BE. Then DO. Then, HAVE. 
It is up to you. BUT if you are BEing and DOing,
HAVing will NOT be your problem! 

 

Critical Concepts to Being a Community
Change Agent (for the Good).


Robert J. Vickers, Founder and President, Artful Askers (www.ArtfulAskers.com)

After 35 years in the philanthropic industry, I want to ask you a favor: Please consider the following discussion points and their value as my way of exploring what is successful, what is not successful, what works and what doesn't work in communities cooperating and collaborating to meet needs of others. . . This is a discussion paper and includes concepts focused on building relationships with colleagues with whom we serve, building relationships with Agencies in our communities, building relationships with churches and businesses in our communities AND with ultimately building relationships with consumers in need. The ONLY variable that has been proven to bring people out of poverty OR keep them from going into poverty--is people having some sort of healthy relationship around them.

The following is more similar to observations than to conclusions--I want to share them simply as discussion points.

Although I don’t want to focus too heavily on religious words and concepts, the following principles of working together and accomplishing good things in our communities are almost entirely rooted in Biblical principles and work because the Bible works. In serving a community and meeting needs, people must understand the bigger picture of what we are doing in empowering people to live successful lives, make healthy choices, and care about others. It is NOT enough to throw "stuff" at people. We are NOT just meeting basic human needs or growing people. We are utilizing items with little social value left in them to empower people with very little to give with a "currency" to develop relationships by caring for the least of these, the poor and downtrodden, the hungry, the thirsty, the imprisoned, etc. . . True leaders must empower people with whatever is necessary to provide life-changing HOPE to a world desperate for ANY hope through relationships!

There are several critical concepts to consider as we empower others to serve AND serve those we serve that are in poverty or are under-resourced.

1. Love is a choice. The most important concept to be on the same page with each other is this first one! Love is a choice. We must make every moment of every day and choose to love. Love means “doing what is best for others regardless of my benefit or feelings.” It is an action made NOT dependent upon what returns as a resulting reaction from someone else. It is an other-orientation that engages action. My actions of responsible behavior are dependent upon my choices and my choices only--to my family, clients, co-workers and to others in my community. If we are meeting common client needs, it doesn’t matter that we like each other or not—only that we respectfully interact. We must focus on the client and meet needs together. When two of us are focused on someone in need and each bring what we can to the situation, we are better than just one of us by ourselves. In fact, not only is two better than one, three are better than two, five are better than three, and so on. . . When we work together in community and choose to trust, respect, communicate with each other, and compliment the work each other does; greater benefits abound to those in need that we commonly serve as well as every other member of the community. We are better together! Period.

Often, our hearts melt together even more closely and that models to our clients the importance of having a network around themselves, too. In fact, when we choose to cooperate, collaborate, and respect each other even when we have difficulty liking each other, we often mature to an even higher level because we truly grow to respect and value the differences in each other when we operate under these most challenging of circumstances. When we accept that there is NEVER a reason to treat each other with disrespect, we tend to place more value on the person rather than any position or behavior. Once respect begins to thaw for the person and the position, check-out time has arrived as nothing will ever be healthy in that relationship again.
 
It has long been my practice to work together even with those I have trouble inter-acting with and liking. If we are meeting common needs and as long as client or community needs are being met, I choose to work with everyone as it broadens my outreach--the more I work with others serving more, the greater my capacity to reach more and leave less to be served. And if we were truly honest, we would all say to each other, "I wouldn’t like you if you were like me."
 
