I’ve been wondering whether there will be an "Obama Effect" on nonprofit fundraising.

Will the enthusiasm about President Obama in so many quarters translate somehow into increased charitable giving? Although it would be awfully hard to prove, I think it might, for three reasons:

1. For many, Obama has supplied a booster shot of hope, addressing a yearning that serious problems can and will be addressed. That hope releases a gazillion ergs of citizen energy in support of renewed personal commitments to act. And those nonprofits that are identified and appreciated as channels to accomplish real change will benefit from that surge in energy.

2. But even while stirring hope, Obama is consistent in his message that we all must be part of the solutions. We all must help shoulder the load. So hope is tightly bound with individual responsibility. If he stays on that formulation from the Presidential pulpit — and there’s no sign that he won’t — he will provide a constant prod on the conscience and natural instincts of most Americans.

3. And I do mean most Americans, for I believe Obama has done nothing since his election that should breed or feed anger or resistance among Americans who did not support his quest. If he manages to enforce in practice (and this means his senior staff and appointees as well) his determination to reach out and engage beyond partisan lines, as exemplified by his behavior toward John McCain, his impact on people who truly want to address and resolve problems will spread far and wide … it will be apolitical.

So absolutely, I do think there will be a positive "Obama Effect" on nonprofit fundraising. It might not fully counter the harsh realities of recession, but it will certainly put most donors in a more positive, more receptive emotional state of mind. Thanks to Obama, gigawatts of fresh energy (and dollars) await out there to be harnessed by nonprofits.

Do you agree?

Tom

P.S. Here’s the example of Joe Marchese, as he stood on the Mall.

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