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Ten Things I LOVE About My Job (Part 3)

June 1st, 2010

Here are three more things I love about my job as Executive Director of United Church Outreach Ministry (UCOM) in Wyoming MI.

6. People. UCOM’s donors are a rare treat. As might be expected there are a few large donors, about 20 people in the $5,000 and over category. These are exceptional people with a real heart for this ministry. They give without strings attached. Believing in the governing and staff leadership of the organization, most of our largest givers donate to the general fund. When there are strictures on the use of the funds, it is always for the good of the organization. Some people give for the endowment fund to strengthen UCOM’s sustainability for as long as we are needed in the community. Others give to a specific program in which they really believe. This is usually one of our systemic change programs like Spanish-language financial skills classes or one of our restorative justice programs or Homework House, a tutoring mentoring program for hundreds of public school students. I can honestly say that I have never received a donation on behalf of UCOM for which anyone has had any “control” expectations. Gifts to this organization are really donations!
There are hundreds of more people who give under $5,000 a year. One dear couple who volunteered for UCOM for 40 years—before it was incorporated as UCOM—reminded me when I saw them at the retirement center where they now live that they need new donation envelopes for their monthly offering to help with the work. Many people give $10 or $25 a month, and these people know that their gifts taken together keep UCOM supplying the quality service that people with low-income in our community deserve. There are no big or small donors at UCOM. Everyone knows that we are all in this together.

7. People. The leaders of UCOM’s support pantries are among my favorite people. They continually spend time brainstorming and in some cases praying for guidance and asking for direction on ways they can improve their service to the community. Five churches currently maintain personal hygiene pantries to which UCOM can refer hundreds of clients every month for these important items that cannot be purchased with food stamps. One church provides a baby pantry that gives away 4,000 diapers a month in addition to all kinds of baby supplies and even children’s books. Others deliver food to those who call UCOM, but cannot visit our pantry because of disabilities. One support pantry provides home repair and maintenance once a year with 200 people landscaping, replacing roofs, windows and doors, painting and remodeling for people, many of whom UCOM recommends. Without these visionary, resourceful and sweaty workers many people in our community would not be able to enjoy a quality standard of living. Cheers to the workers and planners who make these things happen. They make this job a constant source of joy!

8. People. All the moral supporters who “like” us on FaceBook, follow my tweets on twitter, visit the website, comment on our blogs, tell their families and friends about the work we do and generally give out the attaboys (and girls) that we need to keep motivated to the mission are a special gift to make this job my dream job. Do I need approval? Oh, yeah, and these folks give it to me in spades. They also give me great feedback, critiques of my ideas, evaluations, and reality checks. Generally these are given gently, and I seldom doubt the goodwill of these advisors.

There are two more things I love about my job. They will have to wait until the next blog. In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment about the great people that make UCOM work, or just tell me about what you love (or hate) about your job. We can all learn from the exchanges how to make our workplaces better.

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