I am not only glad we are different, BUT we are better because we are not all the same. I have seen God change hearts of people in many situations especially with those who tend to be difficult--as well as my own because we worked together. I have seen incredible things over the years as this single concept plays out. If we choose to work with those we don't particularly like, we more than likely will both have our hearts and minds changed into something better than we could ever have imagined. Working together is my choice. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
 
However, there may come a time when it is best to "wipe the dust from your sandals" and walk away. When a critical spirit becomes a thorn in the flesh, start asking yourself some tough questions. I have a lot to offer and when people start being critical and intentionally undermining me or NOT valuing me enough to protect me from such things and watch my back in various situations, it might be time to "go and serve where you are celebrated NOT where you are tolerated." I do make the choice to NOT work with people whose sole intent is to simply have meetings to have meetings to have meetings. Some people have meetings where they read and circulate the minutes from the last meeting and plan their next meeting so that the record of meetings is complete. Ugh! We all have the exact same number of minutes in a day and my time is FAR too valuable to have a meeting unless there are action points and take-aways that everyone completes BEFORE the next meeting. Key thoughts:
   a) “What you do is what you believe. Everything else is just a bunch of talk.” Tony Campolo
   b) “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
   c) “You cannot change somebody else, you can only change yourself:
        And sometimes, that makes all the difference.”

2. People are different and that is good! Celebrate the differences. When I was a buyer/salesman/manager of a jewelry store, I often ordered tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in product orders at various times of the year that I would then retail out to make money. I specifically and intentionally bought 50% of a style, color, and kind of jewelry that I liked because I knew I could easily mark those up and sell them to show a large profit on the P&L Statement--which led to larger bonuses. But I also purchased 50% of style, colors, and kinds of jewelry that I didn’t like because I knew that half the people would like those, too. I learned very early in life at the age of 18 that not everyone was like me, had the same taste as I did, nor thought and made choices like me. Generally, the products sold and my store was very successful and profitable.

People are different and that is a good thing. I don't want to contradict that. However, the human tendency is that we most often hang out with people like ourselves. If you meet my friends, you would get a good understanding of who I am and what I like. And I with you! The same is true across all relationships and in almost every situation. People in need know others in need. When we give out of abundance and excess to people in need, they consume a lot but they also have enough margin to share with others in need and do so. I work to meet people’s need but along the way, but I look for ways to give them extra so that they have larger capacity to share with people around them. Be careful, though, as people in crisis tend to pull others into crisis. Remember. . .
   a) “We are all different. We are all the same.”
   b) “We are all individually and wonderfully made in His image.”
   c) “Life begets life. Hope begets hope.”

3. It is more blessed to give than to receive. The problem is that most people do not have enough margin, extra money, or resources to purchase items and give them away to experience the blessing. However, because we glean and leverage and access many in-kind gifts at no cost, we can consider the organizations that can pass it on to the right people and give them much extra product so that they cannot afford to give it away to individuals and receive the blessing. Do not sell what you receive free. A couple of keys:
   a) Learn to write Thank You notes in blue ink AND ask grateful clients to write them, too,
          in order that you can pass copies of them on to supporters/donors.
   b) “When you do the right thing, good things happen.”
   c) “When you live in a covenant of grace, you can’t help but live out a covenant of gratitude.”

4. People want anything and everything but most of all, they want MEANING and value and HOPE! Help people adopt an understanding that people want anything they can be given so long as it is given with a caring spirit. . . Agencies and individuals must learn to graciously accept what is offered and turn it around to think, “who can I bless that could use the item/product” or “who could I give it to that would be blessed to give the item/product?” Being a good steward of whatever it is! For example, I received a large donation of rice vinegar and found one of its uses could be weed killer. It was a gold mine of opportunity. In fact, from the time I receive something new, I start asking myself, "who needs this or who could really use this?" As we serve, keep a constant thought of who can I bless and where can a specific item be best used when you have abundance.
 
 
Did you know 90% of all wealth in this country is held in non-cash assets? In fact, 92.7% of ALL giving are these non-cash, in-kind gifts? Everyone understands cash giving—that is pretty simple. Nonprofits ask for money all the time and many nonprofits have endless fundraisers which really can destroy a community more than and faster than anything. Many of them get $1 value for every $1 contributed--which is truly a waste of money. However, once groups understand and value in-kind giving, gleaning and leveraging "stuff" to keep it out of landfills, they will go to a new level of meeting needs. Actually, we utilize in-kind giving and get $26 to $40 dollars of community impact value for every $1 we receive. We LOVE and need cash giving because we can leverage it and get a greater community-impact value! BUT we LOVE in-kind gifts, too!
 
