Here's a site to check out. Saundra, who writes the blog is out here in Haiti and we have been having interesting discussions around the aid community and bloggers. It's big business now and I think it's great. It's a good informal way for all of us to keep in touch and share stories (and therefore, lessons) and also, it's a good way to know what the trends are and for someone else to do all the reading and research for you and synthesize it...
Saundra's blog is all about donor education. When she first said that, my brain went straight to DfiD (now known as UKAID, which is a dumb name but no one knew what DfID stood for), ECHO, USAID, etc. But what's really cool about her blog is that, she is talking about the average joe (the plumber), donor. You and me.
If you know someone who works in the humanitarian sector and you see a disaster on TV, you will ask them, who should we give to? Where will our money actually make a difference? I get asked that all the time, and now I will point them to the charity rater/tracker that Saundra has developed. It's very cool. It's not a 'give to this agency and that's that' kind of thing. It is a multiple choice thingie and it makes you THINK about how you want your money to be used and for what and helps you make an informed decision about how best you want your money to work.
The blog is called, wonderfully: Good intentions are not enough. Love the title. It gets quoted in the NYTimes and Saundra has plans for expansion. It's tough what she does but as I was saying to her last night, it's reallly realllly reallllly important. I have always believed that the giving public is actually smart. They get treated like idiots by mainstream media but I just feel like if you put out ways for people to self educate and think things through, they are more than able to make informed and smart choices and decisions.
I think lots of people miss that point in our education system. It's not about knowing dates and formulas, but rather, a good teacher will show you how to think critically...and then...you have a brain: use it.