Friday, August 26, 2011

Put Your Cause in the Eye of the Storm


You cannot prepare for a disaster. 

Sure, you can buy bottled water and batteries for your flashlight.  You can even lock up your valuables and hide under the covers for a while.  But in the last instance, you can't guard against disease, divorce, or death. 

It's depressing but true. 

If we're honest, there are some events that catch us ALL by surprise. 

- 9/11
- Earthquakes in New England
- The debt crisis
- Challenges to climate science
- Threats to women's rights

Most disasters are a SURPRISE.  It's only in retrospect that we create coherent narratives for their prediction.

What's a nonprofit to do?

Be aware and be ready.  

Read the news and follow current events so that when a hurricane strikes, an earthquake hits or Congress decides to defund your mandate you are prepared to STRIKE BACK. 

Why?

During disasters we are LISTENING.  We're finally taking time out of our busy, distracted and distracting lives to SEE what will happen next.

Too many nonprofits squander these public awareness opportunities for fear of appearing self-serving. 

Don't.

Instead USE THE NEWS CYCLE to your advantage.  This is your moment.

Tell your story about inadequate funding for emergencies, about the woman who depends on your clinic for reproductive health care, about the need for better housing for military families.

Disasters are NOT a time to be silent.  On the contrary, disasters are a time to tell the truth about the way that the world is not working for all of us.

Put your cause in the eye of the storm.  We're WAITING.

Jocelyn

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