This is a subject which always fascinates me – “potential negative outcomes” from “perceived positive acts”. I’ve seen this kind of thing in the field before, but today found a blog which brings it much closer to home and, as a result, makes it far more relevant to far more people.
On her inspiring “Good Intentions are Not Enough” blog, Saundra Schimmelpfennig gives us “5 questions you should ask before donating goods overseas”:
Is the donation appropriate for the local climate, culture, and religion?
Do they actually need the donation?
Are the goods available locally?
Will the people receiving the goods be able to afford to fix or replace the donated item?
Will donating this item do more harm than good?
This reminded me a little of the opening of one of my older posts, which shared some application development observations in the social mobile space:
Sometimes we think we’re doing the right thing because our intentions may be good, but things don’t always turn out that way.
Saundra is currently taking a year off to write “Beyond Good Intentions: How to Make Your Disaster Donations Do the Good You Intended”. Her book and blog are an attempt to start a conversation about the endemic problems in aid and how we, as donors, can impact its quality. I can’t wait. In the meantime, you can follow Saundra on Twitter.