The Way Forward for Charitable Organizations

Aggregating and organizing people passionate about making change happen in the charitable sector.

Dan Pallotta is a driving force behind both a searing analysis of the charitable organization sector and a strategic plan to bring these organizations to equality with for-profit businesses. His most recent book Charity Case, outlines five inter-related actions to level the playing field:

  1. Create an Anti-Defamation League to respond to media attacks
  2. Use paid media for aggressive publicity campaigns
  3. Start a Legal Defense Fund to enforce First Amendment rights
  4. Enact a National Civil Rights for Charity and Social Enterprise legislation
  5. Organize

Charitable organizations are easy targets for media criticism and political grand-standing that reflect historic biases and a lack of understanding of the scope and mission or an organization. Very few organizations have the capacity to defend themselves, starting a publicity nightmare that will impact both their fund-raising ability and service delivery for years to come. Using the NAACP, GLAAD, and the Anti-Defamation League as models, Pallotta proposes a strategic initiative that will dramatically alter the media landscape and change the way we look at the humanitarian sector.

A majority of charities can’t afford paid publicity, and the slow demise of newspapers makes it nearly impossible to get eye-catching unpaid space. Citing wildly successful turn-around campaigns in the for-profit sector for pork, milk and eggs, Pallotta wants to leverage that type of media campaign for the charitable sector. He is convinced that a well-researched national effort can, over time, change the public perception of these organizations.

Public policy continues to constrain, and sometimes damage, well-intentioned charitable organizations. It’s not uncommon for policy to be created around a perceived problem, a gross misunderstanding of the sector, or one isolated scam artist posing as a charity. Pallotta wants to leverage several key legal wins by attorneys donating time to the cause into a more substantial effort to educate policy makers on creating legislation that will help the sector, not constrain it. 

The charitable sector lives in a world of archaic and fragmental rules and regulations that restrict their ability to administer and deliver services to change the most pressing social problems. Pallotta points out that everyone working in the sector can talk about what needs to change, from advocacy to reporting and contract requirements. The next step is to articulate and advocate for the type of change that brought the county the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Until now, there has been no way to aggregate and organize people passionate about making change happen in the charitable sector. Seventeen options for participation, membership, organizing, and lobbying are all on the Charity Defense Council website: charitydefensecouncil.org. There’s a membership option at one end of the scale to the One-Thing-A-Day list that sends a daily task email for action on behalf of the Council. It’s the perfect answer to “What can I do to help?”

And there’s more good news: Dan has re-invigorated his marketing efforts for the humanitarian sector – find it advertisingforhumanity.com.


  
  

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