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Dear Nonprofit Professionals, I'm Upset With You

Dear Nonprofit Professionals,

There is something that's been on my mind that I must share. About two weeks ago, I was viewing an article someone posted on LinkedIn and happened to read the comments. One in particular stood out to me. It was centered around bigotry, ignorance, and complete lack of empathy. This individual also happened to be a service provider in the nonprofit sector serving the exact people they spoke so harshly about. Last week, I witnessed something similar. As a volunteer manager, consultant,and nonprofit professional whose dedicated my life to service professionally and personally, I now have some burning questions to ask you:

  1. As nonprofit professionals should we be held to a higher moral standard due to our mission and the people we serve?
  2. I directly connect my values as a person to my professional work. Is this not the norm? Am I in a dream world?
  3. Are we differentiating our personal brand and opinions from the service we provide? Should we?  

When I see a nonprofit professional, or any professional for that matter spew inaccurate information, ignorant opinions, or writing degrading comments, for me, it lessens their ability to serve clients and customers. I don't want to do business with them, and to be quite honest, I want them to quit their job....okay, or at least receive additional training, SOMETHING. I believe that our ability to empathize and connect with our clients allows us to create effective programs and services that truly assist in accomplishing our mission. But isn't this a duh??

Now mind you, most of us are absolutely amazing, but I have witnessed (firsthand may I add) a divide between empathy and service on several occasions. I know that exists, but is the divide not something to be fixed? Based on comments I've seen, some people don't think so.

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It's clear that transformative service is not just for volunteers, but for nonprofit staff, service providers, entrepreneurs, and business professionals alike. A change in heart and mind of the service provider increases respect and hightened empathy, a necessary tool to bring about lasting change.  

 

 Breauna Dorelus is the Chief Cause Consultant at Connecting the Cause, where she is dedicated to building effective volunteer programs for nonprofits through transformative volunteering strategies. As a service-driven millennial, Breauna has provided various forms of support for every aspect of volunteer programming including orientation and training, program development, volunteer recruitment, and retention. She is a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a degree in International Studies and holds a MPA with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University(’15 Summa Cum Laude).