World Congress of Families IX: Entrepreneurial leadership leads to successful advocacy

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Brian Brown, co-founder and president of the National Organization for Marriage talks with a guest after his training on entrepreneurial leadership. Email communication is most effective in reaching donors and partners, Brown said. (Kjersten Johnson)
Brian Brown, co-founder and president of the National Organization for Marriage, talks with a guest after his training on entrepreneurial leadership. Email communication is most effective in reaching donors and partners, Brown said. (Kjersten Johnson)

Leadership skills in businesses are evolving as consumers become more involved with technology and social media. Brian Brown, co-founder and president of the National Organization for Marriage, trained delegates on entrepreneurial leadership as part of Thursday’s World Congress of Families IX lectures.

“We are trying to change the world in some positive way,” Brown said. National Organization for Marriage is a non-profit political organization that exists to promote the traditional family and worked against the legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S.

“View donors as partners in the entire effort,” Brown said. “(Donors) should not be treated as consumers, but as partners. Just as a business needs an angel investor, non-profits need donors.” To get donors, companies need to connect with people.

Many people who have liked the organization’s page on Facebook receive hateful messages, Brown said. While the page has lost followers because of this, it has retained who are truly committed to the movement.

The organization is careful in its wording before posting, tweeting or emailing content and will stand behind its messages, Brown said.

“We are ruthless in the process we use before any message comes out of NOM,” Brown said. And perhaps with good reason.

About four years ago, Brown said, he made a comment on normalizing pedophilia that went out in NOM’s national newsletter. He was not comparing pedophilia to same-sex marriage, but that’s how it was presented in the media. “It was one email, not comparing same-sex marriage, but just saying ‘is this what we’re at?'” he said. “In my view, we didn’t say anything untruthful or even attacking people.”

Email, Brown said, is the most effective in reaching donors. “You can’t raise enough money with social media alone,” he said. “Almost all is email. Even GoFundMe ends up being connected to email.”

NOM sends two to three emails every week. “People aren’t hearing what we have to say anywhere else,” Brown said. “It’s the easiest way for us to get a connection with our partners. I have too many people come up to me and say they appreciate these emails that even if you had some data occasionally showing that it would be better to send less, you would really have to convince me.”

Brown also emphasized looking at the partners, or donors, as the future of the organization. “Find folks who can continue your vision,” Brown said. “Then it continues to exist, continues to move forward.”

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