This post is an open request for feedback from people who have never worked for a nonprofit and are inclined to say “philanthropy” is an awkward word.
I remember when I first started working in the nonprofit sector. I entered the third sector workforce thinking of it as a short-term thing… you know, until I found a real job. However, I stuck with that first job for five years. During that time I learned that nonprofit organizations are no less professional than the private sector.
According to my boss at the time, I made important contributions to the organization. He frequently reminded me that the reasons he hired me were because I had the technical ability and personality to do the work, but mostly important – I brought a fresh set of eyes to the organization.
Having spent the better part of the past ten years as a fundraiser, board member, consultant, member of nonprofit professional societies, and student of philanthropy my “fresh eyes” are getting tired. I run the risk of developing tunnel vision. Buzz words and the “body of knowledge” are my blinders.
The following requests are directed to those with questions about nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, or any of the words nonprofit professionals throw around. Since you have the fresh eyes, I need your help.
- I need you to ask what we do, why we do it, and how it impacts the public and private sectors.
- I need you to ask questions that challenge nonprofits to be transparent, accountable, and innovative.
- When request for your philanthropy of time, money, and talent arrive in your mailbox, inbox, or through some other media, tell me what you like.
- If these requests don’t ring true, tell me why.
- When you see a nonprofit do something you like please share and explain what resonates with you.