4 Questions to Inspire Your Team on National Nonprofit Day

5 min
classy celebrates national nonprofit day
profile photo of Classy blog contributor Meredith Kavanagh
Meredith Kavanagh

National Nonprofit Day, founded by Sherita J. Herling, commemorates August 17, 1894, when the Tariff Act became law and gave exemptions for charitable institutions and nonprofit organizations. Today, we celebrate National Nonprofit Day by recognizing nonprofits and the impact of their world-changing work in our local communities and on a global scale. 

You can show your appreciation for nonprofits by making a donation, volunteering, sparking conversations, or simply saying thank you to the people dedicating their lives to impact social change. And for those who work in the social sector, you can use National Nonprofit Day to gather your team and reflect on the experiences and sentiments that drive you to continue working towards your mission. 

To help kick-start a thoughtful conversation with your team, we came up with four questions that helped us connect with a few Classy organizations. Read on for the thought-provoking questions, as well as responses from people who work at nonprofits just like yours.

What Is Your Favorite Thing About Working at a Nonprofit? 

bike & build nonprofit
Bike & Build

Bike & Build
“Working alongside coworkers who are equally passionate about our mission.”

Dear Jack Foundation
“The opportunity to create change through collaboration, fostering new ideas, and working directly with our amazing community of program participants and donors.”

World of Children
“We have the unique opportunity to meet and work with some of the top humanitarians from around the world who have dedicated their lives to address the most pressing issues facing children today. These individuals are real-life heroes, and it is my honor to share their stories with the world.”

The Pablove Foundation
“The sense of shared purpose that exists between Pablove staff, our volunteers, our donors, our community partners, and the families that we serve. Many of the people we work with have been personally affected by pediatric cancer, and it is evident when you walk into our office that this is a cause worthy of our best collective efforts. To see the impact made by our grantmaking and Shutterbugs programming in the lives of children living with cancer is a uniquely rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

Pablove Foundation Shutterbugs
The Pablove Foundation

What Accomplishment or Moment Are You Most Proud of From This Past Year?

YouthLink
“Being able to engage the community around an immediate need during the polar vortex in early January. We created a crowdfunding campaign to help us raise funds for the extended hours during the polar vortex and were able to raise $70,000 in a matter of 10 days.” 

Operation Broken Silence
“Breaking ground on our high school in Yida Refugee Camp was an exciting moment. This project had been in the pipeline for almost two years! It is only the second high school in a refugee camp that has over 25,000 children in it. Knowing that the school will meet one of the biggest educational needs in Yida is pretty awesome.” 

home of guiding hands
Home of Guiding Hands

Home of Guiding Hands
“We had our most successful Gala to date, raising more than $180,000.”

First Descents
“I don’t have one moment, but every time I’ve gotten to witness one of our participants—who was previously put into the “cancer person” box by others—absolutely shatter their perceived limitations and barriers makes me so, so proud. Our participants have been told a lot of things throughout their diagnosis and treatment, so to see them grow into badass adventurers is pretty special. Nothing beats an exhausted smile at the top of a hard climb or a bewildered grin after surviving class 3 whitewater.”

Outreach360
“Every moment of every day we are proud of our students! The children in our Learning Centers in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic are so incredibly special, bright, sweet, and curious. They have amazing futures ahead of them and it is a privilege for us to play a part in their journey.” 

World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, Inc.
“Seeing an impoverished community school in Africa achieve levels of success not previously accomplished prior to our partnership. This means the future for one of the poorest communities in Zambia is getting brighter each day!” 

Water4
“This year, our partners surpassed 5,000 in the number of water projects completed since Water4 started in 2008, impacting over 1.2 million people.”

What’s One Thing About Your Nonprofit (or Mission) You Wish More People Knew? 

operation broken silence
Operation Broken Silence

Operation Broken Silence
“Sudan is often presented as a hopeless place where nothing can change. That just isn’t true. We see small-scale, positive changes every day in Sudan. It’s only a matter of time until that boils up into the big, systemic changes the Sudanese people are seeking.” 

Dear Jack Foundation
“Treatment and long term health outcomes for the adolescent and young adult cancer population lags behind all other demographics of cancer by over 30 years. Young adults are at a unique stage in their emotional, cognitive, and social development, which cancer often disrupts.

