Kudos to my friend Allison who sent me the article that spurred this post-
You can read the article here, it's quite hilarious.
When is the last time you updated your addressing and salutation standards for your organization?
Wait, do you even have addressing and salutation standards at your organization?
If you don't it's one of the fundamentals of a good donor relations program that can help your entire institution. I would be a hypocrite if I talked all about it and didn't have one of my own so you can find an examples of one of the ones I use here.
The author has a point, not just for same sex couples, but for all kinds of households. Remember that now, we also have many households that include multiple generations. Take a look at your mailings, your address fields on giving forms and other opportunities to make an error.
I have to tell you, as a divorcee, I also see some things that set me back on my heels. I often see on forms, "please indicate the name of your spouse so we can share credit with them" and this is a mandatory field on a giving form. So I happily type Brad Pitt or Idris Elba and keep on clicking... wait you mean if I type it that doesn't make it true? If you're going to demand silly information, I'm not going to live in reality either. Also why a spouse? Can you call it a spouse or partner? Why not just ask me if there is someone I would like to share credit with? What if I want to share credit with someone I don't live with?
Also, say someone does happen to "have a conscious uncoupling" when someone uncouples them in your database, are you ensuring that one of their addresses is also updated? I mean, in reality, someone gets to keep the house. Someone also needs a new address, are you running a clean up report to ensure you try to avoid a possibly embarrassing blunder?
We have to be conscientious of our constituents and their needs, we must adapt our rigid policies and procedures to the inescapable human truth, people desire the need to be recognized for who they are, not for what box they check. We need to recognize that as a population changes or trends emerge we need to be on the forefront, not 20 years behind... something to think about.
What are your thoughts? How do you adapt to the changing landscape? Would you like to share a link to your policies? I look forward to hearing from you.