photo Addictive Picasso–Creative Commons
By Ed Nicholson
Some really interesting discussion here and on the oneicity blog ("Hunger is boring") about this week’s posts. Before I go any further with the topic, I do want to offer the three disclaimers:
1. We’re not in any way disparaging the fantastic work those in the hunger relief community.
2. We understand the necessity of fundraising, especially in today’s economy, with ever-increasing demands, and ever-decreasing resources (we’re just questioning the effectiveness of how fund-raising communications resources might be applied in many cases).
3. The posts are not directed at any one organization. All of us are responsible. If you’re feeling it was directed at you, well…
My job title is community relations director. I’m fascinated with the art and science of community building.
There are some fabulous communities built offline around fighting hunger. Look at Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation communities: the ones built around local events and the one that comes together to celebrate, commiserate and share best practices nationally. Look at any Feeding America food bank. Look at the collection of "insiders" that get together at either of these two organization’s national conferences. You won’t find more passionate people and groups gathered around any other cause.
Just don’t look online, because you really won’t find hunger fighters engaged in open, vibrant discussion there (maybe some closed communities–I wouldn’t know, I’ve not been invited).
Why is that? Some have suggested this week that hunger organizations are apprehensive about discussing the issue of hunger for some reason or another. I’ve heard it said the donor base might be offended. Some have said in private that the big hunger organizations don’t want the messiness that accompanies diverse, outspoken communities. And some have returned to the time-honored defense: "We just don’t have time to talk about hunger relief. We’re too busy doing it."
What’s your opinion?