Like most of you, we are often asked to give money and volunteer our time for "the election of our lifetime." Since we have an organization dedicated to give strategically, we spend lots of time thinking about what are the priorities for giving both time and money. Naturally, these priorities will be different for each person depending on their budget and their own personal objectives.
Our list of priorities may surprise many people. Before issuing them, we had a thoughtful discussion about them with major and mega donors.
But before you continue reading... what would you rate as the top two priorities? Why?
We rate as the top two priorities: 1) to win the presidency, and 2) to preserve marriage in California. But what about the races in Congress? In the States? Of course, those are important (and we interview and endorse candidates who are pro-equality and are running for Congress or in a statewide elections - check our endorsed pro-equality candidates). And, of course, you should give your time and money to those races and the other priorities that we have identified.
But here is the rationale for our two top priorities:
- We believe that there is a very high probability that the Democratic Party will not only keep the majority in both houses of Congress, but actually will widen that majority. However, to win the presidency will be a tough battle. And the presidency is very important to ensure that there would be no presidential vetoes to equality legislation and to ensure that the new appointments to the Supreme Court and federal courts are fair minded.
- The second priority, in our view, needs to be to preserve marriage equality in California. We can do it... but it will require lots of money and lots of volunteers. A victory there will send a tremendous message to politicians and judges that the people of California do not want to enshrine discrimination in their constitution and that at least they tolerate (if not embrace) marriage equality. A defeat will set us back many years. If we do not fight and finance this cause, who will?
Check our complete analysis for top giving priorities for 2008. In addition, note the discussion on the timing of your giving. Your money can have two or three times the acquisition value if given now versus in September. Once you are comfortable with your own priorities, give immediately and all at once, if you can. Same thing about volunteering your time... start early... let the campaigns know that they can count on you!
The difficult part about prioritizing is that you will have to say no to many good causes. But if we succeed with the top priorities that we list, many things will fall into place, and we will be able to achieve legal equality for our community faster than we imagined in the past.