Why can’t we sell Charity like Perfume?

I realized t has been a very long while since I last wrote an article for my blog. I hope to get back in the swing of things again.

To kick things off here is thought-provoking article that was in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday,  Why Can’t We Sell Charity Like We Sell Perfume?

It raises several issues about how we could allow charities to operate differently and perhaps more effectively. Some excerpts from the article – recommend you read the entire piece. What do you think?

We have two separate rule books: one for charity and one for the rest of the economic world. The result is discrimination against charities in five critical areas.

The five areas are:

  • First, we allow the for-profit sector to pay people competitive wages based on the value they produce. But we have a visceral reaction to the idea of anyone making very much money helping other people. —and it causes many of the brightest kids coming out of college to march directly into the corporate world.
  • A second area of discrimination is advertising and marketing. We tell the for-profit sector to spend on advertising until the last dollar no longer produces a penny of value, but we don’t like to see charitable donations spent on ads.
  • A third disadvantage for charities is the expectation of a home run on every at-bat. .. So, naturally, nonprofit leaders tend to avoid daring new fundraising endeavors that might put them at risk.
  • A fourth problem is the time frame during which nonprofits are supposed to produce results: immediately.
  • Finally, the for-profit sector is allowed to pay investors a financial return to attract their capital. The nonprofit sector, by definition, cannot.

Business can’t solve all of the world’s problems. Capitalism can—but only if it is permitted in the nonprofit sector. If we free the nonprofit sector to hire the best talent in the world, take fundraising risks, use marketing to build demand and invest capital for new revenue-generating efforts, we could bring private ingenuity to bear on those problems and would not need to look to government to fill the gaps.

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