Thursday, April 30, 2009

Transparency

"'Public confidence goes up, not down, when people quickly and honestly admit their mistakes,and explain how they are going to move forward,'says Mr. Stannard-Stockton... on his blog."

Shelly Banjo, "Helping Themselves." Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2009.

After looking at numerous case studies of mistakes in our CED and Mistakes project, we observed that it was a lot easier to share a mistake of 5-10 years ago than one you are grappling with today. Emotional distance makes a difference. Yet this kind of distance means foregoing midcourse corrections in real time.

The story of Forge--a nonprofit community development group--is instructive. When Forge began suffering financially from strategic miscalculations and the economic downturn, its founder, Kjerstin Erickson,began blogging about their mistakes on socialedge.org. What followed was a remarkable dialogue, diagnosis, interchange that covered strategy, fund development, governance, and leadership. Ultimately, Forge raised some new money.

However, "Transparency isn't a tactic you use to fund raise, it's a value for your organization to adopt," concludes Sean Stannard-Stockton on his blog Tactical Philanthropy.

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