Can Nonprofits Revolt?

Here is a question – can a sector so reliant on public support, social media, and the latest crazes to sustain its vitality, revolt against such a system?

Now I’m not talking about full on revolution against the tax code (yet) or Twitter and Facebook. What I am speaking to is the level of redress the nonprofit sector as an industry can have against organizations and tech that shuns it.

In this blog, I have previously addressed where Apple has fallen short in their relations with nonprofits. Now it seems that the story has new legs. Recently Gizmodo broke a story about how Apple recently took away PayPal’s app which allowed people to donate through Missionfish to various charities.

And with that the floodgates of online outrage has begun.

Sarah Schacht has a wonderful post about the “miserly” ways of Apple. And reports are pouring in that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg will be donating his fortune to charity, as part of the Billionaire Battleplan.

That being said – and as Sarah finds out in her blog post – can the nonprofit community stage a revolt against the iPhone 4 and Apple? There is a Care2 petition website (find the tweet link on my feed) to start the onslaught of outrage, however it is still under 50% of its goal of signatures. I would highly recommend reading Sarah’s post for the numbers and great insight. She says a lot of what I am and does so with a certain journalistic integrity!

So can and will the nonprofit community stage a fight against Apple? Do we have the capacity to wage such a battle? Would nonprofits not alienate other organizations that see this as a threatening stance to what should be a “choice”?

It seems to be conventional wisdom that nonprofits and the sector stay out of partisan fights. After all, we want all kinds of people to donate. The fact that many causes are born from a need that transcends race, religion, region, sex, and income leads the opinion that nonprofits should not make a public revolt to companies in tech or social media that slight them. After all it is far more likely that Apple brand worshippers not donate to a cause than a volunteer for a nonprofit not purchase an Apple product, right?

Or will this be stance for nonprofits to take willingly with their donors? With a large amount of new tech coming out that nonprofits will need to utilize – cell phones, laptops, wireless, and other tech – there is a large amount of money nonprofits can speak with. Nonprofits and their employees make up 10% of the U.S. workforce. That’s a lot of moola. And social networks are a buzz with exchanges for causes and battles that normally one organization or person could not fight alone. With the right plan, could nonprofits pressure tech companies like Apple, into recognizing their needs as vital to their business model?

This debate is nothing to say of the culture Apple’s founder Steve Jobs is moving forward with this kind of narcissism towards charity. What Apple sells and what they contribute to society compared with what they are contributing to our collective humanity is a topic I will leave to others for the moment.

And that’s what nonprofits should do. If Apple wants to speak by denying nonprofits money – then nonprofits should deny Apply theirs.

I’ve made my decision personally, no waiting for the iPhone unless Apple changes. Google, Microsoft and others make great cell phones right? Maybe this Apple fan boy will change his ways, as he finishes this post on his year old MacBook.

4 thoughts on “Can Nonprofits Revolt?

  1. Tony Martignetti says:

    Hey, Nick,

    I’m sure you recognize the latest example of nonprofit revolt: WikiLeaks against PayPal, Visa, Mastercard. Perhaps not organized by WL–though who knows–but if not, the story is even more compelling. Revolt by the nonprofit’s supporters!

    Good post,


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