book called Small Change: Why Business Won’t Save the World, which was the subject of a number of interviews including this Q and A on the Foundation Center’s Blog, and this podcast recorded by Eric Giurna in his excellent series Development Without Limits.