Bernie and I are going to a fundraiser for Kinship tonight. In Little Falls, it is the annual “Chili Cookoff”. We have never gone before, though I often wanted to. It seems there was always a conflict of some kind.
Kinship is a program in which caring adults are matched up with children who need some extra adult caring and mentoring. One might see it as conflicting with the Boys & Girls club which is the nonprofit that consumes our energy these days. But I don’t see it that way. Each provides a special service for kids and there are more than enough kids to go around that can use help. I suspect that some of our B & G Club kids also have mentors through Kinship.
Often there is competition between nonprofits. One reason is the overlapping of services. Two nonprofits may serve the some of the same population, as in this situation. There might be some argument as to which nonprofit is more important or more effective. In my mind it doesn’t matter very much unless there is an actual duplication of efforts. It may be more efficient and focused if two or more organizations were go combine their efforts or choose different targets. Cooperation is the key.
Another consideration is the effect of the work itself on those who do the work. Boys & Girls Clubs change the lives of those who work in the centers as much as it changes the kids themselves. This is surely true for the mentors in Kinship. I speak from experience. No matter the service I engaged in over the years, I was enriched and challenged to grow, sometimes more than those I was supposed to be serving.
Sometimes nonprofits find themselves in competition for a community’s charitable giving. I myself have decided to think “abundance” rather than “limited”. If an activity is meant to happen, I believe the resources are there. If the resources are not there, perhaps it isn’t meant to happen. I guess that is just may own faith speaking. I realize not everyone sees things that way.
It is interesting to me that there is a nonprofit in town that always donates to our silent auction each year, the Fishing Museum of Little Falls. I remember when I stopped there for the first time to pick up the artfully constructed basket of fishing paraphernalia. I heard from the director her philosophy of how important it is for nonprofits to support one another. She said, “We all do good work that benefits our community.” She inspired me with her attitude. That is why Bernie and I go to the Habitat for Humanity luncheon each year, why we donate to the foodshelf during their matching funds month, and why we are going to the Kinship Chili Cookoff tonight. It is all good work.