You Love Your Nonprofit, Your Friends Not So Much

Seneca once said “Associate yourself with people who are likely to improve you.”

When going through life sometimes you don’t really get to choose your friends knowing where they will take you. Or for that matter where life will take you in the years to come. Many young people do not go into high school or college thinking a life in the nonprofit sector is what awaits them, instead its “getting a well paid job” in some to be determined corporation or agency.

However, here you are. Now you are a working nonprofit professional (or volunteer), giving your time to a cause you adore. You spend countless hours per week, month and year giving time, sweat, tears, and sometimes money to your organization you believe will change the world for the better. You take to Twitter, Facebook, and a blog to express your undying love for “the cause”.

Yet, when talk about your work, or how you volunteer on the weekends with a great organization, people nod and say “how cool”. Sometimes you’ve actually approached friends or family with helping you get behind “this cause” because you know it needs smart people like them to care.

However, mostly you fear bringing it up because changing social problems may be too political. Or your friends would think it not their cup of tea so you don’t broach the subject. Or you know they don’t really care about gay rights, saving the environment, local foods, or stopping to mentor one hour a week because “they just have so many of their own problems.”

So what do you do? Well in my opinion, its always been easier to ask a stranger hasn’t it? Thus why fundraising with strangers is always the well we go to. How many of those Facebook friends from High School actually donate to your birthday cause? College friends? Peers at work? Friends from the bar, the gym?

Just as your desire to leave a meaningful legacy behind in this world grows stronger through your life, you change the direction of what you choose to do with that time. And so, perhaps, you should also be smart in choosing the people you call friends.

Maybe it is just me. But I feel this is just a shortcoming of how people look at the nonprofit or social sector, and do not understand how interconnected we all are, regardless of whether you give or do not.

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