Social justice nonprofits, in particular, must be able to inspire people to see the cause areas from a values-aligned perspective. Like any story that deeply moves you, the power comes in through the intricate details. Part of the story feels so real that it sets your heart on fire! To achieve this, we have to remember that we cannot fit in and stand out at the same time. We gotta pick.
Michelle Flores Vryn Archive
As DEI professionals will tell you, one way to assess the authenticity of your workplace culture is to take stock of the types of messaging that circulate around the office. Are they overwhelmingly positive? (“We received this grant!” “Enrollment goals were exceeded!” “We can make payroll!”)
Seriously though, consider whether you are perpetuating a tone of toxic positivity. If you are, it likely flows over into your external messaging. Like your annual report.
Focusing on social justice and equity in philanthropy sounds like it should not be a new concept. Most people have dropped money into their church’s collection plate or bought a box (or three) of Girl Scout cookies. Philanthropy is all about charity and compassion, right?
In reality though, charity and compassion are actually contrary to the way many powerful institutions operate.
Take the recent example of The University of Texas at Austin’s response to open records requests on donor responses to changing the Eyes of Texas school song, a tradition that perpetuates racist origins.