Though this summer is not my first experience working with a nonprofit, working with ProsperUS Detroit has exposed me to how unique nonprofit work is. The expression “it takes a village” comes to mind when thinking about my new understanding and appreciation of nonprofit work. Though different nonprofits are structured and operate differently, ProsperUS has shown me that one main aspect that makes nonprofit work so special, and that really makes the nonprofit work, are the people. For nonprofits to operate, do the good that they do, and make the change they strive for, they need a supportive, dynamic, passionate and engaged team to work together. They need a “village” to carry out their mission. And that is exactly what ProsperUS Detroit has. ProsperUS is made up of selfless, passionate, hardworking and ardent individuals that truly care about their work, their mission, and one another. And their individual passion inspires others to want to help achieve their mission. Those who work for nonprofits are willing to give it their all, in whatever capacity is necessary. The individuals that work at these nonprofits work together, take on roles they did not necessarily expect to, and give 100% of themselves to serve their communities.
One thing that I had never focused on before and was surprised to learn is how influenced nonprofits are by corporate America. They need investors, loans, and others to share their mission to get things done. I did not realize how important connection building and partnerships are. And while i knew funding was important, I never really focused on how important it was to the decisions and achievement of particular goals of a nonprofit. If the funding sources do not share a vision, the nonprofit may not be able to pursue that particular vision and goal. It was also very enlightening to learn about the extent of nonprofits working together, and working with community partners, and even larger corporate banks and companies that can offer immense support with resources including human capital and grants.
I have learned so much about nonprofit work this summer and look forward to learning even more in my last few weeks this summer.