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Marathon Tired Runner

The recent milestone of the Trump administration’s first 100 days in the White House has us all thinking about the challenges this administration presents for the press, the American people, and nonprofits across the country.

It’s like an amped up game of whack-a-mole—with congressional inquiries, FBI investigations, damaging executive orders, blows to our democracy, and astonishing developments popping up virtually every day. Watching the news makes one’s head spin, because it’s all so overwhelming.

So many nonprofits, like Avalon’s clients the League of Women Voters and Common Cause, are in the thick of things, working to keep our democracy on track. And groups like the National Parks Conservation Association and so many others with their missions in the crosshairs of federal budget cuts are lobbying hard to show how critically important their work is to our country.

So how do we pace ourselves—because this is a marathon, not a sprint—and prepare for the long, drawn-out fights to come? Here are some of my thoughts:

Double down on your messaging: While the threats may be escalating, your organization has been fighting for these issues for decades. Remind supporters of the importance of your mission, while highlighting both the immediate and long-term threats to that mission and how their support can help. Donations make a tangible difference in what you are able to accomplish, so push out that message.

Communicate openly and often: Keep in close touch with your donors to remind them that your organization is on the job and fighting every day for what they believe in. This is a time to pile on the cultivation whenever and wherever you can. Keep in touch with updates, challenges, and wins. It’s critical to be out there constantly, giving donors ample opportunity to support the expanded and important work that has to be done right now.

Remind supporters that they are a critical part of the solution: We’re in this together—so we have to fight for what matters to us together. People are looking for ways to be involved and take action. Show them how they can be on the right side of history.

Take care of yourself: When you’re putting out fires every day, it’s hard to think about self care. But it’s vital—so take that vacation, leave your work at the office, live your life. Consider organizing office events to keep morale up during a challenging time. And don’t despair. We will get through this—together.

Always come back to the mission and why you are fighting for it: Remind your supporters over and over again why they joined your cause in the first place, and why you must all keep fighting now, when the stakes are so high. We can’t give an inch.

Progressives have made such enormous strides in recent years, fighting on key issues like global warming and the environment, marriage equality, gender equality, and more. It’s discouraging that with the stroke of a pen, decades of advances are being undone. But that’s the situation we find ourselves in: We have to relitigate and refight many of the battles we have won—expanding our resources and being tougher than ever. The need has never been clearer.

And with decades of experience fighting these battles, these cherished organizations are more relevant than ever.

But if we pace ourselves, take care of ourselves and each other, and engage our supporters to help, we will prevail again. So keep going—we are right here beside you!

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