Confession: I can’t do everything! For years I’ve said we as nonprofits have to stop saying we can do more with less. We can do less with less. But, admitting this obvious fact seems wrong and counter-intuitive. It makes us feel as if we are putting our funding support in jeopardy. It makes us feel as if we’re ignoring needs or saying ‘no’ to people we should be helping. In reality it is the best thing we can do for those we work on behalf of and serve. Recognizing our limitations and committing to doing what we can, while we can, as well as we can should be our guiding star.
Steady is defined as firmly fixed, supported, or balanced; not shaking or moving. I believe staying steady should be our aim as nonprofits. Over the past few months, I’ve been tempted to get off course. TBHC is committed to advocacy, health equity and wellness yet when President Trump announced plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, I was tempted to change the focus of the upcoming quarterly meeting. To be clear, we are concerned about climate change and believe it is a matter of health equity and social justice however, it is not one of our primary areas of work. I had to remind myself that we needed to remain laser focused, to keep the main thing the main thing.
I’ve also become more aware of how fast the news cycle is. I’ve consciously tried to keep track of the changing political landscape and the almost daily updates regarding potential healthcare legislation, yet when I woke up to an email in my inbox whose subject claimed ‘we had won’ I was excited and confused. I now know more about the late-night vote but I also recognize it is not the time to stop. We should celebrate the tenacity and courageousness of the countless number of Americans who have and are sharing their story, however we have to stay steady because the fight is not over.
During my time writing this blog, I’ve come across two things which have inspired me. The first is a recent article in the Washington Post entitled, I Could Use My Voice it highlights 10 movement leaders, activists if you will. I was struck with the recognition that while you can care about a lot of things, you have got to be singularly focused to truly be successful. Secondly, I had a chance to meet and hear Vu Le, nonprofit executive and writer of Nonprofit AF (formerly Nonprofit With Balls). His thought-provoking presentation reminded me of just how awesome we (the nonprofit sector) are and how amazingly complex the work we do is.