Monday, August 10, 2015

#nonprofit life

     I like it best when they donate two-ply, but I can’t complain when the operative word is 


     It has been nearly two years since I joined the #nonprofit world. Little by little my eyes 

have been opened to the road that brought me here. It’s a meandering path filled with 

nuance and subtle changes.

     The learning curve hasn’t been too broad. I saw enough behind the scenes of church work 

in my youth to know that people are not always what they appear to be at first glance. This 

time, though, the revelations have been more about me than them.

     The crust of life must continually be chipped away to keep my heart soft and pliable, even 

when I help folks that I know are lying and looking to con me out of what I want to freely 


Here are a few rules of #nonprofit life that I am learning:

     The first rule of #nonprofit life is that there are no set rules. People don’t need food and 

clothing at the appointed hours of giving. Sometimes they drag themselves in when it isn’t 

convenient and yet, they came through the doors and humbled themselves and asked for 

help. That’s what I try to remember.

     The second rule of #nonprofit life is that all job descriptions include the clause: willing to 

do anything at any time to get it done. Before hours, after hours, during hours, and even 

when it has absolutely nothing to do with the job you were hired to do. May include heavy 

lifting (i.e. carrying large sofas down twisted staircases), folding tangled aprons, or looking 

for expiration dates on 1,000 cans before sorting them for the food pantry.


     The third rule of #nonprofit life is that you must ask for money and donations. Often. 

Really often. I never knew I would constantly be on the lookout for yet another way to say, 

“Please give because we’re worth it.” I believe in what we do. Deep down, I just want you to 

believe too, without all of the begging. But it doesn’t work that way.

 By the way, got an extra $4?
 You can purchase a meal for one of our clients.

     The fourth rule of #nonprofit life is that when you start to feel cynicism creep into your 

belly, stop right then and go help someone. Drive a Meals on Wheels route. Take a fan to 

someone that doesn't have an air conditioner. Go buy a whole flat of canned fruit for the 

pantry. That’s the only way to stop the inner critic. That helps me remember why I’m here.

Help someone and help some more. 

     I pray loudly to God and ask him to use me. And he does, in the most unusual ways. And 

the more I see him at work, the more I see that it has not, nor ever will be about me.

I am a vessel.

     I want more than ever to be a vessel that is dinged, chipped, and smudged because I’m 

being used over and over again to get the hard work done. Not just because I work for a 

#nonprofit. Because I work for Him.