 
In a recent truckload of "stuff," I got boxes of individually wrapped spoons—1,000 in each box! I found that MANY groups could use them! Other examples are blankets, sheets and pillows from hotels, motels and timeshares, bed frames, and diapers and wipes. If we help people have even a small amount of margin in their financial lives--to free up money to use for gas in the car, or an extra high utility bill, or some other luxury such as laundry detergent or something else, it brings them hope and encouragement. It also empowers them to experience the joy and blessing of “giving.”
   a) “Where there is no hope, people parish.”
   b) “The deepest secret of life is this: All that is really worth the doing
          is what we do for others.” Lewis Carroll/Elle Wasson-Duggan

5. Agencies and churches don't often realize the importance of the relationship-building. Please don't think I am being condescending--I have a Bible-college degree, have spent MANY years in ministry on church staffs and am so premillineal that I don't even eat post-toasties--BUT I believe churches are some of the worst relationship-builders today! It is NOT about the food--food helps an immediate need and is important but the food should be used as a vehicle or bridge to build relationships and/or network of support around people to help them, encourage them, support them, inspire them, and give them hope for a better future. Nor is it about the other in-kind items received to reuse. Rather, the focus should be on the relationship--build relationships and then build more. It’s not even about yourself but about others. Build with clients, with other churches and their people, with nonprofits and their employees, with elected officials, with businesspeople and with stakeholders in the community. Working together, we are all stronger BUT all too often, we only build with others who are like ourselves.
Food is critical but NOT the only need. In fact, food, alone, does not really help someone who is truly in poverty. Food is only one of the Five Pillars of Poverty—food is only one aspect that needs to be addressed. Food is important BUT so are housing and utilities, health and wellness, education, and family security and general family capacity-building. People wanting to have community impact MUST work with others to address a holistic approach to under-resourced people and their needs.
 
 
By the way, if we truly desire to help people, we must realize that there are multiple reasons why people are in need. The most common terminology in the industry is to talk about the Pillars of Poverty. Whether you look at it negatively ("there are multiple pillars of poverty that must be broken down to move people out of poverty!") or positively ("there are many ways that we must help and build people to move them out of poverty!"), the reality is that no single focus will move people from dependency to self-sufficiency.
 
 
Churches, social service agencies, individuals and many other stakeholders in a community must work together and address multiple "pillars." The generally-accepted 5 Pillars of Poverty are: 1) Food, 2) Housing and Utilities, 3. Health (physical, dental, mental, etc), 4. Education, and 5) Family Capacity and Sustainability (marriage and parenting classes, clothing, cooking classes, resume preparation and job search assistance, etc.).
We MUST work across ALL pillars of poverty in order to really help people in any one area--and most people--those serving and those being served don't know what they don't know.
   a) “The primary search in every person’s life is the search for meaning and value for their life.” Mitch Albom
   b) “Great occasions for serving God come seldom, BUT little ones surround us daily.” St. Francis De Sales
   c) "It's amazing what is accomplished when we work together and don't care who gets the credit." Truman/Reagan/Bob Winford

6. We must listen to others and each other to know what people need. We must meet with other social service agencies and hear their needs. We must meet with other churches and ask them what they need. We must talk and listen to individuals, groups, organizations, social service groups and all community stakeholders to assess what are the needs while remaining committed to working together to make a difference in a community. There are MANY pieces to the puzzle and we will never see it in its' entirety as there will always be various new needs emerging. Key thoughts:
   a) “It is not good enough to do your best. You must know what to do—then, do your best.” W. Edwards Deming
   b) “It is amazing what we can accomplish when we work together and don’t care who gets the credit.” Truman/Reagan/Bob Winford
   c) “You have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you talk.”

