So you want to make a difference,but you can’t do it all by yourself. Whether you personally want to do something for your community,your nonprofit wants to launch a new program,or your work team needs to implement a project,collaboration is essential,especially in these times of lean resources.
Collaboration with community members,nonprofits,large corporations,small businesses,artists,or government agencies can maximize your efforts and increase your audience. There are many benefits of collaboration including new skills and abilities,variety of ideas,increased man power,additional monetary resources,and improved efficiency. These advantages can result in more creatively designed programs and strategically managed projects.
There are also possible drawbacks of collaboration including conflict of priorities,disagreement on work style,overload of suggestions,and a slower decision making-process. However,there are a variety of tools to mitigate these disadvantages.
Collaboration software helps facilitate a team to actually get their work done. According to this Forbes article there are 5 different categories of collaboration tools:
- The Gantt Chart – Great to keep you on target to meet your deadlines. Examples include TeamGantt and Teamweek
- The Kanban Chart – Best for projects that have tasks that need to be completed before others can begin. Examples include Trello and Blossom.io
- The To-Do List – This is tailored to projects with clearly defined tasks,examples are Wunderlist or Kickoff
- The All-Encompassing Collaboration Suite – Best for large complex projects. Examples are Basecamp and Asana
- The Social Network – Configured similar to a social networking site. An examples is Yammer,now part of the MicrosoftMSFT -0.19% family
Collaboration platforms can be used to engage community input and decision making,such as:
- Mind Mixer- Created to be a town-hall meeting online. Community members can have meaningful conversations with their leaders and their peers.
- Neighborland- A new way for residents to collaborate with local organizations and take action on important issues.
The Foundation Center’s website has an entire section dedicated to Nonprofit Collaboration Resources. Resources include the Nonprofit Collaboration Database,which houses hundreds of searchable example of collaborations,as well as podcasts,written documents and links to additional resources.
Campaign Consultation provides collaboration workshops,trainings and guides,such as the Roadmap to Community Collaboration and a Community Asset Mapping Guide.
So pick a resource and get collaborating!
Why is higher education so costly? Is the point of higher education to exclude those who cannot afford to pay or to empower people with ideas which would boost innovation? According to US New and World Report,Columbia University’s tuition is $50,000 a year as compared to Berea College’s tuition of $1,070 a year. What has led to this price gap?
It is debated that students receive more value from an expensive college verse a lower cost college. If the concept for higher learning is to be educated or to learn a technical skill,the cost of education should not matter.
In the media,there is a lot of discussion about increasing minimum wage,but it’s also worth considering broadening access to higher education. It’s time for us to take education into our own hands. I have been doing some research and have found some resources that could help in supporting those who want and need more education.
- The University of the People: This is a tuition free accredited online university that offers degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science. There are minimal fees for registration and testing. The University of the People has restrictions on certain states from which residents can apply. Please be sure you check the list to see if your state is eligible.
- The College of Ozarks and Berea College: These colleges are tuition-free because students work on campus for 10-15 hours per week in lieu of tuition,like a work study program. They are both Christian-based institutions that focus on affordable degrees;if accepted,tuition will not be a concern.
- National Intelligence University: Focuses on intelligence education that goes hand in hand with IC Civilian Joint Duty. Per the website,IC Joint Duty is a civilian personnel rotation system akin to joint duty in the military.
- Massive Online Open Course also offers great educational opportunities. Some of these courses are with major universities like Duke,MIT,and Harvard.
In regards to concerns about exclusion,some people may disregard this type of non-traditional education. As someone with extensive experience in hiring and human resources,I’m more interested in what you know and not how you learned it.
Education is extremely important for the economic health of our people and country. As such,it is very important that the cost of higher education is not an obstacle but an outlet for greatness and innovation. Please share your comments on higher education.
Sabrina Bond and the young women of Finding the U Within pose for a group picture.
Last week,a woman made a heartfelt plea on medium.com that the recent uptick in violent crime in her part of Baltimore was breaking her heart. Although many Baltimore residents could sympathize with her frustrations with the political leadership in the city, others were frustrated that her article was long in hand-wringing and short on thoughts on how to move forward. Aside for a plea for more beat cops in her district,the piece did not offer suggestions on how the very complicated issues of entrenched poverty and high crime rates could be resolved.
