Two Months Later, the $320 Million Ebola Giving Gap Remains

By Sylvia Warren

While private and corporate giving toward the Ebola crisis was very slow to get started, by the end of 2014, many creative fundraising initiatives had emerged to unlock private giving to the Ebola response. In November, for example, Facebook added a prominent donation link to profiles of its 1.2 billion users. Google quickly followed suit, matching every dollar contributed by $2.

The Facebook donation link displayed at the top of every user homepage in November.

The Facebook donation link displayed at the top of every user homepage in November.

Beyond the Internet, a group of international soccer stars made a TV commercial to ask for donations to UNICEF. The commercial aired during the England vs. Scotland match, and the British government matched all contributions up to five million pounds. Doctors of the World, a smaller NGO, asked people to purchase health worker protection gear through the Halloweeen-themed “More than a costume” campaign. The ONE Campaign released a celebrity-studded #endEbola video.

In addition to high-profile asks and catchy hashtags, actors have used nontraditional financial instruments to increase funding. For example, The International Finance Facility for Immunisation issued a $500 million Sukuk, or issuance of Islamic bonds, to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations. This is the largest debt issue to date from a global non-profit organization. Meanwhile, Hollard Insurance and Dalberg Global Development Advisors are working to expedite fund dispersion through HUGInsure, a social impact insurance entity.

The creativity in lending support to fight Ebola extends far beyond financial contributions. Through the World Community Grid, IBM is helping people donate computing power from idle devices to the Ebola response. Bitcoin, the electronic currency provider, is helping compile relevant scientific papers for researchers.

Yet a key question remains: how effectively have these initiatives mobilized private giving?

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Infographic: How Much is Being Done for the World’s 450 Million Smallholder Farmers?

Technical assistance programs can help smallholder farmers improve their agronomic skills, business and financial skills, and access to markets. Currently, $8 billion is spent on such programs each year, which may sound like a lot, but equates to an average of only $18.66 per farmer.

Learn more about technical assistance for smallholder farmers — and what can be done to make it more effective — in the infographic below from Dalberg and the Initiative for Smallholder Finance (click for full resolution).

For more detail, see Technical Assistance for Smallholder Farmers: An Anatomy of the Market.

Technical Assistance Infographic ISF

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Champions of the Toilet: The best way to solve open defecation is to focus on demand, not construction

By Adrien Couton, Romit Mehta, and Ahmed Nadeem Khan

A sign at a ward in Tiruchirappalli, India stating that it is free from open defecation. Photo by India Water Portal via Flickr.

A sign at a ward in Tiruchirappalli, India stating that the ward is free from open defecation. Photo by India Water Portal via Flickr.

One out of every two people practicing open defecation globally lives in India. In fact, India has more than double the number of people practicing open defecation (OD) than the next 18 countries combined. The practice negatively affects health and is a leading cause of diarrhea, which kills 300,000 children each year in India, according to WHO. Moreover, lack of access to sanitation facilities can cause malnutrition even among those who are food secure.

Complicating the situation, access to toilets doesn’t always fix the problem – health benefits from toilet use come only when communities as a whole use toilets. Partial coverage generates insignificant health benefits. Therefore, to address India’s malnutrition and health crisis, it is imperative to aggressively promote widespread adoption of toilet use and eradicate open defecation

The newly elected government in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi recognizes the severity of this problem and has placed access to toilets at the forefront of the national agenda. To stress its urgency, Modi used the politically important Independence Day address to focus on the issue, and promised a toilet for every house by 2019.

Generating Demand for Toilets

Free toilets in Tiruvannamalai, India. Photo by Babak Fakhamzadeh via Flickr.

Free toilets in Tiruvannamalai, India. Photo by Babak Fakhamzadeh via Flickr.

This will not be the India’s first sanitation program focusing on toilet use. The government of India launched a Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in 1999 that was meant to be a community-led, demand-based program to increase rural access to toilets. TSC provided subsidies for household toilet construction and the campaign appointed district-level sanitation coordinators (Swachhata Prerak) to build awareness for toilets and monitor and implement the program in their districts.

