I don’t rant on this blog THAT often, but every now and then, we need to get real around here.
I talk all the time, constantly, about how much I love my job, and working in the nonprofit sector. I do. I LUUUUUVVV it.
99% of the time.
But then there’s the 1% of people in our sector who stink it up for me. I bet they stink it up for you, too.
This is what they say to us:
How dare you charge for your training? We can’t afford that! Don’t you know we are a nonprofit? Everything you do for nonprofits should be free.
How dare you expect me to have the tech needed to take your online training? We have really old computers. Don’t you know we are a nonprofit? I should be able to register for a webinar one minute before it starts and have you hold my hand to connect, even though I am running software not updated since before “webinar” was a word.
How dare you ask me to take your survey? Don’t you know we don’t have time for that? We are a nonprofit! It’s not our job to help you create a report about nonprofits, but when that report comes out, you better be willing to answer every obscure question I have about the data from all those other nonprofits.
I can only imagine what these oh-so-precious folk say to you, their nonprofit co-workers . . .they probably aren’t too fun to be around day in and day out.
We all get frustrated and overwhelmed. And we often grumble, and even complain. And that’s OK, as long as you do it in a respectful, “We are all in this together, but here’s a problem. Can you help me?” kind of way.
Being tight on time and money are the facts of life for most nonprofits. It’s a hard job. You have to be creative, flexible, and durable to survive and thrive in the nonprofit world. And those are the people I love to be around.
Here’s how those kinds of nonprofit pros (and thankfully, the overwhelming number of people we work with) deal with this kind of adversity:
They find other people who get it, who can relate, and participate in those communities. Feel alone? Start with your state nonprofit association or national orgs like the Nonprofit Technology Network. Get lively in any number of the nonprofit groups on your favorite social network. We all need to commiserate, but that’s quite different from complaining.
They laugh. Try When You Work at a Nonprofit or Nonprofit With Balls. Stop taking every single thing you do so freaking seriously.
They take advantage of all the great, free stuff out there, and save up for what costs. Here are a bunch of bloggers giving away tons of advice for nada. You just have to find a little time to read. 15 minutes a day. You can do it, if you really want to.
If you’d rather be an obnoxious, whiny martyr who believes that the world needs to stop and melt with you, because don’t we know you are a nonprofit!, please just go away. The rest of us are trying to get some stuff done around here.