Thursday Thoughts | Engaging Supporters Inclusively
June is Pride month—a time to celebrate and reflect on the history, future, and liberation of the LGBTQ+ community. If you’re a nonprofit, this is also a great opportunity to examine and evolve the ways you address and include your LGBTQ+ supporters. We asked some of our partners, what are some techniques and tactics organizations can use to make their supporter engagement more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming? Here’s what they said.
It’s Pride month, a time to celebrate and reflect on the past battles, hard won victories, and the fight still ahead for the LGBTQ+ community. At Apollo Artistry, an LGBTQ+ owned political digital agency, we’ve had the privilege to work with some incredible, diverse candidates and organizations from across the country. While navigating the challenges of how to best tell their stories to the world, we’ve learned that reaching the people who can see their identities reflected in those stories is equally important and a top priority in digital strategy.
So how do you make your digital more inclusive and welcoming? It starts with being intentional. Using language that doesn’t exclude but welcomes, having awareness of the individuals represented in your imagery, adding accessibility options whenever possible, celebrating a wider range of cultural holidays and expression, hiring a diverse team who can contribute to open conversations about strategies and content, and most importantly, being intentionally authentic. Sincerity and authenticity in your delivery will curate a community for your audience, you’re not just checking boxes.
Diversity in digital marketing is about connection. It’s about making people feel heard, seen, and represented. It’s about affirming that we all belong and have a place in the fight for social equity, a place in the world. Inclusive content expands your reach, your audience, and the value of our brands, campaigns, and initiatives while making the world a more welcoming place for all of us. In this complicated political landscape, it has to be all about people.
Apollo Artistry is a full-service political digital firm, strengthening progressive causes and empowering candidates through cutting edge copy, strategy, and design. We are committed to winning with you and for progressives who want to move our communities and country forward one grassroots movement at a time. Learn more here!
Create specific, relevant content that reflects the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.
The LGBTQ+ community is rich with diversity in race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, income, and a host of other demographics. Be intentional about creating inclusive, compelling content that reflects its diversity and avoids pandering. You’ll maximize your chances of getting your LGBTQ+ supporters to engage, act, and donate with content that reflects those nuances.
Center LGBTQ+ visibility regardless of your nonprofit’s cause.
As a whole, the LGBTQ+ movement is passionate about a host of social issues because they affect all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. From abortion and reproductive rights to immigration to gun control, many LGBTQ+ people already advocate for social change—and they’re likely already part of your target audience. Keep them in mind as you develop your content.
Fresh Eyes Digital is a women- and queer-owned digital fundraising and marketing firm that works with progressive and nonpartisan nonprofit organizations to build better relationships with their online audiences and turn them into loyal donors and activists. We work collaboratively with our clients to help them meet and exceed their digital marketing and fundraising goals. Learn more here.
During the last couple of decades, the definition of what makes a workplace or nonprofit programming inclusive, safe, and welcoming for LGBTQ+ people has evolved. Any company or organization that honestly wants to demonstrate accountability to its queer stakeholders should be aware that it is not enough to simply hire a queer individual or express their openness to supporting the community. True inclusion means something very different and should be built into organizations’ processes when engaging their staff and supporters.
Organizations should consider intersectionality and recognize that the queer community itself is crossed by internal inequalities. Transgender, intersex, non-binary, and queer BIPOC individuals (especially those with a migrant history) have been historically marginalized, and their genuine inclusion should be at the top of any organization’s efforts when it comes to behaving as allies of and engaging with the community. This means listening to these groups’ concerns and expectations and showing humility when it comes to addressing them. It means not being afraid of asking questions, because asking is always better than assuming—and also avoiding acting defensively when receiving the answers to those questions.
Ultimately, true inclusiveness isn’t a box that can be marked as “checked” once and for all. It’s an organizational mindset, an ongoing process, and a set of practices and policies that are applied across initiatives and always open to discussion and change. It means not considering equality as an addendum but as a foundation of decision-making, and creating an environment that allows LGBTQ+ people to thrive and be reflected in the organization’s programming.
Tectonica is a movement-building agency that provides a broad array of digital organizing services to progressive nonprofits, candidates, and campaigns. Their mission is to create a seismic shift in the way politics are done, through innovations that empower social, economic, and environmental justice movements. Learn more here.
Pride month is a fantastic time to celebrate and uplift the LGBTQ+ folks and their family members in your organization and in your community. It also can be a time where well intentioned support can have unintended consequences.
3 questions I’d encourage any leader to ask themselves about their Pride programming:
1. What do my LGBTQ+ stakeholders need or want from our organization?
You can only learn this by asking your stakeholders—try using your digital channels, or even a survey. It’s also best to start this process early and not wait until June to do this kind of community outreach, since you’ll need time to plan and execute your strategy and queer folks are darn busy this month!
2. Is my programming or marketing a one-time action, or emblematic of something we’re doing on an ongoing basis for the LGBTQ+ community?
Audiences can tell when a campaign or initiative for Pride is meant to capitalize on short-term attention instead of furthering meaningful impact year round, and it’s important not to come across as opportunistic. Make it clear to your audiences that your campaign has been designed to continue impacting your organization all year round, not just until the calendar flips to July.
3. Who is our Pride initiative serving most?
At the beginning of any campaign, it’s important to identify your goal, and that holds true for Pride programming. Is your initiative meant to educate people about how your cause intersects with the community’s needs? Is it designed to share the stage with other organizations in your community that directly serve LGBTQ+ causes? These are great opportunities for nonprofits that may not be directly serving an LGBTQ+ cause to have a collaborative impact—because liberation for some of us means liberation for all of us.
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