Regardless of what side of the aisle you fall on, the 2016 election season and all of its aftermath has been utterly exhausting. A new side of America came out in full force, following behind a man who was openly racist, misogynist, bigoted, and hateful, while a woman whose life has been lived in the political sphere was cast as an untrustworthy criminal.
Like many of you reading this, I’m unsure of what comes next. What awaits the nonprofit in Trump’s America? I’m getting slammed with requests from Trump supporters to “give the guy a chance.” And believe me, I’m trying. Yet I can’t help but sometimes succumb to the fear that lies in the pit of my stomach, telling me that these next four years could be some of the worst in American history.
There is one thing that helps me during one of these occurrences: the glorifying joy I get when I remember that I work in the nonprofit sector.
Now, more than ever, your work – our work – matters so much. Our purposes and missions collectively support open discourse, human rights, labor rights, environmental policy, and so many other causes that are likely to be jeopardized by a Trump administration. An already-apparent feud with major news organizations proves that even some of our most well-known constitutional rights could falter. And while you’ve got to make sure you’re careful so as not to offend potential donors with political rhetoric, you MUST take action to ensure you are ready to weather a controversial presidency. Here are few ideas:
Partner with local press. In this presidency, journalists will be incredibly important to ensuring ethics are upheld and the American people are kept in the know. They’ll research and uncover information that no one else would bother to look for. And they’ll do it for a greater purpose besides breaking the story. They’re on the civilian front lines to protect democracy and it’ll be an all hands on deck situation if we want to keep afloat.
Organize. Along with local press relationships, take advantage of other nonprofit organizations and philanthropic groups in your community. Stay close with one another and don’t be afraid to idea share. Aligning with those who are like-minded will give you access to even more mind power and passion.
Let love rule. President Obama said it best in his Farewell Address when he called each of us out for arguing with strangers on the internet. Have conversations with those you disagree with. Approach these conversations with curiosity and concern. Accept differences and agree to disagree. But don’t stop talking. Seriously. Don’t. You never know who might be listening.
Move forward. The election is over. And though we can’t predict what happens in the future of this presidency, getting hung up on what’s happened in the past isn’t going to do anything but set you – and your organization – up for more disappointment. We must all accept the outcome of this election whether we like it or not. And the faster we move forward, the quicker we can start to anticipate any potential issues.
Don’t give up. It might be hard. It might be easier than expected. But this is a crucial time for your passion. Stay strong. Carry on.