Slowly but surely, my inbox is starting to fill up with fundraising requests from dozens of non-profits, and not just from those working directly to alleviate the pain and suffering from the COVID-19 crisis. I bet yours are, too.
I totally understand the need to ask for money. As the Executive Director of Beyond Differences, I look at our bank balance every day and think about how to stay afloat and not furlough or terminate any of my staff.
So far so good!
I am proud to say that Beyond Differences, thanks to your past generosity and some pretty good budgeting and managing on our parts, have allowed us to keep our present staff in place and – as importantly – keep innovating new ways to address ending social isolation by inspiring student leaders to take action.
Did you know that there are 110,547 nonprofits in California? According to a recent opinion piece, which appeared last week in the Marin Independent Journal written by Linda Jacobs, CEO of the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, a 2019 report issued by Causes Count states that
"the nonprofit sector generates $273.7 billion in annual revenue. One in every 14 California jobs is at a nonprofit accounting for seven percent of all employment. Nonprofits rank third-largest by wages among key industries and the fourth largest by number of jobs, more than finance and insurance, wholesale trade or construction.
The majority of nonprofits have budgets of less than $50,000."
I was caught off-guard by that fact, knowing how hard it is to stay afloat. And I thought we were small.
Beyond Differences'' annual operating budget is only $1.4M—if we stand on our tippy-toes. Our fiscal year will be winding to a close on June 30, 2020, so we, like other non-profits, have prepared for different scenarios.
In the meantime, here''s what we are doing to stay aligned with our ever-increasingly important mission to end social isolation through inspiring student leadership:
We''re moving all our teachers'' curriculum onto video platforms with our high school Teen Board leaders recording themselves teaching the lesson plans for teachers to use online if they choose. Students inspiring students, especially older to younger ones.
We''re partnering with for-profits and non-profits around the country to create a student-led forum for teens to virtually meet with other teens and share their experiences and offer support to one another during the shelter-in-place order. What''s been missing amidst all the good advice is the student''s voice. Beyond Differences are experts in promoting student voice.
We''re creating bite-sized pieces of curriculum for teachers to use all across the country, especially as our last national awareness day of the school year, Be Kind Online, is being celebrated on Friday, May 15.
We''re publishing "Tips for Teens, Parents, and Teachers" on how to foster connection while being socially isolated. They are all available on our website.
And as important, we are worrying about the emotional needs of our children when they return to school in the fall having been uniformly socially isolated from one another!
Our staff has so much talent and – regardless of how small we are – Beyond Differences always thinks big.
We will continue to innovate, create and publish for free all the resources we have developed in alignment with our mission to end social isolation.
Please keep connected to us and we promise to share just enough, but not too much, information about what we''re doing to stay afloat and not become a statistic of another non-profit that didn''t make it.
We are strong, thanks to your support. Please let me know if you have any questions about our current situation and please be generous when we do ask. But not yet.
I am also wishing you and your family a happy holiday weekend whether you celebrate Passover or Easter!
Co-Founder & Executive Director
P.S. Just this week The 74, a non-profit news site, interviewed one of our teen board members, Alex Paloglou, about our increased dependence on social media. You can read more here Being Kind Online Takes On New Urgency as Socially Isolated Kids and Teens Find It''s Their Only Destination.