However You Feel About Trump, It's Time to Get Back to Our Work
Predictably, I was not a Donald Trump supporter during the election. I have all the hallmarks of someone who would not be one:
- Don’t like being groped by strange men
- Believe that people are people, even if they don’t look like me
- Can and will read more than a meme
When Trump won last night, I saw at work the tax on women. I take the tax of being “X” as the amount our society pays you in relation to the family favorite—in this case the white male. In the U.S., the gender gap on pay is widely taken as 20 percent, meaning as a woman, I’ll make 80 percent of my male counterpart’s pay. In my CEO role, my counterparts are almost universally white men.
Hillary Clinton simply wasn’t more than 20 percent better. That 20 percent encompasses the misogyny that made her held to a higher standard for years, that caused us (both women and men) to question her when we wouldn’t have questioned a man, that made her look “not presidential.” And that 20 percent affects me every day, too, as it does every other women out there. For women of color, the number is even higher.
Most men reject this idea, because to accept it would be to accept that you are only 80 percent as good as you think you are. Likewise, most women also tax other women that 20 percent—just because you’re female doesn’t mean you aren't biased in the same way. And, counterintuitively, women who have somehow surmounted this obstacle tax other women even more than the average 20 percent—call it the Ben Carson effect. On a typical day, I would have studied and included references and hyperlinks to all the studies supporting this paragraph. I am just too disheartened to do it. I leave you to Google. I’ll be better next Wednesday.
So, this morning, I was sad. I was dejected. Everything I stand for, and everything I am, the majority of the American public rejected. There are few, but significant, bright spots for me:
1. I am married to a guy who is white, 6-foot-10 and educated. He knows he walks through life with an advantage due to his gender, skin color and even height. Articulating that does not threaten him. He uses his advantage for good.
2. I have two sons who also know they enjoy the advantages of being male, white and educated. They use their advantage to make the world a better place.
3. I work in nonprofit with you.
Each and every day, I get to work with people who believe in diversity, saving the planet, curing diseases, improving quality of life. I get to agonize over copywriting, figure out statistics, devise strategy. I get to laugh about success and cry about failure. I get to say the names of people I help.
Regardless of who sits in the White House, we still get to do our work. We get to do that.
Otis Fulton, Ph.D., spent most of his career in the education industry, working at the psychometric research and development firm MetaMetrics Inc., Pearson Education and others. Since 2013, he has focused on the nonprofit sector, applying psychology to fundraising and donor behavior at Turnkey. He is the co-author of the 2017 book, ”Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising,” and the 2023 book, "Social Fundraising: Mining the New Peer-to-Peer Landscape," and is a frequent speaker at national nonprofit conferences. With Katrina VanHuss, he co-authors a blog at NonProfit PRO, “Peeling the Onion,” on the intersection of psychology and philanthropy.
Otis is a much sought-after copywriter for nonprofit fundraising messages. He has written campaigns for UNICEF, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen, the USO and dozens of other organizations. He has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, where he also played on UVA’s first ACC champion basketball team.
Katrina VanHuss has helped national nonprofits raise funds and friends since 1989 when she founded Turnkey. Her client’s successes and her dedication to research have made her a sought-after speaker, presenting at national conferences for Blackbaud, Peer to Peer Professional Forum, Nonprofit PRO, The Need Help Foundation and her clients’ national meetings. The firm’s work is underpinned by the study and application of behavioral economics and social psychology. Turnkey provides project engagements, coaching, counsel and staffing to nonprofits seeking to improve revenue or create new revenue. Her work extends into organizational alignment efforts and executive coaching.
Katrina regularly shares her wit and business experiences on her and Otis Fulton's NonProfit PRO blog “Peeling the Onion.” She and Otis are also co-authors of the books, "Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising" and "Social Fundraising: Mining the New Peer-to-Peer Landscape." When not writing or researching, Katrina likes to make things — furniture from reclaimed wood, new gardens, food with no recipe. Katrina’s favorite Saturday is spent cleaning out the garage, mowing the grass, making something new, all while listening to loud music by now-deceased black women, throwing in a few sets on the weight bench off and on, then collapsing on the couch with her husband Otis to gang-watch new Netflix series whilst drinking sauvignon blanc.
Katrina grew up on a Virginia beef cattle and tobacco farm with her three brothers. She is accordingly skilled in hand to hand combat and witty repartee — skills gained at the expense of her brothers. Katrina’s claim to fame is having made it to the “American Gladiator” Richmond competition as a finalist in her late 20s, progressing in the competition until a strangely large blonde woman knocked her off a pedestal with an oversized pain-inducing Q-tip. Katrina’s mantra for life is “Be nice. Do good. Embrace embarrassment.” Clearly she’s got No. 3 down.