In my opinion,the root causes of these issues are a need for youth development,access to economic opportunity,and alternative spaces for community building and conflict resolution.
Typically,here at Resources Now!,we talk about ways that your project or organization can tap into the strengths of your surrounding community (geographical,interest,or otherwise),and advance your mission. Today I want to flip the script a little bit,and highlight ways that individuals can give back to their surrounding community by highlighting some Baltimore projects that look to smaller,dedicated organizations in the city that could benefit more from your work that say,a United Way.
- Start a program at your local recreation center. Recreation centers are open to programming ideas,and they are even more likely to do it if you can volunteer and lead it! Above,Baltimore resident Sabrina Bond has been working on mentoring and empowering young girls in her neighborhood through a program she started,Finding the U Within.
- Don’t want to go it alone? There just might be some organizations that you can volunteer with! If you’re interested in tackling the larger issues I mentioned,here are Some groups focused on this issue in Baltimore:
There are dozens more organizations in Baltimore that work on these systemic issues,and countless others like them working in cities nationwide. While the reach of these groups may currently be small,with additional resources and support they can make a significant difference.
“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new,however,is that we now have the resources to get rid of it. The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty … The well off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.” Martin Luther King,Jr.
In 1967,Dr. King wrote Where Do We Go From Here:Chaos or Community? In this book Dr. King shares his vision on eradicating poverty. Forty-seven years later we are still having the conversation of poverty and wealth inequality. What do you think Dr. King would say about today’s poverty?
This blog is a tribute to those who work endlessly in the fight against poverty and the campaigns they are currently fighting. I hope that this tribute will inspire others.
Below I have listed organizations that are making an impact on poverty in Baltimore:
I am also including some steps I personally take to ensure I am not part of the poverty problem:
- I don’t let unjust action happen in front of me without me saying or doing something about the unjust action.
- As part of the hiring process at Campaign Consultation,Inc.,I encourage applicants to do a budget to assess their financial needs before they tell me what their salary requirements are. We don’t believe in hiring people at salaries that can’t provide a decent living.
- I donate my time and my money to organizations that are fighting poverty every day.
Please share your ideas and comments about the war on poverty!
Earlier we introduced the concept of Brand Promise in the post,The Brand Promise:What does it mean for the Nonprofit and Public Sectors? In this post,we’ll go more in depth on how to craft it.
Consider the following brand promises:
- Scott Russell,who is a motivational consultant and co-founder of Russell &Russell Consulting,promises “Open and honest leadership delivered with humor and a smile.”
- The NFL:“To be the premier sports and entertainment brand that brings people together,connecting them socially and emotionally like no other.”
- Virgin Worldwide:“To be genuine,fun,contemporary,and different in everything we do at a reasonable price.”
These brands all promise to do something and then describe how they are going to do it.
Let’s break down Scott Russell’s brand promise:
- WHAT does he do? Lead
- HOW does he do it? Open and honestly
- HOW does he deliver his leadership? With humor and a smile
It is important to think about what you do and how you do it separately. You don’t want to try to create the promise all at once or you could miss key characteristics or forget words that best articulate your vision. Brainstorming vast possibilities then narrowing them down is crucial. Oftentimes,it is best to have an unbiased outside voice,without a stake in the organization,to lead this exercise. Consulting companies,like Campaign Consultation,can facilitate the process of crafting your brand promise so that it truly captures the essence of your organization.
It’s important to note that crafting your organization’s brand promise should include input from many stakeholders at all levels,from housekeeping staff to the board chair. Stakeholder participation is essential so the entire organization has a shared vision and knows where they contributed to that vision. This results in a brand promise that is embraced and truly believed in by all.
The staff of Campaign Consultation shared these useful tips about branding and the brand promise:
- Craft your “Branding Promise”…Then use it as the foundation for creating your logo,tag line,look and feel,etc.
Adiyah Ali,Project Specialist
- Brand promise allows you to share the same message across different audiences.
- You may have to adjust your brand when the world changes around you.
- The organization’s culture needs to buy into the belief that “everything that we do must support our brand.”
- The brand promise should be short and sweet.
