Are Nonprofits Loved More Than Respected?

At a panel on the “new paradigm for corporate social responsibility” conducted yesterday as part at the Georgetown Global Forum, participating corporate leaders from companies such as Warner Bros and Motorola, offered few perspectives on how corporate philanthropy is shifting in light of the current global meltdown.

This despite the fact that panelist Richard Edelman, CEO of the world’s largest independent public relations firm, cited survey data from 20 countries demonstrating what we all know: trust in corporations and their leaders has plunged in the past year while confidence in NGO’s remains strong. Digging into 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer--Paradise Lost a bit, what I read that Richard didn’t note for the audience was the following:

...while NGOs remain the most trusted institution in nearly every market surveyed, they are not considered most responsible for solving global problems.

Not sure why, but this data surprised me and made me wonder: Are nonprofits loved more than they are respected? It's clear that our sector has only a fraction of funds tapped by the corporate and public sectors. But because our ranks are populated by folks who couldn't possibly be in it for the money, and because "normies" are so geeked to meet folks working for social change, I assumed we were not only loved but also looked to for real solutions.

Are you surprised by the data? Where do you place your faith? If you want to make a difference, should you consider one of the other sectors before you decide to go with low pay and benefits in ours?

Susan Herr

Posted at 2:45 PM, Apr 17, 2009 in Cross-Sectoral Strategies | Philanthropic Strategy | Permalink | Comments (1)


Maybe it means while people love and respect nonprofits they realize that problems today are beyond just about anyone's ability to fix. Look, if we're not sure government, with its trillions to spend, can make things right, nonprofits with fractions to spend aren't going to have any easier time getting the job done.

Reality bites?

Posted by: Bruce Trachtenberg

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