Tag Archives: community leadership

Advocacy: critical nonprofit work

StandBesideHer

Stand Beside Her is an example of a new powerful new advocacy campaign launched by Girl Scouts Heart of the South. This national campaign encourages women and girls to support each other. It’s a bold move to reduce comparisons and competition amongst women. The goal: changing our culture so every girl and woman can reach her fullest potential.

There’s something wrong when women are more than 50% of the population and we still ask ourselves “why are women underrepresented in so many aspects of our society?” At a minimum change requires new public policies, new ways of interacting with each other, new roles for men, and a change in consciousness. Stand Beside Her focuses on how we treat each other as women and encourages us to change negative behaviors we have internalized, normalized and may not even be aware of.

This is no small goal. Like most advocacy campaigns it’s about a big vision. It’s right up there with curing HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Securing marriage equality. Eliminating racism.

Here are a few things we learned: 67% of women rate mentorship as highly important in helping to advance and grow their careers, yet 63% of women never has had a formal mentor. 39% of girls have been put down or discouraged when trying to lead. And, 92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with their body weight ranking the highest.

Girls are watching us and listening to us. How do we treat each other? And how do we treat ourselves? Each of us can be part of the solution. Invite a junior colleague for coffee. Introduce something new to your daughter. Create a mentoring program at work. Ensure you are an informed voter. Avoid negative words and phrases. Encourage others through your words. Volunteer and donate to help girls and women.

Advocacy is critical nonprofit work. It advances the work of a nonprofit in ways that direct services can’t. Advocacy opens up our thinking to new perspectives. It encourages those of us who may feel powerless to join together and make our voices heard. It is a way to engage donors in the ongoing work of a nonprofit. It is more than writing a check: it is an opportunity to open our homes to talk about an important issue. It helps build relationships within our community – and nationally. Advocacy makes the case for change. We have the opportunity to tell a compelling story and encourage others to take actions large and small, and to give. Advocacy can open up your nonprofit to energy, something most of us need.

Advocate for girls and women October 25th – 31st. Let’s choose to Stand Beside Her.

Learn more at  www.standbesideher.org

Copyright 2015– Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw position nonprofits, colleges and universities for fundraising success. For help with your fundraising visit www.saadandshaw.com or call (901) 522-8727.

Welcome home baby boomers!

Part two of a two-part series

African American male, baby boomers, community leadership, fundraising, community development, leadership development, AARP, AgingTalented leadership is always in high demand. The question is: where do you look for leaders, who are you overlooking, and how do you effectively sustain their involvement? When recruiting talent for your organization, business or municipality make sure you consider individuals over age 55. Here’s what we know – these “so called seniors” represent a growing percentage of the population, and many have experience, education, and connections that can transform communities and organizations. They can provide valuable leadership in the civic and nonprofit sectors, when called upon.

It is important to consider individual seniors for individual positions in organizations, agencies and businesses. It is equally important to create a local or regional organizational structure that attracts and engages older individuals who want to make an impact. In many communities there is an organized effort to attract and retain young leaders. A similar effort should be made to engage older residents. Care is taken when recruiting younger talent, and similar attention should be paid to the recruitment and engagement of older talent.

For example, when looking at community development, economic growth, transforming education, or increasing cultural opportunities “seniors” can be major contributors. Many have skills, experience and relationships that have been developed over years and decades. Those who had careers as corporate executives and managers have worked in communities across the country and can bring that national exposure and learning to your local community. They can play key roles on local and state civic boards and commissions. Their strategic thinking and board service in other communities can add value to local nonprofit boards.

Creating a structure that focuses on engaging the talent of seniors can yield financial and civic rewards. Such a structure can also serve as a formal way to “welcome home” those seniors who are returning to the community after careers in other parts of the country, or internationally. Consider this: What mechanisms are in place to engage people returning home, to introduce them to current stakeholders, and to facilitate their community engagement?

Evaluate local programs that target young, talented professionals for civic engagement. Could a similar program be developed for talented seniors? What structures can be created to welcome and engage individuals who had successful careers in other parts of the country, as well as those who worked regionally? What meaningful paid and unpaid opportunities are available? This is not a generation looking to “lick envelopes” – these are talented leaders who can strategically add value and help define solutions to pressing civic issues.

Take a look around and see who’s in town. Identify who is coming home and create a strategy to engage them. It’s mutually beneficial: a win for the community, and a win for seniors. Don’t let stereotypes render top local talent invisible.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.