Nonprofit Leaders Live MLK's Dream

Jan 10, 2023Fundraising, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy

mlk-6-1200-x-628 Fundraising Leadership Nonprofits Philanthropy

Nonprofit leaders live MLK’s dream every day. We have the opportunity to carry out what King stood for – kindness, courage, and unity.

Eighteen steps from the top of the Lincoln Memorial, is where I happened to be standing.

As I turned to rush to meet colleagues, I looked down and there was this inscription: “I Have a Dream.”

I froze as it caught me by surprise.

It was a bright, sunny, cool day.

I turned and looked up and out over the national mall toward the Capital. My eyes focused beyond the reflecting pool, imagining what it was like that day in 1963 with the massive sea of people. 

Being three years old, I have no recollection of that day.

On this particular trip to D.C., it was a powerful moment to be standing in the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his infamous “I have a dream” speech.

The speech was a defining moment of the civil rights movement and among one of the most iconic speeches in American history.

King shared his vision of true equality.

Dedication to Racial Equality

This week, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by recognizing Dr. King’s legacy and dedication to racial equality . . . and reminded ourselves of the work yet to be done.

We want to bridge barriers and create solutions to social injustices that continue today.

As a nonprofit, your mission is to make a positive change in the world. It may be specific to your area or an issue, but you are committed to making a change for the better in someone’s life or your community.

That’s why you took the position at your nonprofit  . . . or decided to serve as a board member or other volunteer. 

Dr. King once said, “Everyone can be great . . .because anyone can serve.”

3 Ways Nonprofit Leaders to Live MLK’s Dream

As human beings, we should ask,

“what does service look like for me?”  

“What can I do to carry out King’s desires to push for respect for others and a more just society?”

Well, here’s some ideas to get your thoughts churning. . . .

#1 MLK's Dream: Take a Stand

Find a mission you believe in and become a raving advocate for that cause.

Be aware if you engage with a nonprofit because your friends do. Don’t become involved with a nonprofit because it looks good on your resume, to your boss, or to your social circle.

Ask yourself, “Can I get behind this mission at a deep, heartfelt level?” And then find a nonprofit that fits that yearning for you to make a difference.

Maybe, it’s a cause that supports a more united society, more equitable environment, or a more diverse workplace, for example. 

#2 MLK's Dream: Kindness, Courage, & Unity

Every day, not just MLK Day, we should practice the values King stood for.

To me, they are kindness, courage, and unity. That’s what I think of.

Find your meaning in King’s messages, and strive to live it every single day.

We could all do better with our words and actions.

#3 MLK's Dream: Start 2021 by Giving Back

Start the year with a commitment to practice gratitude.  That means being generous with your skills, time, and resources.

Year-end is not the only time to consider supporting your favorite charities. Giving-back can be year-round.

Find out how you can help the nonprofit you believe in most — the one cause you can really get behind – and ask what’s their greatest need right now!

Summary: Nonprofit Leaders to Live MLK's Dream

In summary, share this article, and encourage others to find a charity and cause close to their heart to support this new year.

Let’s make 2021 a year to remember because of what we did for others and our communities.

Other Resources:

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Costly Political Conversations with Donors

Donors’ Motives for Giving in a Crisis

Don’t Overlook Your Most Loyal Donors During a Crisis

Fundraise During a Crisis: What’s Working?

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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