7. We must NOT be afraid that someone is going to take advantage of us--they will. The research indicates 10% of people in need drain 90% of the resources. They have simply learned the system and they tend to drain and manipulate the system and that is what many people focus on. Other research says that approximately 20% of those seeking and acquiring help are not even in need at all. If we let it, these two concepts would make us be judgmental and NOT serve anybody OR make the wrong judgment about the wrong people because we don't know who is in need and who is manipulating us and playing the game with us.

We must be wise and help people those really trying not just the ones that know how to play the system. But we must be wise--not judgmental and serve ALL "in need" and seeking help. The ones most in need will often be the ones not asking for help, will often be afraid to ask for help, or will often pretend NOT to be in need because it is uncomfortable to them. Those least of need will often be the ones complaining and having nasty attitudes wanting "better stuff" because it is a part of their nature to do so. Either way, it is not our concern to "figure it out." We must be sensitive and not judgmental. Some people WILL take advantage of us in a negative way--maybe even 20% of those served are taking advantage of us--but that is between them and God. I help everyone I can help and allow God to keep the score. Every night, I go home and get a good night's sleep with no regrets nor second thoughts. It is not my call nor my business to judge others.

In marriage, there are two primary phrases required for a great marriage: 1) I am sorry, please forgive me! and 2) I made a mistake and promise to try harder, please forgive me. If these two phrases were practiced more in cooperating and collaborating in our communities, it would tremendously change the community! "Grace must be the oxygen of our faith." We must learn to forgive and continue to work together OR we will never advance our community. Especially in communities like the one I reside in where the turnover is 30% every year. After 7 years, only 12% of the members of the community are still in the community. Pain and hurt and differences will be terminal if grace does not "even more abound." (That is an entirely different white-paper!)

I rarely get upset. Why? Who gets hurt in those situations where someone blows up? Everyone--especially ourselves. The other person rarely even knows there is even a problem. I once called my key staff together and asked them this question, "If you could change one thing in this organization, what would it be?  Think about it and write it down and put it in an envelope anonymously on the front desk. We will meet again in one week and talk about them." I went home and told my wife about what I did so that I would have proof of my point the next day. I wanted to see if they were interested in themselves, other employees or staff, or if they were concerned about those people we serve. Almost all of them were focused on themselves--NOT the people we serve. So I challenged them to think differently in an other-oriented way and it would make us a better organization. A couple of thoughts:
   a) “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
   b) “Judge not lest you be judged.”

 
8. Communication equals relationship--Build good relationships: Learn ways to work through situations with people in your community with face-to-face meetings at the very least. Don't use social media to attack! Always give people the benefit of the doubt BUT don't take disputes public. Don't limit communication, either. It is a HUGE mistake to NOT answer your phone, to NOT answer e-mails and to choose NOT to communicate with someone--in fact, it is childish. Learn to address issues and give people the benefit of the doubt--sometimes people are trying to communicate and need help learning how to do better! Assuming something and being angry robs the opportunity that someone is trying to communicate and do something good.

There is another very simple problem that will always emerge (especially in small, rural communities) and it is hard to deal with BUT is the elephant in the room for many situations. . . Words and expectations can kill MOST projects before they ever start and can certainly keep them from ever getting off the ground. Gossip is gossip--even if you are a religious person merely sharing "concerns" OR seeking clarity. Sure, accountability and sharing is necessary so do it with a trusted advisor or Pastor or someone you can trust. BUT if you work in a dentist’s or doctor's office or another public situation and “share” with people about the project and the concerns or confusions you have, that, my friend is pure ugly gossip and will undermine and DESTROY projects before they get off the ground. Gossip by any other name is purely gossip and is evil and destructive. Period. Good people with good intentions? Maybe. BUT it spreads doubt of the project and people (usually unhappy and psycho Christians) LOVE to share that type of message with others and undermine everything good happening because they are so unhappy and destructive themselves.
 
