Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

10 Issues That Top The Activist List For 2013

By Zach Halper - May 15, 2013

Nonprofits and activists have always had a fairly healthy relationship. The same can’t be said of corporations, which are usually a favorite target of grassroots movements. While some corporations might be reluctant to change, a new report from Future 500 indicates that a series of issues will force them to partner with nonprofits to adapt to a changing environment.

The report, titled Top 10 Stakeholder Issues, examines how 2013 is shaping up to be an extension of the populist movements the country saw in both 2011 and 2012. As increasingly emboldened funders and grassroots activists work to channel their discontent about issues such as climate change and money in politics, the San Francisco, Calif.-based nonprofit identified these activists as key stakeholders in the marketplace.

“The issues we identified will impact all business sectors, but most directly consumer brands, because stakeholders expect and demand more from them due to their market power,” said Future 500 COO Erik Wohlgemuth.

The 10 issues identified are broad in scope but are unified by one common theme: They all involve heavy grassroots pressure using digital media. Wohlgemuth believes that both corporations and nonprofits can form strategic partnerships that will solve the problems.

“With all the top 10 issues, we see great potential for forward thinking executives within companies and NGOs to align around workable solutions,” he said.

The top 10 issues are:

End Corporate Climate Silence: Although the climate change debate appeared to move to the background in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, the topic came back full force following a year of extreme weather that included the devastating Superstorm Sandy. As a result, Future 500 expects the so-called “climate litmus test” for corporate sustainability to make a return.

“In the battle for public opinion, expect the message framing to be waged via digital media,” the report reads, noting that activists are more adept in this medium than corporations.

Fracking Energy Independence vs. Clean Water and Food: Another environmental issue, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a process that allows access to oil and natural gas reserves. Activists fear fracking and other drilling operations are far outpacing regulations, and are making the campaign to ban the practice a top priority.

EPA Regulations: Future 500 predicts that mainstream groups will join grassroots activists in calling for tougher environmental regulations as more ideological groups look for stronger legislative and decisive corporate action.

Infrastructure Disruption: Emboldened by last year’s perceived delaying of the Keystone XL pipeline, activists are seeking to delay what they consider to be more “extreme energy projects,” such as off-shore drilling in the Arctic. The report predicts that organizations such as the Sierra Club, whose board recently greenlighted civil disobedience as a tactic for the first time, will keep such battles in the headlines throughout 2013.

GMOs, Are You in There?: Activists have targeted brands that use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their products, and this trend will continue in 2013. GMOs are usually contained in food products and are considered unsafe by activists, who want products that contain them to be labeled.

Digital Freedom: According to Future 500, this is the main campaign of the digital generation. Key opinion leaders include the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Access Now, and are also aided by grassroots coordinators such as Change.org.

Supply Chain Transparency: Acti­vist campaigns have been pressuring industry to set more sustainable procurement standards. Recent campaigns involving apparel manufacture and palm oil, among other things, indicate that there are many nonprofits focused on supply chain issues. Notable corporate campaign groups include Greenpeace and the Rainforest Network, while corporations such as Nike and Disney have also proved to be allies on this issue.

Obesity and Sugar: The United States is known for having an obesity problem, and the amount of sugar and processed ingredients in food and drinks has been blamed for this health problem. Childhood obesity is a big focus of activist campaigns, and people across the ideological spectrum are mobilizing to encourage healthier habits.

Money in Politics: The influence of money in political campaigns has long been an issue, but it reached a breaking point after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which has led to countless Super PACs flooding seemingly unlimited amounts of money in campaigns. It is anticipated that NGOs and investors on both the left and right will continue to demand greater transparency in their political giving, both domestically and abroad.

Economic Power: Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party made headlines for their outrage over so-called “crony capitalism.” Future 500 notes that while the issues has “simmered,” it has the potential to re-ignite.

Future 500 was founded in 1995 and is focused on building “alliances between adversarial stakeholders” to solve sustainability issues that fall under four broad categories: Energy & Climate, Water & Agriculture, Materials Stewardship, and Technological Empowerment.

You can learn more about the issues and read the Stakeholders Report at  www.future500.org  NPT

Podcast_forHub_500x500

Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.


Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!

Newsletters

Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up



click here to return to the previous page