“In this maelstrom, the most clarifying voice has been the voice of business. These CEOs have taken the risk to speak truth to power.”
– Darren Walker, the President of the Ford Foundation and a Board Member at Pepsi Co.
After the firestorm kicked off by President Trump’s dithering about condemning white supremacists and New- Nazis, it seems that business leaders have stepped in to fill the political vacuum by explicitly promoting racial justice and other progressive values. CEOs always take a risk when they become involved in fraught social debates; that they have chosen to do so illustrates the pressure being placed on them by their customers.
This corporate activism is a natural consequence of the increasing politicization of American life. Consumers don’t just want to consume; they want to advocate, and they want their brands to advocate with them. All these underscores the growing popularity and influence of grassroots organizations. As the President’s actions make clear, the traditional party structure that has driven generations of voters to voice their beliefs can no longer be counted on to speak up on behalf o minorities or marginalized groups. Those who push for racial equality, human rights, and other critical causes must unite on their own outside of the two-party apparatus.
And now, large corporations have indicated that they too wish to join the movement. For Advocacy orgs, this means their engagement strategy must include a corporate-giving component if CEOs and board members are eager to get inspired to support orgs like yours. It doesn’t need to be a Fortune 500 company, consider local small businesses and their customers as part of your target audience. And like the rest of your donors, you should send personalized communications to pique their interest as well as appeal to issues they hold dear. As Howard Shults, the Chairman of Starbucks notes, “ The reason people are speaking up is that we are fighting for what we love and believe in, and that is the idealism and the aspiration of America, the promise of America, the America that we all know and hold so true.”
Prominent business leaders in our community are primed and ready to hear from your org. And lucky for them, social and political advocacy happens to be your business.
And helping orgs like yours is our business.
Let us help you expand your target audience and base of support.