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Category: Voluntary Sector

Why Speak Ill of Charity?

It’s sad. There are too many people who speak ill of charities. Some making sweeping accusations or conclusions without any real evidence or understanding. Some prefer to focus on the mistakes charities make (and of course they make some) rather than the good they deliver, There are some who think the continuation of social problems means charities have failed because not everyone is housed, or healthy, or free of violence. Imagine saying to a heart surgeon she is a failure because for every life she saves, others die from heart disease… Read more Why Speak Ill of Charity?

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Premier Prentice – My Two Cents about the Budget

UPDATE… at the request of the Edmonton Journal, I rewrote the piece below and the EJ published it HERE. Dear Premier Prentice: We met west of Edmonton at a BBQ when you were campaigning for your position. I appreciated your speech and remember thinking you could be a strong Premier and move our Province forward in a variety of ways. I am sure you weren’t all that happy that shortly after winning the post you faced plummeting oil prices and the prospect of $7 billion or so in lost revenue. I… Read more Premier Prentice – My Two Cents about the Budget

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Let’s Stop Assuming Non-Profits Should Just Be Run Like a Business.

It is not uncommon for business leaders or entrepreneurs to suggest that charities need to behave more like business. Of course non-profit operations should be based on sound financial and management principles and practices, but I suggest blanket statements like “be more like business” ignore some fundamental differences between private and non-profit sector organizations. Often this advice is offered pejoratively, as if such business-minded people believe that non-profits lack business-savvy and consequently are inefficient or at least could be run much more effectively.  There’s another angle on this: business-savvy tends… Read more Let’s Stop Assuming Non-Profits Should Just Be Run Like a Business.

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Heretical Propositions: Toward Democratic Philanthropy (Part One)

 This is the first installment of a series from a long essay I am writing about philanthropy or more specifically about the need for a major, if not radical shift, toward democratic philanthropy. The essay will be included in a book of exposition and criticism I am writing, currently entitled “Heretical Propositions.” Money can mean a lot of things for those who have it. It can feed us, open doors, and keep us safe and warm. For those who have a lot of it — we call that “wealth” — it also provides influence… Read more Heretical Propositions: Toward Democratic Philanthropy (Part One)

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Thinking about Progress

I am glad to see so much attention being paid by many community groups to addressing poverty. The Vibrant Communities initiative across the country is heartening and it is producing results in terms of achieving poverty reduction for thousands of households. An evaluation of this intiative is forthcoming, if not already released from Tamarack. I am heartened by work of Homeward Trust and the substantive work this cross sector collaboration has accomplished to date. I am glad to see the Government of Alberta providing significant funding to help homeless people find… Read more Thinking about Progress

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A Little Story

[reprinted from our e-news letter, august issue] Sally is 25, works long hours to just get by each week. She is a caring person and believes in family and community. She tried volunteering for a help line and participated in a few races. They were ok experiences but she didn’t like all the hoops she had to jump through.”Volunteerism shouldn’t be so institutional,” she said. Now Sally engages in what I call organic volunteerism. She and her friends self-organize mini events (typically street performances)  that raise money for the charities… Read more A Little Story

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Community Transformation, Not Just Sector Change

There is a growing body of information about the trends and forces facing non-profit organizations and even more opinions on how the sector needs to address them. There is a lot of talk and a good amount of action taking place around shared services and shared space. Social enterprise is becoming more of a player in generating revenue for non-profits. Collaborations are engaged in work force issues, especially those that are coming down the road. Funders are meeting. Governments are making changes to how they invest in non-profits. And on… Read more Community Transformation, Not Just Sector Change

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