Non-Profit Self Esteem Crisis – Blue Avocado

Posted on December 22, 2009. Filed under: Combined Federal Campaign - CFC, Customer Service, Fundraising, Leadership, Non-profits |

Non-profit Self Esteem Crisis or the Non-profit Invisibility Crisis

The Blue Avocado website has an interesting post about the “Non-profit Self Esteem Crisis” by Jonathon Spack and I agree with many of his points (full article is here:
http://www.blueavocado.org/node/480).

I think that in addition to the report about the misconceptions much of the American public has about the non-profit sector, one of the contributing factors is the almost invisible presence the non-profit sector has in bricks and mortar bookstores. During the holiday season I spend a fair amount of time in bookstores, and one aspect that I am always irritated by is the almost invisible nature of the non-profit sector to anyone in the bookstore. On the periodical rack there are essentially no magazines addressing the non-profit sector, with the recent exception of “Good” and there are some magazines published by non-profits, especially in the foreign affairs arena, and some others with a political commentary focus, e.g. Washington Monthly. The ones that are focused on the non-profit sector: Chronicle of Philanthropy, Non-profit Times, Non-profit Quarterly, Nonprofit World, etc. are ones that I have never seen on a newsstand.

In the book arena, it’s only slightly better. Once you’re a regular customer you may know where to find non-profit titles, and it’s often in the “Business/Finance” section or the “Leadership” area but there are plenty of titles that don’t exactly fit either category – e.g. the Wilder Foundation’s “The 5 Life Stages of Non-profit Organizations” is listed in the “Business/Social Science” category but I know I bought my copy online because I couldn’t find it in the bookstore.

December 17, 2009 was the 106th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight. What many people don’t realize is that the first flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet (37 meters). There were three flights that day, with the longest lasting 59 seconds and covering 852 feet. That one very small step changed the world forever, and my point is that even gigantic accomplishments can start with a single, small seemingly insignificant act.

I don’t equate having a visible “Non-profits” section in a bookstore with the invention of powered flight, but it would be a start to losing the “low self-esteem and invisibility syndrome.” Let’s begin by asking your bookstore where their “Non-profit section” is, and if they don’t have one, writing and requesting one at the corporate level. Use the statistics about how big the non-profit sector is, but make the point that the reason they should do this is that they will sell more books.

Regards,
Bill Huddleston
http://www.cfcfundraising.com

P.S. I have just about finished updating my CFC Special report for 2010, please go to cfcfundraising dot com and request it, it will be sent soon.

Thanks very much!

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