The attempts by these young adults to establish independence from their parents, to complete school, to enter the workforce with their desired career, to find a life partner, and to raise a family often are temporarily, or sometimes permanently, derailed. This oftentimes leading to feelings of isolation and depression. The need for quality of life programs like Dear Jack offers for the adolescents and young adult (AYA) demographic is crucial to the success of long term health outcomes.”  

Degage Ministries
“We are more than just a shelter. We help people with ID’s, offer bus passes for jobs and appointments, offer haircuts, showers, phone and laundry services, and much more.” 

Bike & Build
“Our mission is more than just engaging people through bike rides that benefit affordable housing. Our trips are life-changing experiences for young adults who leave their trips not only with a new family of fellow riders, but newfound confidence in their abilities, and the desire to continue to be engaged and make a difference in their communities.”

Outreach360 Nonprofit
Outreach360

Outreach360
“Outreach360 takes sustainability very seriously. We are constantly looking at how we can involve more community members and benefactors in delivering our mission so that one day our programs are entirely run at a local level.”

Water4
“The average person who hears about Water4 often thinks our mission is to simply drill wells and give away water to communities. I wish more people dug deeper to see how Water4 is reimagining the role charity plays in the solution to the water crisis by partnering with local entrepreneurs who use donated capital to operate locally-owned water service businesses sustained by local people paying affordable prices for safe water. We’re committed to sustainability by working with local people to solve local problems with local resources.”

The Pablove Foundation
“Pediatric cancer is a tough subject to deal with on a daily basis. So many of our families are placed on a cancer journey with no warning or guidance. Providing kids with an outlet to develop their creative voices during their treatment is crucial.

For these reasons, The Pablove Foundation has served nearly 1,500 of our Shutterbugs with transformative arts experiences while awarding $2.8 million to daring investigators through our Powered by Pablove seed grants. It’s what we call fighting childhood cancer with love.” 

How Do You Show Appreciation to Your Nonprofit Community (Donors, Fundraisers, Volunteers, Employees)?

Operation Broken Silence
“We show appreciation to all of our supporters, but my personal favorite is how we show appreciation to our monthly recurring donor family called The Renewal. They each get an exclusive membership pin to wear to our events, free event tickets, and special behind-the-scenes and early updates from our staff. They’re at the heart of our support base, so it’s really cool that they get to be closer to the heart of our mission as well.” 

YouthLink Nonprofit
YouthLink

YouthLink
“We love to interact with our supporters. We send letters, organize events and use social media to show and express our appreciation for the kindness and generosity of people in our community.”

Outreach360
“We have 10 guiding Volunteer Principles at Outreach360 and the number one principle is, “Acknowledge Yourself.” We love acknowledging our donors, fundraisers, volunteers, and employees in a myriad of ways. One thing we’re really big on, though, are thank you cards! Sitting down to handwrite a note is always a worthwhile activity.”

World of Children
“We love to provide our donors and supporters with the opportunity to meet our Honorees in person. Before each of our Awards Ceremonies, we offer pre-event meet-and-greet events where guests can speak one-on-one with our Honorees, congratulate them and really have the chance to interact with them on a more personal level.

This is something that resonates with our attendees and offers donors the chance to put a face to the name of each of our Honorees who have traveled from all parts of the world. In addition, when we are able to, we offer donors the chance to join our co-founders on Honoree trips where we travel to the destination of their organization to see their high-impact program in action.” 

Rooted Conferences
“There is nothing more beneficial than allowing others to see how their contributions are affecting the lives of those they give and serve. We do this by sending out e-mailed updates of what is going on, videos and pictures from the conference, and updating our website with current events.”

Rooted Conferences Nonprofit
Rooted Conferences

Today we want to pause and say thank you to you. You are a part of a community of nonprofit professionals, supporters, and donors, who are dedicated to making a positive impact on the world. Despite working at organizations of different sizes with varying resources, marching towards different goals, the nonprofit sector is working towards a united goal: changing the world for good. 

For more insights on the people behind social change, check out our recent report, World-Changing Work: The Modern Nonprofit Professional’s Experience. This report examines the perspectives of nonprofit professionals on their current challenges, observations, and hopes for the future within the modern nonprofit landscape.

Download: World-Changing Work—The Modern Nonprofit Professional’s Experience


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