Skip to main content

An Instinct for Caring

by Claire Schnucker
Donor Services Coordinator, Elks National Foundation

Back in November, I wrote these two sentences:

            “I know for certain that the Elks will continue to care about communities.”
            “Hope is a perfect impetus for success.”

They were written for a blog post about my review of our mid-year numbers. The ENF closed the 2019-20 fiscal year on March 31st. Next week, I will present our final numbers for last year.

I work in the Donor Services department. We process every donation to the ENF. By mid-March, all of us were working from home. Just like organizations across the nation, the ENF had to completely rethink processes that had been used for decades. In times of great upheaval, everyone has to do their part to listen, reinvent and collaborate. In March, the ENF was able to do just that.

Claire presents her analysis of the ENF's mid-year numbers to
fellow staff members
Normally when I sit down to look at the year’s numbers, I do it while looking forward. I try to calculate the trajectory of where we are going. Numbers can help predict the future through patterns of expected movement.

Our world and our communities have greatly changed since mid-March, and none of it was expected. But there is one thing in life—and mathematics—that is always expected: uncertainty. The Uncertainty Principle is a scientific proof, and I touched on it when looking at the mid-year numbers:
“If we know where we stand, we can never know for certain were we are headed. If we can see where we are headed, we can never know the place we will land.”

Fiscal year 2019-20 was a year of growth. Not massive, but predicted and on average.

During my presentation next week, I will not be focusing on predictive models. I know where we stand. I have no way to gage where we are heading because Elks have not had to face challenges like these since we started tracking our numbers. There is no basis of comparison; instead, I will focus on our standard year of growth.

But, as I wrote before, “Hope is a perfect impetus for success.” My predictive models will stay tucked away in my many spreadsheets. I know what our future could be because Elks, just like numbers, have expected patterns.

Elks always find a way to help. That instinct of caring is rooted in the founding story. When a community is in need, they step up. Elks can do the work, show up, and build stronger communities across the nation. I know they can because I have watched the many ways that they already have. It is the Elks’ pattern to help.

At my presentation I will squirrel away my predictions and fane uncertainty. I will then spend the rest of the year waiting. And knowing. Our Lodges will show up. Elks will listen, reinvent, and collaborate because that is what their founders created them to do.



Show more

Popular posts from this blog

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation

(This is the first in a series of articles about the need for Lodges to be relevant during the pandemic. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant.)

Every crisis seems to have its breakout star. This one has two, so far—Dr. Fauci and Zoom.
If you’re not familiar, Zoom is a remote video-conferencing tool with a free basic package. In these days of social distancing and sheltering in place, Zoom is also a godsend. At the O’Kelley household today, we had three concurrent Zoom meetings going on at one point—Meghan, me, and Jane with her Panda Room preschool pals.
In our new teleworking reality, the ENF staff has been using Zoom through Microsoft Teams for check-ins, standing meetings and impromptu discussions. These conferences have helped us stay connected and feel like we’re part of a team despite our isolation.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw on Facebook that Boonton, N.J., Lodge No. 1405 had installed its new c…

Hope in the Time of Coronavirus

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation What a difference a few weeks make. As I’m sure is the case with you, COVID-19 has upended things around here.

I’d like to take a few minutes to update you on how the pandemic has affected our staff and programs. I’ll start with the staff.

On Monday, there were 18 of us in the office. Yesterday, only five. Everyone else is working remotely from home. We’re all communicating with one another using wonderful technology. And the people at home have access to the network via work-issued laptops, as well as their work phones and email. Contacting us should be seamless for you. 

The skeleton crew in the office should shrink to four at some point this week. We are here to deal with the aspects of our work that do not lend themselves to working remotely.

You can help us further reduce our numbers. If you are a Lodge officer or ENF Fundraising Chair who has been sitting on a stack of donations, please send those in today. The faster we c…

See you at the Julebukking

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation
(Earlier this week, I started a series of posts on the need for Lodges to stay relevant during this time of isolation. This is the second post in the series—technically, the series became a series when I posted this. Anyway, read the first post here. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant.)
Humans have a fundamental need to connect. Scientists, psychologists, therapists, they’ll all tell you the same thing. Our culture may celebrate individualism, but we are wired to be around other people.
How else can you explain the existence of organizations like the Elks? It’s certainly not the dated titles or the jewels of office that go along with them. It’s not the many meetings that demand so much of our time if we want to rise through the ranks. It’s not even the desire to serve our communities.
The Elks have been around for 152 years because people need other people in our lives. Local Lodges satisfy that need.