I’ve had a long history with non-profits as a volunteer, a consumer of services, a worker (even a director in the later years!), and finally, a donor. Most non-profits that are out there are working really hard to do something very important that they want people to believe in and ultimately to support with time and money. In an age when many non-profits fold under financial pressure or worse, a scandal, it’s become increasingly important that an organization has not only a mission that a lot of people believe in, but good stewardship that’s recognizable to donors, consumers, and other stakeholders. Yet, this point gets lost time and time, again to non-profit leaders, and monies are bled out of an organization. So what are the biggest reasons people stop supporting a particular charity or other non-profit? In no particular order, here are the six Definite Don’ts in donor relations:
Considering myself both a feminist and a supporter of sexual freedom for adults, my professional work is taken up with a lot of conferences that further these two agendas. Not surprisingly, the topic of pornography is one that’s positioned at odds by many who see themselves as champions of adult sexual freedom vs. those who see it as exploitative of people in the films themselves (the concern is particularly focused on women in pornography). Here are some of the arguments I’ve seen from both sides: Continue reading
As I hope all of the followers for this blog know, I’ve been on vacation in Spain. Sorry for the hiatus on blogging, but the land of Cervantes, bullfighting, flamenco, gay marriage, and lots and lots of ham products beckoned…until now!
I’ve ended my journey to Spain at the European Conference on Gender and Politics, where, not surprisingly, a lot of people from all over Europe have congregated. Most do not speak Spanish, and because many people in Spain outside of the tourist areas don’t speak English, I’ve served as a translator, carrying out critical tasks such as procuring sandwiches for vegetarians. This has prompted many of my fellow conference goers to ask the logical question- “Do a lot of people in Texas speak Spanish?” In polite lunchtime conversation, this generally prompts a short answer, something like, “Well, generally the further south one goes, the more Spanish speakers there are.” I decided though that a more thorough breakdown that reveals the use of Spanish in Texas might be more helpful. Here is my more articulated response to the question “Do a lot of people in Texas speak Spanish?”:
You know what they say about opinions, right? If you don’t know the expression, I’ll just end with the important takeaway: “…everybody’s got one.” Plenty of people tell us opinions about who we should be and how we should act. Here’s a sample from my life to give you an idea of how this worked for me:
- Ages 10-16: I needed to be more masculine (I was still a boy) so that I could be attractive to girls. Never mind that I wasn’t female-attracted.
- Ages 16-19: I needed to be more smartly dressed and coiffed (still a boy) in accordance with gay fashion aesthetics so that I could attract gay men. Never mind that I wasn’t interested in romantic relations as a male.
- Age 20-25: I needed to be demure and soft-spoken (I was now a woman). Never mind that I had to self-advocate in the face of employment discrimination (I was fired, but fought and got my job back) and stand my ground when men assumed transwomen were easy and attempted sexual assault (countless times).
- Age 25-42: I needed to wear more/less/a different shade of make-up, clothing, etc. Never mind that I like the way I look and feel- because I dress and make myself up in a manner that gives me confidence. This is not to mention that I get way more compliments than criticism- so something is working for me.
We won’t get into the lame career advice, the poor purchases people thought were right for me, or even how I should decorate my home in the other individual’s own style and preferences. Anytime I hear “you won’t like,” ”you wouldn’t like” or ”you shouldn’t,” in respons e to me describing something in my heart, I have to ask myself how the other person could possibly assert that without having my lens on the world.
So with that, can we make a shared effort to stop squandering our own dreams and trying to live someone else’s reality of us? If we took this initiative, what would be doing? Where would we be living? Think about the lifestyle possibilities- and don’t stop thinking just because you’re a parent or caregiver! Children need to see their parents living their dreams, being inspired, doing things they love. This is the best role modelling a child can be given.
Have you ever noticed how memories of humiliating experiences can instantly take you back to the the sensations you felt at the time of the event? I’ve come to recognize, through introductions to great collaborative efforts like the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies: http://www.humiliationstudies.org/ that humiliation is one of the most enduring and yet under-discussed forms of trauma that we can experience. Thinking back to all of the mental health conferences I’ve attended over the years, however, I’ve seen the specific topic of humiliation discussed only a handful of times; therefore, something that impairs mental well-being for all of us is something that almost no one is naming. It’s time to talk candidly and tell the truth about humiliation.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a friend of the family whom I’ll call “Victoria.” A Mexican-American girl from San Antonio, Texas’s impoverished west side, Victoria’s graduating in May in the top 10% of her class. She’s the kind of student who would be a natural fit for the any of the excellent private colleges near her home, at least one of which (St. Mary’s University) is one of the leading Hispanic-serving universities in the nation. Yes, given her outstanding performance in high school, we’d generally expect, come Fall, to see Victoria hitting the books in a well-stacked academic library, cramming for exams with other high-performing college freshman. The trouble is, Victoria’s not planning to attend college, and no one in her life presently is encouraging her to see the potential that a college education could afford her. Let’s look into this a little more deeply.