Let’s get acquainted, and then talk… | submitted by Salli Martyniak

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I am Salli Martyniak, president of Forward Community Investments, a statewide nonprofit loan fund that provides loans and strategic financial guidance to nonprofit organizations across this state. You’ll hear more about us later, but what’s important for you to know is that my job, my passion, is working with nonprofits.

As president of an organization that works towards growing and building the financial capacity, strength and wherewithal of nonprofits, I am in a unique place that puts me at the crossroads of nonprofits, businesses, philanthropy and government. Because of what I do today – and what I’ve done in the past – I have a broad perspective about how nonprofits do their work. And, I can tell you that it’s no easy task nor is it a job for the faint-of-heart.

While there may be some similarities between nonprofits and for-profits, the differences far outweigh those similarities. I worked in the for-profit world – in banking and I owned my own business – but I can tell you that I never encountered the complexity and the wide-ranging dynamics and demands as those in the nonprofit world. Every day, nonprofits — specifically, their executive directors — must balance the needs of the community and funders, volunteers and staff along with a board of directors, each member having their own unique priorities and personalities.

Couple all of this with demands for measurable results, transparency and accountability, topped off by an economy that is putting more and more pressure on an already fragile financial ecosystem. But what keeps all of this going are dedicated people who are smart, talented, visionary, strategic, organized and, most important of all, committed to the mission of their organizations.

Well, when Jody asked me if I would be interested in contributing to this blog, I didn’t pause in my acceptance. My first thought was that I would write about and share my perspective about nonprofits. That would be easy – anyone who knows me is well aware that I have opinions and viewpoints and I am not afraid to share them. But, the more I thought about it, what I really hope I can do is engage and encourage readers – nonprofit executive directors, board members, funders, staff, stakeholders and business people – to share their perspective and thoughts about nonprofits as part of this blog.

There are huge issues that are facing our nonprofit community that warrant a broad discussion. Let’s see what we can make happen here.