I gave a talk yesterday about doing public relations for not-for-profit organizations to Taimi Gorman's communications class at Western Washington University. I asked students whether, as the PR professionals they were to become, would they recommend taking corporate contributions from Wal-Mart?
The answers ranged from "Yes" ('that's less money they will have') to "Depends" ('what will you have to do in return' and 'who will get upset'). Except for one categorical "NO" ('not as an anarchist organization'), no one chose to answer by drawing a bright line against it.
That surprised me because I've had that discussion and I've recommended drawing that bright line against taking money from Wal-Mart, period. I've argued that, while some people would be upset and some people wouldn't be, it wouldn't be worth it to create a situation of choosing one side instead of the other. And, honestly, is taking that money any different than how a corporate political contribution looks like it 'buys'?
I don't support the Wal-Mart business model and don't think Wal-Mart is good for our communities, period. Does what I personally believe make a difference? Should it? Live long enough and you should get to know the feeling of having to do something you personally don't believe in.
We never got to that part of the discussion in class. I remarked how young and fresh they all were. I hope they all do well.
Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told