However, the policy’s execution departed greatly from its design. On the ground, TSC was supply-led and infrastructure-focused. Information, education and communication (IEC) was considered secondary and budget for IEC activities was capped at 15 percent of the program’s total budget. Spending by the district coordinators was further mired in bureaucratic red tape. In the end, only 6 percent of the program budget was spent on programs sparking demand for toilets and educating about the health effects of OD.

The TSC program failed to meet its objectives – only 47 million toilets were constructed by the end of 2012, against a target of 120 million. Real coverage, as per census data, was 31 percent at the end of 2012 as opposed to government’s claims of 68 percent. These statistics indicate that a large majority of toilets were either missing, had become unusable or were simply not built.

Furthermore, a survey conducted in five states by the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics found that 40 percent of households in the sample that had a toilet had at least one person who was still defecating in the open. Further inquiries revealed that people believed it much healthier to defecate in the open with 74 percent citing “pleasure, comfort and convenience” as the key reason for OD. The failure of household adoption of toilets showed a stark disconnect between sanitation infrastructure and toilet use.

Ideally, further programs will use a holistic approach combining hardware subsidies with awareness generation. This is not necessarily a simple solution – current projects show that community-wide information, education and communication efforts take anywhere between three to eight months along with considerable financial resources to successfully demonstrate the need for toilet adoption. They require a dedicated and trained staff working in local communities.

Emphasizing Behavior Change Over Hardware

Countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh have reduced OD by focusing exclusively on behavior change, without providing any subsidies for toilet construction. In India, community-wide behavior change efforts have also yielded positive results and provide a framework to increase toilet adoption.

Gramalaya, an NGO, runs a successful toilet adoption program in partnership with the local government in Tiruchirappalli through community management of sanitation facilities. Gramalaya establishes multiple Self Help Groups (SHGs) in a community who are encouraged to construct and maintain pay-per-use community toilets. Each SHG member is caretaker of the community toilet for a day and collects user fees and maintains the accounting. The mix of community participation with a focus on encouraging use of toilets has met with success – several communities have been declared open defecation-free.

Cambodia provides another model of success in sanitation marketing. The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP)-supported Sanitation Marketing Pilot Project produced an affordable pour flush latrine (Easy Latrine) and trained local enterprises to produce and sell it at profit. Toilets were promoted as aspirational products to prioritize in household spending. The project’s promotion strategy included advertising messages such as “Have a latrine – have a good life.” The campaign was successful – about 10,600 latrines were purchased during the pilot. In 601 monitored villages, there was an approximate 7.5 percentage point increase in improved sanitation coverage from the baseline – six times higher than the background rate of increase. The toilets went on to be widely adopted. More than 100,000 units have sold in two years.

sanitation II

What Works in Demand-Driven Sanitation Programs

Dalberg’s research in Cambodia found appointing sanitation champions as decentralized sales agents for latrines had a significant impact on selling latrines. Being close to potential customers, the sanitation champions undertook a range of awareness-building activities and focused on generating demand for toilets. The efforts were successful and the commune Trapeang Sala Khang Lech became open defecation-free.

Success in curbing open defecation can only be achieved by generating demand for toilets through a consistent focus on behavior change. Infrastructure-focused programs are by themselves inadequate in solving the problem of open defecation. The Indian government needs to remember this lesson as it embarks on an ambitious path to provide a toilet to every household.

This article originally appeared in NextBillion.

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ODA is Not Dead: Why Public Aid Flows Are Still Relevant

ODa

People outside remittance centers in Malaysia. Photo by: baklavabaklava / CC BY-NC via Devex.

Last week, congressional leaders in the United States passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill for the coming year that includes an overall foreign aid budget 5.6% lower than current levels and 16% lower than it was in 2010.

Some global development thinkers would argue that this drop in funding from the world’s top foreign aid donor is no cause for concern, as private flows – not aid – are the most critical drivers of economic development.

But while private flows such as foreign direct investment (FDI) and remittances dwarf official development assistance (ODA) in total dollar amounts, those numbers don’t show the full picture. Paul Callan, Jasmin Cooke, and Andria Thomas argue in Devex that ODA is still very relevant as it is critical for improving public services and meeting basic human development needs.

