Most of us who live in North Central Washington have the sense that we have more than our share of high-performing nonprofit enterprises.
But sometimes it’s hard to trust your own instincts on these matters, so it is gratifying when those opinions are confirmed by someone in a position to know.
There’s great value in an independent assessment, particularly if it comes from outside the region from someone with no apparent vested interest.
This past week, reporter Dee Riggs passed along a blog post authored by Teresa Moore, a public relations and fundraising professional from Seattle. It appeared on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Web site.
Moore had the opportunity to work with individuals representing several dozen nonprofits in North Central Washington during a couple of recent workshops put on by the Community Foundation of North Central Washington and the Icicle Fund. The workshops are part of a continuing series of events designed to help nonprofits be more effective. It’s called capacity building, and this year’s theme is marketing, which is something that these kinds of organizations struggle to develop and use. Typically, they’re too busy and resource starved from delivering programs.
Here’s what Moore had to say:
“You don’t have to be mighty to be effective, to achieve great things,” she wrote. “Spending a few days with representatives of some 50 small nonprofit organizations in Wenatchee and Twisp cemented that truth.”
She went on to talk about how impressed she was with the dedication of staff, board members and volunteers of the nonprofits, many of which were extremely small.
“From the animal rescue shelter to the community hospital to the rural performing arts center to the Nordic skiing/biathlon youth organization,” she wrote, “all were committed to serving their constituencies despite the challenges of being … well, tiny.”
She expressed amazement that a tiny Twisp-Winthrop area is home to more than 50 nonprofit organizations, or roughly one nonprofit for every hundred residents. Many of these don’t even have an official office.
“I’m inspired by the resilience and dedication of these big-of-heart, small-of-budget nonprofits,” she continued. “The multimillion-dollar nonprofits in the Seattle area are no less dedicated to their causes, but it takes a little extra something to serve a mission on a shoestring.
“The next time you’re ready to write a check or give an hour or two of your time, think about where your modest resources could have the biggest impact. Think small.”
Just as these are challenging days for businesses, they are even more challenging for the nonprofits. It’s good to know that these organizations, with the help of the Icicle Fund and the Community Foundation of North Central Washington, are sharing ideas and developing their capabilities.
They need all of the help they can get these days, and it will take great courage and creativity to continue fulfilling their missions in these challenging times. But times of great challenge always present new opportunities to do things differently.
Rufus Woods is editor and publisher of The Wenatchee World. Reach him at 665-1162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.