One of the most diplomatic ways of telling someone you disagree with their actions is to begin explaining your point of view with the words “People are saying….”. Especially when it comes to non-profit organizations and their leadership.
No harm is intentionally meant by the person giving their feedback clothed in the disguise of what other people are saying. If they were stronger and more aggressive, they would simply have begun the explanation of their point of view with the words “I believe….”
Should we pay attention to this type of feedback? Certainly but not necessarily for what is said. Rather to try to understand the individual better who is sharing this story with you so that you can find ways to keep them engaged and active as a member of the community.
You won’t always succeed at doing this. By focusing only on what “people are saying…” you will become trapped into inaction when you try to please everyone. Much better to spend your time trying to salvage and enhance the relationship with the person who doubts you for the good of the community.
For life is always too short, and active relationships with community members is what ultimately brings the most value to any community.