Nonprofit Periscope

Keeping an eye on news of the sector

State edition: Oregon

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The beautiful state of Oregon is on my mind. I just spent two days tooling around Portland with a good friend, helping her find an apartment before her graduate school term starts next month. So as a nod to Portland and its cheerful, bookish downtown, here’s the Oregon edition of Nonprofit Periscope.

An article from yesterday’s East Oregonian highlights many qualities of nonprofit work that make the sector meaningful to readers. Here are a few.

Personal: The article opens with a glimpse into the life of a person whose life is enriched by a nonprofit. This is a real person, with a name, a life story, and even a picture. In addition, staff and board members of the nonprofit are named, showing that the organization (what a detached word) is made up of human beings.

Solvent: The nonprofit involved, a subsidized senior housing facility in Pendleton, is described as financially stable, having paid off the facility’s mortgage.

Vital: The nonprofit is depicted as meeting concrete, identifiable needs of specific individuals. As one resident of the facility puts it, “If I didn’t have a facility like this I couldn’t afford it. I’d be a street person.”

Connected: According to the article, five churches collaborated to create the nonprofit. It didn’t just spring forth from a vacant lot. It’s a product of the community’s history.

Granted, there are probably other stories to be told about this nonprofit. There may be residents in the facility who aren’t happy with it. Maybe some Pendleton neighbors object to its zoning, or think it should create more jobs. The story can be constructive without being flattering. But this particular article does an excellent job of making the nonprofit relatable to readers, helping them understand one way nonprofits fit into their lives. This kind of article can go a long way toward enriching readers’ understanding of what nonprofits are, what they do, and what they mean in their communities.

What else would help accomplish this? Add your thoughts in the comments section.

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Written by eclawson

August 28, 2009 at 3:24 PM

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