Fighting Poverty with Passion
The past few weeks have been very eventful for Community Works. On Thursday I lead the first ever Advisory Council meeting, which I’ve been planning for a while, and have had as a goal since I started at Community Works, and on Friday we had an Afterschool Happy Hour where we invited friends to come and learn more about our organization. The goal of this event was not to ask for money, but more of a personal investment–for folks to share CW’s mission with their networks, attend our Culminating Events, and be an advocate for afterschool.
The Happy Hour was successful! Only about 15 people came, but we all drank wine and had really wonderful conversations, now the most important thing is to follow up with these people to keep their interest so they don’t forget about us. Following up with each individual is different, because it should be unique to their personal interests, and their style. I’m learning about different ‘Asking Styles’ from this Webinar on CharityHowTo.com which is a free library of resources for non-profits. Is this person a ‘Rain-Maker’ with an analytic brain, ‘Go-Getter’ who’s creative and big picture oriented, ‘Mission Controller’ who’s detailed and observant, or ‘Kindred Spirit’ who’s leading with their heart. It’d be great to do a Webinar about (Fun)draising Events, to learn how to get better turn out.
The Advisory Council’s first meeting was super exciting but not without it’s drama. This has been a project/goal of mine since I started working at Community Works. I became immediately aware of how the office staff, not surprisingly, did not represent the community we serve. Only one person in the office was an Instructor for this organization previously, she moved up to a Site Director Position and ultimately became our Education and Outreach. Her first hand experience on the ground gave her an invaluable perspective and made her an advocate for Instructors and Site Directors. I found it important that the office become more intentional behind informing out decisions, especially when in regards to equity, programs and partnerships, parent engagement, fundraising and events, instructor support, and Youth Voice.
Months ago, I began reaching out to some of our star Instructors and Site Directors, and conducted interviews with folks who were interested. Then I asked the Instructors and SD’s who were not going to participate to connect me with especially engagement parents in their community so that their site would still be represented. Ultimately, it came down to a group of 5 women. A SD from an Einstein site in the East, an Instructor from a different Einstein in the East, an Instructor from a site in Broadmoor, a parent from a site in MidCity, and a parent from a site Uptown.
Then the hard part began, actually trying to get all of them in the same place. I sent out a Doodle Poll, and settled a date that 4/5 could agree on. I sent out reminders as the date approached. Then, the day of, 1 hour before the meeting was supposed to start, I was at Whole Foods picking up some fruit, coffee, and chips and guac. I got an text from the Instructor in the East saying that she was not feeling well and wouldn’t be able to drive out from the East this evening, and she was someone else’s ride. So no one from Community Works would be able to be there, just the parents were able to attend. I called my ED and asked if we should cancel, since only 40% would be in attendance, and I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. The agenda was:
So I was worried about building a mission statement with only two people there. However, my Executive Director said, “if you cancel on them now, they’re not coming back.” This is why he’s the ED! So we went through with it and I’m SO glad we did.
It offered the parents more air time and a more casual environment where we could just talk away and bond, and realize connections we shared. Both of these woman are wealths of knowledge and resources that they were so enthusiastic to share. It was casual, inspiring and energizing. These women come from two completely different backgrounds but had so much in common, and there was just a lot of femme power in the room. We shared stories and experiences, goals, New Orleans history. Then we played a game to come up with buzz words to ultimately form a Mission Statement for our group. The words each of us chose were: Access, Passion, Advocacy, and Equity.
I’m really optimistic about the future of this Council and what we will be able to accomplish. I shared my notes with everyone yesterday and sent out a Doodle Poll for the next meeting.
I can’t believe it if you read this whole thing, but thanks for reading! Feel free to hit me up to hang or ask any questions.
Hope y’all have a restful break and eat some yummy foods.