The Non-Profit Stakeout

Every once in awhile I find myself roped into an awkward moment of not knowing. What I mean is I often find myself in places I don’t know, with people I don’t know, doing things I don’t know how to do. And, before you ask, I’m not talking about a life that could lead to an after school special. I’m talking about the life of a director of a non-profit.

Truth be told, I rarely know what is going on, because life often goes something like this:

Laura F.: What are you doing tonight?
Me: Nothing really.
Laura F.: Do you want to go with me to a party…a presentation…a fundraiser…any other event you can imagine (I now affectionately call this scenario “Adventures with Laura.”)
Me (after contemplating my extensive social life and checking my datebook): Sure.

I then start the ever important dialogue with, “what should I wear.” Her response is usually a shrug of the shoulders because she has already chosen her attire of leggings with knee high boots and a long blouse. If only life were that easy. I then go through my car, because even though I now have a place to call home I still live out of it, picking and choosing the best outfit for an uncertain
destination and group of people.

She always drives because, well I already told you, I live out of my car.

But, the best part of our adventure starts upon arrival. We rarely know exactly where we are going, so we start a guessing game from the beginning. Once we reach what we think is our destination, we begin what I now affectionately call “The Non-Profit Stakeout.” As I go to reach for the door handle, I hear, “wait.” We must first search our perimeter. Not for danger lurking around the corner or to catch someone doing something sneaky. NO! We search our perimeter to determine if we recognize anyone or for any clue that will lead us to what to expect of this little adventure.

We set patiently (I may be a tad bit ansy) watching the first few cars pull up to see if we have the right place and to gage what our audience might be. After much anticipation, she’s scoped it out and ready to go, so in synchronized form we take one more glance in the mirror to adjust make-up, hair, and clothing and begin the journey to the entrance.

We both know we have no idea what is waiting behind that front door and we both know she hasn’t completely filled me in on everything
she might already know in fear that I could possibly say no (hasn’t happened yet, but it could).

These stake-outs have led to speaking with sisters, hanging out at a margarita holiday party, doing community seminars in the middle of nowhere, and, in her case, a old ladies slumber party. We’ve also experienced criticisms, stereotyping, and in one case a gentlemen who liked to get a little too close to my backside.

We walk in completely unaware of what could happen, but with each door we walk through I notice a few things:

1. There are a lot of different types of people that want to be a part of what we are doing.
2. For every inconsiderate action, comment, and attitude we’ve encountered there has always been someone who came to our defense.
3. Although, we often see darkness and depravity, it doesn’t compare to the number of people we encounter who are gracious and compassionate

And, perhaps most importantly, I know that when Laura says, “what are you doing tonight,” it’s going to be an adventure.


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