Imagine the last year and a half – with all we’ve experienced living through this unprecedented pandemic. Now imagine every time you saw or heard about a nonprofit organization in action -- providing emergency shelters, handing out groceries, pivoting to virtual learning, advocating for immigrant rights, and mental health care.
Can you imagine this period in time without the lifesaving and life-transforming services that these nonprofits provide every day to people throughout the world? The nonprofit sector is, indeed, the epitome of care.
Around the country this is the time of year when nonprofit organizations send fundraising appeals to their donors – current, lapsed, and prospects – asking for financial support for their mission and work. For some organizations this is a stressful period of the year. The pressure of bringing money in the door, particularly during a time when millions of people are still living through the continued negative impact of COVID…people are experiencing an increasing rise in prices to cover some of the most basic household necessities…organizations, institutions and businesses are navigating tricky personnel and financial challenges – the reality is, we are still living with so many unknowns.
Cause Effective has partnered with dozens of organizations since the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 to help them reexamine their vision, mission and strengthen their case for support. This strategic exercise is important for nonprofits to embrace as part of their practice – especially during difficult times like the time we are living in now. When world events have sparked political unrest and fueled division within communities, nonprofit staff members are sometimes not aligned to engage donors and funders. What has also made this time more demanding is the continued economic challenges of COVID on fundraising.
In 2017, as part of a DEI discovery process for Cause Effective, our clients asked us to support them by addressing how structural racism plays out in fundraising. As a white executive director of an organization whose service has been deeply rooted in communities of color for almost 40 years, I heard their request. I resolved to embrace how Cause Effective in general, and myself in particular, could play an essential role in creating change.
In 2018, I sat in my office and took a call from Judy Levine, Executive Director of Cause Effective. She wanted to talk about my experience working in development as a Black woman. I was open to the interview as I had worked in the field for over twenty-five years. I wanted to be helpful to Cause Effective’s examination of issues around money, power and race through the eyes of seasoned development professionals. The questions from Judy ignited a lot of old emotion.
Cause Effective decries the recent anti-Asian hostility, within a centuries-old context. With anger and despair, we recognize, and call out against, the white supremacy and privilege that allow – in fact encourage – individuals to express their anger by taking up arms against an entire people.
Selected Blog Posts by Topic:
Fundraising through a crisis is never fun, but it can be done. Cause Effective saw many clients continue to succeed in fundraising during the Great Recession, but they had laid the groundwork for continued support years before. Read more.
Has an executive director's job become easier as a result of all the online information on nonprofit management right at their fingertips? Maybe yes, maybe no. Executive directors need information, but also thought partnership, empathy and peer support to find the best solutions to their organization's most entrenched challenges. Read more.
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“Cause Effective helped us change our board’s leadership and culture – and has continued as a valued resource to this day.”
– Naomi Goldberg Haas, Artistic Director, Dances for a Variable Population