 
The Scripture is full of instruction about words and the importance of NOT gossiping--a match in a forest, etc. The larger problem is that most unhappy people that gossip think everyone else is the problem and they are doing nothing wrong! Broken people break people. Don't judge others BUT do seek to help them work on themselves by gently caring and steering them to health. However, if someone continues to undermine or damage a project or program with their attitude or tongue, RUN--don't walk!

 
 
This includes "side-talking." Life is too short to deal with people who lack self-esteem and self-confidence to treat people as adults—they are immature and destructive by rolling their eyes and talking behind your back OR in front of you on the side. . . Don't spend time with people who roll their eyes and side-talk while meetings are going on. People like that have their own life issues that can be and most often ARE very destructive and work against every positive outcome and goal.
   a) “Go and serve where you are celebrated--NOT where you are tolerated.”
   b) Relationships are important--relationships are ALL that matters!
          Healthy relationships are made up of known ingredients:
 
R   Respect, Honor, and Dignity to ALL.
               Especially by calling people by their name, making
               eye contact and treating them well.
E   Expressions of Encouragement.
               Find ways to encourage all people. Random acts of
               kindness, anonymous postcards, in-person.
L   Listen, Acknowledge, & Value. Acknowledge your differences
               with others. Find strength in them.
               Listen to others. Find ways to compromise.
A   Appreciate and Affirm.
               Find ways to show graciousness, gratefulness and
               appreciation of others. Show them. Tell them.
T   TRUST In-Spite Of/Through Brokenness.
               Choose to trust and work together—we’ve ALL been
               hurt. Broken people break people. Repair Yourself!
I    Identify and Build on Common Interests.
               Find people who are interested in what you are doing.
               Build on commonalities.
O   Order/Deliberate Actions.
               Is there order to your effort? Do you engage in deliberate
               actions and responsibly accept responsibility?
N   Nurture and Understand Others.
               Nurture others and seek to understand their behavior.
               Actively seek to understand others.
S    Self-less Orientation.
               Are you and your work effort other-oriented? Predictable and dependable?
               Do you look out for others and cooperate and collaborate?
H   Hope, Faith, and Pursue Consistency.
               Do you believe God will do it?
               It will only happen because of Him?
I    Integrity. Pursue integrity. Are you predictable?
               Committed? Integrity is doing your best—NOT perfection.
P   Pardon, GRACE, and Mercy.
               As much as is possible, show unlimited grace and mercy.

9. We must BE first, then DO, then HAVE. Trust is a choice. Yes, there are consequences to broken trust BUT still, trust is a choice. We must build trust amongst ourselves that we really are who and what we say we are to build the trust in cooperation and collaboration. In addition, we must be predictable and reliable that we will BE and DO who we are and what we say about ourselves. It must be consistent with what they hear about you from others OR we must defend the people we know better and then we MUST cover each other’s backs and defend one another! Many people remain exhausted because they are seeking to DO good things rather than first seeking to BE who they were created to be and allowing the DO to come as a second step. But we must cover each other and continuously build trust! If you will BE first, then DO—HAVING will not be the problem!
   a) "Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel.
          If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish."  --Sam Walton
   b) "Good leaders make good leaders.
          And good leaders know when it is time to let go and move on." --George W. Bush
 
10. Research tells us the good "Characteristics of Nonprofit Leaders":
   a) They constantly learn, talk positively about their cause and share their vision with others.
   b) They must become good teachers of the basics to continue keeping people involved. They choose to constantly educate and walk-out what they teach.
   c) Not afraid to ask people for help with money, volunteers, events, free stuff, etc. Then, engage in relationships and encourage and build people to be successful and accomplish goals and objectives that are the best for all involved and the bigger picture.
   d) Must be great at stretching money--gleaning and leveraging, tracking Volunteer hours, quantifying impact and communicating community impact.
   e) If they want to last, they must become immune to rejection--or at minimum learn ways to deal with it. . . They must learn to be strong where they are strong BUT work on areas where they are weak.
   f) Nonprofit leaders see a LOT of people come and go BUT eventually, they must replicate right long-term people into leaders and help maximize the impact for the community. 