They write:

One impact of financial flows into a country is to generate economic demand and growth. The flows act as an “economic stimulus package”: People receiving the money have more to spend, which increases the income for other people and hence their spending, and so on. For this impact, it doesn’t matter much where the money comes from, at least in the short term. Hence, private flows are indeed becoming more important than aid, even in least-developed countries, as a stimulus for increasing economic activity.

A second impact, however, is to provide people with services, such as health, education, housing and sanitation. Remittances enable recipients to purchase these services themselves. Foreign private investments will typically result in some local employment and consequently enable employees to acquire these services as well. But only aid directly finances improvements in access to and quality of such public services.

Read the full piece on Devex >>

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Mobilizing Post-2015 Action: Are the SDGs too complicated to be effective?

un flagsEarlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a “synthesis” report to guide the final draft of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they expire in 2015. Ban’s current draft of the SDGs includes about twice as many goals and eight times as many targets as the MDGs.

UN member states still have time to adjust the next development agenda and it is important that they do, says Dalberg Global Operating Partner Paul Callan in a recent Devex op-ed. ”The MDGs spoke to political leaders and to people around the world; the draft SDGs will speak only to experts and activists,” the op-ed states. He argues that with so many complex parts, the draft SDGs lack the simplicity that enabled the MDGs to create impact.

He writes:

Without denying the achievement of the work to date, it is hard to conclude that the current draft goals comply with the collective declaration of all countries at the Rio+20 Summit.  The Rio+20 outcome document The Future We Want, which launched the Open Working Group, “underscore[d] that sustainable development goals should be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, [and] limited in number.”

Leaders will adopt the final set of SDGs at next year’s UNGA. Before then, they need to refocus the goals and reduce dramatically the number of targets. Ideally, the committees drafting the SDGs will concentrate on the most vital issues — poverty, growth, education, health, environmental sustainability — and on the targets that will generate the most impact from investments made.

Read the full piece on Devex >>

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Why “Anti-Poverty” Vaccines Matter, with Dr. Peter Hotez

By Sylvia Warren and Sara Wallace

“Every single person living in extreme poverty is afflicted by at least one neglected tropical disease,” Dr. Peter Hotez of the Sabin Vaccine Institute explained in a recent D. Talk at Dalberg’s DC office.

Though neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) receive less funding and publicity than the “big three” (HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis), they have enormous social and economic costs. The group of tropical infections categorized as NTDs cause chronic disability for millions of low-income people around the world.

Vaccines can help lower the prevalence of NTDs and have been shown to prevent not just poverty but also conflict. But for NTDs and other diseases, the path from vaccine idea to delivery is not easy. According to Dr. Hotez, vaccines are “among the most cost-effective and powerful life-saving technologies.” But, he says, they “are also probably the slowest.”

We sat down with Dr. Hotez to detail the key challenges in vaccine development, misperceptions about NTDs, and what the process to deploy an Ebola vaccine might look like. Watch the full interview above.

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Reducing Food Loss and Waste to Feed the World’s Nine Billion People in 2050

By Cecilia Chen, Dan Tuttle, and Dan Zook

One primary driver of food loss is a lack of skills training for actors within the supply chain in handling, packaging, and storing food. Photo by Lon&Quita via Flickr.

One primary driver of food loss is a lack of skills training for actors within the supply chain in handling, packaging, and storing food. Photo by Lon&Quita via Flickr.

The global population is expected to grow from about seven billion today to over nine billion by 2050. Producing enough food for this population will require a 70 percent increase in agricultural production and $83 billion per year of investments in developing country agriculture.

Yet, one third of the food produced globally—about 1.3 billion tons of food per year—is never consumed at all. This food is wasted or lost at some step of the supply chain between when it leaves a farm and when a consumer would typically eat it.

The solution to feeding a growing population is not simply to produce more food, but also to save, preserve, or recycle the food already produced. Cutting current food wastage in half, for example, would yield enough food to feed one billion people—half of the additional population expected by 2050.

The issue of food that is never consumed breaks into two discrete problems: “food loss,” which primarily affects developing countries, and “food waste,” which primarily affects developed countries.

