And I knew it. I could see this one coming. (There’s a reason I am somewhat addicted to news and information, i.e., Research Junkie.) But, what’s a one-horse administrator to do, who has the vision and understanding, but not the luxury of time and staffing? Really, another project?
For several years I’ve included this accurate reality in our prospective volunteer packet: “For small non-profits, work often follows the flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants action plan. No one feels like they’re flying the plane; rather, they feel more like they’re building it in mid-air.” Yeah, that’s basically been my experience of the past twenty years.
Being one who has consistently wanted to deny her many years on the planet, I’m always looking ahead for the next greatest thing, not wanting to be stuck in the dark ages. So, as I increasingly clung to my mobile device and marveled at what it could do for my life, I realized that the ability for people to easily donate/give/invest was going to be a thing, and we needed to get on board with that. Busy or not, this was fast becoming a needful reality.
But, yeah, we’re a small non-profit – doing amazing things for pregnant and parenting families, but nonetheless, small. And, maybe from my perspective, staying small is good. When I’ve seen other orgs and entities grow from small grass-roots-ish beginnings to larger more complicated systems to manage it all, what usually ends up happening is people’s humanity begins to be missed for all stakeholders (participants on any level, client, investor, volunteer, etc). But, I digress…oh, and for those interested, here’s a great article that covers small non-profit dynamics – particularly when there is only one or few (minimally) paid staff. Bang for buck? Yeah, right here.
So, I realized that if I truly believed in what we’re doing in our local communities, I knew I had to find a way to keep it happening, changing/adjusting/learning as dictated by cultural and economic trends.
Whether you prefer the term donate or invest – which is largely informed by your age – is something you may need to grapple with:
“It may seem something simple. It’s just semantics: donation vs. investment. But I think to a millennial, who’s grown up in a very different world, one that’s more participatory because of the digital tools that we have, to them they want to feel like they’re making an investment. Not just that they’re investing their capital, but they’re investing emotionally,” Webb says.
But, here’s my point:
“And there’s the tech part. She says any philanthropy without a smart digital platform — not just for donations but for empowering a community of givers — will be left behind.”
Yep. If we don’t pay attention to, and engage with our specific cultural dictates, we’ll be left behind. Which necessarily means (in our little corner of the world), that many pregnant, parenting, and sexuality challenges will go unmet, and people in our local communities risk being left-behind. Left-behind to be unnoticed and uncared for – impacting every level of life, your neighbors and mine, or those down the street (all at the margins of life), that you drive by on the way to your mainstream life.
So, Choices is committed to making it happen, being patient through the tech glitches (we’re sorry!), to make tech-giving streamlined and simple. And the how is important – it might one of the most important things – true in giving, true in coming alongside folks in compassion, i.e., to suffer with. You’re busy, we get it. You have selfies, rants and awesomeness to post – we invite you fit us in there somewhere. And, we know it could be even more simple, but remember, we’re small and we’re trying. (If you encounter a problem, please help us by letting us know.)
We invite you to get on-board with our commitment to insure that people have every chance at living a life that invites dignity through relationship and resources: Text ‘Choices’ + amount to 91011, and follow the prompts to the mobile website – because you’re investing in hope that translates to (real, actual, livable) life.
Choices will not be left behind. And neither will those who walk through our doors. But, we need loving-thy-neighbor folks to help us help others. And thanks for hanging in there with this what rolled off the top of my head post two cups of morning French Roast. As always, conversations, questions and meet-ups at Choices are encouraged for the curious. There’s always a response on the other end of firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/choicesmountshasta, or a good old-fashioned, hard-wired phone call: 530.926.6726. And chocolate. And coffee. And, if you’re fortunate, something fresh-baked by us or the local bakeries.