As many of you know I run a nonprofit that is a youth leadership organization. During the summer we run three separate weeks of leadership camp, where middle school students stay on a college campus for week away from their parents, learning, having fun and having time to reflect on who they are and where they want to go. This past week we just ended our first session of camp with one hundred and fifty students transformed by their experience.
So often in the nonprofit space we are running a business like almost any other with budgets, timelines, goals and the list goes on. What makes our work (nonprofit work) different is that unlike a company when your numbers are down, less people profit. In the nonprofit world, when you don’t make numbers, someone doesn’t go to camp, get fed, receive medicine and the list goes on. The stakes are real and there is person effected by each choice, for better or for worse.
The other challenge in the nonprofit space is that you can often feel separated or removed from those you serve. We work all year (our staff of two and 150 amazing volunteers, who will serve 3,000 students) to send one-third of our students to camp with scholarships. Then the moment happens, we see their faces, we watch them grow and learn all week and our efforts beyond worthwhile. Children who live in the inner-city, who have never been on a college campus let alone stay on one and then to hear them share their experiences….well there simply are not words with how incredible it feels.
Each volunteer gives of themselves to change the life of another. You can feel the love, the kindness, the joy, the gratitude between our campers and our volunteer staff. Regardless of what is happening in the world, I know that our amazing college and high school volunteers are transforming hundreds of children’s lives for the better….renewing my faith in humanity and inspiring me to strive to serve more.
YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT, IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.
It is here, December has arrived and with it comes the season of giving. Lately I have been wondering why is giving just for one season? Let’s be real, we all give all year…whether we volunteer, support a cause, give a few extra dollars at the market or in a more meaningful way. We give because it feels great to give.
Why I don’t necessarily love Christmas shopping, I do love that feeling I get when I give a gift that brings the recipient joy. It is just the best feeling. This year I have really struggled with the holiday shopping because my sons really don’t need anything. I attempted boycotting Christmas and presents in lieu of a trip, with no such luck. My thought was the best gift we could all have would be time together. However, the boys opted for traditions, extended family and friends.
So, I am embracing the art of giving, it is a privilege to be able to give. Finding joy in little ways to make people and causes I care about happy. The result is always the same, you get so much more when you give. Wishing you all a happy season of giving this month and no boys……we are not getting a puppy!
Sharing is caring, if you are so moved or inspired, we would love you to share this to inspire another.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is now ready to jump into the season. It is the most wonderful time of the year and it is December 1st today, so the holiday season has officially arrived. I know that the stores have been telling us since before Halloween that Christmas and the holidays were coming but we all know that this season is really about, love and giving.
Just like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, we now have an offical day to give called Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday was created to promote the simple act of giving to a cause you care about. This day and now movement began as something to counter Black friday and Cyber monday, It was started by New York’s 92nd Street Y, which has 139 years of fundraising experience. They reached out to the United Nations Foundation and joined as partners. Soon after, big corporations and non-profits signed on to help spread the word and the rest is history, as they say.
As you sit down this week to make out your Christmas list, think about adding the causes you care about to your list. Or perhaps, giving a donation in someone’s name to their favorite cause? Think about how you feel when you give and what is important to you? Giving Tuesday is a beautiful reminder of what is important every day of the year, not just tomorrow. If you do decide to give, there is no time like the present.
I have to admit that I have spent a little time lately being nostalgic and looking back, which includes looking at past Charity Matters post. The post below was one of my very first and probably not seen by too many at the time so I thought it was worth sharing with each of you. Enjoy!
Just the other day my 10-year-old son and his friend asked if they could set up a lemonade stand. It was a hot day and he and his pal worked hard to get business up and running. I was so touched that many of his “customers” stopped and asked my son if he was doing this for a cause.
He wasn’t, but at the end of the day we decided to see what causes there were involving lemonade stands and this is one that we came across. It may not be a “small non-profit” but it is a perfect example of small ideas that create big change.