Sit back and relax because I have a few things to say today.
If you follow along with Bike Walk Nebraska on social media at all, you know that Julie and I recently finished up the dreaded ‘Budget Week’. It’s the time of year when Julie and I sit down and strategize financially and strategically for the upcoming year and try to make ends meet. Let’s just say, this one was tough.
As you may know, Bike Walk Nebraska is funded solely through grants and memberships. Grants are hard to come by these days and our membership base is down this year. Most of the time our non-profit doesn’t produce a visible, tangible product that gets the attention of would-be donors. While being the voice of 2 million Nebraskans for better active transportation throughout our state and communities is important work, it isn’t sexy. Sometimes our biggest wins involve changes to policy or process that contribute significantly to our mission of making biking and walking safer and more accessible; but there are no ribbon cuttings for those wins. Photos of conversations with legislators and NDOT staff, and Zoom meetings with tourism officials don’t often lend themselves to heartwarming Kodak moments. (See: Julie’s boring photos of the NDOT office building that she posts on social media from time to time!)
And so much of what we do is behind the scenes. For example, you may not realize the hours and hours of work, not to mention the financial commitment for design services, that went into getting the ‘Good Life is Outside’ license plate passed. Bike Walk Nebraska will not receive any proceeds from the sale of those plates when they are offered; proceeds will benefit the improvement and maintenance of state recreational trails.
Or consider the work Julie has done on behalf of the MoPac Alliance to get approval for trail information kiosks and signage installation to address the 9.5 mile trail gap. Great and very important work, but definitely NOT a Norman Rockwell kind of scene, if you know what I mean.
Don’t misinterpret me, we are ecstatic to have been able to accomplish this work! It’s just tough to translate that work into a cute puppy photo that inspires people and grantors to open their wallets. It’s just how it is.
You have never met two more frugal people than Julie and I. Which, I guess, is why Budget Week is hard. We have so much we want to do and feel we need to do, but so few resources. It’s the lifestyle of every non-profit: doing our best and trying to make ends meet. Or hope we can just get close.
So here’s my pitch to you: If you believe every Nebraskan has the right to safer streets for biking and walking, we need your help. We are the only organization in Nebraska with this mission. You can help in so many ways, whether becoming a member, giving a one time donation, online shopping with Amazon Smiles and designating Bike Walk Nebraska as your charity of choice, or donating on Giving Tuesday (or any day for that matter). Again, we’re just tryin’ to make ends meet. Budget Week was tough.
Onward and Upward,