Put Nonprofits in the Coconut

Why do I work for a nonprofit?  Well, I can’t imagine doing anything else, but there are many, many specific reasons as well.  In honor of summertime, I’ve decided to list some of the top reasons in an acrostic poem that celebrates one of my favorite summer treats – coconut!  Think piña coladas, the smell of sun lotion, and everything that reminds us of -- sand, surf, relaxation, paradise…you get the picture.

Nonprofits are…


Crucial.  Nonprofits provide crucial services to individuals and communities.  For example, if organizations like the Community Care Clinicin Watauga County didn’t provide free medical care, where would the county’s 10,000 people without health insurance turn?  I want to work in an industry that is necessary, not just “nice to have.”


Optimistic.  In a world where so much of what’s good and necessary is threatened every day, nonprofits are the eternal optimists.  Those at Piedmont Land Conservancy work to protect land for future generations because they believe they can do it.  And, they are.  They’ve permanently protected 175 places encompassing 19,100 acres.  Nonprofits’ optimism is contagious.  Why do you think 64.3 million Americans volunteer?


Creative.  I need to be in a creative environment to thrive, and the nonprofit people I know are some of the most creative.  A perfect example?  The Scrap Exchange in Durham, where items saved from the waste stream find new life as art.


Open-minded and open-hearted.  Nonprofit people tend to be both, especially those working with individuals that much of society has given up on. Case in point:  Mothers And Their Children (Match) brings children to spend time with their incarcerated mothers in a warm, home-like setting.


Necessary.  This is similar to “crucial,” but it’s so important it needs to be listed twice.  We know why what we do is necessary, but we must remind law makers of why nonprofits are so important and why government needs us to provide the services it can’t.  Learn how to be a nonprofit advocate.


United.  Nonprofits that work together, thrive together.  We are fantastic collaborators.  One case in point:  At Senior Services in Winston-Salem, 1,500 community volunteers deliver Meals-on-Wheels to clients and their pets.  The Forsyth Humane Society donates dog and cat food to Meals on Wheels, helping people keep their pets at home so they don’t have to go to the shelter.


Trustworthy.  People trust nonprofits.  They see us as honest, informed, and well-intentioned.  In a recent Harris Poll, respondents said they wanted nonprofits and small businesses to have a greater say in politics -- second only to themselves!  I like being trusted, don’t you?  See Nonprofit VOTE’s website for more information.


That’s my list!  Now enjoy summer and indulge in something with coconut in it.  You hard-working  nonprofit people deserve it!


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