Why are non-profits so depressing?

January 25, 2016

If non-profits do good things…
Then, why are they so depressing?

The ability to provide happiness, comfort, relief and support for another human being is one of the greatest abilities that we possess as a society. The simple gesture of genuine kindness, love, concern and support towards another person, animal or the environment is what makes us human and keeps us connected. At the same time, being on the receiving end of an altruistic gesture may be all that one needs to survive another day.

So, again, why is it that when we think about non-profits they have a depressing connotation when these organization’s aspirations are to make the world a better place? Is it because we will never be able to give or do enough? A child will always be left hungry and rainforests will continue to be destroyed, so are all of these tasks and problems too seemingly daunting?

Everyone knows the Sarah McLachlan heartbreaking ballad that plays in the background of the ASPCA commercials. The commercials force you to change the channel, look away, cry or go get in your car and drive to the nearest pound (this commercial alone raised $30 million and in 2015 2.7 million animals were adopted). This marketing campaign provides a prime example of how non-profits continue to give us hope.

Non-profits continue to draw on a potential donor’s emotions in order to gain support for their cause, which they have to do because they are competing with more than 1.5 million other non-profit organizations in the United States and about 10 million registered non-profits globally.

If those market numbers dishearten your non-profit endeavor keep in mind that in 2014, Americans gave more than $358 billion to charitable organizations. The non-profit sector also contributed an estimated $887.3 billion to the US economy in 2012. Non-profits are not only backed by monetary donations but are also supported by volunteers – 64.5 million contributed 7.9 billion hours of their time in 2012.

In reality, the amount of these gifts is irrelevant and the progress that needs to be made can be discouraging but being a part of making the world a better place is about as sunny as it gets. So, keep the hope going! We’re here to help.

Why are non-profits so depressing?