July 07, 2022

POV: Biting Back

By Jill Bennett

In an already complicated and challenging world, our work just became more demanding and complex. We are beyond familiar with the details.

Changes in federal law regarding abortion, clean air, protection for people immigrating to the United States, and state power over tribal lands only added to the all too real and unimaginable hot messes brought by the pandemic. Inflation, staffing changes, supply chain failures, and changes in donor behavior leave us scrambling to keep pace with the increasing demand for our services. Place all of this in front of a backdrop of what Senator Mitt Romney calls a “war for our democracy” and it leaves us in the unreal reality we call 2022. 

You know all this. Reality bites. 

The question becomes, what are we going to do about it? 

My team (Katie, Alison, and Brandy) and I spend our days trying to find ways to buffer the realities in front of you. We look for grants, cost savings, training, and any other resources that might make your work just a bit easier and then we craft messages that we hope will fight through the clutter and find their way to your tool kit. We know that you and your team spend your days dismantling what must feel like a seemingly endless onslaught of obstacles that thwart your progress. And you keep at it because that is what it means to have character and grit. 

But we need something better. And that something better is a community. 

One of my favorite books as a child was Horton Hears a Who!. Today, I see it as an allegory for nonprofits and a call for civic engagement. In Horton Hears a Who!, it takes every Who in Whoville to speak up to protect the community. Everyone. In concert.  

What if your team joined with our team and we invited all those other nonprofit teams to unite with us to create something important, real, meaningful, and powerful— a nonprofit community? A community that provides shelter, solace, joy, inspiration, nourishment for bodies and souls, shelters the unsheltered, and speaks for those of us who have been silenced. A community of more than 10,000 nonprofits that employ over 124K people, earn more than $19 billion in revenue each year and have assets of $38 billion. I have some ideas—and I imagine that you might have some notions about what union looks like. This is the beginning of an idea that might become a concept that could change the world. Okay, “world,” that’s a bit hyperbolic—make that our community of nonprofits and the state we love. Here’s a start to the conversation. 

Be a part of our community. Join us for Nonprofit Receptions in Springville on July 20, in Ogden on August 18, in Salt Lake City on September 20, and in Logan on October 4 where you can help us shape our community. (And have some fun, too. We are not bores, after all.)  Register for the UNA Credential in Volunteer Management beginning on July 27 to finetune your volunteer crew and enfold them into your organization and the community of nonprofits. Stay tuned as we share more ways to build a resilient, supportive network of nonprofits. 

Yes. Reality bites. But we can bite back. 


Each month, I’ll be sharing some images of people, places, and things that have meaning for me.   

Favorite Dog of the Month 
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This month, my favorite dog is Vito. This 55-pound pile of pup who only wants you to love him and throw the occasional ball will smile at you when he meets you. (It's hard to snap a picture of that in action, though.)

Favorite Photo of the Month 
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Here's my favorite picture of the month, snapped on Highway 12, somewhere between Boulder, Utah and Escalante, Utah.