Food loss, which accounts for 90 percent of unconsumed food in developing countries, refers to the decrease in edible food mass during production, postharvest processing, and distribution. The primary drivers of food loss are a lack of skills training for actors within the supply chain in handling, packaging, and storing food; insufficient on-farm storage technologies or postharvest storage facilities; and farmers’ poor market access, which leads to spoilage before products can be sold.

Food waste, on the other hand, refers to food that is fit for human consumption but is discarded by retailers or consumers. In developed countries, high aesthetic standards, stringent food company contracts, large portion sizes, and promotion-driven sales often lead to the overproduction of food, much of which is discarded. Food discarded by the consumer—the last actor in the supply chain—wastes the resources used in every previous step in the chain.

Food Waste and Loss

Unconsumed food also has effects beyond food security, ranging from the economic—one year’s unconsumed food is worth roughly $750 billion—to the environmental—unconsumed food is responsible for 3.3 billion tons in CO2 emissions per year.

Food lost early in the supply chain is particularly devastating for the world’s 470 million smallholder farmers, most of whom live beneath the poverty line. Many of these food producers are also among the 1.2 billion people who are food insecure. As a result of such on-farm losses, farmers are not be able to convert as much of their produce into income. A recent Dalberg analysis estimates that every year 320 million metric tons of food—17 percent of food produced globally—is lost during production and postharvest alone.

From an ecological perspective, food wastage means that valuable natural resources are used to produce food that is ultimately not consumed. Globally, farmers use an amount of land equivalent to all of Africa’s cropland to produce food that is never consumed. Though this food is not used, the environment still pays a price: the production of wasted foods accounts for 10 percent of global greenhouse gasses and depletes a quarter of global freshwater.

Through an assessment of global food loss and waste for the Rockefeller Foundation, Dalberg identified high-potential solutions underway in developing countries to reduce food loss and simultaneously improve farmer incomes. These promising interventions include:

  • Market-based models for low-cost, farm-based storage, preservation, and processing technologies: For example, hermetically sealed bags that preserve the quality of grains, vegetables, and seeds allow farmers to store and sell products later in the season when prices are higher.
  • Large commercial food companies’ expanded operations in emerging markets that bring technology, infrastructure, and management discipline: For example, in an effort to commercialize and formalize its domestic supply chains, Reliance Retail India is investing in its cold chain infrastructure to reduce transport time of fruits and vegetables, thus limiting the possibility of food spoilage in transit.
  • Community investments in on-farm agro-processing solutions: For example, solar dryers can replace open-air drying, which is labor-intensive and leaves fruits and vegetables susceptible to weather and pests. Such dryers can be used in areas without access to electricity to produce export-grade produce. By pooling farmers’ produce, a community can improve its ability to purchase these agro-processing tools.

Agricultural postharvest loss and consumer food waste have wide-ranging consequences, from smallholder farmer livelihoods, to food security and nutrition, to conservation of water and other environmental resources. Reducing loss throughout agricultural supply chains would not only address these concerns, but also tackle fears of future global food shortages and enable scarce resources to be shared more wisely.

As the development community struggles to meet the nutritional demands of a growing population, policymakers should focus not on producing more and more food, but rather on reducing food waste and loss.

This article originally appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations. The research that underpins this article was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.

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Empowering Individuals as Smart Funders to Take Poverty to “Zero”

By Angela Rastegar Campbell

Angela Rastegar Campbell

Angela Rastegar Campbell

Next week, the US will celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday focused on giving thanks and giving back. As charitable giving peaks during this upcoming holiday season, one critical cause to give toward is the monumental task of taking poverty to “zero.”

But with 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty around the world, addressing poverty will require not just more giving, but smarter giving – to organizations with the most effective interventions.

Generations X and Y are prime candidates for smarter giving – those of us ages 19 to 49 are nearly twice as likely as prior generations to focus on understanding the “return on investment” (ROI) of our donations. We want to use impact metrics to ensure our philanthropy is effective, but smart giving can be difficult as an individual. Evaluating nonprofit impact is time and labor-intensive, particularly when many nonprofits do not publically report key metrics. Transparent, data-driven nonprofits such as GiveDirectly and Evidence Action are in the minority. The lack of an efficient flow of information costs the sector billions of dollars per year, from a combination of marketing dollars spent by nonprofits and research dollars spent by large donors.

