Living, working, serving, and marketing in the nonprofit world is a delicate balance between do-gooding and self-righteousness.
It's not enough that we're asking for people's hard-earned money without articulating what we promise them in return. That's a common enough sin and most givers are accepting of our entitlement… because so few offer real alternatives and they still want to do-good themselves.
No, it's all this bluster and self-righteous audience- customer- or donor-facing rhetoric we must endure – all the while not changing very much about how we evaluate, critique, or reject some nonprofits and favor others.
They give us metrics that matter to them, not necessarily us. They send us newsletters about what’s news to them, not things emotionally important to us. And they operate on their own calendar. (Remember all those “Fiscal Year-End” emergency asks we just endured?)
And then the call us names. I'm not giving you my kidney, I'm giving you my money... money that I could use to feed my family or invest or save to help me and mine sleep better tonight.
You're asking me for money because it's money I've got and time I lack (while you have all the time in the world on your hands but don't have money).
And you tell each other how donor-centric, donor-sensitive, and donor-empathetic you are... hold conferences about it… write blogs castigating all the dinosaurs stuck in the world of Don Draper… while still flexing and competing and bragging and manipulating me because I choose to spend $5 on a cup of Starbucks that could have been used to feed a hungry child on the other side of the world that doesn't have it as good as I do.
But what if I have enough to buy myself that $5 cup of coffee AND give you $5 to help a starving child that you feature in your nonprofit porn photos of crusted eyes, dry and broken lips all adorned with flies?
Do you even live in the same world as I do? Because in my world, both/and are more common than either/or… and you know that because you’re asking me for some of my extra money!
Get back to me on that please while I sip my $5 latte and enjoy my afternoon.