Opinion/Todd Cohen on change – Leaders adapt

By Todd Cohen

Charities need to lead.

They are America’s unsung heroes. They clean up the mess from the combined malfunction our political, social and economic systems.

Yet they are taken for granted.

Politicians pat charities on the back, but few see or build on the critical role they play.

Donors target dollars to pet causes but few fund the internal help that charities need.

And charities, struggling to make ends meet, often do not take the time or risk to talk openly about their needs to donors.

They also can shy from reaching out to potential partners and, together, making the tough choices collaboration requires.

Still, charities keep working, coping with setbacks, serving clients.

Their challenge is to break out of the daily grind, think ahead and move donors, politicians and other charities into investing in partnerships to streamline the delivery of more effective solutions to our most troubling social problems.

With less than a year until Americans pick a president, it is a critical time for charities to think about what it takes to lead.

Charities can strengthen themselves and politics by taking the risks and seizing the opportunities involved in pushing donors and politicians to understand and back their work.

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