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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.



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