Why haven’t we tackled the “biggie” of systemic challenges?
We like to think we know change in the nonprofit sector. We’re in the business of systemic change after all. So why haven’t we tackled the “biggie” of systemic challenges? Yes, I’m talking about our challenges as a sector.
In our current Page to Practice™ book feature of Charity Case at CausePlanet, we’ve explored how author Dan Pallotta argues that the social sector is required to work with a different rule book than the corporate world. This alternative rule book prevents us from moving the needle on critical humanitarian issues and reflects five transgressions against the sector. These transgressions range from disparities in compensation, to risk-tolerance for revenue generation, to the time horizon for successful outcomes.
Pallotta further asserts that the social sector needs its own civil rights movement to overcome these hurdles perpetuated by the current rule book and explains his plan for a new “Charity Defense Council” to lead it.
The Council should approach the problem from five angles: 1) Establish an Anti-Defamation League; 2) launch an aggressive, paid public media campaign; 3) enact a National Civil Rights Act for Charity and Social Enterprise; 4) establish a Legal Defense Fund; and 5) organize the sector on behalf of its own issues (including 17 ways to get involved in this movement).
In our interview with Pallotta, we asked him about which of the five strategies he felt was most important and about the role of other sectors:
CausePlanet: You’ve discussed five strategies that will help the social sector change the way our society views charities. In your opinion, which is the most important among them?
Pallotta: We need to begin with anti-defamation and public advertising efforts. Those are the two quickest paths to a public conversation. Charities are defamed in the media all the time, and there is no legitimate nationally respected voice there to defend or offer an alternative point of view. And that’s free media if we can get an anti-defamation voice to respond to those stories. With public advertising, we can completely control the message and deliver lay-friendly, really smart, really provocative ads that can change people’s minds quickly.
CausePlanet: Many thought leaders observe meaningful social change happens when sectors collaborate to create a movement. What essential actions might we need, if any, from the corporate and government sectors to accomplish this new view of charities?
Pallotta: Not to be too pedestrian, but one of the things we could use would be corporate brands sponsoring these efforts with financial support. The government could create a sea change overnight by finding a national iTunes for charity that would give the public much more robust and friendly information that is updated regularly. Eventually it could provide information on every single nonprofit organization in the country.
Do you feel you operate under a separate rule book from the corporate sector? Have you experienced any of the transgressions Pallotta mentions? If yes to either question, tell us about it.
For more information about Dan Pallotta’s Charity Case, or to purchase his book, visit www.danpallotta.com.
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