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.
A Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA) for women (Photo credit:The Reboot)
Crowdfunding is a relatively new idea compared to other methods of securing capital (bank loans,personal savings,line of credit,venture capitalist,charitable donations). However,it’s actually been around for several years. Many of us have heard stories of people funding various initiatives online.
So what do you need to know about crowdfunding? Here’s a quick tutorial:
What is crowdfunding?
Individuals contribute their money,from as little as one dollar to thousands of dollars,to collectively fund various initiatives introduced by other individuals,organizations,or businesses. Sometimes the donor gets a reward or sample product for contributing.
Who can crowdfund?
Anyone. Crowdfunding can be used to fund startup businesses,social enterprises,nonprofits,causes,charities,and even personal financing. Below are just a few examples of crowdfunding initiatives:
- A crowdfunding campaign for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has been created on Indiegogo on behalf of the International Rescue Committee. Read about it here.
- Stockbox Grocers and LuminAID Lab are two social enterprises mentioned by Doug Rand,Senior Policy Advisor,White House Office of Science and Technology Policy,in his article who have successfully used crowdfunding. Read more about how the Whitehouse thinks that crowdfunding for social entrepreneurs can contribute to economic growth in this article.
- Boston University student,Alexis-Brianna Felix,used crowdfunding to pay for her tuition and fees. Read about more about it here.
How to crowdfund?
Crowdfunding is usually done through an online site,such as Kickstarter,Crowdfunder,Indiegogo,etc. Each site offers different features and specializes in certain types of initiatives. Some site are better for businesses while other sites are more useful for causes while others cater to the arts. Check out this article in Forbes which gives an overview of the top 10 crowdfunding sites and their focus area. It’s important to note that the sites charge a fee,usually between 4-8% to host your project.
What’s new with crowdfunding?
Traditionally,crowdfunding has been based on donations. However,in 2012,Congress and President Obama passed the JOBS Act,which allows for investment or equity crowdfunding. Instead of individuals donating,they can invest and become shareholders of a business with the possibility of a financial return. The SEC is in the process of reviewing the JOBS Act and creating rules and regulations around investment crowdfunding. So look out for investment crowdfunding in the near future!
Residents carry relief goods past damaged homes in Tacloban city,Leyte province,central Philippines on Sunday,Nov. 10,2013.
Bullit Marquez/AP Photo
With all of the news out now about the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan (called “Yolanda” in the Philippines) has wrecked in the Philippines,many people here in the United States and elsewhere have been asking how they can help. Many of the organizations you’ll find below are ones that have been featured elsewhere,but if you have any questions about the effectiveness of an aid organization,be sure to check with Charity Navigator! Charity Navigator has even put together a list of larger aid organizations actively working to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
One thing that stood out when looking up resources to help the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan is the presence of people and family tracing services. There is a significant Filipino diaspora,with over 10 million Filipinos living outside of the Philippines,and the biggest concentration of overseas Filipinos is here in the United States. As a result,even though some of us here in the United States may feel removed from what’s going on in the South Pacific,we most likely have friends,coworkers,neighbors,or even family members who have loved ones who may be acutely impacted by the typhoon. It may sounds cliché to talk about a “global” community these days,but in all honesty,the community or family you identify with may be broader than you think!
On that note,the following organizations are currently providing people/family tracing services for anyone who might have loved ones in the regions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan:
- American Red Cross- “ The Red Cross has also activated its family tracing services. If you are looking for a missing family member in the Philippines,please remember that many phones lines are down. Please continue trying. If you are still unable to reach them,you can contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a tracing case”
- Google Person Finder- Google Person Finder was created to “helps people reconnect with friends and loved ones in the aftermath of natural and humanitarian disasters.” The process,as described by the website,is as follows:
- A crisis strikes and people get separated.
- They let the world know they are looking for someone
- Individuals and organizations provide the information.
- People find information about their friends and family
Also,various organizations within Filipino-American communities are also raising funds and send money to the Philippines. Some examples include:
- National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON):“At this time,NAFCON will assist in the direct transfer of MONETARY donations. Your donation will be sent directly to Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan or BALSA (People’s Cooperation for the People),a national grassroots relief and rehabilitation organization composed of broad church-based organizations,schools,disaster response NGOs,and individuals,working with victims of disasters in the Philippines.”
