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One item veto

June 06 2009 | Culture Shifting, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

There are very few organizations on earth who have supporters who agree with 100% of the organization's stances or ideas. Even fewer where that 100% agreement is true 100% of the time.

Honestly, I can't think of one.

I don't think there is one.

Think about it. Virtually every political party, on any part of the globe, makes a myriad of decisions and takes a number of stances... virtually ensuring a disconnect with their supporters on some issue. No political organization reflects our personal beliefs with 100% alignment, 100% of the time.

Special interest groups, even groups with very tight missions, also can't align ALL of the time with ALL of their fans, supporters and members. Even churches on other institutions are prone to make a decision here or there that leaves the congregation or members feeling slighted or unconnected.

This is natural.

It's to be expected.

It's not a big deal to feel out of sync with a group or institution on a few issues or decisions.

It's... life.

I believe what IS important is that we select organizations which have missions that we feel a deep, visceral connection with. Then the majority of what they stand for, statements they make and programs they ask for help funding... you will, almost by definition, agree with. The truth is you do more than agree with them... such organizations or institutions become an extension of how you identify yourself due to the inherent deep connection with their mission.

Surfrider Foundation's mission is "... protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches for all people..."

Most people I interact with love this mission. They have a personal connection with it. They can trace the connection back to their childhoods or to a time/place that was very meaningful in their lives.

But sometimes, and these are the times that throw me off, someone tells me "I love your mission, I agree with virtually EVERYTHING you do except this one issue."

Maybe that issue was a campaign stance or maybe it was something else. Sometimes they'll say "I'm canceling my membership because of this." When I have the opportunity I ask them "does our disagreement on this one single issue outweigh all the other work we do and all the other areas we have agreement?"

When people say "yes" to that last question, I can't believe what I'm hearing.

If I applied that logic to other organizations or instututions I belong to... I'd end up leaving my church, stop giving to special needs groups, leave the United States, end all my friendships, get a divorce and cancel my support of perhaps every group I support.

There isn't a single entity that I agree on all issues, all the time.

Of course I don't mean to suggest that all issues are equal. I acknowledge that some issues carry more weight than others. I'm talking about what I'm guessing most of us would label "smaller issues."

Thus I ask you to do this when you're feeling out of synch with a non-profit, institution or NGO... take a step back and see the larger picture. See the forest instead of the single tree that you don't think is quite right.

See the mission.

The missions of these institutions, whether they are focused on defeating tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa, giving special needs children options they don't currently have or protecting the coastlines, should be the beacon you align yourself with naturally.

If you align with the mission, then look to the programs and offerings. If you agree with the majority of those then support those organizations because they need your support.
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