Enabling individuals to give wisely, however, is critical in the fight against global poverty. Last year, individuals in the US gave over $250 billion (including bequests) – that’s about 80 times more than the Gates Foundation spent.

Since leaving Dalberg earlier this year, I’ve founded a new platform called Agora Fund to help fill the impact information gap and empower individuals as smart funders. Agora Fund enables individual donors to easily fund measurable results by matching them with a customized portfolio of high-impact nonprofits. Our goal is to understand how global development nonprofits are actually alleviating poverty – rather than measuring day-to-day activities like number of food packets distributed – and to connect individuals with the highest-impact nonprofits based on each donor’s unique theory of change. By collaborating with other experts in the sector, such as Innovations for Poverty Action and the Mulago Foundation, we hope to support the global dialogue around outcomes-based measurement.

Agora Fund’s Poverty Portfolio

Drawing on the UN’s Multidimensional Poverty Index and the draft Sustainable Development Goals that will drive the post-2015 development agenda, Agora Fund believes individual philanthropy can address global poverty through three approaches:

  1. Providing services to meet basic human needs, such as health, food, sanitation, and housing,
  2. Enabling access to resources, such as banking and communication, and
  3. Creating economic opportunity through education and training.

We recognize that interventions using these three approaches only work, however, when they are tailored to local contexts. For instance, what works in sanitation for women and girls in Nepal will vary greatly from what works in Ghana, where cultural norms are extremely different.

In addition to providing individuals with customized information on smart giving, Agora Fund also invites individuals to contribute to a “poverty fund” that we’ve curated, which contains high-impact nonprofits addressing poverty around the world through proven interventions. The nonprofits in this fund report that each donated dollar they receive increases income for poor families anywhere from 28% (in the case of cash transfers) to over 250% (in the case of rural development nonprofits) in just one year.

Ultimately, we hope that by empowering both individuals and high-impact nonprofits, Agora Fund can develop a more efficient philanthropic marketplace and advance global welfare. While the task of combating poverty is daunting, a future without poverty is possible. In the words of UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, “Our generation is the first with the resources and know-how to end extreme poverty and make sustainable development a reality.” Let’s give wisely to bring about that future.

Angela Rastegar Campbell is a Dalberg alumna and the founder and CEO of Agora Fund, a platform that aims to build a more transparent marketplace for charities. This blog was co-authored with Rachael Gan, an Agora Fund advisor and former vice president at Goldman Sachs.

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Filling the Smallholder Household Data Gap: A New Learning Agenda

By CJ Fonzi and Sara Wallace

When Dalberg and the Initiative for Smallholder Finance set out earlier this year to understand the landscape of impact and risk standards in smallholder finance, what we found was complex. It was a labyrinth of standardized metrics, siloed data sets, and nascent new technologies. As a result, we saw that practitioners and donors seeking to create new appropriate financial products for smallholder farmers had little to no data, particularly on the demand side, on which to base their efforts.

In an effort to help the industry take stock of what we do know, we created a smallholder impact literature wiki and built an interactive map of smallholder finance impact and risk assessment tools. Further, in our industry briefing, Smallholder Impact and Risk Metrics: A Labyrinth of Opportunity, we pointed out that while a large amount of data exists, very few metrics initiatives have focused on catalyzing industry growth. Rather, the lion’s share of efforts has sought to help organizations demonstrate their impact or reduce their risk. There is very little shared knowledge about the smallholder clients that many financial service providers want to reach.

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Filling this information gap will require new efforts and a shared learning agenda. In recognition of this need, Dalberg recently joined colleagues at Root Capital and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs to establish a new framework for this next phase of metrics and data collection. We call it “Metrics 3.0.”