- The Philippine Disaster Relief Organization organized a charity 5K that took place yesterday. Initially organized to support survivors of a 7.1 earthquake that took place within the past month,the proceeds will now go towards relief for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
Much of this information was found from 18 Million Rising‘s Facebook page which is very much focused on supporting and strengthening Asian/Pacific Islander American communities. Many thanks!
Edit (Tuesday,Nov 12):
NAFCON (linked to above) is doing a great job highlighting relief efforts organized by various Filipino American communities across the nation. Also,the Baltimore Sun ran this great article today about Baltimore-area Filipino community efforts to respond to the storm. In case you can’t get to the article,two of the groups highlighted are Foundation for Aid to the Philippines and Katipunan of Maryland. I think they’re still mobilizing,so their websites may not be up to date with the latest relief efforts.
Living in today’s’ ever-connected world has its challenges and opportunities. There are hundreds of advertisers vying for our attention at every moment with ever more customized and sleek advertisements encouraging you to click over and consume. In this disposable age where people are told to keep buying items to achieve status,be happier,healthier and more organized there are people bucking that trend. They are the bartering engine driving the Share Economy. In the spirit of sharing,we thought we’d bring you 5 ways folks are making use of what they have to get more of what they need.
1. Tool Libraries
As the name implies,this is a library of tools! Libraries such as the one in Baltimore’s Station North district simply ask for a donation,a photo id and a signed membership agreement to let neighbors borrow as needed. Need a table saw but don’t want to invest in one and store it after your project’s over? Borrow it from the library! Find one near you,today!
You read it right,leftovers. A new app LeftoverSwap will let you trade your spare ½ pizza for someone else’s extra kung pow chicken. Does that make your tummy rumble or flip-flop?
Not sure how many friends you can get together for a clothing swap? Look no further than the internet! For a membership or rental price retailers like Gwynnie Bee,Thread Tread and Rent the Runway will gladly send you what you’d like and they even do the laundry.
Learn to Be is a 3 year old organization that connects tutors with students. It’s completely web-based and 100% free!
5. Little Free Libraries
What?! Another library? In case you like your book selection on the miniature side,The Little Free Library is just your speed. They’re located on private property and require no membership or card,just open the door,take a book and return when you’re finished!
With the government shutdown leaving many Americans feeling powerless and angry,community is more important than ever. America is built on the collective action of individuals working together to solve community problems and get things done. The shutdown fiasco offers the perfect opportunity for us to revive our legacy and come together,build relationships and bridge the service gaps that have emerged from this mayhem.
Per the Federal Government,below are some of the services that are affected:
- Veterans’ compensation,pension,education,and other benefits could be cut off in the case of an extended shutdown.
- New applications for small business loans and loan guarantees will be immediately halted.
- Hundreds of thousands of additional federal workers will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed without pay.
The impact of cut services,lending and salaries has left many Americans discourage and wondering about what they are going to do about their personal finances and supporting their families. While I’m not directly affected by the government shutdown, I have experienced cut services and a loss of wages. This is what I did to get through those difficult times:
Create a relationship with entities you owe money
I contacted my mortgage,utility,and insurance companies and negotiated payment terms that was suitable for my situation at the time. You could move payments to the end of term,re-amortize balances or do double payments in the following months. We know that the government can’t shut down forever and when they decide to come to their senses it will be business as usual.
Coordinate and communicate with your neighbors
During my time of struggle,I really thought I was the only one having problems until I ran into one of my neighbors at the super market. Thank goodness for long lines;we got into a conversation about how tight times were and decided to do a block pot luck dinner on Fridays. We invited the block to participate and we would each bring one item. 10 neighbors participated and we had leftovers. More important than the meal was the synergy that was created to support our hardships. We were able to volunteer our time to each other for things we would normally pay for like babysitting,tutoring,tax preparation and construction. Think about what you have to offer and engage your community. Know your neighbors and their stories;check in on them.
