Mergers and Madison

I just published a new op-ed in the Huffington Post, titled “The Most Important Word for Nonprofits: MERGER” and it accomplished everything I had hoped, and more.

The article itself presents a few ways in which using collective resources could muster better economies of scale for the sector…but the real experiment for me was how the title itself would be received.

Simply put…the nonprofit sector should be a powerful, vital, recognized force in America…but it isn’t. Much of this is due to our subservient nature, born of decades of relying on the extra our society produces, which we use to fuel our efforts. We run our programs on extra food, time, buildings…and most importantly, extra money.

This has produced, I believe, an inferiority complex, that manifests itself all the time in the form of weak thinking, silo-centric organizing and submissive politics. In short…we should be roaring, yet we purr.

Which is what I wanted to demonstrate by using the provocative word MERGER in the title of my article. I knew it would be immediately rejected by many who would see it as a call for “2 to become 1”, and I wanted to literally shove that limited thinking into the sectors nose…to say, in effect, “SEE…this is why we grovel when we should be standing tall”.

If you haven’t read it, I hope you will.

And as a glorious example of the power of mergers, I’ve attached a video I took time to record during my recent trip to speak at the 15th Anniversary of the Morgridge Center for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It features my friend Crystel Anders, the CEO of Community Shares. They just opened the Center for Change, which provides shared space for dozens of nonprofits. It’s brilliant, bold and demonstrates, by design, a glorious example of thinking big….which is what I hope nonprofits in the Badger State will do during the upcoming election cycle. Their role in the economy of Wisconsin is too pronounced to be ignored by candidates, but it’s up to them to stand together and be heard. There are almost 275,000 nonprofit employees in the state–that’s a hard number of votes to ignore–but only if nonprofits don’t ignore the opportunity.

Which brings me to this

It’s been too long since I blogged. I’ve been transitioning from full time President of DCCK (which I still am) to now also leading CForward, an advocacy organization and PAC for the 10 million nonprofit employees. I now wear two hats, and as such, I have to insure that I do not jeopardize DCCK’s 501C3 status with my political work.

SO…while I wasn’t blogging, I was writing a ton…and establishing a new office and team….and continuing to speak throughout America.

Hopefully, we’ll see each other more often.