Monday, March 11, 2013

Change Way We Think About Charity

If we want to reach more youth living in poverty with mentor-rich programs that support those kids as they move through school and into jobs we need to change the way the programs attract resources, talent, ideas, etc. I first heard about Dan Pallotta a year ago and wrote about his ideas in this article. I mapped the ideas in this concept map.

This TED talk does a great job of conveying his ideas. I hope you'll watch it and then look for ways to support tutor/mentor programs with daily communications that draw volunteers and donors to all of the tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities ---based on what information they show on their web sites and what knowledge you build about the role these programs can have in the lives of kids.

Take a look at the article I wrote last Friday. If we can attract a greater share of business funding we can do more to make constantly improving tutor/mentor programs available in high poverty neighborhoods.

What do I mean by "constantly improving"?

I don't think any organization starts out "great" even if they start out with millions of dollars. They grow to be great by learning from their own efforts, even their mistakes, and by learning from work done by peers and competitors. They become great by attracting and retaining talented people so that the knowledge and experience in the organization grows. They become a smarter organization that is constantly looking for ways to improve.

Jim Collins wrote a book titled "Good to Great and the Social Sectors" in which he described this idea of constant improvement. I wrote about it in this article.

We all want young people to move through school into jobs and careers, but few are doing the work that assures that constantly improving youth organizations are available in all the places where they are needed, with the constant flow of capital and operating resources needed to fuel the constant innovation needed to achieve this goal.

Without changing the way we are able to attract capital and daily operating income few non profits can grow to be good, then great.


Debra Yearwood said...

I'm so pleased to see that Dan Pallotta's talk is getting some traction. Whether you believe in everything he has to say or not, he makes some important points that are worth sharing. Social profit organizations can and should be capable of becoming great organizations. Profit is not a four letter word. I'm looking forward to taking a good look at your concept map.

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Here's a 2013 example of $270,000 spent to raise $1.4 million for charity. Good investment? I say Yes.