I work with nonprofits and have for the entirety of my professional career. However, it took me some time to realize that one needed to go “all in” to truly support a place. I mention it was a slow turning because I came out of college looking to make my place in the world, make money and be successful. The college job market was very tough and I managed to get hired in a place that was very familiar to me, my high school alma mater. In hind sight this turned out to be a true blessing for me. I not only had many opportunities to grow professionally, but also to really learn the importance of nonprofit work. It was during this time that I learned leadership is service. To be a true leader, you need to lead with not only words but also action, for if you truly believed in a cause, you need to give all you can, This is where I first learned about the three t’s–time, talent and treasure. It was during this time that I came to understand that to truly believe in a place and it mission you need to give of all that is most precious to you –what you know, who you are as well as your hard-earned cash. For me, the cash was always the hardest to commit. I grew up in a middle-class family, the son of an immigrant and it was drummed into me from a very early age the importance of saving. However, through my life, through my mother’s example and suggestions I learned to give to others. It was not until much later that I finally put it all together. The greatest support I can give is my time, talent and treasure. Once I learned the importance of that I became more valuable to the places I support. As an investor in a nonprofit, I take a very active role in its work and well-being. Like investors in stocks, we follow the ups and downs of our favorite charities because we have a financial stake in it’s mission. This practice has made me a better supporter of nonprofits because I know the difference investing in a nonprofit has had for me.
So I posit this question to those working with nonprofits, ” Are you investing in the missions you believe in?” If the answer is “no”, why? I think the best people at nonprofits are those who understand the “all in” nature of support. They bring to a place an investor’s understanding, commitment and passion. After all, don’t those places with important missions deserve employees, volunteers and donors who are passionate, understanding and committed? If you believe as I do that they do, then take this step if you haven’t already and go “all in” for a charity in which you believe. It will help them and you at the same time.