Surviving the Existential Crisis

I am, my sister wrote to me, “stuck in an existential crisis.” I know exactly what she means.

I wake up each morning, dreading what the news will be.  What fresh indignity.  What calamity or threat to my core beliefs.

And then I have a weekend like this past one, and all seems fantastic.

I don’t usually name my clients in this blog, but I am going to do that here.

On Friday night I went to the first night of Another Ways retreat.  Alas (though more of why that should really be a hurrah later) I had another commitment on Saturday and so could not stay for that day’s activities.

Another Way is part of the Inland Regional Center—set up more than 25 years ago by case workers whose clients needed more than the Regional Center could offer. So they took it upon themselves to raise money to help support their “consumers” and provide funds for emergency services.  Services like help with rent, food, medical bills and medical devices. This matters so much to their clients are adults and children with developmental disabilities.  In Another Way’s own words:  "The organization serves as a last resort for IRC clients who live at or below the poverty line, are uninsured or underinsured; and/or are underserved due to: a devastating financial setback; poverty; a chronic illness or deteriorating health; being ineligible for services because of immigration status; or are left without care because an elderly parent or caregiver has died or becomes too frail or ill to care for them. "

I am fortunate to work with a lot of oganizations that do amazing work.  It lifts me up and keep that existential crisis at bay.  What is special about Another Way are the employees of the IRC who donate their time and their resources.  On Friday night, those employees got to introduce themselves and tell why they are members of Another Way.  And to hear their passion and commitment to the work they do reminded me of how extraordinary the nonprofit sector is.

Then on Saturday, I spent the day with members of the 49th class of the Riordan Leadership Institute, part of the LA Chambers Leadership Network.  This nine-month fellowship consists of early­ to mid-­career professionals who are committed to creating a lifelong community engagement and leadership through service on nonprofit boards.

Being able to engage with this incredible group of men and women who are the future gave me such hope and happiness.  For many nonprofits, the most difficult task is finding committed board members.  Members who understand their roles and responsibilities and take those very seriously.

The organizations that get the graduates of RLI are lucky indeed.

As a nonprofit consultant who works primarily with small nonprofits, I have my share of frustration.  Too often my clients are too caught up in the day to day crises that define their jobs to move forward on the reasons I was hired in the first place.  They cancel meetings, don't follow through, and go into radio silence mode more often than I would wish.  But then, almost every day, I get to work with groups like Another Way and interact with people who like the participants in RLI take their commitment to the nonprofit sector very seriously and I know that what I and they hold dear will not just survive but thrive.

Janet Levine is a very lucky woman who gets to help nonprofits go from mired to inspired and learn how to increase fundraising capacity and build stronger boards.  Learn more at  Contact Janet for a free, 30-minute consultation and see how together you can move your nonprofit to a higher plane.