Nonprofit Resilience

OpEd by Marnie Taylor, President and CEO

The word “resilience” is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficult situations.” Sir Winston Churchill might have used the word “toughness” to be synonymous with “resilience.” Whether bouncing back from an illness, a trauma, an adverse experience or another issue in our lives, human beings are built to be resilient.

However, that natural resilience only gets us so far. We also need the supports from our friends and family, peers, professionals and experts. We are living in challenging times, and nonprofits are no different from people with regard to needing to tap into their “resilience reserves.” Philanthropy is finite as the needs become greater. Resources can seem scarce. Volunteers and staff experts are stretched to their own limits. We are faced with challenges from some policies that make it harder to raise money or receive fees for our services. Nonprofit work is tough.

Nonprofits are tougher.

Year after year, we hear of these challenges, and yet, the charitable sector – philanthropists and donors, nonprofits, staff members and volunteers – step up and face those challenges head on. Nonprofits are showing their own resilience in tough times. And like people, nonprofits also need supports from their friends, family, peers, professionals and experts.

Support comes through philanthropy and advocacy. Support comes through advice. Support also comes through professional development and coaching, consulting or an expert on the other end of the phone with some sage wisdom.

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits has been there to help our charitable sector become more and more resilient year after year since 1981. Our founder, Pat Potts, had a vision about the charitable sector and how important it was to Oklahoma and our citizens. We have all been blessed by the work of a nonprofit – whether we needed a food bank to nourish our bodies or an episode of Mr. Rogers to nourish our souls.

This month, on Oct. 11, we will celebrate nonprofit resilience at our annual members meeting in Tulsa. There, Devon Douglass, the city’s Chief Resilience Officer, will discuss how Tulsa is becoming more resilient and helping build more resilient citizens. There, we can share the work of nonprofits in those initiatives and celebrate another year of hard work that enriches lives, changes lives and saves lives.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Sir Winston Churchill

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