Below are the links to the full list of services effected by the government shut down as well as some stories about what others are doing to survive it. Please tell us your experience;we would love to hear it.
A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain taken by A. F. Bradley in New York,1907. http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/publications/siycfall_05.pdf http://www.twainquotes.com/Bradley/bradley.html See also other photographs of Mark Twain by A. F. Bradley taken in March 1907 in New York on Mark Twain Project Online. (Photo credit:Wikipedia)
We often use stories to illustrate a point we want to make. Storytelling is a time honored tool for passing on important information,and for demonstrating how we have come to a certain point in our lives. It can also be used to unite a community around a certain point of view. Storytelling is an ongoing process through which individuals,communities and nations construct their identity,make choices and inspire action. Each of us has a compelling story to tell that can move others.
There are three basic elements to keep in mind when you construct a story:
Challenge:What was the specific challenge faced by you,others,or your organization/community? What are or were the specific factors that created this challenge?
Choice:What was the specific choice that was made in face of this challenge? What led you or others to believe this was the best choice?
Outcome:What happened as a result of this choice? Was there a lesson learned?
Once you have the basic framework of your story,you will want to consider the factors below. These will help you build your story in a way that engages and holds the interest of your listeners:
- Match your story to your audience
Consider the occasion and setting where you are telling the story. Is it to make a point for children? Perhaps you are trying to illustrate how your organization has effectively solved a community problem. Are you recognizing the accomplishments of someone special? Would humor be appropriate?
To keep an audience engaged you need to keep the story moving. Have a clear idea of where you are going with the story. Avoid verbal trash like “um” or “y’know?”
- Physically interact with your audience
Use words,gestures,and facial expressions to create images for your story. You can even use visual aids if they will work in your setting. Vary the tone of your voice and make gestures that indicate what is happening. Don’t fidget,put your hands in pockets,or shift from foot to foot,though.
A good story is “true,” but it doesn’t have to be fact. It’s not as important to explain everything that happened as it is to create an atmosphere where listeners can fill in the blanks with their own experiences or observations. Eliminate extraneous details. Make space for your listeners to “see” the story,time to laugh,time to feel,time to reflect,time to hang on the edge of their seats for what comes next.
- Practice before you deliver
If possible,tell your story first to friends in a small group. As you gain confidence,perform for larger,less intimate groups. Before long,you’ll think nothing of telling a story to a large room full of strangers.
If you are new to public speaking,Toastmasters offers a supportive environment to learn the basics and get some practice.
If you would like to expand your story telling experience,Cowbird can help you do this.
Finally,read to this classic piece about storytelling from America’s greatest storyteller,Mark Twain.
September is National Preparedness Month;will you be ready in a time of disaster? 2012 had a variety of disasters,including Hurricane Sandy and the California Wildfires. How would you have dealt with these events? Federal and local government can only do so much to prepare us;they are the most proactive after the event has occurred. As a community it is important that we take collective action when disaster strikes.
Below are some steps to being ready:
1) Get the training you need for disaster. Disaster Ready.Org provides online training in being prepared. Their training is geared towards humanitarian aid volunteers and workers,but Disaster Ready.Org provides a Wellness Briefing Class which teaches what you need to do to stay mentally,physically,emotionally,spiritually,and behaviorally well during a time of disaster.
2) Be informed and plan for risk. Per the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),we should developed a communications plan and make an emergency supply kit. FEMA has free resources available.. The link will aid you in being disaster ready.
3) Create a plan based on the needs of your community. The most common plans are evacuation plans and recovery plans. People will need some place to go and neighborhoods will need to be rebuild. The White House had a brainstorming session about disaster and recovery and came up with some great concepts that could be scaled down to a local level and implemented.
Campaign Consultation,Inc. has created “Tools &Resources for Times of Community Crisis” a VISTA Ready Kit that provides tips sheets,guides,templates,best practices,references,work sheets,training materials and other resources to support Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA) projects and members working in disaster. We can provide you with a free sample of this disaster ready kit;just email us at Success@CampaignConsultation.com.
