Tomorrow morning, I will get up and start another week of work. I work full time, have a second part-time job, and am a full-time student. In between everything I try to fit in some time at the gym, a good mystery movie, taking care of my family, and reading.
I know that there are people in the world hurting. I understand there are organizations working to meet their needs. In fact, I served as a nonprofit director for seven years. Serving and helping people was my life. I remember being so entrenched in helping others that I couldn’t understand why more people weren’t on board with our cause. An underlying frustration grew. How come it was so hard to get donors, board members and volunteers? How come people couldn’t see what we see?
Being back in secular employment and having interests far removed from the nonprofit world I understand the challenge that we faced. We were a mere blip in the busy schedules of people. We struggled to maintain a strong presence in people’s minds because we lacked the finances and resources to conduct large and consistent marketing campaigns. People didn’t see the need because there were removed from it. When we did connect with people and help them see the need they became engaged and our donors, board members and volunteers increased.
As I drive to work tomorrow my mind will fill with the worries of starting a new career, what we are having for supper, how I am going to get my homework done, and a hundred other concerns. I might hear a commercial on the radio that will remind me of a nonprofit cause or event, but as soon as I get to work I will forget. It’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I am forgetful and have a hard time understanding how to fit something else in my day.
I don’t feel like I have time for you. You need to show me that I do. You need to show me how my donation can help you accomplish your mission. You need to remind me over and over because I am busy and forgetful. You need to give me short opportunities to volunteer and engage. Maybe I can update your social media, help at an event in three months, or write thank you letters for you. Maybe you could give me a call and just share what is going on.
I worked with women everyday who were hopeless, helpless, and lacked the resources to change their lives. I gave my life to helping them for seven years and if I am able to forget the importance of what you are doing then you can bet people who have never worked in the nonprofit world will to.
Remind me what you are doing. Over and over again. I am forgetful.
Give me a call and share with me what the needs are. One day I will have more time and will be ready to give more.
Help me see how my donation can really help. Why should I give to you? What makes you stand out?
Find a way to impact my busy life. I listen to the radio, I check social media, I check email and I notice posters at work. If you can impact my 9-5 you have a good chance of getting a donation and volunteer.
Remember, it won’t be enough to know you exist. I need to understand what the need is, and how I can help meet it. When you can show me that you will get me on board.