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Donors and nonprofits separated by a common language

by The NonProfit Times - July 25, 2012

Even as it faces the new challenges of the 21st century, the nonprofit sector must withstand the ageless challenge of staying alive and relevant.

Lack of information, or even misinformation, can prove to be a barrier to nonprofits in trying to fulfill their missions, just as awareness will be a big help.

Irv Katz, president of the National Human Services Assembly in Washington, D.C., has offered several suggestions that he thinks can help to better position the sector:

  • Adopt more descriptive, precise common language. Terms like “nonprofit enterprise” and “civic sector” could be better understood through common usage.
  • As those in the sector adopt such language, stop using the word “charity,” especially when it does not apply. Many top “charities” do not distribute resources to those in need.
  • Weave together the strands of effort in which many in the sector are engaged in their organizations to attract and develop talent.
  • Strive collectively to reframe and reintroduce the civic sector and civic enterprise as integral to people’s lives – as citizens and potentially as a career focus, both for young people and for people seeking encore careers.

Grow the pool of talent for each individual field and for the sector. Strive diligently to meet the talent challenges of individual organizations, but join in collective efforts.

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