Vu Le is an animated blogger and champion for nonprofits, as well as the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit focused on training leaders of color in an effort to diversify management in community-based organizations.
However, there’s one thing Le is not: a quiet conformist.
“We need to change the face of nonprofits,” Le announced to a clustered crowd of attendees at a public talk hosted two weeks ago in the Norm Asbjornson Inspiration Hall.
“We need to make nonprofits sexy. Why doesn’t television feature nonprofits?” Le asked the crowd. “Picture this: Nonprofit and Afraid, but instead of someone running around naked in the wilderness, we take an average person who is not from the nonprofit sector, and we place them to work at a nonprofit for six weeks, filming their experience every step of the way.”
While much of Le’s deliverance centers on humor, his ideas surrounding the nonprofit sphere focus on significant issues. During his talk at MSU, Le noted an interesting issue present within the sector.
“Can we stop the Nonprofit Hunger Games?” Le asked the audience.
Through referencing “The Hunger Games,” Le addressed the prevalent issue nonprofits face when fighting for donors. While Le concerns himself with the sector as a whole, I found this viewpoint more than applicable to the club atmosphere at MSU. While clubs don’t necessarily fight to the death for private funders, they do fight for membership numbers, campus exposure and overall relevancy.
Ultimately, the extracurricular sphere at MSU could benefit immensely from greater collaborative efforts between clubs.
This method has already worked to improve membership engagement in clubs previously struggling for participants. During this past year, for example, Enactus, a club using entrepreneurial action to shape sustainability, and the International Business Club have partnered under a basis of shared interests and goals. The move has ultimately boosted the reach and engagement of both clubs, allowing a greater platform from which their goals can be addressed.
Similarly, the Sports Running Club and Trail Junkies have hosted joint runs despite differing focuses. The Sports Running Club centers primarily on training for races, while Trail Junkies aims to provide a community for trail runners of varying expertise.
By following the examples set by these few organizations, other MSU clubs could benefit as well.
“Trail Junkies was founded with inclusivity in mind,” said Laura Ippolito, founder of Trail Junkies. “I wasn’t always a runner, and without the support of others within the community, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
And inclusivity remains the key
“All issues are interrelated,” explained Le. Likewise, MSU organizations operate within the greater academic realm of the university rather than independently. By focusing on the similarities between organizations, club leaders will boost engagement and while simultaneously promoting an atmosphere of inclusive involvement. Who wouldn’t want to participate in that?
To learn more about Vu Le, visit his blog: nonprofitaf.com.