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Let Your Voice Be Heard

My Mom once observed that Hitler used a microphone to spew hatred and Billy Graham used a microphone to preach love. The problem isn’t with using a microphone. The microphone itself isn’t intrinsically good or evil. It’s the use we put it to.

The same could be said about our use of data. There are plenty of examples being bandied about by privacy zealots of data being misused. But using data in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. In fact, wise use of data by companies and nonprofits alike is usually a boon to consumers as it can help get the right message to the right person at the right time.

I retired just over three years ago. I don’t need mail offering briefcases, networking-after-work events, job opportunities or three-piece suits. That’s a waste of time, money, trees and bandwidth. But I am delighted to get information on great travel adventures, retirement investment strategies, wine deals and hearing aids (which for some reason, my wife thinks I need). I’m thankful for smart data-based marketing!

And I’m thankful that nonprofit leaders are joining together in a new organization called The Nonprofit Alliance to champion our rights and responsibilities as smart fundraisers, data-base marketers and agents of change in our world.

Mom’s gone now, but she was right. The important factor isn’t the microphone. It’s the voice. We in the nonprofit community need a strong voice. Not just for our own organizations and causes, but for our industry as a whole. It won’t matter how strategic and creative our marketing is if we can no longer mine data or rent lists. Or if the Post Office doubles our mailing cost. Or if the tax laws are changed to limit deductions for charitable contributions. Or if nonprofits were to lose their tax-exempt status.

The time is now. Add your voice to the voices of your colleagues in the nonprofit world to strengthen our community. Join The Nonprofit Alliance today by contacting Shannon McCracken at

Tom Harrison
Author: Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison served as CEO of Russ Reid and helped build nonprofits and his agency through innovative fundraising.

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