Bizsplaining: Mansplaining for Nonprofits

231H (1).jpgA few years back, I was getting pro bono advice from a few PR folks who worked at big firms. They had fancy degrees and long, unintelligible titles. I showed them a few examples of our collateral, our website, and our social media posts, and sought their advice.

“Well, first you need a completely new website. This is so out of date. It looks like it was made years ago.” Great. I’ll get right on that.

“I agree. And do you have a graphic designer on staff? At our firm, I always send collateral to that department because it’s so hard to do it myself.” LOL.

“And maybe once you’ve done those things, you can grow another set of of eyeballs, because I see you’ve just torn yours out of your skull.” I’m dead.

This is completely commonplace in the nonprofit sector. People from the “business world” talking to nonprofit staff like they have never successfully operated a blender, let alone worked (successfully) in their underpaid, understaffed, and completely vital position for years.

It’s so commonplace in fact, that it deserves its own term: bizsplaining. Bizsplaining, similar to mansplaining, is when someone from the “business” world talks to a nonprofit employee about their work in a condescending manner.

Other examples of bizsplaining include:

“Have you tried developing an earned income strategy for your fellowship program?”

“Let’s just get a grant for a new website.”

“You can really do amazing things with just one $10,000 ad in the Times.”

“I left the business world because it was just too much work. Now I’m looking for an opportunity in nonprofits.”

“I have a niece/nephew/stranger I met at a bar who once opened a Twitter account. I can see if they will volunteer for us!”

I understand that since we make less money and “do good,” you think that we don’t know what we’re doing. The truth is, we’re in a completely different world than you.

Of course we all have things to learn (including you, my MBA-holding friend), but just because you worked at a wealth management firm for ten years does not mean you know how to run my food bank.

So business community, just ask yourself: Are you bizsplaining?


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