What’s the plan?

By Todd Cohen

Charity is never enough, but it can make a difference.

No single donor or funder, not even philanthropy as a whole, has the resources to cure all the ills we face.

But in a society lacking leaders, charity can kick-start change.

If it can fix itself first, becoming more efficient, enterprising and open, charity can work with government and business to create a blueprint for the society we want to be.

People are hurting. Yet politicians, unable to see beyond the next election, limit their vision to cutting taxes and spending, and giving quick-fix booster shots to business.

We need leaders who can see the big picture, inspire public debate about critical issues, enlist partners who will take risks, and persuade citizens and taxpayers that change requires investment, collaboration, sacrifice and patience.

Charity can lead by putting its own house in order and then pushing politicians to think big, act smart and unleash innovation.

Funders and donors must invest in nonprofit operations.

And instead of preaching philanthro-babble to the choir at feel-good conferences, charity leaders should convene a “civic assembly” to create a vision and business plan for social change.

The hour is getting late. Charity needs to get moving.

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

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