Running a Nonprofit is Hard

I always wanted to be a record producer.  I was gonna live in a high-rise in Manhattan, wear cool hats, and meet rock stars.  I was gonna mix masterpieces and turn small-town bands into legends!  That was my calling.  Or so I thought. 

Turns out, as you might remember, I was pretty perfectly crafted to be an educator instead.  Although wild in its own right, teaching was quite a far cry from the wildness of the music industry. 

Educating led me to social working which led me to here – running a nonprofit.  And running a nonprofit is hard.


Don’t misread me.  I love Stand Up Eight.  I love adoption.  I love giving my blood, sweat, and tears to adoptive families.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy-cheesy. 

On any given day, I can be found feeling confused, lonely, elated, stupid, exhausted, hopeless, hopeful, grumpy, happy, sleepy, bashful, sneezy, dopey…wait, now I’m just listing the Seven Dwarfs.  You get my point…it’s an emotional mess. 

You might relate because running a nonprofit isn’t entirely unique in the feelings it drums up, but the weight of who’s counting on us to get it right is staggering most days.

I did lots of learnin’ back in college, but I never took a class about how to start (and keep) a nonprofit that will make a difference in the world, and many times, I’m overwhelmed by the number of families who need us, the size of the budget needed to stay afloat, the setbacks, the failures, just to name a few.

But what makes the messiness worth it is seeing kiddos who used to be scared, watchful, and aggressive grow into courageous, calm, and happy members of their forever families. 

And the warm and fuzzy feelings I get when their moms and dads grow in similar ways?  It’s unmatched. 

So even though the ins and outs of the nonprofit daily grind are mostly challenging and topsy-turvy, the successes and the smiles make it a hoot. 

Now, instead of living in Manhattan, I live in the ‘burbs.  And the only hats I wear cover a range of jobs from gofer to janitor to CFO and CEO.

And I guess I won’t ever meet rock stars, but I do indeed get to meet another sort of living legend, the rock stars of the adoption world – the kids and the parents who adopted them.  Robert Plant himself would be honored to know them. 

I am too.  So, while running a nonprofit is hard, it’s way cooler than making records any day.

Jen Reichert