In summer 2018, I had the privilege of working for Pepperdine as the assistant director for an international program in which 25 students spent a month living and serving with the Mission at Natuvu Creek in Fiji. If you scroll through the photos below, if it looks like we played a lot of volleyball, it's because we did. If it looks like everywhere you looked was an idyllic island scene, that's because it was. But you'll also see images of work, human connection, learning, studying, worship, beauty, laughter, and helping out any way we could. Check out Pepperdine's international program website for more information about Pepperdine's summer international programs, including Fiji >>
On a beautiful weekday morning, I met Jenna & Ryan, founders of Pure Trade Projects, and models Abby & Cameron in the Malibu Bluffs parking lot. They had a bag full of beautiful handmade beanies and hands full of coffee.
^^ Check out these photos in action on Pure Trade Project's website.
Ventura County Military Collaborative is a nonprofit organization that serves active duty and veteran service members in Ventura County. They offer resources, networking opportunities, advising, legal council, relief and even annual community events to the men and women who serve our country.
6. They have a why.
Nonprofit organizations may not have much money and their personnel may be stretched thin, but what nonprofits lack in resources, they make up for in why. What do I mean by that? Everyone who works for a nonprofit organization knows exactly why he or she is there and exactly why the nonprofit exists. Hint: it's not about the money.
5. I'm not scared of boards.
Nonprofits are run by boards and I ain't skeered. I'll just lay down the ground rules early that though the board has many heads, I primarily work with one or two representatives as a liaison between myself and the board. This system seems to work splendidly.
4. They're g r a t e f u l.
Nonprofits usually can't pay much. I usually wind up doing more work than I initially expected for less money than I should be charging, but I am a classic artist. And we classic artists are very simple folk, really. We do what we do for one thing: appreciation. It doesn't need to be public. It just needs to be genuine. When I complete a professional-grade project for a nonprofit organization that has never been able to afford professional-grade work, the emails, phone calls, and messages of gratitude I receive more than make up the deficit in income.
3. They're usually run by faithful, or at least spiritually solid human beings.
It takes perspective & idealism to work for a nonprofit for very long. Such traits are usually (but not always!) found in religious types. I'm a religious type too. So when we start talking about passion, calling, redemption, and good news, you're speaking my language.
Even if you're not a person of faith... if you work with a nonprofit, you believe in something. And if you believe in something, we have much in common.
2. They have passion.
Ask any nonprofit worker what they or their organization does and you will quickly—and I mean within the first 30 seconds—hear the word passion. Nonprofit organizations are passionate about doing something: righting a wrong, helping a people group, correcting an injustice, providing a solution. Nonprofit people are motivated by their passion. That is awesome to me.
1. I'm a nonprofit girl to the core.
I've been volunteering with nonprofit organizations since high school and helping run them since I was 20. I believe in nonprofit organizations. I believe they are doing, in the words of John Wesley, "...all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
If you run, work with, volunteer, or believe in a nonprofit organization but don't think you can afford me, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Because there's a giant space in my heart for the things you care about.
Here's a list of the nonprofit organizations I've worked with over the years:
Made in the Streets
Nonprofit Leadership Collaborative
Malibu Community Labor Exchange
Mission to the World
Rock it 2 the Core
University Church of Christ
Since 1993, the Malibu Community Labor Exchange (MCLE) has been changing lives in Malibu, CA. The MCLE's website had grown stale and was difficult to update. They wanted a new site that had a strong color scheme, clear organization of pages, and had something to offer their 3 target audiences: potential workers, potential hirers, and people who just want to help.
The new site, with its sliding banners, clear call-to-action buttons on the home page, and simplified top navigation achieved all these goals.
Additionally, this website will serve as a useful tool for collecting feedback about MCLE services from clients once the job is done. Click over to www.malibucommunitylaborexchange.org to see for yourself or click through the images below.
I spent last weekend in Tijuana, Mexico with a light hearted crowd of college students and Malibu folks. We partnered with Amor Ministries on building a house for a family in need. The sky was unforgettable and the rain was impressive. Unsurprisingly, I spent the majority of my time playing with shutter speed and rainwater running off a roof into a puddle (scroll down).
More pictures/info about the house build trip here.
I live in Malibu, Calif.,