Not-for-profits have long been a central part of communities across the country. Indiana is no different, of course. In Indianapolis alone, more than 250 such organizations serve Marion County and the surrounding area. They represent a diverse range of initiatives and engage in a wide variety of activities, including education, environmental advocacy, children and youth services, arts and culture, food insecurity and many more. While the mission and programming may vary by organization, each one does what it can to improve the lives of Indiana residents.
With Giving Tuesday coming up on Dec. 1, it’s important to recognize the impactful work not-for-profits do within local communities and learn how to best support them.
Not-for-profit staff members are responsible for moving their organization forward, and a big part of that task comes in the form of collaboration. Frequent meetings help us organize our thoughts, put ideas into motion and brainstorm work for future projects. Not-for-profits tend to be people-facing organizations; therefore, interacting with the individuals we serve often takes up the majority of the workday.
Working in this sector certainly has its challenges. We often have limited resources compared to for-profit businesses, and finding the resources to implement promising programs can be difficult. However, knowing the impact we have on people who need our help makes the time and effort spent entirely worth it.
It’s rewarding to know, when you go home at night, that your work has made someone’s life a little easier. For example, in 2019, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana served 5,500 families. We often heard those families say they didn’t have to think about where to find their next meal because of the resources we were able to provide. Seeing the impact of these initiatives keeps us constantly thinking about what more we can do.
In central Indiana alone, I’ve seen amazing work come from different not-for-profits collaborating to make sure there is economic equality for everyone. These organizations are asking the tough questions and conducting regular assessments of their goals. Not-for-profits are continually evolving and adapting to better serve the community. In recent years, there’s been a large increase in not-for-profit collaboration and community support.
Of course, none of us would exist without the tremendous support we receive from local communities. We depend on your time, money and talent. Volunteering just an hour of time or donating a small amount each month can be crucial in keeping a not-for-profit’s doors open.
This Giving Tuesday, I encourage you to find a cause that resonates with you. Take a look at the group’s mission and values and research how many lives have been affected by the work that organization has been able to execute.
Once you make your decision, consider donating money or volunteering your time so that not-for-profits—the backbone of many of our communities—can continue their important work.•
Ogden is CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana