The Benefits of Humor and Play in Nonprofit Work

Oh, the times we are living in! It seems like every day, there’s a new headline grabbing our attention, urging us to take a stand. But when you’re at the helm of a nonprofit, the waters get a tad murkier. Should you join the chorus and make political statements? And what happens when your generous donors have, let’s say, rather strong opinions on the matter?

A recent article on highlighted an intriguing situation – some generous supporters threatened to withhold their donations unless universities condemned the attacks by Hamas. Indeed, that presents a challenging dilemma! Nonprofits and educational institutions are finding themselves at crossroads, navigating the pressure to voice their stance on political issues, while keeping their mission on track.

Stick to Your Knitting

First things first, remember your nonprofit’s mission? That’s your guiding light. If a political narrative dovetails with your mission, it’s your cue to join the discourse. Sean Gibbons from the Communications Network has a neat piece of advice – if the political chatter doesn’t ring true with your mission, maybe it’s wise to sit this one out. It’s all about keeping your eyes on the prize and ensuring your statements reflect the heart and soul of your organization.

Communication – It’s a Big Deal

Communication goes beyond merely creating a buzz; it’s about striking a chord with the right audience at the right moment. Like a well-timed whisper can carry more weight than a shout. The recent reactions to the Israel-Hamas conflict underscore how a well-thought-out statement can either be a boon or a bane. So, make sure when you speak up, it’s thoughtful, respectful, and echoes the ethos of your nonprofit.

Have a Game Plan

Venturing into the political domain without a game plan is like setting sail in stormy seas without a compass. Draft a clear policy on how and when your nonprofit would respond to political issues. This policy should be your playbook, reflecting your mission and the broader social landscape. It’s your shield against the “Oh no, did we really say that?” moments.

Brace for Impact

In today’s digital town square, every statement could echo far and wide. And not all echoes are pleasant. So when you decide to chime in on political matters, be ready for a mixed bag of reactions. A robust crisis communication plan could be your steadfast ally, aiding you through any turbulent situations that arise.

A Little Chit-Chat with Your Donors

When donors weigh in with their political expectations, it could feel like navigating a minefield. But, open dialogue can often disarm the most challenging situations. Engage with your donors, understand their perspectives, and share your standpoint. It’s all about building bridges and finding common ground, even when the political ground seems a bit shaky.

Long-term Vibes

Before you leap into the political fray, take a moment to ponder the long-term vibes. How will this impact your nonprofit’s image and donor relations down the line? It’s all about ensuring your nonprofit continues to resonate with its audience in a meaningful way.

Entering the realm of political discourse as a nonprofit can be a tricky path. It involves maintaining the integrity of your mission, engaging in open dialogue with stakeholders, and managing the complex social and political dynamics. Every tweet, post, or public statement contributes to your nonprofit’s overall image. So, when you choose to engage in political discussions, ensure that each communication aligns well with the fundamental objectives of your mission.

Mission Forward

Mission Forward is a weekly LinkedIn Newsletter written by Paul Durban with tools, tips and tricks to help nonprofits reach their goals. Subscribe to the newsletter on LinkedIn.