Posts tagged ‘service’

October 14, 2011

Fundraiser Becomes Charity Recipient and Gains Renewed Perspective

These are tough economic times. Everyone knows this. Many who work in the nonprofit sector have seen the demand for services increase greatly during these challenging times. But, we have experienced events as nonprofit managers, development professionals, volunteer leaders, professional advisors, or consultants. Recently, I heard from one of my readers who has a different perspective. S/he is a development professional who lost her/his job and is now a recipient of charity services. It’s a bit like the Hollywood cliché of a doctor who is suddenly struck by an illness and learns what it’s really like to be a patient.

On this blog site, I’ve written from the perspective of the development professional. I’ve even written from the perspective of the donor. However, until now, I’ve never posted anything from the perspective of the recipient of a nonprofit organization’s services. So, I invited my reader to share her/his thoughts from her/his special perspective. For reasons that will become obvious, I am protecting the writer’s identity, even going to the point of confusing the pronouns. I hope you appreciate the insight:

 

The truth is I’m just another statistic.

I am an experienced fundraiser who has worked for a few organizations over the last decade. I have had major successes and yes, like everyone else, some failures. I enjoyed my work — knowing that the funds I raised were going to help people who were poorer than I, less educated than I and, in general, did not have the opportunities I did.

And then I lost my job. Yup, a gut puncher if ever there was one.

But rather than dwell on the negative, I saw it as an opportunity. You never know what lies over the horizon.

My biggest problem was how to support my family. Nonprofit salaries are not, shall we say, going to get me on Robin Leach’s Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous (remember that show?). We had no savings and pressure was on to find a job quickly.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, things got very tight in a hurry. The little unemployment compensation I could collect did not pay the bills. I can’t go to friends since they’re maxed out and have their own issues. Family? Forget it. So now, we scramble to find who to turn to.

In our community, there is a Free Loan Society. This society helps families who are having financial troubles and need a little “breathing room” for a few months. The amount isn’t that much, a max of $500 per month. But, if it helps with food shopping…

We had a very tough decision to make. I have always worked in nonprofits and money has always been an issue, but we never took charity. And yet, now we were faced with unpaid bills, mortgage payments and everything that millions of jobless people face daily.

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