That's the question I've been asked to answer at a forthcoming Third Sector magazine discussion.
In particular I'm going to be debating the following:
- Does the recession make it increasingly important for charities to seek efficiency by becoming more professional in their methods?
- Is there a conflict between professionalism and passion for the cause?
- Have some of the larger charities become so professional in their style that people see little difference between them and the corporate sector?
My instinctive answer to the question in the post title is no. I don't think it is a bad thing and it's actually one of the key traits I'd look for in any charity I supported. You want to see any gifts you make have the best possible impact and you need to make sure you have a professional approach to your work to make this happen.
Professionalism isn't enough by itself, but it is certainly a prerequisite for support from me.
As for the questions above, I think number three will prove to be the most controversial and personally I don't see professionalism and passion as mutually exclusive things. To be successful you need both.
I'll report back on the discussion later in the week, but if you have any thoughts in the mean time then please let me know.