During my six month stay in Los Angeles, I was lucky to have the chance to work as an intern in a local non profit organization-The Valley Economic Alliance for two months, which gave me a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the operation of non profit organizations, as well as American working environment and working culture.
The Purpose-Paying Back to the Society - What impressed me most is the existence and development of the non profit organizations. Unlike the situation in China, the American Government has limited powers and different functions. Therefore, part of the social and community affairs is managed by the non profit and non governmental organizations. Through gaining approval from the government and support from the general citizens, as well as grants and resources from public and private sectors, the non profit organizations serve as the moderator and resources allocator towards its goals of making the society a better place.
The Value-Sense of Achievement - However, compared to the government and private companies, the non profit organizations are not always "well-off" without revenue. Therefore, the staffs of the non profits have lower income but more responsibilities than those in the public or private sectors. Sometimes, they even need to pay their own money and personal hours for the community affairs, with an ultimate goal of helping the people as a self-actualization mean. It is just because of the non profit organizations' concern and dedication to social welfare, they share part of the public management responsibilities with the government. Through full utilization of social resources and active involvement of different social players, non profit organizations push the American society to develop even further.
The Mode-Social Networking - As the promoter and important media of community and economic development of San Fernando Valley, the Valley Economic Alliance organizes a variety of events to facilitate cooperation and collaboration among enterprises, educational institutes, talents center and community representatives within the Valley. Take the bimonthly breakfast meeting as an example. Although it has admission fees and is held early in the morning, not to mention the worrying traffic situation around the venue, it attracts many representatives of companies and individuals every time it takes place. Through discussion on future cooperation opportunities and expansion of social networking, participants always find timely information and good opportunities in it. The way things work out in the non profit organizations has again reflected Americans' value for opportunities and social networking.
The Attitude-Being on Time and Professional - After working with the American for 2 months, their respect for their profession and being on time has impressed me a lot. As it is in China, the Valley Economic Alliance requires the staffs to work 8 hours a day, with another lunch hour at noon. Although there isn't a solid signin system in the organization, the staffs never come to work late or leave early. During lunch hour, everyone takes turns to eat and sticks to the clock, without leaving an empty office. There are also strict codes of conducts in the office, that checking personal mail, using office resources for personal purpose, napping and eating are all banned. As Ken Philips, Vice President of the Valley Economic Alliance put it, "although one has to take up more responsibilities and contribute more of his time and energy into work in a non profit organization, and is always paid back with a lower salary, the sense of accomplishment he has got is incompatible". It's just because of the existence of these people with great respect for social welfare, and the noble sentiments of selfsacrifice, the American non profit organizations thrive, and promote social progress for the whole society.