When you talk to a lot of people in nonprofit industries, you realize there’s a sincerity to what they talk about.
Maureen Noe of Heart of West Michigan’s United Way is no different.
It’s certainly not a money-driven industry, so that passion has to be there.
“I always knew helping people would be part of my life,” Noe said. “I began working with people one on one, but I realized my strong suit was at the macro level.”
She’s now been in the nonprofit biz for 26 years, 19 for the United Way – and two in her current position.
The United Way, she said, is a an organization that looks at systems and how to help them connect and work better.
That inter-connectivity is how she views the world, and it’s a crazy thought when you start to think about it. It makes society work, and makes sure people do their own thing and prevents too much competition. But at the macro level, it makes sure the world is working.
The United Way works with two groups, those who aren’t dealing with social issues – the helpers. They chat with them about how to help, whether its money, time or advocacy.
The other side, are the organizations (United Way works with about 60) that require the help. Looking at what needs help and what’s missing.
She said a lot of people contribute, even if in need themselves.
“A lot of people have been touched by hardships,” she said. “Or they feel lucky they haven’t so they give back.”
If you don’t have money, give time, she said. No time, give money or advocacy.
Being an advocate is easy, too. Just be informed on issues that are important to you, and tell your friends, or write your local representatives.
If you’re hanging out with friends and don’t what to do. Skip the movies and help out at an organization. You’ll save money and feel good while having fun with your friends. (My employer Gemini Publications did this for our holiday party at Kids Food Basket.)
Noe said there is a surge in giving around the holidays, but they’re working on making it steady through the year.
She noted a few causes that could use help, but said it’s more of a personal preference and the skills you can offer – which are unlimited!
But the major thing to do is, connect the dots. It’s the inter connectivity that a lot of the conversations have hinted at. From Mike Hughes and help come full circle to the Mayor‘s sustainability, being connected is better for the world than trying to do things on you’re own.