Thursday, September 30, 2010

CBS 60 Minutes and the work of Bill and Melinda Gates

Dear Colleagues

CBS 60 minutes has done a segment on the work of Bill and Melinda Gates ... and very good to see. The YouTubde link is

I would love to be managing the resources that are available to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The amount is impression, and the potential for doing great things with these resources is at hand. I am not sure, however, that the resources are, in fact, going to be used in the most useful way. Accordingly I have commented as follows on the YouTube site.
Dear Colleagues

Bill and Melinda Gates deserve credit for their philanthropic efforts. However in terms of metrics about the performance of the Foundation, there is terrible weakness, just like the rest of the philanthropic sector. Adoption of the TheBurgessMethod to build data about progress and performance in socio-economic development would be helpful and would get metrics that are better than news clips and photo-essays that is the present approach to accountability!
Peter Burgess
The philanthropic sector is well funded at the present time ... courtesy, in large part, to the success of tech sector entrepreneurs, just like the boom in philanthropy that emerged as a result of the multiple waves of the industrial revolution (Carnegie, Ford, Rockefeller, et al).

But the amount of money is only one measure of the sector ... and perhaps not the most important. TheBurgessMethod (TBM) helps to ascertain the performance of philanthropic expenditure within the framework of society as a whole. Using TBM, early indications are that the philanthropic sector has serious performance challenges, and this does not exclude the Gates Foundation. How much impact is philanthropic resource disbursement really having?

The philanthropic sector has had very little systemic performance measurement ... but this might be starting to change. There are many initiatives to improve performance metrics, and TBM is one. TBM is probably more ambitious than many of the initiatives ... but maybe simpler, cheaper and better. TBM is powerful because it is conceptually similar to money accounting but using a value construct as well as money, and also using community as a reporting entity as well as the organization and the project or activity. The elegance of balance sheet and operating accounts in money accounting is also used in TBM ... with both money and value assets and liabilities, not to mention cost and value consumption, revenue and value creation, and profit and value adding or destruction.

TBM is slowly emerging ... and accelerating modestly

Peter Burgess

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