Sometimes it’s hard to know how to react to a guy who used to have a blog titled Nonprofit With Balls (that’s still his Twitter handle for his 10,000+ Followers). Vu Le is a national voice for nonprofits, he runs Rainier Valley Corps, and he’s not afraid to tell funders and philanthropists things he thinks they need to hear … and that few other people are willing to say out loud.
“The societal challenges we are dealing with are incredibly complex, morphing and adapting all the time; we cannot continue to believe that we can effectively respond to this complexity by being even more rigid and linear and believing that things happen in sequence.”
It can be very easy, as a philanthropist, to get linear and want things to happen in a sequence, your sequence. But it’s not the way the world often works. One of the most important points Vu makes in his most recent blog post is that the community needs to be involved, very involved, in developing solutions in their own communities.
At Giving Compass, we’ve been trying to write more and more about this important topic in the world of giving with impact; how to listen better. Volunteering in a community-based nonprofit is a great way to connect directly to people in the community and learn about their experiences. Attending events is another: great organizations seek to connect supporters to the people they are helping and often highlight the voices of constituents during events. In addition, many donors join together in giving circles and explore community needs together with peers.
Maybe most of all, you can be sure to follow Vu on Twitter or subscribe to his blog, and remember, as he conveyed with force in his recent blog post:
“the problems facing our communities do not have a timeline. Racism doesn’t sleep. Poverty does not have quarterly meetings. Xenophobia does not wait.”
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