Today is my tenth wedding anniversary with my amazing wife Danielle.
Like many nonprofit leaders, I am blessed to have a spouse who deserves sainthood for her support of my nonprofit career.
Here are just a handful of reasons that spouses of nonprofit leaders are awesome.
1. They juggle our family schedule to accommodate our crazy hours.
I know that people all over the world work long hours, but nonprofit leaders have weird hours. One day, it’s a 7:00 a.m. coffee meeting, the next it’s a special event that lasts until 11:00 p.m.
“By the way, Honey, have I mentioned I have to go into the office for 3 hours in the middle of the day on Sunday? You can keep up with the kids, right?”
2. They attend more events than the First Lady.
Well, that might be an exaggeration, but they do attend a lot of events. So many that they learn to eat on the way so they don’t have to force down another helping of rubber chicken or undercooked hors d’oeuvres.
3. They’re glad we’re happy in our work, even if it means we earn far less than we might in the for-profit sector.
This is a biggie. When Danielle and I, like any couple, sit down to figure out how on earth we’re going to afford everything our family needs, she never says, “Why don’t you get a higher paying job?” She understands that nonprofit work is my professional passion, and that taking a job to earn a higher salary wouldn’t make us happier — in fact, it would do quite the opposite.
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think it is right or strategically sound for nonprofit wages to be discounted against equivalent positions in for-profit. But our spouses support putting our passion before our paycheck.
4. They support that our professional and personal lives are endlessly intertwined.
The people we work with are committed to the same world-changing ideals that we are. Naturally, we’re going to like these people, and our families will end up spending out-of-work time together. And it’s a sure bet that, despite our best efforts, we’ll find ourselves “talking shop.” And that’s ok.
And as much as we try — and it is worth trying — to separate work time and home/family time, there are times that our responsibilities and our constituents need our attention outside our normal work schedule. So we juggle our focus back to work, and then back to home/family, many times everyday.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that in my case, Danielle is also a nonprofit leader, so she’s particularly attuned to these issues. (And she has a nonprofit spouse who tries to be at least half as awesome as she is.)
In the end, there’s no doubt that nonprofit leaders have the most awesome spouses on earth, and they deserve a truly heartfelt thank you. I know mine does.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an anniversary cake to order before my 6:00 p.m. development committee meeting.
Question: How awesome is your nonprofit spouse, and why? Please leave a comment!