In our effort to support businesses right now, we can't forget nonprofits
It’s an understatement of enormous proportions to say the uncertainty we’re facing is unprecedented. You know it. I know it. We all know it. We all feel it.
Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but when it comes to nonprofit work, there is also one major certainty. On the other side of all this, when we emerge into whatever new world we’re creating, the problems we’re tackling will certainly still be there. In a lot of cases, they’ll be larger, more complicated, and even more destructive.
As individuals, we’ll emerge into a world that isn’t asking less of us but is in fact, asking us to do more. Care more. Work more. Help more. Like many people, nonprofits will likely be asked to do more with far fewer resources than they had before. A scenario that is hard to imagine considering the amount most nonprofits already accomplish with the limited resources available to them.
Right now, while many people are rightfully concerned about the impact of businesses closing, it's important we don't forget the impact of nonprofits in our lives a well. Like businesses, if nonprofits don’t make it through these uncertain times, and we emerge into a world needing the services they previously provided - likely needing them more than ever - it won’t just be bad for certain organizations, it will be disastrous for everyone.
If we recognize it or not, we all benefit from the work of nonprofit organizations. Unlike corporations or businesses, however, sometimes that value is hard to measure in day to day life. Often the impact of a nonprofit can’t be delivered, picked up curbside, or held in our hands. The impact may not feel as good as a fresh hair cut or as obvious as building muscles in a gym. But if nonprofit services no longer existed, we would all feel the impact of their absence.
Collectively, we cannot afford to lose the services nonprofits provide.
The process to rebuild organizations and jumpstart programs will be lengthy and progress will be lost, meaning already-scarce resources (time, money, talent) were wasted. For many nonprofits, wasted resources mean they'll be starting over, not at square one, but far behind it.
It will be devastating if any number of public health, human rights, and/or other similar advocacy groups are forced to start over again. If organizations that provide direct services can’t do so reliably for a period of time, the result will be prolonged devastation in our communities. Arts, music, theater, and dance organizations enrich the human experience and in our darkest times, those are resources and services we turn to for comfort and entertainment. And on and on. The list of services nonprofits provide and the consequences of losing them are endless.
Nonprofits exist to make the world a better place. They do it despite the size of the deck stacked against them. The work is often painstaking, defeating, and thankless. The people who work in those organizations show up every day with a sense of optimism and a commitment to make a meaningful difference. Okay, not every day. Some days are just really hard and like everyone else, they simply make it through.
Still, for the people who choose nonprofit work, this moment in time has likely deepened their commitment to the work and galvanized their resolve to fight even harder. The truth is, we all need nonprofit professionals on the front lines as we move into the new normal, which is why it's so important to continue supporting them right now.
So, in our effort to support businesses and protect our economic interests, we simply can't forget nonprofits. Our focus on businesses and the economy will only get our communities so far. We must continue to support the nonprofit organizations that matter most to us, even - especially - during these uncertain times. Every bit of support matters and every bit helps ensure the nonprofits we depend on and benefit from, have the tools and resources they need to keep fighting for the brighter future we all deserve.
Audrey Lawson-Sanchez is the Executive Director of Balanced. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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