Bilbo Baggins: Hobbit. Adventurer. Fundraiser.

Over the past few weeks getting ready for, and starting our conference tour, I’ve had very little downtime to enjoy watching ANYTHING on TV. However, I’ve been hell bent on staying caught up on the new Lord of the Rings series.


Because I am a dork. And everything to do with nerd lore in nerd shows I make sure I carve out space to enjoy. Listen, I blog about the Princess Bride. I know nerd.


And though I appreciate visuals, the characters, and the nagging thought of “how the hell did Amazon spend $1 billion on this show?” what I love the most is flashing back to the first time I read “The Hobbit” to my kids.


For like, 3 months straight, read “The Hobbit” every night at bedtime with my kids. It was a a joy to share one of my favorite stories of good vs. evil, and in the current climate of the world, a perfect way to escape reality to a fantastic place where wizards, goblins and dwarves exist.


But there was a particular part in the book where I paused, got up, grabbed a pen and highlighted a line – much to my children’s chagrin. (They are REALLY into this book!)


The scene is where our hero, Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit with no remarkable skill or desire to be an adventurer, finds himself in a dark place – a goblin’s cave to be exact.


He’s trapped inside.


He’s secluded from his friends


He hears the sounds of an invisible enemy chasing him through a pitch black tunnel.


This doesn’t sound familiar at all, does it?


After some thought, he comes to the inevitable conclusion on where to go:


“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do!”


It’s the PERFECT quote.


With all that is going on in the world, it’s a roadmap for us working in nonprofit (heck, business too!).


The donor landscape will look drastically different in the next few months. With a recession looming, global conflict teeming everywhere, and mistrust with institutions at its highest ever, we need to stop reminiscing about the “things we used to do” or the even more insidious trap of “the way we’ve always done it.” Those mindsets can’t be embraced if we’re to succeed in our new normal.


But if there’s a group of organizations who are up for the challenge, it’s the nonprofits who have been on the front lines of serving those that can’t serve themselves.


You know how I know?


I’ve talked to them. Face to face, in the same room.


We’ve shared laughs, and tears and joy with them. And it’s only strengthened my belief that nonprofits, who exist to fill the gaps in our community that the government can’t and won’t do, are the backbone to making our lives better.


And (not to spoil a book that’s been released for 90 years) there will be a happy conclusion where good stomps out evil. And like “The Hobbit,” the heroes will be underdogs that find themselves in sticky situations with the audacity to go forward.


Just like our nonprofits.


Because it is the only thing to do.


Go get ‘em this week friends!


-Patrick