There are always going to be people who don’t ‘get’ what your organization does. There are always people who don’t understand why you work with a certain population or in a specific geographic area. Most annoyingly, there are people who don’t think what your non-profit does is worth while and make sure you know it. Instead of offering constructive criticism or trying to help, these people will only offer up criticism.The best thing to do when faced with a naysayer is to be polite, be open and flexible, and keep doing what you’re doing.
Naysayers are usually frustrating and provocative. For example, I’ve been told that the children I was working with couldn’t be poor because they were smiling in the pictures. As much as you want to reply with snappy comebacks, it really doesn’t get you anywhere. Staying level-headed might not change their minds, but you will keep your professional reputation intact. Putting someone in their place isn’t worth losing the respect other possible volunteers, donors, or constituents.
Be Open and Flexible
Even if the naysayer seems annoying, they may have a point. No program or organization is perfect and should be open to improvement. Ask what suggestions they would have for your non-profit. If it’s something that you can improve upon, try to see how you can implement the changes. If it’s something you can’t or don’t want to change right now, still be polite when opinions are given.
Keep Doing What You’re Doing
The best way to silence your critics is to have positive outcomes. If your organization keeps expanding while maintaining quality and positive impact, critics will lose their power to criticize your non-profit. Keep doing your best, and your programs, volunteers, and donors will speak volumes about what you are doing correctly.
Take a deep breath, and good luck!