If corporate philanthropy can bring world peace, shout about it

When CEOs and UN delegates from around the world gather to discuss how corporations can “galvanize unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest,” would you start an article about this event by noting it ended with the Empire State Building lit in blue and green, “the official colors of the day”?Providing local color to a story is good, but this isn’t what your writing coach meant.

In From Local to Global, Measuring Corporate Philanthropy’s Impact for onPhilanthropy.com, Elisabeth Anderson and Tom Watson brings much-needed attention to an international forum pursuing a mission of corporate philanthropy. The forum consists of some heavy hitters: Akhtar Badshah, senior director of community affairs of Microsoft; Christina Gold, CEO of Western Union; Kathy Bushkin Calvin, EVP and COO of the United Nations Foundation; and Hilde Johnson, deputy executive director of UNICEF, among them.

And these are heavy issues,

“focused on how corporate philanthropy can contribute to advancing the Millennium Development Goals, particularly for sustainable development. The eight Millennium Development Goals, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.”

I’m just sorry that the authors didn’t capture readers’ attention right away with information such as this, buried deep within the story:

“If rich countries cannot meet the commitment of a fraction of 1% to meet these goals, it will be impossible to keep peace in this world.”

Too many writers covering an event choose to write their recaps in a fairly chronological order, instead of providing readers with what they want: Context. They want to know what happened that’s most important. You can tell them the conference was in mid-town Manhattan with blue and green lights only if doing so helps pull them into the story.

If it doesn’t, then save these details for later – or discard them.


2 thoughts on “If corporate philanthropy can bring world peace, shout about it

  1. Exactly. I’m sure it’s why this issue isn’t getting more attention. It’s too bad, too. So many non-profits are desperate for corporate dollars, and so many corporations need to know that others are finding an answer to “how will this help our bottom line?” — the question asked by their boards and stockholders.

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