11. We must work together—cooperate and collaborate to create a better community:  Further, NOT only work together in our community, but also work with others around the 5 Pillars of Poverty to NOT only extend a hand to help people out of poverty but to also help them keep from veer fall into poverty. Addressing one pillar of poverty will do very little—we must work with others in another area so as to help consumers.
 
The Five Pillars are primarily addressed in the following broad categorical issues:
 
1. Food: Food is important. People in need should have access to food and a stable food supply source. In the long run, we want to empower individuals and families to leverage their own resources to obtain nutritious, affordable food to become food stable. However, throwing food at people does not solve the issue. We must learn to read the expiration dates, understand them and communicate it to others. We must also address people’s other needs related to poverty and being under-resourced. we must help them understand that availability of free food allows them to use their resources where most needed--and to make these judgments and decisions when they are in need.
     --Also special occasion food: Thanksgiving meal, Christmas meal, weekend backpacks, etc.
     --School-Aged children and youth with weekend food.
     --Seniors on fixed income with daily food access and weekend food.
     --Food for fundraisers and special benefits.
     --Many times, people have food stamps and can purchase BUT cannot purchase other essential items! Things like pots and pans, silverware, toilet paper, etc. See "List of Items NOT Able to Be Purchased With Food Stamps," click HERE. 
 
2. Housing and Utilities: We must exist to empower individuals and families to have housing and ultimately leverage their own resources to be sustainable and live in safe, decent, sanitary homes, within their means, and have sufficient utility access to become housing stable. NOT just a place to live but able to get their utilities turned on, have a bed, pillows, sheets and blankets, and live in a safe, decent and sanitary home.
     --They also need furniture, silverware, dishes, pots and pans, dishwashing liquid, towels and washcloths, etc.
     --Utility deposits.
     --High utility bills, winterization, and special needs assistance.
     --Handicap-accessible ramp and other special needs.
     --Mattresses, box springs and bed frames.
     --Budgeting classes and assistance.

 
3. Health: We must empower individuals and families to leverage their own resources to access health and medical services regardless of insurance to become medically stable, have access to sufficient care, and be safe and secure with their health. This includes physical health, dental, psychological and social health, and mental health and should not only be left to the medical community. The faith community plays a HUGE role in this, too, by developing relationships and empowering people to be “healthy” in many ways.
     --Co-pays for medical appointments.
     --Assistance for dental care.
     --Encouragement to pursue psychological counseling and intervention.

 
4. Education: We exist to empower individuals to leverage their potential skill set and educational achievement to be self-sufficient, productive contributing members of society and be educationally stable. From daycare and preschool all the way through graduate programs, from middle- and high-school through vocational technical training. We must help people to reach a full potential in believing in themselves, accessing the skills and/or education to reach their goals and be successful.
     --GED and high-school equivalency. Training and testing assistance.
     --Vocational Technical School and or trade school.
     --Community College and College (including online options).

 
5. Economic Security, Family Capacity and Sustainability: We must exist to empower individuals and families to leverage their knowledge and access community programs and resources to become self-sustaining, economically, socially and spiritually supported and involved community members to become family stable and sustainable. This includes everything from resume help and job-search assistance to cooking or parenting classes to marriage and family counseling, to MANY other venues to family security.
     --Cooking, Parenting, Marriage and other classes.
     --Resume preparation and job coaching. How to find and keep a job! A free book of guidelines and samples are available electronically by request of Bob Vickers at bob@artfulaskers.com.
     --Encouragement to pursue church involvement or other Network building.

