Friday, September 09, 2005

Non profit Blog Exchange - Impact of Katrina on Charities

A few weeks ago I agreed to participate in a non profit blog exchange, which connects bloggers in non profits with each other. I've been trying to create a network of tutor/mentor bloggers, so feel this is a good way to try to further that cause.

I was matched with a blog titled Nonprofiteer: Helping Till it Hurts. (2014 Editor note: site not longer active)

The latest message posted is one close to my heart. The author talks about how the fragile fund raising efforts of many small non profits have been negatively impacted by the huge charitable response to Hurricane Katrina. In an earlier blog you can read my own thoughts like this. I feel we're a nation that focuses on random acts of kindness and we don't have the leadership to focus consistent attention over a long period of time on all of the different efforts that are needed to solve any significant social issue.

I don't think that leadership will ever come from elected people. For the most part their only goal seems to be to get elected, or stay elected. I think the leadership has to come from private sector organizations of people who are deeply committed to a cause and who will find ways to sustain their efforts over many years.

Of course, those people need consistent funding, unless they are independently wealthy, which I am not. Which leads us back to charity and random acts of kindness.

In the web links to the left you can see how I have tried to provide a solution to this. I've created a program that connects those who can help with those who need help and use traditional advertising concepts, which I learned during 17 years of advertising for a nationwide retail store chain. I've also piloted the use of GIS maps and searchable databases to focus on all of the areas of the city of Chicago where tutor/mentor programs are needed, not just on my own program, or a few brand name programs or highly visible neighborhoods. Without the map its too easy to make a contribution to one place and think the problem is solved. Until there are good programs every place where they are needed, the problem will persist.

I've also made an attempt at creating visual blueprints to show that many services need to be supported in a single charitable category, not just one or two. I use the analogy of the blueprint for a building to illustrate my point. A blueprint shows all of the steps needed to build a building, from the foundation to the top. It also shows all of the sub contractors who need to do the right thing, at the right time, if the project is to be completed. They all need to be paid.

If we could create blueprints showing all of the actions that are needed to assure that kids born today are in jobs/careers by age 25, then we'd be more likely to be able to lead a campaign intended to pay all of those people. That's the only way this is going to work.

Of course I don't have the dollars that company spent every year, so I've innovated some other ways to create reach and frequency, such as enlisting the self interest of my peers in trying to share the responsibility for building visibility for all tutor/mentor programs.

By showing all of the various sub contractors how they are related to each other, I feel it's also a first step toward getting them to work as a group to tackle the funding issue, rather than competing constantly against each other. The maps do this. So can the blueprints.

I encourage anyone who's willing to take the time to look through the sites and understand the strategy to offer me feedback or become a partner. I'd like to find ways to motivate people to give until it hurts. That's not the ultimate sacrifice, but it's the type of generosity that's more likely to sustain charitable services in all the different places where they are needed.

Dan Bassill

PS: Learn more about the Non Profit Blog exchange at


Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

Nice to "meet" you. I am definitely amazed at how tenuous the whole funding situation is right now. Your comment about "charitable poverty" is a distinct fear of mine as well.

I recently founded Families in Recovery, Inc. in New York State. Our mission is to work with the families of drug addicts and alcoholics to help them develop coping techniques, build resiliency, and ultimately reverse the many cycles of abuse, addiction, and negative behaviors that affect so many coas. As I look at the funding landscape right now, I can see how charitable poverty is such a constant risk.

I'll post regarding your blog on shortly. I am interested in learning more about, so maybe I will post about that as well.



Tutor Mentor Connections said...

The competition among non profits for scarce resources and the way many donors treat their philanthropy as random acts of kindness assures that the work we're all trying to do will not be done as well as it needs to be done in most places where help is needed.

I've spent the past 12 years building a database of people who care about this issue and sending out invitations for people to meet, build relationships, learn ways to help each other, and learn ways to work as a group to change the funding paradygm.

Every year new technologies have emerged that make it easier to reach more people with my invitation and for my message to be presented in more intuitiative ways on web sites that can be found by anyone in the world.

Thus were getting closer to the point where there are enough of the "right" people in a conversation to begin to make a significant dent in this problem.

What do I mean by right people? People who will spend time learning about the issues. People who think out of the box. People who innovate based on what they learn from the success of others. People who can facilitate. People who can draw attention to issues. People who can maximize the impact of the technology that is available to us. People who think we, instead of me, but who understand how the actions of a group benfit them in their own work.

People who are persistent and who are not stopped when told "what cannot be done" Their innovation is driven by "what needs to be done".

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

I thought you'd like to know I posted an entry on Tutor Mentor Connection. It is here at



Deborah Elizabeth Finn said...

Rock on, Nonprofit Blog Exchange!

Best regards from Deborah

Deborah Elizabeth Finn
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Thanks for visiting. I think it's an improvement to have a list of all the blogs in one place. I have visited several and find that they all have great, inspiring ideas.

The blog exchange can be found at (Check the blog at

Andrew Doan, MD, PhD said...

Keep up the good work Dan.

Andy D.

Andrew Doan, MD, PhD
President & CEO MedRounds Publications, Inc.

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Andrew, thanks for visiting and posting a comment. I feel healthcare leaders should be among the strongest advocates for the tutor/mentor message. Inner city hospitals are operating in red ink because of the high costs of health services related to poverty. Hospital leaders who mobilize business, professional and church people to support the growth of comprehensive tutor/mentor programs in the neighborhood of a hospital, can lead a strategy that can potentially change the ability of a hospital to stay in business.

Visit the Tutor/Mentor Institute at and you can read a couple of power point essays my vision of a Hospital T/MC.

Dan Bassill