The non-profit/philanthropy sector is talented at attempting to re-convert those who are already converted. We find ourselves evangelizing to those who are already believers in the perils of climate change, convincing those already erudite in the merits of the social determinants of health, persuading those already conversant in the intersectionality of social issues. We write articles for ourselves, we speak to each other at industry conferences, we show each other TED talks that will only furnish our worldview with more evidence.
It’s easier to get buy-in from people who are already bought in, but for a sector so committed to concepts like systems change and scale -- concepts that require broad adoption -- we need to push out into unfamiliar territory and work the edges.
Why aren’t we funding non-traditional but far-reaching approaches like search engine optimization around key topics, or spending more time at other-industry conferences planting seeds, or pursuing a climate advocacy strategy that is indirect and non-politicized so that it lands with people who aren’t believers yet? Why isn’t advertising a key pillar of our theories of change?
We need to replace our echo chambers with olive branches, we need to replace our “about us” webpages with “about you” approaches.