Just a couple days after bemoaning the difficulty foundations have in getting media coverage, I’ve just listened to a replay of an excellent piece on NPR this morning — The Art of Doling Out Stimulus Dollars — that features interviews with representatives of the Gates and Pittsburgh Foundations, and other philanthropy observers, about what lessons grantmakers can provide the government when it comes to giving out lots of money effectively.
Poll-tested messages are great. Focus groups rock. There is security in knowing exactly which buttons to push to get the desired outcome. But the world has changed. Today — especially due to the rise of social media — we have to base our change and advocacy campaigns on a new paradigm. It’s no more top down/command and control. Instead, the key is giving people what they want and need to be our best messengers, and encourage them to “just do it.”
So, what’s a communicator to do?
Anyone who deals in the fine art of creating and delivering messages, especially messages tied to deeper ideas and meaty issues that require thoughtful debate and consideration, will benefit from reading an op-ed in today’s New York Times by Stephen L. Carter, novelist and Yale law professor, about the controversy resulting from remarks about race that Attorney General Eric Holder made last week.
Just had a good news/bad news experience – quite literally. I was invited to listen to a panel earlier today that featured several journalists and bloggers talking to other journalists and bloggers about how to step up their philanthropy beat coverage during these tumultuous economic times.
The deluge of bad economic news (even on one of those rare uptick days) keeps the markets shaky. People are looking for signs of confidence everywhere, and it seems to me that foundations have such confidence-bolstering examples in great quantities. From Miami comes a good-news story of Leonard Abess Jr. of City National Bank, who valued his employees so much he shared the wealth ($60 million worth). We hear he’ll be featured tonight in President Obama’s speech. Read the story, but more notably, read the reaction.
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