A friend just pointed me to this week’s cover story from the Christian Science Monitor: “Giving Back” featuring 8 social entrepreneurs from around the world. The one from the United States was F.K. Day, founder of the World Bicycle Relief. I got a chance to meet F.K. Day and his wife, Leah Missbach Day, in 2005, not long after they had started World Bicycle Relief. I was impressed with what they had done, and have been pleased to track the growth of World Bicycle Relief over the years.
Indeed, when I was trying to think of a creative example of money poorly spent by a non-profit, I took WBR, and conjured up a group that did the opposite: Sports Cars for Africa. Instead of World Bicycle Relief’s emphasis on using what you know (FK is an executive from bike company SRAM), appropriate technology, training local bike mechanics and even producing the bicycles locally, my hypothetical organization burned through their donations by giving recipients $100,000 sports cars. With low overhead, and high beneficiary satisfaction ratings, though, a casual observer might be gulled into making a gift to Sports Cars for Africa instead of World Bicycle Relief. I hope that you won’t be. Donate to World Bicycle Relief here. See more about the danger of tracking the wrong metrics here at my earlier blog post More on Metrics.