September 5, 2018

Yesterday’s news cycle was dominated by the effects of fear – by the idea that many in power will do almost anything for fear of losing their power, influence, wealth, or whatever perceived advantage they hold over others.

But yesterday, fear was seen through the lens of those who looked it in the face and took a stand.

Through Bob Woodward who is not afraid to investigate, document, and report the truth, knowing that the existence of his work will be attacked relentlessly by those who would hide it.

Through Colin Kaepernick who is not afraid to speak out (silently and powerfully) against a grave injustice, knowing that his career is forever altered and his values disparaged.

And through Nike who is not afraid to stake its claim in the midst of the political heat, clearly knowing that shoes would be burned and logos cut out of socks.

That this boldness and courage was calculated is certain. That the options and potential outcomes were weighed is a given. These are informed, intelligent people.

From these acts, nonprofit organizations can gather some valuable lessons, especially in such divisive and toxic times politically and culturally.

Lesson 1: Those who do not fully define, make clear, and visibly promote what they stand for, risk diminishing their purpose and impact.

Lesson 2: To truly stand for something is also to risk having someone disagree with you or potentially discontinue supporting you. You must think, calculate, weigh your options, and build a solid plan.

Lesson 3: Do not be afraid to act with boldness and courage, lest your organization and the good you can bring to the world is left behind in these troubling times. Ideally, your actions will expand your impact.