Thinking big

Social change can bloom.

By Todd Cohen

[06.16.04] – Change requires thinking big and acting bold.

Charities like to blame government and business for causing social problems and not doing enough to end them.

Charities also beg for scraps, and fail to challenge government, business or philanthropic funders to do more for fear of losing the meager support they do provide.

Instead of criticizing, dismissing or even demonizing government or business, charities should work harder to educate political candidates, government officials and business leaders about social needs, and involve them in creating solutions.

Charities also need to help philanthropic funders better understand their need for operating support.

From its founding, the U.S. has been torn between people who want government to invest in social enterprise, and those who believe fixing social problems is a job for the marketplace.

Neither government nor business alone has been able to ensure social progress.

But both can help spur social investment and partnerships vital to addressing critical social needs.

To fix the huge social problems we face, charities need to think big, and push government, business and organized philanthropy to pitch in more with their dollars, know-how and connections to help create a market-driven social enterprise network that makes change happen.

Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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