Expert Advice

Dating Sites for Nonprofit People: Is That a Thing?

| Updated February 16, 2018

Wondering if there's a place to meet the right person with a philanthropic mindset like your own?

Kathryn Engelhardt-Cronk, MissionBox co-founder and CEO, offers her response to the MissionBox DoubleTake — a column that offers opinions about the peskier aspects of working in the nonprofit sector. The opinions offered here are based on the author's personal nonprofit experience and may not reflect the opinions of MissionBox, Inc. These opinions should not be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for professional legal consultation. MissionBox readers are invited to submit alternative responses, which may be published here as well.

Do you know of an online, confidential dating service that matches people who work in, and are passionate about nonprofits?

I don’t mean within my own nonprofit. I'm talking about the whole sector. I get very tired of blind dates or online matches with women who don’t “get” the critical importance of my dedication to social good and a life devoted to service.

I have given way too many hours acquainting myself with all these possible partners who, despite their initial self-description, turn out to be ruled by the “almighty dollar.” Many of these types seem to believe they are more important than everyone else (including a "do-gooder" like me) because they are a lawyer or accountant. I believe these women tend to see me as having poor potential as a wage earner and perhaps a little too noncompetitive and emotional to truly be a “manly-man.”

I like people who care about the world and about making a positive difference. I want to make a decent living, but the ability to buy a Rolex is not what is driving my career. How can I meet women who share my values?

Kathryn says . . .

Wow! There seems to be a lot going on in your letter.

First, to your question: I did some research and I cannot find any service, online or otherwise, that matches only professionals working in nonprofits. I did find a rather funny article on why NOT to date another individual from the nonprofit sector.

If I may say so, you sound very bitter. Perhaps you recently lost a relationship with a possible love-match who dumped you for a top wage-earning, supercharged high flyer? I’m sorry that happened to you, but we all occasionally meet up with Ms. or Mr. Wrong. You are lucky she moved on with the guy angling for the cover of Forbes.

That said, I doubt that all the women you meet look down on you for your nonprofit service or only want the big bucks. I’ve worked in both nonprofits and for-profits and found an equal amount of good people in each sector who have values that soar quite a bit beyond expensive jewelry.

It’s a tired old stereotype that most women are looking for a paycheck so that they can stay home and watch television. Most women work, and work hard, regardless of the profession. Many of these same women volunteer, donate to charity and care about others. For instance, 2016 research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy showed baby-boomer women gave 89 percent more to charity than men their age. Women in the top 25 percent of permanent income gave 156 percent more than men in the same category, per the same research.

Are you using your charity career as an excuse for not finding the love of your life? I suspect you may need to look deeper at the man in the mirror and identify any characteristics or personality traits that are turning women off. Maybe it may have something to do with your self-view as a sort of Mother Teresa who is a little bit better than everyone else because of your charitable work? Or maybe it is your stereotyping of women as grasping and heartless? I’d advise that you stop blaming others and turn some of that desire to “make a difference” toward yourself.

Now, your take!

Ruth T-C says ... To find people who share your passion for service and the nonprofit sector, go where they are. Join the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which despite the "fundraising" element of the name, is an association for people who work for nonprofits in development and related fields. Join a church, synagogue, Quaker meeting, mosque or other faith-based organization to learn if its mission matches your interests. Volunteer with an organization you believe outside of your workplace. Start a group for nonprofit people to meet and get acquainted in real time — someone here in my hometown used LinkedIn to do that, with monthly get-togethers at local restaurants. Maybe even join a dating site — but craft your profile to focus on your service interests.

Bob P. says ... Unfortunately Kathryn, both you and Ruth T-C missed the essential point here: most people in the outside world do not understand nonprofit types.

To begin with, many civilians, particularly those in the corporate sector, think that “nonprofit” means “no money,” an impression only strengthened by those within amongst our colleagues who openly confess to staying awake at night feeling guilty about drawing a salary because they realize that even the few dollars they heartless take home each week could be better spent on mission.

Dedication to such principles also often means that the nonprofit person’s available dating dollars limit them to perhaps one meal a month at that trendy paleo-vegan restaurant that’s all the rage — and that’s ONLY if they’re "going Dutch” and don’t have to pay for a companion’s tofu, raw sprouts or ultra-filtered water.

Many non-nonprofit people also unjustly feel that there is something missing when a “romantic evening” watching a movie with their nonprofit partner turns out to actually be spent watching a foreign documentary with no subtitles on the subjects of oppressed peoples, environmental degradation or the developmental challenges in lower Upper Volta.

Those not in the sector also similarly chafe at the fact that the nonprofit person often doesn’t have the time to spend on developing a relationship, what with all the rallies, meetings and volunteer work that need attending.

All in all, it is probably better if the author of this letter simply gives up on the notion of dating altogether, and instead turns his attentions to the far more vital work of improving his organization’s vision statement so it is more inclusive, welcoming and grammatically correct.

MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.

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