Corporate Balm for a Sick Society

Rick Wartzman

In his latest post for, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman explores three things that corporate executives should do to help the social sector.

These ideas, Wartzman notes, stem from a speech delivered last week to a group of national nonprofit leaders by Mario Morino, the chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners. Morino, the author of Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity, spoke with a great sense of urgency.

“Morino painted the picture of a country that is sure to suffer terribly over the next 10 to 15 years as deep government budget cuts undermine efforts to care for large numbers of people who will remain jobless even if the economy gains steam,” Wartzman writes. “On top of that, the aging of the population will place a severe strain on services.

“Faced with these seismic shifts,” Wartzman adds, “nonprofits will be under increasing pressure to improve quality, lower costs and expand their reach—all at the same time.”

But as Morino made clear, nonprofits can’t be expected to tackle these challenges alone. To that end, he called on corporate executives to do three things:

  1. Lend their strategic counsel to nonprofits.
  2. Provide opportunities—even formal fellowships—for nonprofit leaders to spend time in the highest-performing parts of their companies. This is critical for developing talent in the social sector.
  3. Be a visible advocate for nonprofits that can truly demonstrate they are having a substantial positive influence on the lives of those in need.

“If you think that all of this sounds like it’s far afield from what you should be focusing on as a corporate soldier, think again,” Wartzman asserts. As Peter Drucker wrote: “Management has a self-interest in a healthy society, even though the cause of society’s sickness is none of management’s making.”