Why would you say NO to donations?
Wild Woman, are you CRAZY?
The answer is yes. I am crazy. I would have to be crazy to turn down money in this economy. But that is precisely what I am asking you to do. Why?
If you’re Greenpeace, would you accept a donation from the Japanese whaling industry?
If you’re Planned Parenthood, would you accept a donation from a group that often protests outside your offices?
If you’re the Sierra Club, would you accept a donation from Monsanto or Cargill?
If you’re Cindy Sheehan’s Peace Movement, would you accept a donation from Blackwater or Xe?
Even in this downturn, you must keep your integrity. Why is it important to keep integrity as a nonprofit? Otherwise, you might not be able to carry out your mission, for fear of angering your massive corporate sponsors.
Here’s how it works.
Look at the National Urban League. They purport to lobby for the interests of African Americans. And look at their “signature programs.” The point of the “signature programs” is “National branding and marketing opportunities: Our Signature Programs present funders with a promotional platform to build brand awareness.” AKA, if you want to look good, give us money. It doesn’t matter what you actually do.
Now look at their donor list (Page 27 of their conference brochure). As you can see, Bank of America, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other Too-Big-To-Fail financial institutions which bought into the deregulation scandals and foreclosures are at the top of the list. Oh hey, also, Kraft, and Comcast. (Comcast is seeking with Time Warner to be the ONLY choice of internet services in America. Which means, once they achieve that goal, they can hike rates up as much as they want! What a good idea!) (Kraft is one of the biggest purveyors of unhealthy, agribuisness food products, a leading cause of diabetes and childhood obesity.)
If the National Urban League’s biggest donors are the ones hurting African-American families with home foreclosures, price-gouging and unhealthy food that contributes to diabetes and childhood obesity (an epidemic in the African American community), they are not going to speak out against them. The National Urban League will make a show of rallying around a particular policy point, but in the end, they have no impetus to actually work to create legislation to end these issues, for it would mean they would have to find new sources of funding.
And so it goes for all causes that sell out to corporations that simply want to look good while gouging away at our community.
Whose donations would you NEVER accept?
Your gift policy should clearly state what you stand for, and whose donations you will not accept.
Now think about it. You are both donor and fundraiser. You vote with your dollars every day.
If you care about animal rights, are you going to buy Charmin’, Gillette, Pampers, Colgate, or Pringles products? No, because Proctor and Gamble vivisects kittens. For a full list of Procter and Gamble products, go here.
Do you have a gift policy?
Do you have an office buying policy?
Do you have a personal shopping policy?
If not, it might be time to start making one!