It turns out that all the anticipation of Pope Francis’ U.S. visit reflected an accurate level of enthusiasm for the popular pontiff. His parade around the National Mall drew throngs of people, and he spoke before 18,000 people in Madison Square Garden. Philadelphia is doubling in size this weekend for the World Meeting of Families and Francis’ open-air mass tomorrow on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
With the Pope set to land in the City of Brotherly Love today, let’s take a look at what he’s said and done so far and how these issues may have an impact on fundraisers.
In his address to congress, the pope mentioned a number of exemplary religious figures, including Martin Luther King. He also offered praise for Dorothy Day, a somewhat controversial figure in the Catholic Church who nonetheless enjoy popularity for her selflessness and saintly life committed to serving the poor. The Dorothy Day Guild – an organization that spreads awareness of Day and advocates for her canonization – stands to benefit. The group should leverage Francis’ words in its messaging in order to expand the reach of its valuable work.
Pope Francis also addressed immigration, and championed a humane and compassionate approach to solving political issues revolving around the topic. Some political figures – prominently Bernie Sanders – has already leveraged the Pope’s address in their fundraising and communications. Non-political nonprofits can do this, too. If your organization works with or for immigrant demographics, there is a natural connection.
The environment is another hot topic this week. In front of the UN, Francis called for nations to acknowledge the right of the environment. These are bold words, and a huge boon for environmental groups looking for another figurehead to channel their messaging through. Especially on the heels of Francis’ highly publicized encyclical calling for better stewardship of the planet, this weeks events have elevated environmental issues to the forefront and related nonprofits need to jump into the discussion.
A highly public figure in possession of immense respect and a massive global audience, Pope Francis is an invaluable influencer. Positioning your nonprofit’s messaging within the context of his vision is an easy (and essential) way broaden the scope of your nonprofit’s work.