“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
As we observe Women’s Equality Day on August 26, we recognize that committed, passionate individuals can bring about lasting change. But we also recognize that change can be slow, and often movements toward progress suffer setbacks before achieving success.
What is Women’s Equality Day?
It is a day to commemorate that on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified, granting women the right to vote.
Consider the movement to ratify the 19th Amendment, a law first proposed in 1878—nearly half a century before it was finally instated. A previous Supreme Court ruling, Minor v. Happersett, unanimously denied women the right to vote. But the movement continued, and despite this and other challenges, the amendment was eventually ratified by all states and now fully guarantees suffrage for all Americans.
In your organization, you also fight battles every day to make progress and achieve important goals—and those donors who make contributions to support the mission are part of the team of committed, passionate people working to make that happen. In fact, research shows that highly committed donors feel like owners themselves. Truly transformational philanthropy is marked by strong emotional commitment, usually driven by meaningful personal experiences.
Pay attention to the words donors use to describe the mission and activities of your organization. Do they use first-person pronouns like “we,” “our,” and “us”? If so, they are demonstrating that they are fully unified with your organization’s cause.
These highly committed donors are likely to have more questions about how the mission is progressing. They are likely to have increased curiosity about leadership, the methods by which the mission is achieved, and the impact that the organization’s activities have.
Like all important missions, yours may suffer setbacks. That’s why it is essential to keep donors fully informed. Like the fearless individuals who fought for women’s equality in centuries past, highly committed donors won’t give up at the first sign of trouble. But they do expect—and deserve—to know the details of your organization’s progress toward the goal. As development professionals, our job is to ensure that these deeply committed individuals have their questions answered so that they will continue to feel like part of the team.
One important tool for identifying the questions donors may be asking at different phases of commitment is the Donor Development Chart. Users of myAR, our online resource platform, can download this tool under the Print Resources tab.
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