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Tag: Robert Egger

Who will win the nonprofit sector’s 10 million votes?

More powerful updates from the inimitable Robert Egger, founder of the DC Central Kitchen, and the V3 Campaign … which has been reborn as the even more awesome, and far more powerful CForward (a PAC aimed at endorsing and supporting political candidates who have a strong platform for engaging the tenth of the economy known as the nonprofit sector):

The nonprofit sector employs around 10 million people.

The sector engages another 90 million people as volunteers.

Collectively, the sector controls about 10% of the GDP. In Texas, the nonprofit sector employs more people than the oil industry.

And yet  — none of the politicians asking for our vote have ANY plan for how to engage us, our creativity, our passion, our entrepreneurial spirit . . .

Not YET, at least.

Watch this video from CForward. Then join me in donating to support their work.

Are nonprofits bloodsuckers who are raping the economy?

That's the assertion that Rush Limbaugh is making here:

One of my firm values is the concept that nonprofits are BUSINESSES. The term "non-profit" simply refers to an organization's tax exempt status and inability to provide financial benefits to shareholders.

One of Mr. Limbaugh's accusations is that nonprofits don't contribute anything to the economy, but only "siphon off" contributions by begging.

A few problems with this argument:

  • Many nonprofits operate earned income ventures such as thrift stores, manufacturing facilities, schools and other enterprises; these are no different than their for-profit peers except that the capital that they generate is used to sustain charitable activities, not provide dividends to shareholders.
  • Nonprofits pay payroll taxes; their staff pay income tax and social security; etc. These are all dollars that are flowing back into the economy.
  • Most importantly, what would the country look like without the work of nonprofits? Could the for-profit sector be as profitable without the vital contributions that nonprofits make to the lives of their employees and customers?

I realize that Mr. Limbaugh is in the business of generating controversy. I had honestly forgotten he was alive until I heard about his rantings about nonprofits: that means that he succeeded in getting the attention of the 10% of Americans who work for nonprofits (reference here). His advertisers are likely very happy about that.

In that scenario, who's the real blood-sucker? What is contributed to the world by Rush's rantings and ravings? 

The nonprofit world needs to be scrutinized just as carefully as the government: after all, we accept public contributions and therefore need to operate transparently and with accountability to all members of the community.

But insinuating that we are "lazy idiots" is absurd. And implying that the work of fundraising is somehow "raping the economy" is ludicrous — how is this any different than providing salaries to a salesforce in the for-profit world? 

I defer to Robert Egger, the leader of the DC Central Kitchen, who makes a nice retort in this video response:

That's the "Rated G" version. You can watch the full version (with hilarious ending) here:

Good is the new “Cool”

I missed out on Elvis’ domination, and wasn’t around to see Beatlemania. I am grateful I was not alive during the disco era, and am still a little angry that I was not around for punk rock’s emergence. By the time I was old enough to appreciate music, the world was in throes of 1980s hair rock and piano keyboards… so, I tuned out.

But then the 1990s came, and I fell in love with music for the first time. The indie rock scene was blossoming, and the grunge groups of Seattle were not yet household names.

It seemed like everyone had their favorite “unpopular” band. Indeed, fame became a curse that drove away the initially rabid fan base of many an otherwise awesome rocker. Some groups tried their best to fight appearing too “commercial,” with Pearl Jam even taking the step to boycott playing shows at venues that were in the grips of Ticketmaster.

That world no longer exists. Pearl Jam has now signed with Target to release their latest album — and people have moved from having their favorite indie rock band to making music an ongoing part of their life. Thanks to the ever-present iPods and smartphones that keep us all constantly plugged in to our catalog of thousands of songs, music has become like air — necessary to live, but unappreciated. Or, at least, no longer appreciated as a differentiator.

Having a favorite indie rock band no longer makes us unique. So now, rather than bragging to our friends about knowing a band that they don’t know, we each have our favorite charity.

Microlending. Social enterprise. Cause branding. Why is it that so many people now know this silly jargon?

Because nonprofits are the new rock bands.

In the online world, we are not people. We are a brand. Our Facebook pages and Twitter accounts become places to promote our values, to align ourselves with complementary brands and to give the appearance that we are, indeed, the person we aspire to be at our highest and best moments.

When we align ourselves with United Way or American Red Cross, that says something about us. But its like saying your favorite band is The Beatles — who doesn’t like them?

However, when I visit your Facebook page and see that you support Charity:Water or The Chiapas Project, I think, “Wow, this person is really cool.”

Because good is the new cool.

Think about it. Bill Gates was a total nerd, and everyone hated him when he became the wealthiest man in the world. And then his amazing wife convinced him that they should give it all away, and suddenly he is on the cover of TIME Magazine with U2’s Bono.

Congratulations, nonprofiteers. We are all rock stars now. And thanks to people like Robert Egger, we’re actually beginning to look the part.

Robert Egger thinks Nonprofits face “A Starbucks Moment”

Robert Egger blog, One Voice for Change, recently featured an article that describes the unique employment opportunity facing the nonprofit sector, and how approaching it in a different way could cause a permanent and productive shift in the sector’s long-term impact and sustainability.

A Starbucks Moment for Nonprofits?

The full article is at the link above or posted below.

My only question: When will the nonprofit sector give rise to groups like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden? That’s the day I put down my laptop and pick up my guitar.

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