 
6. Transportation is the oil that makes the motor run. One of--if not THE largest problem overriding and constricting ALL pillars of poverty and keeping people from having access to mobility out of poverty--is transportation and the inability for people to be at a certain place and at a certain time as well as over time consistently. People cannot get to food pick-ups, medical appointments, job interviews, work, etc., because transportation is such a HUGE problem and most communities cannot afford to arrange for long-term, sustainable solutions to the transportation problems.
     --Rides to appointments for medical, dental, job interviews, testing alternatives, limited shopping, etc.
     --Arrangement for transportation for job interviews or employment.
 

 
Key Definitions:
 
Glean: The definition of glean is to obtain information or to collect grain left behind after harvesting. One example of gleaning is when you ask questions to try to find out information. Another might be to acquire items someone wants to throw away and utilize.1. to collect (grain, etc. left by reapers), to collect the remaining grain, etc. from (a reaped field or vineyard) 2. a. to collect or find out (facts, etc.) gradually or bit by bit, to examine or go through (books, etc.) so as to collect certain information and gather information in small amounts, with implied difficulty. 3. To frugally accumulate resources from low-yield contexts. Organizations can help themselves and other Agencies in the county by working together and help glean products or other items to meet needs together. (From Scripture, Ruth and Naomi.)

Leverage: The definition of leverage is basically an assisted advantage. As a verb, to leverage means to gain an advantage through the use of a tool or some other resource. For example, you can more easily lift a heavy object with a lever than you can lift it unaided. Leverage is commonly used in a metaphorical sense. For example, as a frequently used business or marketing term, leverage is any strategic or tactical advantage, and as a verb, means to exploit such an advantage, just as the use of a physical lever gives one an advantage in the physical sense. From Scripture, multiplying talents. . . Organizations can help leverage volunteers, volunteer hours and products in order to recapture money being spent on items available for free.
 
Capacity-building and Sustainability (yes, tied together): Greater ability to provide services and last. Capacity building is vitally important, now more than ever. There is a startling lack of awareness about what nonprofit capacity building is, especially when our society depends so heavily on the nonprofit sector to serve as the safety net for our communities. Simply put, nonprofit capacity building refers to activities that improve and enhance a nonprofit’s ability to achieve its mission and sustain itself over time. “Nonprofits have an obligation to seek new and even more effective ways of making tangible progress towards their missions, and this requires building organizational capacity. All too many nonprofits, however, focus on creating new programs and keeping administrative costs low instead of building the organizational capacity necessary to achieve their aspirations effectively and efficiently…This must change: both nonprofit managers and those that fund them must recognize that excellence in programmatic innovation and implementation are insufficient for nonprofits to achieve lasting results. Great programs need great organizations behind them.” Capacity-building is an investment in the future sustainability of a nonprofit. Organization staff and Board Members have a vital role in ensuring an organization’s success to effectively manage a solution-oriented program. In our experience, programs should have at least one staff member who spends some of his/her time in direct support of building capacity and impacting sustainability.
 
Safe, decent and sanitary housing: A place to live that is safe, clean and decent. basic--not fancy BUT safe and clean.
 
"A Decent Resume": I realize that this sounds condescending--please forgive me. Resumes simply are not the same as they used to be. Do NOT use a reverse-chronological resume and expect good results. Today, in the United Sates, there are 28 people competing for every decent job. That means you MUST do a different resume and present yourself MUCH different than MANY others competing for the same position. We offer a Resume guide--a free, electronic book that has 20 pages of the theory of resumes, how to make yours, why and why not to do certain things and MORE! Then, it has 20 pages of sample resumes from which you can use as a guideline, to cut-and-paste from or whatever you need to do your own impressive skill-based resume.
 

What other concepts would you like defined or explained? Send an e-mail to bob@artfulaskers.com