I loved Girl Scouts when I was a kid. Much to my leaders’ credit, my troop was always doing service projects - cleaning up trails in West Virginia’s state parks, singing Christmas concerts at local nursing homes, collecting canned goods for food drives, and baking cookies for the sales and splitting our proceeds between our troop and another community group.
Because of all this, the concept of nonprofits and their purpose always made sense to me, even if at that age I didn’t know the word. So now, it always shocks me when someone asks “a non-what?” or comments that “nonprofits can’t do much because they don’t make money.”
It’s strange that people still don’t get it with all that nonprofits accomplish and the ways they support their communities.
It’s a bit overwhelming to think about how to change the thinking of all those people. But it turns out, one by one, they’re a familiar face at the grocery store, a parent at my son’s school, a neighbor down the street. And when I mention I work for a nonprofit, I can explain it fully to an audience of one – and they get it.
This November, nonprofits will celebrate Nonprofit Awareness Month to help the public better understand the value and impact of nonprofits in communities across our state. I feel like my one conversation, plus another conversation, plus one more conversation can create a wave of understanding that gets us to our goal: everyone getting it.
What will you do this November? How will you reach out to those who don’t know about your organization?
See what Nonprofit Awareness Month is all about. Add your conversations.
Caroline McDowell is administrative associate at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, where she has been on the staff team for four years.