A Different Kind of Profit
I had been working in magazine publishing as a writer and editor for about six years when I decided I needed a change. My husband was about halfway through medical school at the time, and we were living in Omaha, Nebraska, where one of my favorite things to do was to go see live theater and music. When a job came up in marketing at the Omaha Performing Arts Society — which operated both the Orpheum Theater and the Holland Performing Arts Center, a stunning brand new $100 million-plus theater already renowned for its acoustics — I jumped at the chance for a change of scenery.
I loved it immediately.
It wasn’t just the perks — like the ability to sneak in and watch dress rehearsals for “Disney’s The Lion King” or spend my lunch hour watching Bobby McFerrin show off his incredible vocal range for school kids — it was the people. Everyone with whom I worked was there for the same reason; there was nowhere else they could see themselves.
It certainly wasn’t money that drove them. My friend, a lawyer, used to tease me about my old cell phone, calling it my “501c3 phone.” Everybody knows you don’t go into nonprofit work to get rich, but for me I profited in a different way. I could honestly say I loved my job and felt good about what I was doing with my skills every day. My friend couldn’t say the same. She did love her phone, though. Fair enough, it was a great phone.
After a few years, another opportunity popped up at a different nonprofit, the Nebraska Children’s Home Society — the last no-cost adoption agency left in the country — which was looking for a special events manager. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone of communications and do something really hands on, so I moved over there.
Again, it was the people that made the job, and again I found myself working my butt off. Any hope I may have had of taking a break from writing, however, disappeared the moment my boss looked at my resume. It had never been in the job description for the special events manager to write the appeal letters, but it was now! That was when I learned that if there’s another hat you can possibly wear at a nonprofit, it won’t be long until you’re wearing it.
For those reading this who work in the nonprofit sector I just want to say thank you for what you do. No matter what area you work in — social services, the arts, environment, education, animal welfare — whatever it is you do, I know it’s a labor of love, and I know our world is a better place because of how you choose to spend your days (and likely nights and weekends).
Keep up the good work and keep us posted!
Thanks for reading,