Stephanie Moore,Project Specialist
- Marketing is how you control your content. There are 3 types:paid,owned,and earned.
- Your brand promise helps you control it in those 3 ways.
When you think of a brand,what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s the catchy tagline (“Be all that you can be,” “Don’t leave home without it,” “I’m lovin it”) or a recognizable logo (Red Cross’ red cross,Nike’s swoosh,McDonald’s golden arches). While these words and images are an important part of reflecting the brand,they are not the total brand. The heart of a brand is its promise. Consider this quote from the whitepaper,Nonprofit Brands in the Age of Supporter Shift,by Marc Chardon,former President and CEO of Blackbaud:
“Although your mission is vital,it’s the brand that defines your organization. And as generations shift,your brand needs to stay relevant. Our parents might have given to long-standing,trusted nonprofits without many questions,but our Millennial children are different,bringing their own unique approach to engaging with nonprofits that’s all about the brand and what it promises.”
So what is a brand promise?
According to Scott Russell,co-founder of Russell &Russell Consulting and former Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ritz-Carlton,a brand promise is composed of two parts:1) what an organization says it will do and 2) how the organization will deliver what it says it does.
The staff of Campaign Consultation shared these useful tips about branding and the brand promise:
Michelle Bond,Vice President
- A brand is not a logo or a tagline,it’s a promise. It’s what you say you will do and how you do it.
- Every touch point with your audience needs to be checked against your brand. Does it pass the promise test? This is true for emails,marketing plans,posts and tweets.
Andrea Perri, Project Specialist
- You don’t have to be everything to everyone. Your brand should resonate with who your target audience is.
Kaye Gooch,Project Specialist
- “Brand Promise” is the focus of the work and continual check of the work of the organization.
Rebecca Starr,Project Specialist
- It’s okay to not be everything to everyone. Honesty about your brand and your market will lead to a tighter,well-honed product. Therefore,when opportunities arise to expand your base,you will be able to do so in a way that remains true to your branding promise.
Hieu Truong,Project Specialist
- Branding is less about the superficial look and feel of an organization’s logo or tagline. It’s about distilling the essence of the impression that a person or organization wants to leave on someone,and every action they take should reinforce it. All too often organizations worry about mission creep,and a branding promise is one helpful way to figure that out!
Stay tuned for another post on how to create a brand promise!
Here at Campaign Consultation,we’re closing out the year thinking over things that makes us go,“Hmmmm…,”particularly ongoing issues that didn’t really evolve over 2013. This video has been making the rounds in our office,and we’ve all been struck by both the persistence of this issue as well as how dramatically it illustrates the disconnect between Americans’perception and the reality of income inequality. Income inequality is a persistent and intractable problem,and this video has sparked many conversations on how to fix it,such as this article. Other articles,inspired by President Obama’s speech on income inequality,have proposed other suggestions,such as focusing on unemployment.
While the road to changing income inequality is a long one and may take decades to address,one of Campaign Consultation’s initiatives,the Living Legacy Initiative for Entrepreneurs,provides an immediate way to deal with this:by providing wealthy individuals with assistance on developing their philanthropy strategies. By doing so,Campaign Consultation is trying to make it easy as possible for the wealthy to reinvest their earned money into organizations and causes that can help their fellow Americans. In the meantime,let’s all work to make 2014 a better year!
It’s that time of year again,when budget and reporting deadlines are down to the wire and holiday party invitations are flying at you faster than you can whip up a batch of eggnog.
Now is the time to remember that your most important resource is YOU!
So take a deep breath,silence your phone and you may just keep your sanity for 2014.
- Accommodation. It’s time to make peace with saying ‘No’. Friends and co-workers will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. Bowing out of some things sets reasonable expectations for everyone. Saying you won’t be there is better than ‘putting in an appearance’ for 5 minutes.
- Gluttony. Cookies,pies,mashed potatoes and stuffing can be tempting,but don’t go overboard. Eat a protein-packed snack before hitting those holiday parties and you’ll be less inclined to over-eat.
- Disorganization.Now that you know it’s okay if you can’t do everything,make sure you get to what you need to do. Take a moment to write a declaration of purpose for yourself. Is it getting the kid’s pictures with Santa? Making sure to visit a favorite cousin? Sending cards to special personal and professional friends? Plot it out so you don’t forget what’s important!
