Welcome to our first What We’re Talking About post. Imagine Canada’s social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+) not only share relevant news and information about the charitable and nonprofit sector but they are also a way to engage, connect and discuss the issues that matter to us all. The What We’re Talking About blog column will look at and summarize some the most popular activity and discussions taking place on our various networks. Please note, the comments and information shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of Imagine Canada.
Environmental Charities and the Role of all Charities in the Public Policy Process
Regardless on where you stand in relation to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project we can all agree there has been extensive dialogue on the subject by both sides. Imagine Canada has taken no position on the Gateway project. That is not our role. But we do know that the voice of charities is critical and that debate and discussion will always make for better decision making. Our views are summarized in a collection of opinion editorials that appeared in the Windsor Star (Role of Charities), Huffington Post Canada (If Charities Take Foreign Money, So What?) and the Toronto Star (Don’t Fence in Canada’s Charities).
Besides the positive comments we’ve received on our social media networks on our aforementioned opinion editorials, there have been some interesting comments on some of the various Gateway themed articles that have been shared.
A strong response was elicited from David DeForrest from the recent article Senators call foundations “anti-Canadian,” question if environmental groups would take money from terrorists. Under the LinkedIn discussion post David shared, “Not sure whether to laugh or cry. Comments like the quote below certainly call into question the value of the senate!…”
A number of individuals and organizations in the Canadian charitable and nonprofit sector are paying close attention to the current dialogue taking place between environmental charities and the government as there may be broader sector implications in the future. United States online publication Inside Climate News recently wrote an extensive article, Canadian Government Targeting Opponents of New Oil Sands Pipeline, to which Diana Bumstead responded, “…I see the government’s action on this as a bit of a slippery slope…”
Community Investment and Retail Philanthropy
Considerable discussion took place on LinkedIn resulting from a post about Loblaw Companies Limited initiative President’s Choice® Children’s Charity encouraging shoppers to donate $2 at store check-outs [which I personally participated in at a recent shopping venture]. Individuals taking part in the discussion shared their view points on retail philanthropy in general, how they personally give, how corporations could and should give back to communities, what questions to ask when asked to give, and that different types of philanthropy engagement are needed to involve different people.
Obsession with Percentages
How do we show our impact? Let me count the ways… One aspect that many organizations and individuals embrace is the use of percentages, especially as it relates to administration, overhead or fundraising ratios. Comments under the blog post we shared from Passionate Giving on our LinkedIn Group page, Six Reasons Non-Profits Fail, Reason #4: Obsession with Percentages, clearly indicate this is an ongoing hot-topic for the sector and we have much work to do in educating organizations and the giving public.
“So important to education of donors, the media and even fundraising professionals!” – Paul Moore
“Lots of truth in this one!” – Laurie Bell
“Wow! This really shifted the way I think about promoting the agency for which I am ED. There is such an apologetic undercurrent around being nonprofit – we need to cultivate a better attitude about what we do have people value the impact of what we do, not how cheaply we can deliver.” – Debby Hamilton
“This is an excellent article and hits on a couple key notes for me…” – Jim Allen
“Thanks for sharing this. I have always maintained that in order to be successful, charities and NFP’s need to run themselves like for profit businesses. (They pay no tax, that is main difference, as this article reiterates.) For some reason, there is fear or at least discomfort associated with this statement…” – Akela Peoples
“…I believe public and particularly the donating public has conflicting views on the effectiveness of not-for-profit organizations and charities in particular. It is my experience that donors and volunteers have the expectation that charitable and not-for-profit organizations must be effective, well organized and efficient. I also know that they have the contradictory view that charities and not-for-profits should not invest in attracting, retaining and ensuring they have the highest calibre talent (front line and senior staff) to run their organizations.” – Shad Ali
“Great, thought-provoking comments. The job of nonprofit leadership gets more complicated and rewarding all the time.” – Debby Hamilton
It is challenging to determine the effectiveness of a charity from the numbers alone; it doesn’t present the entire picture. This is one of the main reasons why Imagine Canada encourages all charities to participate in sharing their stories through CharityFocus.
Collaboration: Perks and Perils
Collaborate, collaborate and collaborate. Most of us in the sector know and live by the collaboration mantra. It was no surprise to see commentary arise from our recent blog post Successful Collaboration: The perks and perils of working together. On our LinkedIn Post, Colette Mandin shares, “… In my experience, I have seen collaborations work well, and others slip into dysfunction…” while Keenan Wellar adds, “It requires significant understanding of organizational cultures, depending on the nature of the collaboration…”
In the Twitterverse, University of Alberta School of Public Health (@UofAPublicHlth) shared a “We believe this” in their tweet and the Humber Fundraising Program (@FundraiseHumber) in their tweet consider the post a “Great Read!”
Getting the Word Out
Imagine Canada would like to extend a special thank you to all on social media who share and distribute information about our programs and initiatives to their own networks. In particular, the recent launches of CharityFocus and Students (Verb) Charities which depend greatly on social media to get the word out on what we hope are game-changing initiatives for our sector. We want you to know that we do notice and we appreciate it.About the Author: Marnie Grona is the Director of Marketing & Communications at Imagine Canada. One of her roles is the strategic development, management and community engagement of Imagine Canada’s social media channels. Any comments or suggestions for future What We’re Talking About segments can be made in the comment section below or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org