There are those of us who see the mission, vision and the passion of a nonprofit organization as a spiritual process seeking and expressing the values of the individuals and the organization. It is an inward event, an inward experience. It is what you feel about an issue, a problem and the incredible desire to do something about it. What you feel is deeper than your head and your heart. You feel it in your soul. If you do not believe in a "soul", it is still deeper than your head and your heart, wherever it may reside.
It is stupid. It is stupid the problem exists in the first place. No one should have to fix this problem – it should not exist in the first place. And here I am. I feel the problem either because I have it, a loved one has it or I have seen it face to face through reading, through pictures or in person. Some stimulation hits me and I have to do something. It seems I have no other choice. I have to do something. But it is so absurd!
It is also an outward spirituality. It is the pursuit of perfection and, if not that, then it is the pursuit of excellence. It is an experience of constant renewal; there is a dimension of the human soul and an orientation of the heart and the action of our body and being. It is a way of making sense of the insensible, the senselessness, the hole that needs to be filled and made whole. A stupid problem that should not even exist does not need a stupid fix. It needs the best of me and the best of people with whom I join.
The spiritual slams the brain and says, what are you going to do about it? What do you have to find out? Is someone already working on it? Where can I link up with them? I have to learn more about the problem, about possible resources, about the best and most sensible approaches so that I am a help and not a hindrance. Are there new and innovative ways the problem can be attacked and minimized or overcome?
And so we begin the spiritual quest with mundane research, learning, taking classes, getting licensed, reading, thinking, writing, incorporating, and talking with people who share the same or similar sense of the stupidity, the absurd.
Beginning a nonprofit organization is a spiritual act, a leap of faith. It is walking to the end of a cliff and taking one more step. I know it is the right thing to do. I may not know the right way to do it. But I believe that next step is for me to take. It is a calling that is difficult to hush and put to sleep.
With this spiritual side of a nonprofit organization, there are the hard facts that are the outward and visible signs of that inward and spiritual belief in the mission, the vision and the passion of the organization:
- Observing and working with the stupidity of it all
- Developing partnerships
- Paper work
- Facing/causing/accepting change
- Giving voice
- Hiring to firing or leaving
- Record keeping
- Reaching agreement
- Handling the finances
- Giving talks
- The law
- Supervising people
- Feeling hurt
- Giving bad news
- Stuff happens
- Loving the job; hating the reasons for it
- Messing up
- Resource development
- Grant writing
- Human resources
- Fund raising
- Cleaning the bathroom
- Living to work yourself out of a job by eliminating or reducing the stupidity
- Moving on
It is a spiritual evolution and not a revolution. It is not a quick and unthoughtout repair job...although that may be only what you have the funding to do.
The voice says, who will go for us, who will speak for us, who will care for us, who will show us?