Friday, 27 March 2009

Baltimore crab cakes and ideas.

Meeting today with the truly renowned Prof Lester Salamon at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He is the pre-eminent guru of the non profit sector in the States, and a strong advocate of the role of the sector. He has been pushing a very similar line to ACEVO on how the sector can generate jobs and help lead recovery. We swap articles. He gets a copy of my recent Lecture.

He wants to see the Obama administration "renew the compact" between government and sector.

He has established what he describes as a "listening post" where he can contact several thousand non profits around the country to pick up on what is happening on the ground during the recession. It’s worth taking a look.

They have also published a "Forward Together" manifesto on the role of the sector "for the change we need".

It is also worth a look at the main journal for the sector in the States "Nonprofit Quarterly" (the editor spoke at ACEVO's last International conference). The latest edition has an interesting article by Paul Light called "Four Futures"; looking at strategies to use to thrive in crisis. He says now is the time for organisations to transform their running and vision. Flexible approaches and innovation. Maximising use of new technologies. Social enterprise and seeking out new contracts and funding streams. And above all collaboration. "It is in the friction between unlike bodies that brilliant breakthroughs are made".

The same edition has a map of the non profit sector in the States for those that are interested. And an advert for ACEVO! No jokes - I am not on commission.

I also get an update from Lester on the new White House Centre for social innovation. It is to be headed by the woman who ran the Google Foundation. I am giving Lester a briefing on Futurebuilders to feed into the White House new centre. Be good to build links.

We have lunch in the Johns Hopkins Club. I'm told that as it is Maryland I have to have crab cakes. So I do. And then onto the train for New York City for a further round of meetings. I'm blogging as we make our slow way up the Eastern seaboard.

I also get reports on a very successful ACEVO conference on heath and social enterprise. We have also launched a new strategic partnership with the Tribal group - a headhunting and resource organisation with offices around the UK. The third sector practice is now led by the magnificent David Fielding, head hunter extraordinaire, who has become well known to ACEVO members. He did such a great job for me in getting a top class Futurebuilders Board I'd strongly recommend him any time.

But all work and no play would make a chief executive very dull so its Cav and Pag at the Metropolitan Opera tonight. I’ll keep you posted!

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