Lately, if I'm really honest, I've been feeling tired, uninspired and bogged down by the day-in-day-out of running a business. I'm someone who thrives on new - I like coming up with ideas, problem solving and developing concepts. Now that The Grants Hub has entered the more 'serious', established stage of business, there hasn't been so much of the 'edge of your seat' type of work. This is actually good for the business, just not so exciting for me. I haven't been able to work in the areas I love
So I took a break last week. It's the first time in 5 years that I have taken more than one consecutive day completely off work. I didn't check emails, didn't open any work apps on my phone, and dropped my Macbook into Apple for a repair which ended up taking the whole week.
Rather than put me behind in work, I think the break has actually put me ahead (thanks to the amazing team we have). It has given me a chance to clear my head and get some focus back of why I started The Grants Hub in the first place:
To help people around Australia find grants quickly and easily to support the work they're doing
To create a flexible job which could be family friendly and completely online so I can work from anywhere.
Reason number two is happening, yet I had started losing sight of reason number one. I had been getting so caught up in operations that I hadn't made time to actually get out into the community and see the need for The Grants Hub up close and personal for quite a while.
So today I visited our local Food Relief centre, which blew my mind. Here are just a few things I learned and/or was reminded of:
My local community, which certainly seems to have increasing wealth, also has heart-breaking need
Support services are struggling to keep up with the most basic requests, and are meeting new families needing emergency/crisis help almost every day
The food panty is running critically low (pictured above). Not too bad if you need mayonnaise but not so great if you're after a staple like tinned soup.
There were NO fruit or vegetables available simply because demand is beating supply
Volunteers at the grassroots level give like you don't see giving almost anywhere else
Local service coordinators are smart people who could easily be using their time and energy working in a highly paid job
They need funding ALL THE TIME, not just for one-off projects (listen up funding bodies!)
Support services are quite often strategic, and network very well with other support agencies
Service coordinators maximise their opportunities and are excellent relationship builders - this Food Relief centre taps into Foodbank Victoria, FareShare and SecondBite, local churches and local businesses, just to name a few
Christmas is an exceptionally busy time of year, not just for those of us trying to get our Christmas shopping done, but for support services who pour their energy into helping others get the staples (and maybe a few treats) in their pantries
There is so much that any of us can do to help, whether it's through volunteering, donating, or helping provide an 'in' with a local business or organisation.
Our local Food Relief centre needs funding just as much as thousands of other NFPs across Australia. This is not an isolated situation. Grants are desperately needed to support the work that is already happening through these organisations. Grants have the power to boost NFPs, allowing them to multiply their work, free up resources for other operational expenses, access new technology to work more efficiently, or maybe even delve into a new area to strengthen what they already do.
THIS is the reason for The Grants Hub.
And THIS, is why when you start losing sight of the goal, it can be helpful to go back to the start to remember why you exist in the first place.