What Trump's Election Means for Nonprofits

Good (and Bad) News for Nonprofits After Trump’s Election

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Depending on your nonprofit’s focus, the election of Donald Trump has been an enormous boost to year-end giving.

Through a combination of Trump’s pandering to the anti-choice agenda and his own toxic brand of misogyny (he has been branded by Keith Olbermann “President-Elect Pussy-Grabber”), women across the nation are rightfully alarmed at the most sexist president in modern history taking control of the White House. To further dampen hopes for greater equality, Vice-President Elect Mike Pence has long supported anti-choice measures designed to restrict women’s liberty.

Take a look at the reality star’s cabinet and it’s hard to overlook the dangers to other marginalized demographics: Steve Bannon, slated to be chief policy advisor, is a political neophyte white nationalist with antisemitic views; Jeff Sessions is an avowed racist and life-long opponent to civil rights.

But following the election, a renewed boost of energy from those opposed to Trump’s revolting agenda (and equally distasteful personality) may serve as the foundation of a meaningful resistance to the Trump White House. Within a week following the election, more than 128,000 people donated to Planned Parenthood – the women’s health organization that Trump promised to defund upon election. More than 20,000 of these donations have been made in Pence’s name.

Other organizations that focus on issues where Trump and his team have particularly regressive views have also seen a sharp spike in support. From the Trevor Project to the Sierra Club, organizations opposed to the hateful, science-denying world-view espoused by the Republican ticket are breaking their own records for fundraising. The ACLU raised $7.2 million from 120,000 donations, the largest surge of its kind in the organization’s nearly 100 years of existence.

If your nonprofit’s focus falls outside of the scope of these hot button issues, however, expect your year-end giving to suffer. It’s unclear just how much this energy will steal from arts and basic needs organizations and institutions of higher learning, but the depletion of millions of Americans’ pocket books for the sake of these organizations will likely dry up funds that would have otherwise supported a broader variety of organizations.

On the plus side, there could be a long-lasting benefit for the entire philanthropic sector. This election has brought many people out of the shadows and compelled them to engage with the issues they care about the most. Volunteering is up along with donations. By creating a greater culture of generosity and philanthropy, this new philanthropic age could translate into greater overall engagement in the years to come.

Lynette Zimmerman
is the president and CEO of Key Elements Group LLC and is an editor for Impact Tap. A development specialist with extensive experience helping blue chip arts, education, and human rights nonprofits along the East Coast, Zimmerman also writes on the nonprofit sector and hosts The Impact Lab, a podcast designed for nonprofit and social enterprise professionals. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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