We've all heard the saying "It's like herding cats." As challenging as that might be, it's not much more difficult than building consensus with a global committee: everyone has a different view, and often a territorial approach to meetings. In fact, while herding cats is tough, creating a brand change in corporations may be even tougher.
Raising awareness is often a good first step, and functions well as a means to an end -- but it cannot be viewed as an end in itself. Activism simply does not end with the sharing of a Facebook post or a retweet; it's great to tell your friends that something is important enough to share with them, but it's virtually meaningless if it doesn't lead to further action.
The memories of my mother are not of a cancer victim, they are not of a shaved head, or intravenous tubes, or a frail body. They are her wonderful spirit, her brave beautiful smile, and a loving acceptance of life that was contagious with everyone she touched. My mother didn't just talk the talk, she walked the walk.
Each week, I give my two children a small allowance. Since I'm trying to teach them about managing money responsibly, their coins are automatically divided among three different jam jars: Spending, saving, charity. This week, Canada's federal government announced the amalgamation of CIDA and DFAIT. What will happen when the two jars become one?
Charities are a big business and this business is becoming more competitive and costly each year. There are over 85,000 organizations on the Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate. They employ a lot of people to chase more than $8.3 billion dollars in donations as reported by Statistics Canada. When you make a donation with your hard earned money, you want it to go to the cause. It is understood that some of the donation will be used for administrative costs and fundraising but one hopes that a large percentage will reach the people you intend to help. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
The Somali Canadian population is "undergoing the growing pains of integration into the larger Canadian mainstream" according to the head of the influential Somali Canadian Congress. Ahmed Hussen, a noted activist and newly minted Ottawa University lawyer, reflects on mentorship, influence and integration for Canada's large Somali population.
Recognizing the power of personal connections, Change Heroes has designed their platform around the concept of "friend-funding." The goal of each change hero is to bring together 33 of their friends, family, and co-workers together to donate $3.33 a day for three months which equates to $10,000 which will fund the building of a school or two libraries.
Last March I had the privilege of co-founding Skate To Great out of a conversation I had with a friend about how every kid should have the opportunity to skate in Canada. I've learnt a lot along the way. The idea, bring industry bodies in hockey and skating together with children's charities and corporate partners so regardless of economic or physical circumstances, any kid who wants the opportunity to skate, gets it.
While "Giving Tuesday" hasn't fully migrated north to Canada, the idea behind it is appealing. With all the ads and other reminders to shop and give at this time of year, I think it's worth stepping back for a moment to consider how and why we give and also the far-reaching results certain gifts can generate.
Now, I give a lot of money and a lot of time to charitable causes. Yet many times I find myself dressed up and wondering "Just who/what am I raising money for tonight?" But if you give without thought, without conviction, without understanding what you can REALLY do to help, what are you really giving?
This week I am obsessed with all things old school. Specifically, I mean the popularity of, recurring presence of and constant reference to all things "old school." It's so over used that it's almost (as my kids would say) "over," but we keep hearing the phrase (as in "kickin' it old school"). Here are five examples of old school being new again that I noticed this week.
Movember has made a very important contribution to men's health. But in addition to Movember, November is also Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month. But most of us probably didn't know that; you can't grow two moustaches at once. Movember, along with a few other of the more fortunate charitable campaigns, is a behemoth. In its success, which is to be commended, Movember leaves a wake of other, less fortunate charities, patients, doctors and researchers. As this trend will inevitably continue to grow, I'm not entirely sure we should be comfortable with that.
Last week, Canadian Mennonite magazine revealed that it had been threatened by the government. A Canada Revenue audit team the magazine that it could lose its charitable status because of what it published. CRA found some 2011 articles to be in violation of the Income Tax Act which forbids "the direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office." Where is this taking Canada? Will we be a nation without dissent, without criticism, without discourse? A nation where even the most well-meaning and well-respected charities must keep silent on everything or risk the wrath of government?
An angry Huffington Post blogger has tried to build himself up by tearing down the work of The Humane Society of the United States. So we'll reply. On our terms. The red-in-the-face online writer thinks he could do a better job for animals if only he could command an organization as big and proud and as deeply rooted in our culture as the HSUS. Allow us, just once, to borrow from his own inelegant writing: "This is a complete crock."
While you're reading this, nearly two million employees are busy trying to make our world a little bit better through their work at Canada's more than eighty thousand registered charitable organizations. Until recently, few of us have had a reason to think about charities beyond the value of their good works. However, a deep chill has settled upon Canada's non-profit sector as a result of a federal initiative to ensure that the Canada Revenue Agency more rigorously monitors the activities of charitable organizations.