MJA Challenge: Is Your Nonprofit Inclusive or Exclusive?

Someone recently gave me a copy of “Building a Successful Volunteer Culture – Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community.” (You can view the book at http://www.jewishlights.com/) Since a portion of our clients are religious-based organizations, I thought I would skim it to see what gems I would find to share with the MJA learning community-at-large. And while the book is definitely speaking to a certain population – I think all organizations could benefit from some of the thinking shared by Rabbi Charles Simon and the idea of how to make your nonprofit inclusive.

In particular, a section on “The Language of inclusion” Rabbi Simon states, quite well, that, ”For non-for-profit organizations to meet the challenge of changing motivations and demographics, Jewish Communities must understand that they are in direct competition with the leisure market.” Obviously, this is true of all nonprofits. People must choose to volunteer, attend an event or sit on a committee instead of going for a hike, seeing the latest movie or going to drinks with friends. With increasing demands on our limited free time – enticing someone to spend it involved with a nonprofit is not always easy.

That is why it is crucial to understand your current and potential consumer as well as their “nature, habits and characteristics” will help you create words and, ideally, a connection that will feel inclusive and enticing.

The challenge of the month is to consider whether your organization’s literature feels inclusive or exclusive. Underline 3 sections that give proof to your conclusion and consider 3 ways that you can alter and improve the impression you are giving to those who are not on the inside. At least they are not on the inside yet.

Want to read more on the topic? Try Do Your Donors Consider Themselves Members or Contributors?