You Mean to Say Working for a Non-Profit Isn’t Glamorous?

You Mean to Say Working for a Non-Profit Isn’t Glamorous?

By: Kylene Bugden
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On my very first day of working at the Surrey Christmas Bureau, my supervisor said to me, “This job is a lot of grunt work, but it is also a lot of grin work”. In other words, when working with a non-profit organization, there are a lot of tasks you will undertake that may not be glamorous. However, knowing that your hard work will produce a significant difference in someone’s life makes it all worth it.

Let me explain. Moving into a space that is about 1/5 of the size the previous office in 30 degree weather with no elevator? Grunt work. Making sure all of the bills and cheques are mailed (yes mailed!) on time and signed by the correct board members who do not actually work in the same office? Grunt work. Dealing with the look of annoyance from the bank teller when I handed her a bag with $100 worth of unrolled quarters? Grunt work. Having your vehicle stuffed to the brim with displays, prizes and games for community events that happen almost every weekend? Grunt work. Yes, that is a children’s swimming pool and a wooden Christmas tree in my backseat. How about checking for errors in an Excel spreadsheet with over three thousand entries? You guessed it – grunt work. Apparently, you can actually go a bit cross-eyed from staring at Excel for long periods of time!

On the other hand, seeing the result of all of that grunt work ties directly into what my supervisor meant about grin work. Being able to stand back and see the new office set up and in working order? A very visual representation of the hard work put in to ensure that our volunteers, the backbone of our organization, will feel comfortable in the office: grin worthy. That $100 in quarters, all from donations made from community members because they support the difference we strive to achieve? Extremely grin worthy. All of those items in my car forming our booth at community events where a mom and her young son approach me to say, “Your organization has helped my son and I in ways you would never imagine. How can I sign up to become a volunteer?” That produces the type of grin that sends shivers down your spine reminding you that everything you do is truly bettering the lives of other people.

Working for a non-profit is far from glamorous; I will be the first to attest to that. Our office may not have the resources or luxuries that many others have. But, being able to see the direct impact your work has made in the life of another human being is an experience that cannot be measured by glamour. It is the type of work that puts a permanent smile across your face and reinforces the fact that you really are making a difference in the world. 

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Posted on October 29, 2015