Saturday, September 20, 2008

IPO with a difference

Early this week, Do Something, a non-profit organization promoting volunteerism among teenagers in the US, launched an IPO to raise $8 million to double its activities by 2011. Unlike the typical IPO prospectus, this one does not pledge to make any profits, and claims that the "units offered in conjunction with this prospectus represent a perpetual interest in Do Something; this interest is strictly philanthropic, with no provision for cash returns at any time."

Do Something promises "a significant social return on investment", quarterly performance updates and a conference call with management. But none of these recent philanthropic IPOs actually gives investors voting rights, essential to ensuring management accountability and removing managers who fail to deliver on their promises. But this is surely something for atleast a few NGOs in India to imitate.

HT: Economist

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