Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Given that the World Wildlife Fund raises half a billion dollars a year, one wonders what they do with this abundance. A peek inside the Economist magazine provides a revealing example. On page 22 of the March 27th – April 2, 2010 edition appear two half-page executive recruitment ads. (Click the image above for a larger view.)
The top one has been paid for by the WWF – which is searching for someone with 10-15 years experience to lead its global climate initiative. The successful candidate will orchestrate “intensive national efforts to promote low-carbon development in key countries” and will guide “policy interventions.”
Directly below is an ad purchased by the International Monetary Fund. This organization is using the same amount of ad space to recruit – count ’em – 20 individuals (each with a minimum of 10 years of experience). As public financial management specialists, these people will advise national governments in various parts of the world.
To the right, over on the next page, two more ads appear. One has been placed by the UK’s MI6 – which is looking for intelligence officers, language specialists, administrators, and technology professionals. The other has been purchased by the Competition Commission – “one of Europe’s foremost competition agencies” – and advertises for two positions.
(The following three pages of the magazine are devoted to four recruitment ads apiece. One of these quarter-page ads seeks a president and chief executive officer for a “leading international reproductive health provider.” Another has been purchased by a hedge fund. A third seeks someone to serve as secretary general of the German Council of Economic Experts. Two of the 12 quarter-page ads were purchased by United Nations organizations.)
What does all this mean? First, in five pages of ads devoted to executive recruitment, the WWF ad represents the largest spend to fill a single position. Second, the company it keeps tells us a great deal about how the WWF both behaves and regards intself. The IMF, MI6, the United Nations, a hedge fund. These are large, influential, high-profile heavy hitters. There are no shoestring operations here – no small, volunteer-run, community groups battling the establishment like David against Goliath.
When it comes time to fill a senior position, the WWF doesn’t place ads on Craigslist or in the back pages of left-leaning Rolling Stone. It goes where the big boys hang out. It behaves, in other words, exactly like any other large corporation.