Meaningful Involvement

Yesterday we celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through the observance of a national holiday – the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

You may have observed this holiday by participating in some form of service that was meaningful to you and/or to the institution where you work.

The keyword being “meaningful.”

In Advancement, there is an age-old adage that is simple yet universally true: Involvement leads to investment.

Does any type of involvement work? Not necessarily. Meaningful involvement more often triggers meaningful philanthropic investment.

How do you define “meaningful” when you involve your constituents? A quick thesaurus reference offers these synonyms: purposeful, consequential, worthwhile, significant, weighty, relevant.

Do these words aptly represent how you involve your constituents? Would your constituents describe the volunteer and service opportunities available to them as consequential or worthwhile…the events they attend as purposeful or relevant?

As we develop strategies for involvement, how can we make them even more meaningful to our constituents?

Hopefully, you will wrestle with this question as you set your engagement strategies moving forward. As you do, here are two simple questions to answer that will lead you in the right direction:

  1. Have we examined our strategic plan/priorities and identified how our constituents’ time and talents can help us advance our most important institutional objectives?
  2. Have we asked our constituents how they might like to be involved?

Answering the first question will yield the most meaningful involvement you can offer. And because it is important and strategic, it will be more appealing to more of your constituents.

Answering the second question will help you be more targeted and personalized to those with whom you offer these opportunities.


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