Monday, March 16, 2015


"Your honesty is refreshing"- someone commented on one of my Linked In  blog posts. I've been sharing my experiences, struggles and successes starting up and running our nonprofit. Some of the things are what nobody told me and I wish I had known. Me and my Board have been mostly figuring out much of it as we go. It often helps to read what others have been through, what they've learnt and how they overcome obstacles. But here's a bit of harsh truth. Running a small nonprofit I can't afford not to be honest. I don't have a lot of money, I don't have access to great resources, a Rolodex full of supporters. We don't have a particularly long history or a lengthy list of accomplishments. Transparency (and ideas) is one of the few assets we do have. We can say, we haven't been around long, but we have passion, dedication and we want to do something good. Here, come read about our plans! One thing I could ever afford is there being any doubt as to who we are, what it is that we're trying to do and why. I may not be part of an organization that has decades of established history like,  say the Red Cross. But you can ask me anything. And we will show you anything. Hopefully, once you see why we do what we do you'll be more likely to help us. I really see no benefit in pretending to be a big and powerful institution that operate  multi million dollar projects if you can easily inspect our financial information anyway. I wish we would be and hopefully - one day it will. But that day is not today.

 For now at least our nonprofit is the combined vision of the few who run it. You can reach out and touch us, you can read all about us. And we struggle. We struggle with volunteers who often do not stay on. We struggle with financing our programs. We struggle with building a supporter base and getting the right kind of message out. So, at least for the time being those are the things that I talk about- and I don't think there's anything wrong with bringing the same type of issues any growing organization faces to light. I think giving the proper context to anyone interested in reading about you is crucial- and as the foundation doesn't have a long history itself, we have to provide it, by showing who we are and where we are in   our development cycle. I have to say, I'm also proud of us, what we do and what we're trying to accomplish, even as things don't often go as fast as we hope and we face all source of problems. I don't think I say that enough. I'm proud  to be on our team. I don't think talking about our troubles is a sign of weakness, if anything it helps you understand us better. I also believe that if you're going to ask someone for money, to essentially trust you, your mission and  your vision- you better give them any type of information they could possibly ask for. I don't think knowing all there is to know about you, having a structure and a plan that can withstand any scrutiny isn't really too much to ask. It's a fair trade off, that allows nonprofits to do what they were founded for in exchange for them simply having nothing to hide. Why would it be such a strange thing?

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