Ask for help BEFORE you feel like you’re drowning in your problems
- Stubbornness. Ask for help when you need it. Goodness knows I struggle with this one! If that work project is getting out of hand or if you’re now realizing that you shouldn’t have promised 3 gingerbread houses for that bake sale,don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. A colleague may have an insight you didn’t or another parent may have time to whip up some extra cookies. It’s better to do it right than go at it alone.
- Sloth. Energize with exercise! Is your wreath hanging lopsided? Budget deadline closing in on you? Noisy kids or co-workers driving you up the wall? Take 5 to walk around the block and clear your head- the movement and fresh air will do wonders!
Don’t shed a tear! Walking away from your stressors is a great way to reclaim your sanity
- Envy. Quit keeping up with Pinterest (sorry Pinterest). But seriously,stop comparing yourself to magazines,Facebook friends,and great mom bloggers. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow,traditions and rituals often change as well. Your challah doesn’t have to be the best,we’re just glad you tried!
- Perfection. Take a shortcut now and then. When planning family and friend get-togethers,it is fine to not do it all yourself. Buy prepared foods,instead of cooking everything from scratch,ask others to bring their favorite dishes,or cook and freeze foods beforehand to save time on the day of the event.
Most of these came from here,here and here.
Have your own ways of keeping your head? Share them in the comments!
As we highlighted last year,was the first year of the Giving Tuesday campaign. Tom Watson at Forbes Magazine and Timothy Ogden of Stanford’s Social Innovation Review have voiced concerns about its effectiveness,which attempts to soften the excessive consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by reminding us all of the spirit of generosity that underpins the winter holiday season. Now that Giving Tuesday 2013 is over,here are some conversations that are bubbling around the internet:
- Donations on Giving Tuesday are up by 90% through both Blackbaud and Network for Good,according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Both websites process significant amounts of online donations,and are emerging as places measure online giving here in the US.
- What does this mean? Steve McLaughlin,the Director of Blackbaud’s Idea Lab,argues that Giving Tuesday represents an overall net good for the nonprofit sector. While there may be some challenges for smaller,less media savvy organizations,it’s still an opportunity to start and build relationships with donors and supporters.
- What’s the point–is this about increasing total donations or supporting a culture of giving? Timothy Ogden ponders this and asks for feedback over at Stanford’s Social Innovation Review.
- Will this be a one day deal or the beginning of Giving Season? CharityEngine mulls this question over,but only additional Giving Tuesdays will be able to tell!
On that last question,I think that the fact that Giving Tuesday dovetails with traditional year-end appeals suggests that it could easily become the latter. We have some tips here and here on how to thank donors and build those one-time donations into lasting relationships.
Finally,on a note of hometown pride:Baltimore is the Most Generous City in America,thanks to the Bmore Gives More campaign! What Weekly has a great write-up on the Baltimore-specific Giving Tuesday campaign,as Bmore Gives More partners successfully met and exceeded their goal of raising $5 million by bringing in $5.6 million. Baltimore is also the only city to have a locale-specific campaign,so here’s hoping that more cities and towns jump in next year!
In times of significant neighborhood change,outreach and community building are going to be extremely important in ensuring that new neighbors are included in already established communities and that these communities capitalizes on the new human resource.
From my own experience,gentrification is not creating inclusiveness. In many cases gentrification moves lower-income residents to other neighborhoods which allows higher-income residence to move into new gentrified spaces which reinforces class lines.
Lower-income established neighborhoods may lack financial resources but oftentimes they have relationships with their neighbors. The Community Toolbox is an excellent resource for residents who want community change to strengthen the skills to build the community they want and deserve. The Community Toolbox has 46 chapters that provides insightful guidance on creating and maintaining partnerships,assessing community needs,promoting interest and so much more.
Campaign Consultation,Inc. also provides great tools on Citizen Mobilization,such as the 5 Cs. We are very skilled at advocating for the needs of a community. The Community Toolbox can tell you “how” but we can definitely help implement effective community change.
I’d like to hear about your gentrification experience and what you think about the resources provided in this blog. Please share your thought.