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Remembering Tony Schwartz: The Communication Genius of Manhattan

Posted by on Jun 14, 2018 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

Ten years ago this month, we lost one of the most innovative communications thinkers in the world, a man who profoundly affected the world of politics and advertising. “’Media consultant’ is barely adequate to describe Mr. Schwartz’s portfolio,” The New York Times obituary of Tony Schwartz noted. “In a career of more than half a century, he was an art director; advertising executive; urban folklorist (in one project, capturing the cacophony of New York streets on phonograph records); radio host; Broadway sound designer; college professor; media theorist; author; and maker of commercials for products, candidates and causes. “What was more, Mr. Schwartz, who had suffered from agoraphobia since the age of 13, accomplished most of these things entirely within his Manhattan home.” By the time I heard of Tony Schwartz, he had already been canonized by many of the American political professionals I had come to know through Campaigns & Elections conferences in Washington, DC., conferences that offered practical seminars such as Damage Control: Once it’s too late, now what?, Running a Woman Candidate: A How-To, Interviewing with Authority: Practical Tips on Controlling the Situation and the ever popular, How to Knife your Opposition in the Back. Schwartz changed political communications and advertising forever when he created what is still considered to be the most effective political ad in history, the Daisy ad produced for Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1964 Johnson/Goldwater presidential race. In the ad, a little girl begins to count down from ten as she plucks the petals from a daisy. A deep, male voice takes over the countdown. The camera zooms in on the child’s eye and reflected in her pupil is an exploding mushroom cloud as we hear the sound of an explosion. President Johnson’s voice continues the narration: “These are the stakes. To make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.” The line is from a poem W. H. Auden wrote at the beginning of World War II. “Though the name of Johnson’s opponent, Senator Barry M. Goldwater, was never mentioned,” the New York Times wrote, “Goldwater’s campaign objected strenuously to the ad. So did many members of the public, Republicans and Democrats alike. The spot was pulled from the air after a single commercial, though it was soon repeated on news broadcasts. It had done its work: with its dire implications about Goldwater and nuclear responsibility, the daisy ad was credited with contributing to Johnson’s landslide victory at the polls in November.” Tony Schwartz went on to create dozens of ads for politicians including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and created thousands more...

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Osborne launches The Charity Impact Group

Posted by on May 29, 2018 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

Canadian charities and charities around the world are working in an increasingly complex environment. In many charities, fundraising revenue is declining, the financial future is uncertain and leadership is worried about impact.  Human resources issues ranging from capacity to training to misconduct are increasing. Calls for accountability are becoming more frequent. In order to help charities come to terms and succeed within an ever more intricate landscape, The Osborne Group has put together a team of specialists who understand the charity sector, have spent decades in leadership positions in the sector and dealt with a myriad of challenges. Among The Charity Group’s services includes assessing congruity of activities to mission, reviewing revenue generation activities and ROI, rectifying governance weaknesses or mitigating issues arising from leadership or other crisis. “Whether you are working in health and community services, arts and culture, international development, research or social justice,” says Jane Rounthwaite, Osborne’s Managing Director, “The Charity Impact Group understands the complexity of the charitable sector and are here to help carve a successful path for you and your organization, no matter what the problem. “The Charity Impact Group can assist every step of the way.” Please download this brochure, What do you want to accomplish at your Charity? to find out more about The Charity Impact Group. * For the past 25 years, The Osborne Group has been working with organizations of all sizes and mandates in the private, public, non-profit and charity sectors. In the past two years, its work with more than 40 nonprofits and charities has encompassed organizational restructuring, mergers, specialized project management, campaign direction, CEO support, emergency human resource support and interim executive assignments. Osborne Principals bring extensive and relevant senior management experience to any situation. From day one, they are ready to step in, do the hands-on work that gets desired results, meeting the highest standard of quality and with high-value services.   For more information about The Osborne Group, contact Jane Rounthwaite Mobile: (416) 822-7740 | Email: jrounthwaite@osborne-group.com For more information about The Charity Impact Group, contact Gail Picco Mobile: (416) 799-1993 | Email:...

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Five Things To Do If Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Occur In Your Charity

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

About 10 years ago, when I was directing a national fundraising campaign, I met with a prospective donor at a posh tennis club. The weather was warm, the sun was shining and the table set with crisp white linens. The conversation, however, was not nearly as sanitized as the surroundings. Every question I asked was met with a response full of sexual innuendo until finally, the man allowed that if I wanted serious answers to my questions, I could come to his place and we could talk over a couple of glasses of red wine. Ewww, right? When I reported the results of my meeting to the CEO of the charity, his response was immediate and short. “Well, I guess we can cross xxxx off our list.” Charities, need I say, are often seen as places where only the well-meaning dwell. Yet, charities, need I also say, are full of the same kinds of people that populate humanity at large, the good, the bad and the downright offensive. So, today, I’ll keep my advice short about what to do if a prospective donor is out of bounds. Cross him off your list. There’s plenty of other fish in the donor ocean that do not require sexual favours as part of their “cultivation” requirements. But if the alleged transgressor is a high profile part of your charity, such as Albert Shultz, former artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto or Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, both of whom have recently resigned amidst widespread allegations of misconduct, the situation is rightly a bit more complicated. According to the Washington Post, the Humane Society’s investigation of the allegations against Pacelle, “began on December 20 after the [charity] received an anonymous complaint about Pacelle’s behavior.” Upon investigating the allegations, the board discovered, “several former high-ranking women had warned Pacelle … that his sexual relationships with subordinates, donors, and volunteers could hurt the charity.” In Albert Schultz’s case, four women have brought civil lawsuits against him and the Soulpepper Theatre alleging “decades of sexual harassment and assault both on stage and off.” In both cases, the allegations are said to cover incidents over a period of 10 years and been known inside the charity for years. It’s a messy business. And if you are faced with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, as has happened to Oxfam, Save the Children and other international aid charities, your entire sector will be thrown into chaos. But all these situations share one thing in common.  They all have a point at which someone first learned about it. So what to do if someone comes to you with an allegation of...

