RADAR is a bi-weekly newsletter sent out by Ned. It is intended to be a totally unscientific round up of some of the most interesting articles, stories and images of the week from civil society around the world.
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Happy Friday everybody, and welcome to a special American edition of RADAR. The stars spangling our banner this week include: The Komen Foundation’s big mistake, the difference between passion and competence, philanthropy in America, how social innovation can help fix government, and non-profits and the State of the Union.
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The Komen Foundation
This fascinating story of a bad decision made even worse by a terrible PR response has been covered far and wide this week, but is still well worth digging into. In short: The Komen Foundation (a cancer charity) stopped giving grant money to Planned Parenthood (a women’s charity unpopular with conservatives because a small percentage of its money funds abortions). Despite Komen’s protestations, the move has been seen as an overtly political decision directly endangering the health of women across the country, and has sparked a widespread and incredibly effective backlash. As a result, Planned Parenthood has already raised $400,000 in additional donations, Komen has been forced to reinstate the funding, and the VP of Komen (who was probably behind the decision) has been forced to resign. Read a very good Politico summary here, read an account of the social media backlash here, and watch the wonderful Stephen Colbert’s famous defense of Planned Parenthood here.
Passion Vs. Competence
Found this article on HBR this week pretty interesting. It focused on the importance of not confusing passion for competence. Though it focuses on innovators, there are parallels with other sectors and I think it’s particularly interesting with an eye on the charity sector. I was on a panel at UCL last night talking about careers in the third sector, and I was interested that the recruiters there told the students not to overdo their ‘passion’ in their applications and to focus more on practical skills. I wondered whether the increasing professionalisation of our sector means that employers are wary of people who are too ruled by passion, or whether passion is just taken as read now for people applying to work in the sector. Anyway, read the HBR article here.
Philanthropy in America
The Guardian this week reported on the annual Philanthropy 50 list of the biggest American philanthropists. The report showed that charitable donations in America, while yet to reach pre-recession levels, are rising as the US economy improves. I’m a sucker for this kind of list for two main reasons; it’s fascinating to see the causes that matter to some of the richest people in the world, and also to see their background, in particular the prominence of ‘tech’ wealth (and that’s even without Bill Gates). Read the article here, have a look at the top ten here.
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