5-Step Process to Know How & When Your Nonprofit or Business Should Publicly Support a Movement
Here’s the deal. Sometimes I see nonprofits and freelance companies not sure if they should publicly support something. Most of the time it’s not because you don’t support something, but rather you might not be sure if your brand should make a stand.
In this episode and article, I am going to give you indicators on how you can quickly decide if you want your nonprofit to stand on an issue and how you want to represent it. I am not going to shove down your throat what my stances are on issues, however, I will use my company’s stances as examples that I actually practice what I preach.
Here’s the issue. Many times nonprofits and freelancers are just scared to publish a social media post or say they are in alignment with issues. They may fear losing donors, losing followers, or getting unsubscribes on their email list. They may not want to marginalize or polarize their audience.
I am going to show you how to make decisions where those fears will not be an issue.
Why is this important?
Because we are moving more and more from a position where non-political players have an influence in the social, economic, and yes political movements. The invention of social media is has created a platform for sharing views and perspectives. I remember when celebrities first got on social media and suddenly there was direct access to their thoughts and beliefs. It was, and is, pretty cool.
But social media is also your platform of your nonprofit’s view and ethics or your freelance grant writing businesses branding. To post nothing is to say something.
Here is the 5-Step Process to Know How and When Your Nonprofit or Freelance Business Should Publicly Support a Movement:
1. List out your Values
Do you have a list of your values for your nonprofit or freelance grant writing biz?
This is really tied to strategic planning and is essential!
What do I mean by values words?
Value words include those such as:
To get more value-based words, you can check out episode125: How to Make Decisions Swiftly and Lead Your Organization by clicking here.
For example, Grant Writing & Funding has the following values for 2021:
Diversity & Inclusion (social, environmental, racial, and gender)
Connection Fun & Playfulness
Once you have your values listed, then you want to…
#2: Prioritize Your Values with What You Want to Most Focus On
Now that you have a list of values that are important to you, make sure you set them up on a scale from #1 – #10 on what you want to focus on, leverage, or grow.
Here are Grant Writing & Funding values listed from #1 to #10.
Authenticity / Transparency
Diversity & Inclusion (social, environmental, racial, and gender)
Fun & Playfulness
You can see by my example that is what I did. What you want to do is take your top 10 values that you either want to build on, grow or leverage for the year. Then put those in order from which one you want to focus on the most, starting at #1.
Note: It is not to say that any of these are ‘less important’ it is just important to order them from the ones that will drive your nonprofit or business forward the most.
#3: Look to Your Values When Issues Arise
Okay, now you have your values listed and they are listed in a hierarchal order. This is important for decision-making efforts at all levels. So, when something arises all you need to do is look to your values and see if this makes sense for your organization or business to support. This also is a good measurement for making any decisions.
Should we start a new program in our nonprofit?
Should I take on that client for my business?
What types of organizations should I/we work with?
In any case, have your values posted somewhere visible.
You can look at your mission statement when making decisions, but I find that values are more specific on the why of your mission so it is easier to go to your values.
Here’s an example of gender inequality:
There was a male professional in the community who was name-calling another women leader in the community on public news. He was using the B-word and the F-word and since everything is live these days the media aired it!
Now here’s the thing.
Nobody called him out on it. It was more “Oh, he has a temper” and other lenient excuses. So, an organization I am on called him out and used this as an example that name-calling women like this should never be considered normal or excused so lightly. We developed a social campaign that was aligned with the “See Something, Say Something” movement and my grant writing company participated in that (see below).
All I had to do was look at my values and ask if they aligned. Diversity and inclusion are in there, as well as mindfulness, so it made sense.
Here’s an example of racial inequality:
On a global level when the Black Lives Matter Movement was gaining momentum in 2020 all I had to do was say, “Does that align with my values?” Yes, yes, and yes. The values that really connect to this are diversity, mindfulness, value-add, inspiring action, and authenticity/transparency.
But before you say, “Yeah, but Holly….” Here is another step that YOU MUST take.
#4: Values in Action
You might list your values and you might use this as a measuring stick on how to get involved, but the deal is you have to be true to your values. If you don’t follow them and decide to create a social media post or send an email or post of the poster then it really will be hypocritical.
So what I want you to do is go the extra step. So let’s look at my examples again.
A – Support a Social Media Campaign that Stands Up Against Gender Inequality
Do I name-call women?
No, I don’t. But the movement went beyond name-calling women. It really was about de-normalizing gender inequality.
So, when I hire consultants, am I hiring women?
