Do you believe?
Working for a not for profit agency our greatest accomplishment in any given year is to raise funds and awareness for what we do as an agency and to successfully deliver programs to our neighbours. The what and how has historically been the messaging required for communication purposes to the general public. Taking this one step further, I gave some thought to what it means to engage others in our agency, not just from a financial donor perspective but from a general engagement one- explaining to other the why behind what we do.
What we get to do each and every year here at SIRCH is ‘sell’ what we do. We sell our program ideas to potential funders, we sell our culture to potential volunteers, we sell our annual activities and program implementation to potential donors. We do this by highlighting WHAT we do (programming) and HOW we do it (ran a farm tour for the County to increase education on locally grown food)……..and I have always thought that we are clear on the WHY we do it until today.
For a Not for profit the WHY is everything isn’t it? For individuals, I think the WHY should be the first question on our lips when we undertake any activity, initiative, and endeavour. I don’t think that we do this near regularly enough, nor with enough verve and vigour. And herein lies a connection that I had never thought of: the WHY is linked to our fundamental beliefs surrounding the work that we do. So really it is not necessarily a message of WHY, it is a message of I BELIEVE. Of course, according to many psychologists, belief is just simply our brain’s limbic system choosing to make irrational decisions based on our emotional state “Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true” Wikipedia
For a not for profit, the why we do what we do is inextricably bound to belief – our belief that every person has value; that every person has intrinsic strengths and abilities to share; that how we treat the most vulnerable in our community defines us as a community; that everyone individually can make a difference but that as a group, a community that difference can become exponential. At SIRCH we are making a difference in the world. This extends to our volunteers, whose blood sweat and tears are fueled by a belief that what they do makes a difference. And the community at large- donors, partners also require this belief in order to be engaged, donate, support. The great thing about this, the “ah ha” moment for me is that we all SHARE a similar set of beliefs that binds us together!
I suppose the point that I am trying to get to could have been simply stated at the beginning of this article, but I wanted to share this journey of thought with you in order to get to this: it is a common thread of belief that fuels our beautiful County…belief that we can and do make a difference, belief in the kindness of others, belief that things will change for the better that makes our feet hit the ground most mornings. Aldous Huxley is quoted as saying “Before your feet hit the ground each morning repeat these words, I believe, I believe, I believe”. What will fuel your fire this New Year? What do you believe in?
Happy New Year, may the year ahead be fueled with optimistic belief and an understanding of the why behind what you do each day to make the world a better place.