I have been updating my favorite lists and links this month on WordPress. My companion “blog” Fundraising Resources includes a variety of blogs by others that I enjoy, insightful articles, as well as more lengthy reports and guides. I use the site to bookmark links mostly for my own use, but if they are of help to others, then so be it.
There are many noteworthy nonprofit news organizations, but I have chosen to focus Fundraising Resources on those that discuss philanthropy and related topics in the context of traditional media, from CNN to The Wall Street Journal. My personal feeling is we in the nonprofit sector can sometimes become too insular. We seek information to guide us in our work from insiders working in the field. But while this is surely important, by following broad-based media coverage regarding philanthropy and on a regular basis, one gains great insight from the other side of the table.
One of my favorite sources of information is Forbes. For instance, I enjoyed an article by Andrew Cave, “Giving To Your Church Doesn’t Count,” in which Jon Huntsman Sr. discusses his charitable giving.
“I can’t tell you why I give,” he says. “People have asked me that question for the last 20-30 years and I have never come up with a satisfactory answer, other than the fact that some people think you’re crazy. I love to see the twinkle in peoples’ eyes. It’s a high, a real feeling of excitement and exhilaration to be able to help people. It’s hard to explain why. It’s not something other members of my family have done; it’s not something that’s inherited. It’s just something that for me is very important.”
Here is another article I enjoyed. Julie Bort quotes Bill Gates for Business Insider, “Bill Gates Thinks Your Donations To Charity Are A Bigger Deal Than His” (2014):
“My charitable giving is not impressive. What’s impressive is people who give to charities who have to sacrifice something to give it to him. In my family, we don’t even hesitate to buy yet another airplane. But there are people who have to choose, do I go out to dinner? Or do I give this $20 to my church? That’s a very different decision than I make. Those are the people that impress me.”
We as a sector can improve our performance on many levels if we make the effort to stand in the shoes of others and attempt to understand how we are perceived by philanthropists as well as the clientele we serve. Media organizations like Bloomberg, CNN, Forbes, Fortune, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post can be of great help in this regard.
On the flip side, I would also say the mainstream media could do more to cover philanthropy (not just the occasional and more dramatic stories of failure). As more companies see the value of investing in social good, enhanced media coverage could help promote the concept further and broaden its adoption. That will benefit our sector, our many worthy nonprofit missions and society as a whole.
You might enjoy reading another Forbes article, “The Companies With the Best CSR Reputations” by Jacquelyn Smith (2013), and the Strategy + Business article, “The Real Benefit of Socially Conscious Companies” by James O’Toole (2013). Food for thought!
After posting my blog comments above, I discovered this article and some good news, “McDonough to Lead World Economic Forum on Circular Economy” on GreenBiz. If you aren’t following the work of the World Economic Forum, you might consider it – the Forum is tackling some of the most challenging issues of our time.
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