Pardon the analogy, but if controversy is a light, then we’re the cockroaches who scatter at it’s glow.
Controversy is powerful: it causes people to take sides and to speak up when they may have remained silent; it sparks conflict – which can be both wonderful and terribly destructive. With this in mind, we’re right to approach controversy with some caution. No need to stir it up unnecessarily.
But sometimes it’s necessary. It’s time to take sides, speak clearly and make people uncomfortable. So if you’re going to take a stand, then heck, take a big stand. This is especially true for non-profits whose work truly matters. I feel the controversy drummed up around something like the Burger King Whopper Sacrifice campaign, while clever, is a waste because it centers around something that doesn’t ultimately matter: getting more hamburgers into the bellies of folks who probably don’t need them.
But if you’re empowering entrepreneurs through microfinance, digging wells to provide clean water, or spreading a religious message that’s making the world a better place, then it’s important to take a stand and not shy away from controversy.