A few weeks after the election, I reflected on the pride and gratitude I feel for the work our nonprofit sector is doing—work that I hoped would shore up Americans in these difficult times. But now—as the new administration takes the helm and our fears have, in some cases, intensified—the time to reflect and look inward is over. It’s time to act.
Our job now is to find ways to take bold action to preserve our democracy, and to protect and advance the causes that matter to us. I was so heartened recently when good old-fashioned activism WORKED in the case of the House Ethics Committee debacle—when Avalon clients Common Cause and the League of Women Voters and their allies mobilized their supporters and other Americans to let Republicans in Congress know what they thought about the GOP’s tone-deaf plan to cripple congressional ethics oversight. After a massive outcry, the GOP quickly backed down.
This kind of activism is having a real resurgence right now, not only because it’s desperately needed, but because it’s working. And, of course, millions participated in Women’s Marches all over the country and the world the day after the Inauguration (we were out in full force in Washington) to stand up for our rights, our health, and our families.
My Avalon colleagues and I will help our clients engage their supporters in meaningful ways on the issues they care about and demonstrate how, now more than ever, they can make a difference. The key will be to focus on what we can accomplish, in the face of an American presidency that may lack a mandate but has tremendous power and reach.
We must also remind donors that giving is a powerful statement of one’s beliefs—and we can find solace and strength in the simple act of supporting organizations that mean the most to us right now.
Progressive nonprofits must own the space they’re in and connect with their supporters to advance their missions in the face of environmental peril, failed economic policies, and threats to social justice. Of course, not all nonprofits are activist organizations—but their missions and work can also provide an outlet for relieving our fears and anxiety—as Americans look to the arts and the outdoors for healing, inspiration, personal fulfillment, and renewal.
I’m taking heart that Americans are up for the challenge. We’re millions strong, and we fully embody the best of our embattled Constitution as we insist on equal rights, free speech, and justice for all.
See below for a slideshow of our participation in the Women’s March in Washington, DC.