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June 20, 2007


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Bruce Trachtenberg

This post of yours makes me squirm...as well it should. The fact that the Darfur tragedy continues is an indictment against our own inaction, and not a whole lot more needs to be said about that. But the distinction Start Loving makes between doing something for money -- even if it's for a good cause -- vs doing something for the cause, and getting paid, uh...oh.

Stuart Johnson

There are some donors who believe charitable work should be done “for free.” Because they’re not willing to do the work themselves, they commission it, saying to the nonprofit staffer, “Here, go make my vision a reality, and give me ample credit for it, but don’t take any money for yourself.”

Start Loving’s views, while they lead to the same outcome (underpaid, overworked, burnt out nonprofit staffers) come from a different place: he’s worried that the Darfur advocates’concerns about paying mortgages and sending the kids to college will undermine their zeal for mission.

While I’m not convinced that it takes Start Loving’s kind of dedication in order to accomplish a great public good, I do believe there’s a danger that the ongoing professionalization of the field will create whole cadres of nonprofit functionaries who have lost all feeling for the causes that once inspired them.

What’s the right balance?


There's no balance in his views, I think. Spirit isn't everything. Some of our best non-profits are staffed by capable people who deliver important services to poor clients. They do their best work when they're refreshed, paid appropriately, etc.

Kristy Spencer

Thank You!

Start Loving

Albert: Thanks man. Great piece here. This really helps the effort.
General: The first real movement of hope for Darfur happened last Wednesday when President al-Bashir caved to international pressure and finally said yes to 20,000 UN/AU peacekeeping troops. THAT SHIFTS THE BATTLE to raising those troops. Consequently my focus now broadens to the countries / Embassies that an make that happen - China, Pakistan, India, Sudan, France, UK, US and Germany. Today I did 3 hours each at Sudan, UK and India. My purpose is to try to keep Darfur top of mind.
Mr. Trachtenberg: I am not opposed to do-gooders being paid. Our soldiers in Iraq are being paid. But the good ones are fighting out of a sense of morality and mission, not for the pay. In the 5th year of a genocide millions of us should be "fighting" / advocating heroically to bring this to an end with or without pay. No? Otherwise what do we stand for? What does "Never Again" mean? What would we want outsiders to do if WE were being exterminated?
Mr. Johnson: 'Nothing great ever happens without maniacally committed champions.' Tom Peters paraphrase. Genocide has never been stopped. Poverty has never been eliminated en masse. These and other social wars can be wone, but they will take maniacaly committed champions of the likes we saw most clearly in the civil rigthts movement. No? I can't think of any exceptions in the private or public sector. Now, in the 40's and 50's whites in the north and blacks in the south maintained balance, right? Normalcy reigned! But in the 50's and 60's people decided that the OUTCOMES were UNBALANCED, so some, committed champions became unbalanced, and lead others to become unbalanced, and important battles were won.
erasmus: I say spirit is eveything because in humans, spirit determines everything. Burnout actually comes most often in the absence of committed champions in my experience.
Your brother, Start

Evonne *in kenzo*

Spirit is everything, you are right.

Two years ago when I first heard about Darfur I had no idea what to do. Found a few movies, news reports, forums discussing current events that gave me more information, then friends invited me to help design an interactive project that would travel to people and help tell the stories that were not being told by our media. Over a year later the stories are being told more often but you are right, people are not ignited because they have not figured out how people dying half a world away impacts them directly in their semi-comfortable worlds.

We have not figured out interconnectedness, the impact of the Sudanese people on our oil and human rights policies, the difficulties that we have carved for each other because we haven't required humanity before politics. The stories open the eyes of many more, but who is moved enough to act, wear more than just a shirt?

I started giving time; design time, then speaking and sharing time. Some hundreds of hours later there seems to be baby steps. Will the UN finally be allowed in? Will aid workers stop dying and villages stop burning? So many thousands of hours being poured in to get these stories heard!

Start Loving, you are a beautiful soul and I hope that your words reach many, many more people in this work.

Albert Ruesga

Thanks for your comment, Evonne. I'll e-mail it to Start Loving. (I passed him this morning on my way to work. It's an impossibly hot day in Washington, and he was already at his post in front of the Sudanese embassy. Not a good day for marching with posters.)

paslanmaz boru

no war


a stupid-spootie man.

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