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Putting Charitable Brand Value to Work

Posted by on Apr 3, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

There is an opportunity in Canada and around the world to break fertile new ground, increase the potential of raising millions of dollars in revenue and engage many thousands of people in mission-based work with an audience that has yet to be deftly explored. But first we must fully develop our understanding and approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the current corporate sponsorship environment. There has never been a better time to bring a comprehensive, mission-based CSR/sponsorship package to the corporate market.  As articulated in the 2015 Cone Communications/Equity Global CSR Study: Consumers are nearly unanimous in the demands for companies to act responsibly to address social and environmental concerns, Ninety per cent of global consumers would switch brands to one associated with a good cause given similar price or quality, Marketers the world over are saying now is the time companies must advance CSR beyond a peripheral brand attribute to create an entirely new CSR experience. “If nonprofits are unaware of the value of their brand, they run the risk of not extracting the full financial value from … partnerships and co-branding opportunities they deserve.” JOHN QUELCH, SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, HARVARD SCHOOL OF BUSINESS Edelman PR tracks consumer trust in global brands and has found that many international NGOs such as WWF and Amnesty International score higher than Microsoft or Coca Cola on reputation. Determining the global and domestic brand value of Canada’s best known charities will help charities price their foundational and derivative assets and develop a good case for prospective sponsorship partners. Intangible Business, a U.K. leader in this area values charitable brands on: The ability to generate future income The size of the membership/donor base Commercial licensing deals Public awareness Public opinion In 2015, they rated the top five as: Cancer Research U.K., £209m ($349.1m CAD) The National Trust, £192m (320.6m CAD) Oxfam, £172m ($287.2m CAD) Salvation Army, £113m ($118.7 CAD) The British Red Cross Society £108m ($180m CAD) By putting a number on the brand value of your charity and understanding the global value of your brand, companies will better appreciate how much collateral benefit there is in associating with your widely recognized and trusted charity. Realistically, leveraging brand value is most applicable to large national organizations.  They will be the ones that can most robustly fulfill the criteria outlined above, the criteria applied by Intangible Business. A mid-size or small charity, however, could apply four of the five criteria used by Intangible Business to valuate brand to evaluate its own brand (And here I’m using the word brand as a shortcut for everything under the organization’s umbrella.)  In a world where charities are searching for ways to assess their...

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Fired Up and Ready to Go!

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

I have just become a Principal with The Osborne Group in Toronto. At least, that’s the line that’s being added to my bio.  You could also call me the rookie, the greenhorn, the tenderfoot or the new kid on the block. But what a bunch of kids.  And what a block. The experience of sitting around the table at my first Business Development meeting, a meeting chaired by Managing Partner Jane Rounthwaite, was breathtaking.  One guy was helping transition a $45 million family-owed plastics company into a company with a more sustainable structure, a situation he appeared, by his winsome demeanor, to have totally in hand. The woman at the end of the table had been charged with overseeing the merger of two subsidiaries of a well-known charitable brand.  She was calmly looking forward to the challenge; able to smile about the likely bumps in the road, which she knew would be there because she’s just that good and experienced. Another Principal has been called on to help an LGBTQ organization become more effective at saving the lives of LGBTQ people living in homophobic cultures around the world—literally whisking them out of harm’s way.  She also looked forward, with cheerful practicality, to getting them sorted out and on their way. These people, I can tell you, embody excellence.  That’s an easy term to toss around these days … excellence.  You’ve likely seen that particular brand of posters associating the concept of excellence with a bald eagle flying against a cloud-studded sky or a runner leaping over a wide chasm. But what does excellence really mean in the context of the work we seek to do together? After my first Business Development meeting with the other Principals, I understand it can be really, really good at something while being down to earth; of anticipating the pleasure and intellectual challenge of untangling tough problems; of embracing an expectant and wholehearted desire to work with the people who are bringing you their toughest predicaments. I bring a new category to The Osborne Group: Fundraising, Communications and Advocacy.  I want to help charities be more impactful.  And although I’m a greenhorn at The Osborne Group, I have, like the firm’s other Principals, been around the block a time or two in the overall scheme of things. I’ve worked in front line service, owned my own company for 16 years, sold that company and did independent consulting for five years. I want prospective clients to know, first of all, that we are here to help.  I want them to know if they come to me, or any of Osborne’s principals, with a problem or a project that needs leadership—a stalled campaign, a notional campaign,...

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