Choices Community: Serving Within (Part 2)


Here’s the second post to give you a glimpse into what it means to serve within Choices community – nothing earth shattering, no moving stories, just the basics. Perhaps it’s helpful to get a sense of the underlying realities of an organization. Finding a way to truly grasp the realities of life within a (very) small, rural, yet needful non-profit organization is key to embracing the beauty that exists within the mission.  This info is part of our prospective volunteer info packet – with some slight additional perspective tossed in. (Some of these are borrowed/adapted from *somewhere*, but I cannot recall where!)

So often we hear of ‘good practices’ of businesses and organizations, but the reality is that many of those practices don’t apply in very small organizations – we get quite adept at adapting!

Small Non-Profit Insights . . .

  • … daily organizational changes. (Okay, mostly we mean weekly, but it’s more helpful and less frustrating to think in terms of daily!)
  • … efforts often follow the flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants action plan. Metaphor: No one feels like they’re flying the plane; rather, they feel more like they’re building it mid-air.  (Both exhilarating and challenging!)
  • … there’s always a need for more help, but human & funding resources are often slim, e.g., three or four key participants are doing the work of seven. (Yes, I find myself scrubbing toilets, buying light-bulbs and paper towels, writing blog posts, meeting with people in need of hope, and preparing board meeting agendas!)
  • … human needs always trump other needs, i.e., when someone comes to the door, if I’m preparing for a speaking gig, or looking at the budget, and no one else is available, my choice will always be to meet with someone in need of care. Same is true for everyone.
  • … teamwork is essential; grace & mercy are tightly woven into our imperfect community. Let’s face it, we all blow it, we’re imperfect human beings and so is Choices. We do what we can to the best of our ability at the time.
  • … questions are always welcome, answers may be helpful, though sometimes not available. (Hence the need of ongoing mercy and grace!)
Want to know our biggest frustration? Having to be closed because we have no one available to receive guests/friends. It’s a terrible ‘business’ practice, (people must be able to depend upon us), but we also recognize that people in our serving community become ill, have appointments, go on vacation, etc.  So grace is always extended. But, we’re aware that you may come by to drop a check or other donation, have a question, and discover the closed sign. Our apologies…and an invitation to join us to keep those days rare occurrences.

Leaving you today with a bumper sticker I spied in Newport, Oregon this week: “Get involved: the world is run by those who show up.”  So many of us have thoughts about the way things should be – here’s an opportunity to rock your world.

Thanks for hanging out with us. Let us know if you have any thoughts to contribute or questions that need answers.

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