Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lessons from the Nonprofit Sector

By Chris Dell'Amore
Colgate University

Expanding on what Ana said, I, Chris Dell’Amore, was also part of this opportunity to spend my spring break examining the non-profit sector in Washington. Being a sophomore at a liberal arts school you can’t blame me for not knowing what I want to do with my life. I’m an economics and Spanish double major looking to go into the field of finance once I graduate, but to be frank credit swapping and derivative trading aren’t exactly on my mind all the time at this point in my life.

However, this trip to D.C. was eye-opening to me because learning about the importance of mission statements in NGOs provided me with practical advice that I will follow throughout the course of my career. I will adhere to my own personal mission statement. That’s when it hit me, our lives are very similar to NPOs. The further you stray from your mission statement, the more convoluted and unsatisfactory your life becomes. Over time, mission statements can be refined to incorporate more purposes or to intensify their purposes, but completely going astray from the values that you hold dear can only lead to an unceasing feeling of emptiness and unhappiness.

Like non-profits need funding and support, so do we. Convincing and pleading people to support your cause results in you having the means and funds to pursue your cause. In a person’s life, a sponsor is a support system which allows you to pursue whatever goals you have in mind. Various people such as, parents, friends, family or co-workers are essential in providing you with the inspiration and motivation to pursue anything that your heart desires.

So, this is what I took away from my trip to Washington. Pursue whatever makes you happy because should you do something that you’re not interested in, you aren’t going to be as successful due to a lack of motivation and sense of gratification. Relying on people that you respect and love helps you actively pursue any of your goals, because by relying on people that have your best interests in mind, your odds of succeeding in any endeavor you participate in drastically increase. Going to Washington with hopes of learning about an entirely new sector that I had little knowledge on, I came away with much more. Not only did I get a comprehensive look at the non-profit sector, I left Washington with life lessons that I will abide by for the rest of my life.

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