Thanksgiving is on the way and I am getting ready to stuff my face twice full of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and endless slices of pie. I say “twice” because not only do I go home for Thanksgiving, my roommates and I have a tradition of hosting our own feast a week before Thanksgiving (where I do all of the cooking and they all compliment me for my culinary skills). Few things bring me as much excitement as others enjoying my cooking (except for nonprofit software, but we can address that at another time).
However, as we all know, this not what Thanksgiving is actually about. It is about being thankful for what we have, the people in our lives, and the unique opportunity to be living the life that we all experience. Nonprofits foster this feeling every day by making us thankful for what we have and providing us the opportunity to do good for others. This year, let’s thank nonprofits for what they do for our society.
These are the seven reasons to be thankful for nonprofits.
1. Kindness begets kindness
This idea is certainly a well known proverb in our culture and in many cases, nonprofits are stellar examples of this virtue. The social good created by nonprofits, whether it be in education, humanitarian aid, environmental preservation, or any other social operation, improves the lives of others, inspiring those touched by them to do good as well.
2. Nonprofits address problems that are too stigmatized for politics
Sometimes legitimate issues are pushed to the wayside in the political process simply because all sides can’t come to an agreement on how to solve a problem, which helps no one. A great example of this is the Syrian Refugee Crisis. While politicians in Washington D.C. bicker over refugee quotas, settlements, and national security, several nonprofits are making the effort to aid those in need by provided the essentials, such as food, water, and shelter.
3. There’s a nonprofit for everybody
If there is an issue that you care about or a problem that is directly affecting your life, you can bet that there is a nonprofit or two out there fighting for you or your issues.
4. Nonprofit staff sacrifice a lot to bring about change
Except in the unfortunate cases of corruption at the highest rungs of those in power, nonprofits are not a lucrative business, nor is that their purpose. Nonprofit staff work long hours and wear many hats for lower-than-average pay in order to help those in need or bring about positive changes that they care about.
5. Nonprofits bring the community together
I’ve met many of my friends through a nonprofit or volunteer work. Soup kitchens, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and many other nonprofits emphasize community work to help those in need. This work is not only satisfying, but it brings us all together to enact social good.
6. Nonprofits foster an appreciation for the arts
Art is not always a profitable business, but music, theater, and other forms of fine art are important to culture, history, and community. There are countless museums and theater productions that are fostered by the nonprofit sector so that we can all enjoy these important works as a society.
7. Nonprofits teach us humility
Everyday we go through our lives complaining about things that are silly and trivial in the macro sense of the world. While we complain about our iPhone screens cracking and our cold Starbucks coffee, there are those around the world who have very little and a mountain of reasons to be unhappy. Nonprofits not only provide aid to those in need, but they also provide perspective of just how good our lives truly are.
This year I will be sure to raise a toast for these organizations that work tirelessly to leave the world a better place than they found it. It is a hard and sometimes thankless job, but someone has to do it.
Have you ever been touched by the work of a nonprofit before? What do you have to be thankful for? Let us know in the comments below!