Articulating this new vision for shared metrics in Stanford Social Innovation Review, we reflected that while metrics platforms and data collection efforts were once focused on accountability and standardization, future success lies in collecting actionable information that drives shared value creation. We presented four opportunities in which metrics and data collection can drive value at the organizational and ecosystem levels. The fourth opportunity—building a learning agenda—seeks to encourage industry collaboration to establish an actionable evidence base around what works. In most impact sectors, funding for market research, pilot projects, and innovation is scarce. Too often, though, isolated actors with similar goals are trying the same approaches, collecting the same information, and pushing the field a single step forward. Coordinated learning agendas and shared knowledge bases will allow practitioners to repurpose what others have already learned and utilize scarce resources to fill information gaps and drive the entire field forward.

Armed with a Metrics 3.0 state of mind, the Initiative for Smallholder Finance and Dalberg recently released a briefing titled Lending a Hand: How Direct-to-Farmer Finance Providers Reach Smallholders that examines the supply side by looking at over 150 finance providers offering finance directly to smallholder farmers. The briefing introduces four distinct business model archetypes that have been successful to date in reaching smallholder farmers and highlights the common practices and challenges financial providers face as they try to reach smallholder farmers with appropriate financial products. The briefing also identifies key next steps in understanding the business model archetypes, opportunities to share knowledge and blend approaches, and areas ripe for innovation.

The Direct-to-Farmer Finance Innovation Space Playbook that accompanies this briefing was informed by new primary research into the demand side of smallholder lending. The playbook introduces five opportunities for direct-to-farmer finance innovation: 1) In-field efficiency, 2) Agronomic learning, 3) Credit assessment, 4) Portfolio diversification, and 5) Individual motivation. The playbook then explores specific innovations underway in each area and uses new primary data to suggest concrete examples of new products, services, and strategies that financial service providers might employ to better meet the needs of smallholders.

CGAP’s efforts to conduct financial diaries of smallholders and to survey smallholder households will fill key gaps in market knowledge, and it’s exciting to see CGAP join Dalberg, the Initiative for Smallholder Finance, Financial Sector Deepening, and others in taking an active role in this learning agenda. As we collaboratively build this knowledge base, we hope to arm financial institutions with the research necessary to develop better products and processes to meet the financial needs of the world’s 450 million smallholder farmers and their families.

This post originally appeared on CGAP. View the rest of CGAP’s smallholder data series here.

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Top Five Takeaways from My Internship in Impact Investing

By Isaac Gross

Isaac Gross

Isaac Gross

“So what did you learn?” my boss asked me in the final week of my internship.

After a summer of struggling to make well-formatted PowerPoint slides, finding out after my final presentation that a fund track record is actually the fund manager’s track record, and navigating the connectivity challenges of West and Southern Africa, I realized that this final check-in was the first time I had actually reflected on my experience. While my initial response was not nearly this well-structured and succinct, here are the top five things I learned during my internship with D. Capital:

1) People matter

To those of you who have been working in the industry for years, this comes as no surprise. However, for those of us entering finance from non-traditional industries that assumed it was more Microsoft Excel and less interaction, this was a pleasant discovery.

2) Bet the jockey

Again, this may seem obvious to people who have been working in investing for years, but I was shocked to find how important management was to investment decisions. I’m not saying that any of the incredible entrepreneurs I had the pleasure of speaking to this summer could run a successful pager business in 2014, but the conversations I had with them were one of the key components of my investment recommendations.

3) Time is money

Over the summer I worked with a number of extremely impressive and equally busy people. I had to quickly learn that their time and attention was a privilege. After 10 weeks, I became very good at preparing for internal and external interactions so that the discussions I was having were productive.

4) It’s a dance

One of my favorite entrepreneurs from my previous career in public health once told me that fundraising was a like a dance. You had to know when to move in and when to back away. I found this advice useful in my conversations with company leadership and was amazed by how good the partners at my organization were in this regard.

5) Trust yourself

If you are interning at a successful organization, which I’m sure many people reading this blog have done or will do at some point, some extremely impressive person has decided that you have the potential to one day become successful as well. You should operate under this premise. You will make mistakes, as I did, but as long as you learn from them and believe in yourself, things will work out.

This article originally appeared in Wall Street Oasis.

Isaac Gross is a member of the 2015 MBA class at London Business School who interned with D. Capital Partners. Click here to see current opportunities to work within the Dalberg Group.

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