"My Experience Working With a Nonprofit Organization"


Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a happy hour fundraiser for a non-profit organization that I work with, Urban Gateways. I recently joined the Urban Gateways Associate Board in order for me to become more active in Chicago, specifically the arts community. It’s really sad to know that school districts all over the country are cutting out art and music programs from schools. Growing up in a family that had a true love and passion for the arts, it’s sad for me to know that children are no longer able to stimulate their minds creatively. I knew that I wanted to be involved with this some way somehow. 


In March and April of this year, I went on a backpacking trip that lasted almost two months. When I came back from the trip, my perspective about the world had changed. Music, dance and art made the countries that I visited come alive and feel special. They all started to have a unique place in my heart. I was overwhelmed by the continued interest in art in countries like Spain and Portugal that lasted over several decades and was carried down for many generations. This started to make me realize that I needed to become more engaged in the art community in Chicago. I was in search of a way for me to help children become more exposed to art and different mediums that they have never had the opportunity to explore. Additionally, I was looking for fulfillment in areas of my life that I had never made time for until recently. 


One of these was joining a non-profit board. I not only wanted to join, but I also wanted to be an energetic member in the activities and need of the organization. Not only that, but I know that I am a part of a group that really cares about the greater good of society. It is rare that you meet people who are genuinely interested in helping others. When you find people who want to make a difference, the same impact in the community as you, you build incredible bonds that will be unforgettable. 


With non-profit work, I am also allowed to wear multiple hats and work on skills that I have not been able to develop in the workplace. For example, I really want to learn the in and outs of grant writing, proposals, and annual giving development plans. There is no better way for me to learn these things than to work with a non-profit group that utilizes those tools and skills on a daily basis. One of my goals for the next six months to a year is to familiarize myself with the process of obtaining sponsorships and funds for organizations. 


With the short amount of time that I have been with Urban Gateways I have already learned valuable skills that I can use in my personal and professional life. One in which is event planning and fundraising. Another member and I planned the happy hour event with very modest goals of raising funds. Little did we know that we were going to exceed our goals tremendously. 


All of this is to say, that giving back to the community and becoming a part of nonprofit organizations are a great way to enhance your life and the lives of other people. I am truly fulfilled with the work that I am able to do. 

By: Rachel M. Roberts