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September 15, 2009


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Jean Russell

This is definitely an apples to oranges comparison. Let's fill in a little. If your *behemoth* nonprofit isn't acting like a *bootstrapped agile start-up shifting plans based on funders whims aka guts, energy, and networking...* then you are failing in your duty to make change.

Changed completely? Really? Moving from a spacious place in the country to a gigantic city high-rise is a huge shift, but you still need silverware, sheets, and a laundry basket. Marketing and philanthropy are changing. Yes. But this is a marketing ploy - old or new - to make something seem disproportional in size in order to draw additional attention to it. The home for it might be different, but the tactic doesn't feel new.

Phil Cubeta

Reads like hype, not new. Crass and overbearing. "The world is as I see it," not new. "The internet changes everything," not new, the mantra of Silicon valley before the bust prior to the housing bust.


Careful, now. Seth probably uses Google Alerts for an ego-feed, if he hasn't subscribed to the RSS feed of this blog. He'll know you're talking about him.

Phil Cubeta

Well, he should be pleased that his remarks are reaching a wider audience. I am sure in another mood he will realize that humility comes to us all, one way or another, particularly in the field of social change.


I am sure in another mood he will realize that humility comes to us all, one way or another, particularly in the field of social change.

Yes, and he took a step down that path in responding to a blog post by Beth Kanter that suggested that he didn't quite set the issues out correctly or fairly. Whatever he is, he isn't stupid and I believe his heart is in the right place when he climbs off the marketing horse. I'd love to see a debate between him and Erich Fromm (whom as you know is one of my favourite thinkers about the human condition and how it lives (or not) in society).


I should say "in a good place". Who am I to know what is the "right" place, huh ?

Training myself to (try to) practice real and honest humility .. this was today's exercise.

Phil Cubeta

He certainly has a following. Maybe he will reflect on the feedback and write a less impatient post.


Thanks for the chuckle when I read your commentary.

Godin writes:

When was the last time you had an interaction with a non-profit (there's that word again) that blew you away?

About a month ago: when I donated some money and they mailed me a nice thank you card with a real signature from the ED. I don't think I've ever purchased something and received any kind of serious thank you (except maybe when it's handmade direct from the maker).

Besides, who says we're trying to make change? If we fix the world then we'll all have to go out and get real jobs.

Phil Cubeta

Making change feeds on itself, since one person's "change you can believe in is another person's socialism" or work of the devil. Poverty, climate change, social injustice, though, don't seem likely to be resolved any time soon. "Nonrivalrous goods" seems a good way to ask of Godin, ok, is your vision of the best way to do giving and nonprofits really at odds with other people's? Can't we have both? Some internet enabled, others face to face? Some both? Can we have a blessing on both?



I liked the Godin post. I think it's accurate. I think all the discussion about it has missed the three major issues at hand, however. These issues are the typical NP workflow, an iron grip on media "message", and the ugly truth about age gaps in the typical large NP

1. Workflow. NP's do not have social media as part of their workflow. They have their workflow, and then social media is something they use to broadcast the result. Execs have a meeting and make a plan. They give the plan to the press person. The press person gives it to the web person to broadcast. The web person broadcasts. Note: web person was not in the exec meeting.

2. Iron Grip on Message. The larger the NP, the more members. The more members, the more sub divisions (state affiliates, chapters, etc)The more subdivisions, the more people with a microphone. NP activists are like herding cats. They have different ways of expressing themselves. There have been atrocities of losing grip on the message in the past. It's difficult to have an iron grip on message in a conversation - but far easier in a 'broadcast' type of enviornment. I worked for a MAJOR womens organization that wouldnt blog until 2006 because of fear of the concept of blog commenting.

3. Age Gap. Like it or not, there is major age discrimination in NP's. Young people are required to 'grow a thick skin,' 'pay their dues,' etc. Their opinion matters very little in many orgs. Web tech is of their generation, and is given the same respect as is the generation. They want young people to fill up the rallies, but they don't want to give them the microphone.

These are thoughts of the average NP field monkey.

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