Do I pay them the same that I pay men?
Do I give women on my podcast the same airtime as men?
These are just some questions to start digging into.
I hired 7 consultants in 2020 and 6 out of 7 are women. I also paid the rates that they all requested which were all fair and equitable and based on experience, skills, and capabilities.
For the podcast in 2020, here are my statistics: Of the 28 interview podcasts (some have more than one person at a time): 71% are with women and 46% are with men. As far as gender identity, that isn’t necessarily an area that we discuss, so I am aware that men and women aren’t the only indicators here, but tapping more into the LGBTQ community could be something that could be a target for more inclusive views.
In this way, I know I am practicing what I preach.
Let’s look at the next example…
B – Support the Movement That Stands Up Against Racial Inequality
Supporting the Black Lives Movement is very important for my company because racial inclusion is central to me. I am hyper-aware of the fact that marginalization and deep systematic issues do exist in our society.
After working with nonprofits for more than 15 years, I see the gaps that they strive to fill. And on a very personal note, my daughter is bi-racial so this movement and what it stands for is very important to me.
So once again I looked to my company and if it reflects diversity and inclusion and breaking systemic issues.
Out of the 7 people I hired in 2020, 43% were people of color.
For the podcast interviews, 71% are with people of color.
I do ask you to go a step deeper and see what your nonprofit or freelance company acts on. Just because all the people at your organization are men does not stop you to stand in support of gender equality, however, I would beg to ask why you don’t have any women working there or in partnerships, etc.
#5: Attract the Right Tribe: What happens if you offend others?
Okay, I am going to say it because it could very well be what you are thinking.
And before we get there, I am not advocating that you have to stay up in the race of advocating for everything that comes along. However, I really felt like I wanted to release this podcast because I know for many people:
They just don’t want to make waves so better stay out of everything,
They jump on the bandwagon because everyone else is doing it, or
They don’t take a stand because no one else in their industry or community is saying anything.
Here’s the thing. You will probably offend someone.
If you are a nonprofit, you may even lose a sponsor or a funding source because you stand up for your values.
If you are a freelancer or small business, you may lose clients, followers, or email subscribers.
So why do it? Come with me for a moment.
Let’s go back to the Black Lives Matter Movement example:
I have an amazing friend and colleague, Jenni Hargrove. She does marketing and graphic design for nonprofits and saw that huge desire for nonprofits to have posters, social posts, etc. to stand in line with the Black Lives Matter Movement but they didn’t have the graphic skills to put something together. So she actually created free media kit templates so nonprofits can easily include their logo and have their nonprofit or businesses stand in solidarity.
For the Official Black Lives Matter Movement Press Kit: Click Here
She extended this to you listeners and email subscribers another nonprofit friend, Nonprofit Jenni who actually reached out to me with some free materials for your podcast listeners on a media kit and templates so they could easily include their logo and have their nonprofit or businesses stand in solidarity.
I emailed this to my email subscribers and I did have some unsubscribers. In fact, I had a nasty email in all caps and red saying how offended a subscriber was and to take her off my list.
I happily did.
Okay, so how in the world is this even good to lose subscribers?
Well, quite honestly if you have sponsors, clients, and followers who disagree with your core values then it’s probably going to end in a bad way at some point.
If your sponsors disagree with your core values, then what other things may they be funding? Do you want to be associated with that?
If you have clients that disagree with your core values, then do you really think that you are going to enjoy working with all the ins and outs of their projects. Because their projects and operations will reflect their values.
If you have followers and email subscribers that disagree with your core values do you really want them in your virtual house?
Heck, once you hit above a certain number of subscribers certain platforms even charge you to keep them on your list. So do you want to pay for them? So that in bold, red, all caps was surprising for me, but honestly easy to remove because why would I pay for them to stay on my list?
In all of this as a nonprofit, you will start actually attracting organizations and funding sources that align with your values.
As a freelancer, you will attract nonprofit clients and people who also are similar to you.
This is a good thing as these are your ideal people!
Now just to sum up, I am not saying that differing opinions and perspectives are not welcome, but core values are different than just opinions. So you can definitely still disagree with people’s views and get funding from them or work with them! You could actually have the same values but just look at the world through a different lens. But values go deeper.
Okay, to sum up how to know if you should publicly join movements:
#1: List Your Values
#2: Prioritize Your Values
#3: Reflect On Your Values When Issues Arise
#4: How to Put Your Values in Action
#5: Attract the Right Tribe for You: What happens if you offend others?