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How Idaho nonprofits match up with ‘The Incredibles’

Gundars Kaupins: Human Resources
Gundars Kaupins: Human Resources

“The Incredibles” is a great animated movie featuring family members who have unique powers to overcome a supervillain with a serious “syndrome.” Hint: The villain’s name starts with the letter “s.” The movie characters match up with the unique powers nonprofits have to overcome problems undermining our communities.

For example, Mr. Incredible, the dad, has great strength. Nonprofits in Idaho have that, too. According to “The Economic Impacts of Idaho’s Nonprofit Organizations,” charitable nonprofits in Idaho would be in sixth place if they were an industry. The 7,000 nonprofits employ over 50,000 people with $2.5 billion in annual compensation. With over $4 billion in sales transactions, Idaho nonprofits generate $129 million in taxes. These nonprofits also involve over 400,000 Idaho citizens who volunteer annually.

Elastigirl, the mom, is known for her flexibility. She can grab her kids from afar and even stretch to become a parachute. Nonprofits also have flexibility by covering many charitable causes involving education, health, human services, religious organizations, the environment, arts, culture and humanities. The IRS recognizes 29 nonprofit classifications. Idaho Gives is an example of Elastigirl. It is a statewide, 24-hour giving day that helps a wide variety of state nonprofits. (The 2017 date for Idaho Gives is May 4.)

Violet Parr is a teenager who has the power to be invisible. That might be helpful to avoid villains, but nonprofits need to be visible. One of the most significant nonprofit problems beyond getting money includes getting the word out. So how can this be done?

In the movie, Violet Parr’s brother Dash is able to move in all directions fast to escape villains. To get the word out, nonprofit managers must move in all directions fast to escape invisibility. Dash would love to do charity run/walks such as the Great Potato Marathon. That would be definitely unfair to the other runners.

Edna E. Mode, who taught the Incredibles what to wear, would love nonprofit education programs and conferences offered through the Idaho Nonprofit Center. Frozone, Mr. Incredible’s friend, would enjoy the Polar Bear Plunge. Rick Dicker, Mr. Incredible’s mean boss, would need counseling services some nonprofits offer.

Idaho nonprofits are definitely unlike “The Incredibles” in a special way. “Incredibles 2” won’t come out until 2019. For nonprofits, the time is always now.

Gundars Kaupins is a professor of management in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University. gkaupins@boisestate.edu. This column appears in the Dec. 21, 2016-Jan. 17, 2017, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine as part of a special section on nonprofits. Click here for the e-edition (subscription required).

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