Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Communicating Message

By Paul Clolery - December 31, 2015

The year 2016 has the potential to be 50 miles of bad road for the charitable sector. Presidential candidates will push their tax plans, which in most cases will propose gutting incentives for charitable giving in the name of a balanced federal budget. Current incentives will be allowed to expire as members of Congress refuse to take action during an election cycle.

Donors will continue to be confused by what constitutes a donation. Is it writing a check, using a credit card online, a simple point of purchase item that contains a nonprofit’s logo, social media outreach or crowdsourced solicitation?

Incredibly, a Tweet can’t change the world. It can happen once or twice but that leaves more than 1 million organizations looking for followers who will react.

The sector will also be hampered because of some of the advocates lost during 2015. The sudden deaths of thought leaders Henry Woods “Woody” Bowman, Peter Dobkin Hall and Rick Cohen leave a void that will be hard to fill overnight.

The issue of from where the next generation of thought leaders will emerge is a center of concern. The numbers just don’t work. There are not enough people entering the charitable sector to keep the ranks filled with competent executives and staff.

It’s nearly a perfect storm for disaster — political unrest, confused donors, staff positions and executive suites with vacancies and an ever-expanding need for services.

Let’s take them one at a time, even though the answer just might be identical for all.

The sector’s de facto leadership has been too polite. The tax-exempt sector – not including government entities – has been allowing those elected to get away with too much for too long. There is no doubt the sector has had a hand in the improving U.S. economy. It’s time to let the general American public in on the secret.

There have been numerous failed attempts at television programs that focus on the work of charities. It becomes like watching the show Undercover Boss, where one employee gets called on the carpet, a second gets patted on the back with a few parting gifts and a third strikes it big. Incredibly, workers are too inept to recognize the corporate CEO, even with the really bad wigs and dye jobs. Some of them had faces perfect for radio.

Ah radio, where most of America still turns for news and entertainment. It comes in at least three flavors: broadcast, satellite and Internet. There are numerous nonprofits with broadcast capability. It’s time the sector took to the airwaves on a consistent basis to discuss issues, alert consumers about threats to their neighborhoods, and to tell the good stories.

The days of radio icon Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story are not over. The legendary commentator for decades told the stories that people west of New York and east of California found interesting. It’s time the sector did the same thing, along with compelling debate on the sector’s issues – which are also the public’s issues when you get down to it. It’s not a liberal versus conservative conflict. All points of view should be explored with an eye to national and local issues. There are numerous outlets looking for programming and the content could be streamed on the Internet.

There is little time to get started. The sector’s leadership needs to be engaged in the debates that will shape the 2016 presidential elections. Whether it’s tax policy, immigration, human resources or any of a hundred issues with which leaders are grappling, it starts with engaging the general public.

The sector has always counted on the American people to respond to a call to action. Lively discussions of the issues are a good place to start.  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