We do this work because we believe in something.
Whether it’s ending homelessness or increasing access to opera, providing at-risk youth with the opportunity to receive a strong education, or protecting global human rights. Each of us is driven by a purpose. We do what we do because we believe that some things are important enough for us to take a stand.
Each of us has made a personal commitment to serve. We do it because it calls upon the best part of ourselves. The part that believes we must try. That believes that when we do try, we can make a difference.
Decisions are happening around us that affect our ability to achieve our missions.
We exist in a world of tough challenges. A world of budget and resource limitations. A world of differing opinions and conflicting priorities.
It is a fact of life that decisions get made every day that have a profound impact on our missions. Sometimes those decisions are based on ignorance, indifference, or bias. All too often, we are not at the table. So we are forced to pick up the pieces after flawed decisions are made. Our work suffers. Our progress gets delayed. Our missions get compromised.
Our missions deserve better.
When we are at the table, we can ensure that our priorities are heard, that our communities are represented, that good ideas are funded, and that failing policies are questioned. We can help set the stage for real and lasting success for the people and issues we serve.
The fact is, our respective missions will never be fulfilled if we are relegated to accepting the decisions that are made without us. Our missions demand that we have an impact on those decisions before they are made. And to fix the ones that get in the way of our success.
There is another way.
There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States with an estimated 20 million board members at the helm. The sheer number of people who devote their lives, their money, and their time to an important mission is truly inspiring.
The most effective charitable organizations have recognized that successful advocacy does not require stepping into the quagmire of partisan politics. It simply means using our voices as committed and informed champions for our missions. Speaking the truth in a calm but unwavering voice. Reminding decision-makers of our shared values and beliefs. Sharing tested solutions to community problems. Helping community leaders understand the impact of their decisions.
But more than anything else, it requires standing for what we know to be true. It requires using our voices.
You are the voice your mission needs.
Each of us is deeply committed to our missions. Each of us has what it takes to be an advocate for our missions. As stewards of our organizations, we must find our voice.
The most useful — and under-utilized — asset our organizations have to advance our missions are the business leaders, community volunteers, philanthropists, and opinion leaders who are so passionate about what our missions seek to achieve that they have already put their time, resources, and reputations on the line.
Our board members. Us.
Board members are the volunteer leaders from whom decision-makers need to hear. Board members serve as powerful champions for our missions. We are the ambassadors who can bridge differences in opinion, turn ideas into solutions, and make good things happen.
Strong board leadership is not just about checks and balances; it is about creating the circumstances that will allow our missions to be achieved. That ensures progress can be made. That enables each of us to translate our shared beliefs into action.
Our missions will be fully realized when our community leaders hear our voices, understand our arguments, and see our causes as worthy of their best efforts. When we stand for what we believe in and insist on the best for our missions and those we serve.
Stand for Your Mission.