In Sickness and in Health: A Challenge from Caitlin, President of Angel Oak Creative
“In sickness and in health.” What a beautiful (and powerful) commitment to be present for those we care about during both the challenging times and the good.
In relationships, it’s certainly easier to show up during times of health. The stakes aren’t as high, the weight isn’t as heavy and – well – things are just good. But it can be so much harder to show up during the tough times. And, though I’ve had the privilege of witnessing many family and friends stick through the worst of times, caretaking is hard and takes its toll. When laughter turns to tears and hope declines, sometimes we just want to step away from the day-to-day stress of it all.
But what strikes me is that we see almost the opposite impulse when it comes to nonprofits and their financial caretakers. During a crisis, people show up for nonprofits more consistently than they do when times are good. Take the current COVID-19 pandemic for example (or 9/11, or hurricanes and other natural disasters). History proves time and again that we give more abundantly and generously when the need is urgent and dramatic.
Maybe it’s because the news gets flooded with stories of need and our senses are heightened. Maybe it’s because we’re hurting too, so we awaken to the pain of others. Or maybe it’s because we’re inspired by the nonprofit heroes on the frontlines who show up every day. No matter the reason, giving is a positive and welcome response.
But should we only support our nonprofits when there’s a crisis?
A Charge to our Community
Fortunately, my role as president of a marketing firm that serves only nonprofits keeps me closely connected to the nonprofit community. And whether in times of sickness or in health, I’m reminded on a daily basis that the nonprofit sector meets critical needs in our community like food insecurity, affordable housing, quality education, addiction recovery, emotional/spiritual support and employment security to name a few. They don’t back down from a challenge – they dive deeper and work harder. The nonprofit sector makes our communities better by setting an example of philanthropy and generosity, doing the work most of us can’t or won’t do, and providing stability and certainty. For many in our community, every day is a crisis. And nonprofits show up.
I’ve been so encouraged by our community’s outpouring of support for local nonprofits during COVID-19. The needs of our most vulnerable have been exponentially increased by this pandemic and where would they (or we) be if we didn’t have a vibrant nonprofit community to wrap its arms around them? But let’s remember that nonprofits will still need us once we turn the corner on this worldwide crisis. They will need our support financially, personally and legislatively.
So, my challenge to you is this. Whether we’re in crisis or not, please continue to be there for the nonprofits who help those in our community experiencing crisis every day.
Because nonprofits will continue to depend on us… in sickness and in health.
– Caitlin Clinard, President and CEO