What happened in Paris should not happen anywhere. Ever. The outpouring of emotion and empathy for the City of Lights has been empowering and encouraging for Parisians, but there are others who are doing more than sending their love. Many have focused their charitable efforts on helping Paris heal, and helping restore normalcy to the streets of Paris as soon as possible.
One of these individuals is Josh Homme. Co-founder of the Band, Eagles of Death Metal, Homme’s band was playing the Bataclan, a nightclub targeted by ISIS affiliated murderers. All told, 89 people were gunned down in cold blood in the middle of an EODM concert, including the band’s merchandise handler, Nick Alexander. Homme, who plays on recordings but not on the road, was not at the venue that night, but he was forever changed by the horror of those minutes.
Shortly after the events unfolded, Homme kicked into gear, focusing his nonprofit organization, Sweet Stuff Foundation, on the goal of helping as many families of victims as he can.
According to website and social media posts, all donations made to Sweet Stuff between now and December 31 will go toward helping those families. It’s a departure from the Foundation’s typical vision: funding music programs for kids and helping members of the music community and their families who are struggling with health issues and disabilities.
But, despite standard causes, sometimes you have to shift your focus in extreme circumstances. Homme’s group is able to do so for a number of reasons.
First, they have extraordinary connection. Homme’s band was on scene. No one would think twice to hear his charity is choosing to help. That’s a given, but it’s not the only reason this effort will be successful for Homme and Sweet Stuff Foundation.
The organization is nimble enough to switch focuses quickly. That requires an elastic and quick-acting organizational structure, something not all charities possess. Further, the nonprofit must have a developed and extensive social and web presence. Without that, Homme could Make the Ask and receive nothing in return. If your donors are more dedicated to the cause that to your brand, you will risk losing them if you switch your focus, even temporarily. But, if they are committed to the work that YOU are doing rather than the WORK you do, they will take that sort of change in stride, being willing to donate time and money even if they don’t know much about the cause.
Bottom line, for your nonprofit to be the most effective, you must be established enough to have a dedicated fan base but also nimble enough to change direction in a hurry. Fail in either of these areas and expect to miss some opportunities to do some good.