Perfect Example

Your Working Girl has been poking around for a Perfect Example of how a campaign to promote social change is different from a commercial advertising campaign – something to help with the old selling socks versus selling social change debate – and, as so often happens, while thinking about something else entirely, Perfect Example tapped her on the shoulder to insist on having her say.  The case in point is the story of Albina Guarnieri, the salary-capping, charity-hater’s sponsorship of Bill C-470 and Your Working Girl’s effort to stop it.    
Being a Gentle Reader, you understand how upsetting this private-member’s debacle was to Your Working Girl.  Not only did she bear witness to political parties of all stripes jostling to be first in line to take a whack at charities by pandering to misinformed populist sentiment, but she heard all too clearly the deafening silence coming from the people who charge membership fees to advocate on our behalf.   Once more into the breach, dear friends . . .
. . . .In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger . . . . .
Fortunately, in addition to her fictional buddy, Henry V, Your Working Girl has real, live friends, many of whom are very smart people, and one Gentleman of her Acquaintance, dear Steve Falk (who is also taking a break from the hurly-burly world of a day job to think about a suitable situation to see him through his golden years) called her up on November 8th, the day before Ms Guarnieri was to be interviewed on Rita Celli’s CBC Radio Show Ontario Today and said, “Do you think we could throw up a website responding to the issues so we can publicize it on that show tomorrow?”   I said “sure.”  Steve, being a man of means, said “okay, I’ll buy the URL.”  Thus, was born with and coming along for the ride. 
Using an online template, we wrote the site that evening over the telephone (Six Reasons to Oppose Bill C-470), pulled together existing information on the bill, emailed our friends and loved ones, and launched it the following day.  So people could do something our target audience would hear, we created an “AFP Action Campaign” to put pressure on AFP and “How did your MP vote campaign?” to let MPs know someone was listening.  To round out the strategy Your Working Girl wrote a column under her maiden name on Charity Village’s great new feature called The Podium.   
What happened? generated traffic from all the right places including a high percentage from Parliamentary URLs, Imagine Canada did some good interviews, AFP Toronto got an earful and MPs got a lot of emails.
Then on November 24th, AFP Toronto launched internet-based grassroots tool to allow their members to contact and educate their Members of Parliament and Senators about Bill C-470.
And on December 6th, Jane Taber reported in the Globe and Mail, that Ms Guarnieri  dropped the cap provision from her bill.
So, I asked Perfect Example, besides that, what made you perfect? 
The ever-growing number of self-appointed Don Drapers might disagree, but Perfect Example insists that NoToBillC470 didn’t create a need or a brand.  It provided a vehicle to respond to an existing need for information and action.   And that’s what charities can bear in mind. They do not exist to create a need or become a brand.  They are the vehicle for people who care about an issue to respond.    The need comes first, not the charity, not the brand.  As Perfect Example says, it’s the “not-for” in “not-for-profit”. 

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