FYI Blog

Collaboration Is Key

Dara Margot Lucy Anne laughing at conf. table

As you know, there’s been a tremendous surge in nonprofit fundraising lately—in particular, in the political arena—but what you may not know is that the surge began BEFORE Election Day. As the alt-right and other extremists were emboldened by Trump’s normalization of hate speech, alarmed progressives and nonprofits took action. And we continue on that path.

A key to keeping up the pressure must be for nonprofit sectors and agencies alike to double down on information sharing—benchmarks, data, best practices, successes, losses…it’s critical that we work together. Because what’s at stake are the causes we so deeply care about: the environment, health care, personal freedoms, social justice, poverty, education, the arts, science. Unbelievably, all sectors are imperiled now.

Yes, each nonprofit has to fulfill its mission. But a critical part of that is understanding what’s happening around you—seeing where your organization stands in the context of the national turmoil that is taking place under the Trump regime.

Once we take stock of where our own organizations are, we can share what’s working/not working so everyone can tell the difference between an anomaly and what the new normal looks like. This will help to maximize all of our efforts, because we’re all in the trenches together now.

We all worry about numbness setting in—there’s so much explosive news now that, remarkably, threats to our climate, health care, possible Russian collusion in the 2016 election, desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the President’s truthfulness—are not always the most volatile stories of the day.

But we can’t afford to be numb. We must define the new normal—and that’s already happening. I see apolitical arts organizations now making political statements themselves—and through the art they are commissioning and exhibiting—to defend the National Endowment for the Arts. I see neighborhoods and communities coming together to protect refugees and immigrants. I see people of all ages and abilities seeking ways to get involved as never before, as peaceful demonstrating has become what we do on weekends now.

We all have to determine how we can best protest, then protect and defend, while defining how we can share the information, data, and best practices with our peers, our leaders, our boards, and our colleagues.

To help tap into the energy and engagement that’s sweeping our industry, Avalon is hosting a special event that I hope you’ll be a part of.

Join Avalon’s Molly Barker, former Direct Marketing Director for Hillary for America, to learn how to leverage tried-and-true advocacy tactics to agitate for your cause. Molly will share stories from the campaign and tips for how you can listen and prepare, be willing to pivot and fight for what you want, and how to turn rage donors into long-term supporters.

This event is not limited to those who work in advocacy—every nonprofit has an issue it cares passionately about, so every nonprofit should take advantage of donors’ renewed sense of involvement in these uncertain times.

Please join us on March 13th at Avalon’s office: 805 15th Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC (RSVP here by March 8). Unable to join us in person? Not to worry, you can RSVP for our live webinar here. There will be cocktails, snacks, and what promises to be a fascinating conversation. And then think about how to keep the collaboration, conversation, and ideas coming.

The fundraising industry deserves kudos for the collaborative spirit in which we have always worked—and I hope that it trickles up to other institutions as an effective way to counter the dismantling of our agencies, free speech, and democracy as we know it.

But we can—and must—do better. We need to consider our own work and our own organizations as pieces of a whole that must collaborate to ensure that we all endure.