Where is the Love?

February is all about love, right? Valentine's Day and all. 
Or is it about Black History?
Or Lunar New Year?
Or Mardi Gras? Or Ash Wednesday? Or Lent?
And aren't there a few Presidents' birthdays mixed in as well? 

Do I seem to be rambling? Perhaps, because for such a short month -- February carries weight. 

For me personally, February is my wedding anniversary. February is also the anniversary of the day I entered a convent at 18, to live my life with vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience - never to be married. (For details of how both these can be true, check out my memoir Surviving Sanctity). Having spent my life as a Catholic, Ash Wednesday is not easily ignored. But having spent my 20s in Hong Kong, neither is Lunar New Year. And, because I am married to an African American and am raising 3 biracial children - Black History month means a great deal to me. 

By now, you must be thinking, Janet why are you telling me this?
How does all of this tie into fundraising?

Well, if you are planning your donor communications for the month of February -- and donor communications need to be donor-centric, how will you know which holiday to focus on? What do your donors care about? Despite the fact that I personally consider Valentine's a 'hallmark holiday', by which I mean it is a made-up moneymaking scheme, I've encouraged some coaching clients to send a Valentine to segments of their database. Show the love!

Is your donor community, or those you serve, Christian or Catholic or Asian or Black? Would you miss an opportunity to communicate about these important celebrations if you only focus on Valentines' Day? And even if you do not serve any of these specific populations, would it be appropriate to acknowledge these important celebrations to educate or broaden the scope of those in your community? Can these celebrations align with - or be connected in any way to - your mission and vision?

Donors stay engaged with organizations that share their values.
Which celebration or issue - in February or any month - do your donors care about?

Or have you considered taking February as a time to review your organizational diversity policy? Does your organization, from Boardroom to broom closet, welcome diverse perspectives? Whether that diversity is based on race, religion, gender, sexual identity, political affiliation, creed, or socio-economic status, do you believe that your organization - and the world -- will be a better place if you collaborate or dialogue with someone who is different? Who thinks differently? And if you believe this, have you taken steps to make it happen? Are you open to suggestions on how to be inclusive?

Inclusivity and diversity, more than just buzz words, are critical to the well-being and advancement of any organization. 

What might you do in February to share the love?

Take care -- we'll chat again soon,


p.s. I'm working on a webinar series you might be interested in, beginning in March. Stay tuned....

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