The Trump Administration’s impact on nonprofits and where to go from here


The Trump Administration’s first 100 days are well underway, and still many nonprofit communication teams are unsure of how to react. I thought it’d be wise to gather the opinions of many nonprofit experts and share some inspiration. Through reading their wise words, it’s possible that your nonprofit’s goals, positioning and messaging for the next four years could become clearer.

Here are some questions your nonprofit may be asking and the way that nonprofit experts are responding.

What will donors do with this unpredictable economy? How can we still rally their financial support?

Gail from Fired Up Fundraising worked to instill urgency in terms of nonprofit development:

“NOW is the time to reconnect to our donors. Seriously. We need to remind them of the work, the cause, the need out there in the world. It’s time to rally our donors around us.”

Roger Craver from The Agitator underlines this similar sense of potential saying we should,

“[r]ealize that nonprofits have a unique psychological place in a panic.  To their supporters they’re a known, dependable island of calms in a raging sea.”

Since so much is changing in the world, donors may see nonprofits as a source of stability. If they are reminded you’re still there to help, they may see you as an avenue to make changes. Through your nonprofit, they have control in an out of control time.

How can you ensure your community isn’t hurt by Trump’s policies?

Of course, there’s no black and white answer as nonprofits are coming from many different perspectives. However, a main goal is what CalNonprofits emphasizes here:

“In short, neither jubilation nor despair is right… This is a newly important time for us to ask ourselves, ‘Who is our community, and what do they need us to be doing right now? What are the values our community needs to see us standing up for?'”

Take advantage of this heated political climate to really hone in on the needs of your community. Instead of getting too caught up in the politics, think about the people and how you can best serve them.

Nonprofit Quarterly finds it important to focus in on your team and to get on the same page. They encourage nonprofit teams to work together, innovate and make changes.

“Our workloads will undoubtedly get heavier and our stress levels may skyrocket. Make sure that there is time for getting on the same page internally so that you are nimble and ready for all the threats and opportunities that happen to pass your way over the next four years. This is your job right now. Let’s not think small.”

What should your messaging be as you attempt to rally support for your cause?

President of Cambell and Company, Peter Fissinger, states it all comes back to people and their motivations in that,

“[e]ffective organizations achieve results because their missions speak to people’s hearts…. analyz[e] how new political leadership and trending activist movements motivate people.”

Rather than trying to comment on every single activity occurring on Capitol Hill, focus on what your audience is saying and speak to those desires and needs.

Media relations expert, Peter Panepento discusses the “two Americas” we now have and how many nonprofits find themselves trying to bridge the gap. He sees it as a chance to get to know our audience’s motivations and to truly speak to their goals.

“The best way to combat these attitudes and push for the greater good is to find areas of common ground…. As nonprofit communicators, we should see the election’s result as an opportunity — and challenge — to take time to listen thoughtfully to those who have different perspectives.”

He also points out how our tone can make all the difference,

“When we speak like insiders, we send a strong signal that we’re part of the same club of elites who don’t truly care about the needs of many of the people we are actually trying to help…. And that’s a shame because quite often this work… would improve the lives of many people who see it as working against their interests.”

Despite current state of things, remember your nonprofit’s goals. Your cause hopes to benefit people, no matter their political opinions. The more your nonprofit can focus this time on listening to the needs of your whole community, the greater your impact will be.