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Archive for March, 2011

I came across a couple of web resources this past week that I wanted to share* – one that will benefit my professional life, one personal.

Christian Community Development Association (www.ccda.org) – The mission of CCDA is “to inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities”.  It’s purpose is to do the following:

  • To strengthen existing Christian Community Development organizations.
  • To encourage new Christian Community Development efforts.
  • To promote Christian Community Development through regional training.
  • To educate and mobilize the body of Christ at large to become involved in Christian Community Development in their area.
  • To sustain, enable and inspire those individuals doing Christian Community Development.

As I’ve said in past posts, I believe that faith-based organizations (FBOs) are in a unique position to lead CED efforts where the history of local communities working with the government or other entities may have led to mistrust.  Also, FBOs can serve as a liaison between local communities and government where the local community is lacking the capacity to take advantage of revitalization and/or growth opportunities.

For more information about CCDA, resources they provide and their upcoming training opportunities, visit their website…and thanks, Val (my “sister”), for sharing this site with me.

SparkPeople (www.sparkpeople.com) – My nurse practitioner exposed me to this site as I attempt to make healthier lifestyle decisions.  SparkPeople’s mission is “to SPARK millions of PEOPLE to live healthier lives and reach their goals”.  I was impressed with the amount of support and information they have and that you can join online support groups specific to your demographic (I joined “40 somethings with 25-49 pounds to lose” :)).

The assistant minister at my church has been teaching a series of lessons called “I’ve Got To Lose Some Weight”, where he talks about the dangers of carrying extra physical AND spiritual weight and gives strategies on how to eliminate them (1 Corinthians 6:19; Hebrews 12:1).  In the spirit of these lessons, my prayer is to make better eating and physical activity decisions as well as focus my energies on spiritual gains and doing activities that help people reach their goals (e.g., this blog, hopefully!).

Be strong and be blessed!

* I make these and other recommendations in the spirit of increasing the knowledge base of those that read this blog.  I am not being compensated by any of these organizations.

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I haven’t met too many people who LOVE fundraising.  Just think about it…writing all those grants that don’t get funded, smoozing the grant reps at all those fundraiser dinners, and worrying whether you’ll be able to pay your staff in the next three months can get OLD.  You may ask “why can’t I just DO the work instead of having to always FUNDRAISE?”

Well, it’s one of the “hazards” of working for and leading a not-for-profit organization.  There is a constant conflict between spending time providing services to your target market and spending time cultivating resources to provide those same services (and this doesn’t include time for strategically planning for the future).

I found a quote from Winston Churchill that I think is appropriate – “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”  In other words, a positive attitude toward fundraising is an important step in accepting the fact that if you’re going to do the work you’ve been called to do, you will have to plan and execute a fundraising strategy.

As the old saying goes, to the sailor without a plan, any wind is the right one.  This is certainly true in fundraising.  The first step in successful fundraising is developing a plan.  This means designing action steps to diversify the funding of your organization.[1]  In developing your fundraising plan, here are some suggested first steps:

  1. Why are you raising money (e.g., salaries, programming, operations, etc.)?
  2. How much money do you want to raise and over what period of time?
  3. Do I have the capacity to manage these funds?  For example, federal funds have much higher financial management requirements than individual contributors may.
  4. Do I truly KNOW my programs are/can be successful?  For example, have you done a needs assessment for your target market OR how will you assess whether your program is effective in addressing the needs.
  5. Who do I approach to raise the necessary funds?
  6. What other resources are out there that I can use other than money?

Answers to these and many other questions will help shape your fundraising plan and aid you in an even more important step – implementation!

For more help in developing your fundraising plan, visit websites such as the one listed below OR feel free to contact me.

Be strong and be blessed!

[1] Source: Compassion Capital Fund (http://www.ccfbest.org/fundraising/)

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Unless you’ve been “living under a rock” (ala GEICO), events in Libya, Egypt, and Japan as well as other areas in the Pacific are rocking the world in profound, historic ways.  Each have at least one thing in common – there was very little warning to the average person of the events that occurred and the speed at which change happened.  For example, it was reported that the waves from the tsunami resulting from the Japan earthquake traveled at more than 600 miles per hour – faster than a commercial jet – and reached the west coast of the United States within a few short hours!  I pray that democracy and peace prevail in the Middle East and that the rescue and recovery efforts go smoothly in Japan and elsewhere.

However, there is a “tragedy” that’s brewing in the halls of Congress and other seats of power in the United States.  The difference between this “tragedy” and the ones mentioned above is that we are being warned of what may occur.  At this time, programs that assist those who are most vulnerable economically are being considered for massive budget cuts – programs such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and others.  In North Carolina, funds that help support organizations that work within majority-minority communities are on the “chopping block” – not just for budget cuts, but are being “zeroed” out!  This comes at a time when foreclosures continue to rise, unemployment rates are high and stagnant, and overall costs are rising (how much more are you spending to fill your car up? :().

I recognize the need for all of us to “tighten our belts” during times of scarcity and that the burden and sacrifice should be borne equitably.  However, it is a shame that programs such as the ones mentioned above and the communities they serve tend to bear the brunt of the burden during lean AND prosperous times (e.g., urban renewal in the ’60s and ’70s).  I encourage you to learn about what’s being considered and discussed at your local, state, and national government levels and get involved to make the change you want to see!

I hope that cooler heads prevail in that as budget talks proceed, that a disproportionate amount of sacrifice is not borne by those who can least afford it.

Be strong and be blessed!

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During the Civil Rights Movement, religious institutions played a key role in shaping social change and pricking social consciousness.  The history of what lead to the Movement as well as the “struggle” in its aftermath continues even today in many communities.  One example of this phenomenon is the issue of “diversity-based school assignment” versus “neighborhood schools” being played out in Wake County (NC) schools.  An example of where a church is working with the local community to overcome a history of racial hatred and bias involves the Town of Clayton and Mount Vernon Christian Church (MVCC).

Located southeast of Raleigh, NC, Clayton has had a long history with and become known as one of the centers of Klan activity.  MVCC, established in 1898, has a long and storied history in the local community and continues that tradition under the leadership of Dr. Terence Leathers.

When ConAgra’s Slim Jim plant located in Garner exploded in 2009, many MVCC members were affected.  It, also, exposed the fact of how ill-prepared the community (especially the black community) was in dealing with disasters of this sort.

In response, Dr. Leathers created Community Anchors Limited (CAL), an organization that provides emergency management training, in partnership with local fire/EMS departments, for communities that have historically been overlooked (e.g., minority communities).  As a result of CAL’s work, Dr. Leathers has established formal partnerships with the Town of Clayton and its Fire and Police Departments and is seeking grants for CAL and MVCC in partnership with these entities.  And with the Town’s history as mentioned above, these are historic events!

This is just one example of how faith-based organizations (FBOs) continue to provide leadership in social change and community economic development.  If you have other examples that you would like to share, please send us your comments.

Be strong and be blessed!

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