We all know we need to avoid costly political conversations with donors.
Wow! What an emotional week with the presidential and other important elections for our country and communities last week.
I don’t know about you, but I am worn out from 2020 and looking forward to a solid footing for 2021.
With that said, there is much to learn from last week’s elections that apply to the world of philanthropy. No doubt, we must dodge risky political conversations with donors.
Let’s Bring People Together
Right now in the United States, our society is more polarized than ever. To that point, I was watching a conversation unfold on a Facebook thread that was less than admirable. It got political, and then it got personal. I saw no apologies. But I sure hope apologies took place because these were friends making awful statements to each other. Elections can bring out the best and the worst in people. Even rival sports fans can become adversarial.
As fundraisers, we do not engage in confrontational conversation at any time – in person or online – with anyone.
When I took my first job in the fundraising sector, it happened because the development person before me had gotten sideways the board chair. Needless to say, that’s not a good thing to let happen.
Absolutely, we want to bring people together and stay focused on our mission. Our role as a fundraiser is to move the needle on curing cancer, helping the homeless, bringing music to our society, and educating those craving a better future, for example.
Are you with me on this?
Avoid Costly Political Conversations with Donors
You can do this by . . .
#1 – Staying Out of Polarizing Conversations with Your Donors
Certainly, you want to talk about political issues affecting your nonprofit or community. But temper your emotions about political candidates and your political views.
It’s simply not attractive to be overbearing with your opinions. We are fortunate in our country to be free to speak our minds and share our views. Nevertheless, be mindful of how you are coming across.
#2 – Staying Focus on Our Mission
Your role as a nonprofit leader or fundraiser is to advance the mission of your organization. In other words, stay focused on the mission. You are one of the biggest and most vocal advocates working to change lives or your community through your nonprofit’s work.
In fact, sometimes you feel like a broken record! But that’s ok! That brings us to . . .
#3 – Clarifying Your Message
That means you know what’s important and you have established clear messaging around what's important.
Not only is your staff on the same page on your organization’s priorities but also your board is prepared to talk about their nonprofit with others so people want to listen.
In Summary, Stay Solutions-Based
In summary, let’s stay positive and solutions-based as we move into 2021. It starts with you – a leader for your nonprofit. No question, you can turn the conversation toward your mission and securing large gifts to impact lives and societies in remarkable ways.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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