Nonprofit: Why Do You Do It?

Posted: September 17, 2010 in Fund Raising, Motivation, Passion, Value
Tags: ,

Why I do it.

I’m often asked, why nonprofit?  I’ve had friends and board members try to whisk me away to the world of grand profits and rewards yet here I remain.  Just the other day over coffee a friend literally lectured me on why I should be “in marketing” (whatever that means), and then I shared my story.

Here’s why.

After a tour of our facility, an attractive young woman asked if she could meet me.  She sat in my office while her 7 year old daughter played with my mug full of ‘silly band’ bracelets (don’t ask).  Then she removed her sunglasses and revealed two black eyes.  Her story:

I have just left a very abusive relationship (as a Dad to two girls, I was sickened and angry) he is in custody, yet I’m out here looking to rebuild my life.  My daughter and I are sleeping in a spare room of some friends for now.  We are miles from home and left with all we could fit in our car.  I have nothing, my husband controlled our finances and I was a stay-at-home Mom.  Is there some way my daughter can play in the volleyball league?  I promise to repay you when I can.

I paused, not for effect but because I was speechless.  This articulate, well educated, impeccably dressed, with her stylish Coach bag and Tag Heuer watch without a hair out of place woman is someone I would likely have approached for a significant donation.  Now her world was upside down.  I was also seething at the idea of another human being causing those black eyes.  My response was simple, “We can do something.  Consider your daughter in our league and I’d also like to provide you with a membership for the two of you.  We can’t take away your challenges ahead, but we can provide you and your daughter a brief break.  And don’t you dare think about repaying us.  It’s why we’re here.”

I’m able to do that in my work.  Great volunteers, advocates, supporters and donors make it possible.  We make a difference.  It may be nonprofit however we spiritually profit by being the bridge between generous donors and those in need when they need us.

That’s why I do it.

Why do you do it?

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Comments
  1. Wow! This post actually brought tears to my eyes. Thank goodness for people like you, Mike. Reaching out to help another human being is an amazing feeling and you are lucky enough to get to do that everyday.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Great story…really powerful.

    There are too many reasons to count for why I love nonprofits. But, essentially, I feel that you can actually change the world. You are directly involved in enriching lives be it through an organization like yours or through arts and culture.

    We only live once, right? Let’s do some good while we’re here.

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