March is the Month to Engage

March 28, 2019


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, that is if you like college basketball. Since 1939 the term March Madness has been synonymous with the rollercoaster ride that is the NCAA championship tournament. There are family members who use the season’s statistics to predict the ultimate champ, neighbors who fill out a bracket that has the hometown team going all the way, and office mates who pick their winners based solely on mascots. From the casual fan to the season ticket holders, one thing is certain: people love the big dance.

As an organization in this awesome basketball town, we can’t help but catch the excitement during a March where our hometown team could indeed go all the way. That made us wonder what March Madness has in common with nonprofits. It turns out there are more similarities than you may think!

Teamwork makes the dream work. Nonprofit work is almost always accomplished by a cohort of dedicated individuals coming together to achieve a common goal. The best teams, both on and off the court, inspire us with their passion toward a clear mission. Whether the goal is cutting down the nets at the end of a big game or teaching students from under-resourced communities to code, an effective group always has a better chance of success.

It takes a village. We know the benefits of a community that bands together to support its citizens. When the government shutdown caused federal employees to miss paychecks, nonprofits such as the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank stepped in to support those families. As college players travel across the country in the hopes of winning big, they are supported and energized by their neighbors from home. They know that they’ll see their team colors in the stands or be greeted by a crowd when their bus rolls back into town, and that helps to keep them going. Nonprofits embrace their communities in a similar way. By engaging with everyone from young mothers to local veterans, nonprofits offer resources that strengthen communities.

It’s hard to choose. Just ask a fan who grew up in Charlottesville and later graduated from Duke what it feels like to fill out a bracket! When it comes to deciding which organizations to support with your resources it can be difficult to choose only one. Remember that there are many ways to make an impact. From donating money to ensure a nonprofit can offer its employees a living wage to volunteering time with the people who receive services to joining a board to help with strategic planning, you can support more than one group. Which is why you’ll find some of us cheering “GO ‘HOOS!” while also wearing a jersey from our own alma mater.

Please let us know if you have questions about getting engaged with nonprofits in our community.

CNE is excited to launch 7 Actionable Principles for a Strong Social Sector!

We encourage you to check out the site and you can find a recording of our launch town hall here.

CNE Members: Schedule a complimentary hour of support and coaching around the 7 Actionable Principles here.