Looking Inward at your Non-profit: Goals not Resolutions

I know it’s a little fickle for some people to think of how your organization needs to change at this time of year, or that resolutions seem like a flimsy transition into the new year.

I sort of agree, only changing and evaluating your organization at the end of the year is wasted opportunity and leaves minimal room for flexibility. I do think, however, that using this time to look back on what was accomplished (and what wasn’t) and how you want to grow and expand can be valuable.

Think of this time to create goals, not resolutions. To me resolutions seemed fixed and tend to focus on the negatives. Shaping goals into positives creates a better atmosphere for your non-profit. Stating that your organization needs to meet the fundraising quota next year with the implication being that you failed this year can create desperation and sloppy work. Instead, set a goal for a certain fundraising quota, including new ways to achieve it. While resolutions for an organization can see colossal or vague, goals are tangible and specific.

It’s important to remember the mistakes of the past but not to dwell on them. This year impacts how you move forward, but it shouldn’t constrain where you move from here. The most effective goals are the ones that are flexible and acknowledge what you’ve learned while focusing on the future.

Moving your organization forward with goals makes it adaptable to the unforeseen future and creates an infinite amount of opportunities to define success for your nonprofit.

You Probably Thought Me Coming Out Was About You

After dipping into a part of my coming out narrative last week I started thinking about all of the times I had to come out to friends, family, and co-workers and how they have reacted.

I’ve realized a long time ago that whomever you are coming out to tends to make it about them, but under further review I realized that every straight person I’ve come out to has gone through virtually the same process in reacting and dealing with the my gayness.
The process, in my opinion, is absolutely hilarious.
Step 1 – How does this make them feel?
Coming out has really never been about me, which by itself could be its own blog post. I tend to get “Oh I knew” or ” Why didn’t you tell me sooner, you didn’t trust me? “I’m totally okay with it”.
Well… yes I figured you are a decent human being and you won’t completely reject who I am. As far as the trust “issue” I also find that extremely entertaining. Straight people have no idea what it’s like to be afraid of that kind of hate and rejection… but yes it’sdefinitely all about you.
Step 2 – They are totally accepting of the LGBT community
I’ve only had a few bad coming out experiences, so I’m not even going to touch on those experiences. After they get over the shock of me coming out and telling me that they don’t suck as human beings,I get showered with pro-LGBT centered articles. “I saw that New Jersey got marriage equality, isn’t that great?” ” Did you see the article on Huffington Post about that gay House representative?”
I really do appreciate them sharing all of this information with me, but especially when it’s my family sharing, I have usually read the article two weeks before someone emails it to me. I would much rather get emails about Doctor Who news, I’m not so quick on that.
Step 3 – Proceed to show me how open minded they are by specifically talking about my love life / girlfriend.
This step specifically applies to my extended family and general acquaintances. Anyone who knows me really well knows that I don’t want to be specifically catered to because of my sexuality. I get told to make sure I bring my girlfriend, when none of my siblings or cousins my age have that reiterated to them. I’m not offended by it, but making my relationship a special snowflake compared to the rest of them doesn’t actually show acceptance.
I do understand I’m dealing with cultural and generational differences when I’m coming out and navigating through my family. I certainly know that most of them are trying their best since I’m the first openly out person on either side of my family.
I know I need to patient with their processes, but it the meantime, I’m just going to laugh at how ridiculous my family is.

Always Room for Improvement, Always Room to Grow

It’s hard to deal with people who don’t agree with you, who are narrow-minded and are shallow. Who don’t believe in the causes you believe in, and think who you are is a sin. These people are easy to write off as hopeless with no chance of redemption and beyond saving.

Most of the time I would agree with you. I normally don’t have the time nor the energy to spend on ignorant and bigoted people. I can’t shout at the world for not thinking my organization’s mission isn’t important. I don’t have the courage to correct every homophobic comment I hear. It’s not my job to correct people, and most people don’t want to be corrected.

But, there are always those people who can surprise you. People who you never would expect to grow learn expanding their view of the world.

No one was ever outwardly homophobic in my family. It was kind of a “hear no evil, see no evil” mentality growing up and going to Catholic elementary school in the 1990s.

There were, however, those little pieces and tidbits I heard growing up that shaped my idea of how my dad thought of gay people and homosexuality in general. The old family joke was that my dad didn’t want my mom to put a rectal thermometer on my brother, who was an infant at the time, because it would make him gay. As a kid that had much more of an impact on my sexual identity than I was even consciously aware of. Deep down every time I heard that story I felt like my dad was someone who not be supportive.

When he converted to Catholicism I think it made that fear even stronger. I didn’t know I was gay at the time, but when my dad was becoming a deacon I became even more anxious over something I wouldn’t let myself understand. I don’t think religion is naturally oppressive, but the brand of Catholicism that was forced upon me in school was hateful and repressive. I was being told in school that gay people didn’t actually exist because “God didn’t make mistakes”. My dad became more and more associated and intertwined with an institution that was hateful.

I didn’t come out to myself until college, and I really didn’t feel like waiting around before coming out, but I was terrified of coming out to my dad. I was shaking and having a full-blown panic attack while coming out to him, which took about an hour to complete.

His reaction? He was hurt that I thought that he would react badly and reject me. I didn’t have the words to describe to him all of the little things that had paralyzed me with fear. At that point his views on marriage equality and gay rights were far from perfect. He wasn’t against any of it, in reality, he really just didn’t understand. After explaining things to him I could see him starting to change for the better.

It certainly wasn’t an overnight process. It’s been almost 6 years since I’ve come out to him. We still have discussions about Catholicism’s views on anything and everything. I love that I get to explain to him the different parts of the gay movement and why it’s important.

He’s learning from me, and he’s open to new ideas. He understands that there isn’t a conflict with being religious and accepting me for who I am.

I’m not saying that everyone is going to change their mind or that they’ll become magically open-minded. Probably most people aren’t worth your time, but that doesn’t mean that you should write off everyone. There are going to be some people who are actually worth being patient with as they grow.

If you asked me ten years ago if I thought that my dad was capable of that much progress and growth I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m so glad I was wrong.