These resources can and should aid you in creating a disaster relief plan. Please share your plan and contribute to the conversation in the comments below.
Finance &Operations Manager
Today’s anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom has left me feeling…hollow. While I celebrate how far our country has come in the past 50 years,I lament that most remember this as the anniversary of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.
In front of 170 W 130 St.,March on Washington,l to r,Bayard Rustin,Deputy Director,and Cleveland Robinson,Chairman of Administrative Committee / World Telegram &Sun photo by O. Fernandez. (Photo credit:Wikipedia)
America’s preoccupation with leaders and figureheads has done our nation a collective disservice. We remember the singular man while forgetting the awesome collective action it took for almost 300,000 people to reach Washington,DC that August.
The Civil Rights movement of the 60’s did not happen by one man’s words alone.
Change was brought about by thousands of people nationwide taking small and often dangerous stands in their daily lives. Sitting at a lunch counter,refusing to yield a seat,boycotting an entire bus system. Boycotts only work with a critical mass of people supporting them and none of these actions were enough to bring about change on their own.
For too long now have we wondered where our next great leader would come from. We as a people have been screaming out that something needs to be done,yet the problems seem so insurmountable that it’s scared folks into inaction. We have gnashed our teeth at the injustices of the world waiting for somebody to change things. Well,look in the mirror. You. Are. Somebody.
All across the nation,there are people taking time from their lives to make their communities better places to call home. Here in Baltimore,where crime has escalated not based on race,but as a product of poverty,isolation and hopelessness,neighbors are coming together to rebuild relationships. We are walking and praying in areas affected by drugs,murder and prostitution to show that it is everyone’s neighborhood,not just the ones with the biggest guns. Other parts of the city are having stoop sitting nights to ensure that their relatively safe,tight-knit communities stay that way.
Changing the world is as simple as spending an hour picking up trash or volunteering for a cause you care about. Has your alley light been on the fritz for the past 5 months? Call the city,ask your neighbors to call as well,talk to your neighborhood liaison and see what can be done. Is your local park frequently strewn with litter? Organize your neighbors to have a block clean-up day and see if the city will put out a trash can.
Every movement starts with a radical idea. Be the flower that grows from the concrete. See how quickly the world becomes a garden.
Feel like your neighborhood has gone too far downhill for the small changes to be effective? Work with community associations,business and government to host a Better Block so residents can envision a future with stores in the abandoned storefronts not junkies,a place where youth can be creative,not destructive. Once you start,you’ll be amazed at how many people will join in to put their shoulder to the wheel. Everyone is waiting for someone to speak first. Be the voice. See the change.
So get out there,make a difference. Plant a garden. Tutor a child. Resort to Slacktivism. Call your legislator when they’re doing something wrong or,more importantly,call them when they’re doing something right. Yes,you are one person,but our country cannot travel the many miles we have yet to go on the road to true equality without everyone pulling us forward an inch or two.
Asset Map from March Social Innovation Forum (Photo credit:Aaron | Dan)
We’ve spoken in the past about how communities have within them many of the resources it needs to prosper and about how you can uncover these hidden assets through a process called asset mapping. Asset mapping is the process by a community inventories its assets and capabilities. The process can take many forms,but is a positive way of identifying both strengths and gaps and identifying a plan for moving forward. Asset based approaches to building community are not prescriptive,but rather are forms of engagement and relationship building that enable strengths,capacities and abilities to be identified and developed. The real value of asset mapping is when community members are able to utilize their assets,build strong relationships and develop and implement programs and partnerships.
Community asset mapping is a process that requires a strong partnership;clear goals that everyone in the partnership supports;good communication;commitment to collecting relevant data and analyzing the data for gaps and overlaps;on-going evaluation to ensure continuous improvement;and specific,strategic actions based on the information learned once the map is completed.
Over the past few months,we have been designing an interactive web training for AmeriCorpsVISTA members to help them learn how to map and mobilize assets to build strong,sustainable communities. We wanted to share some tips from this training to help your organization better leverage the community’s assets to increase capacity:
- Know your programming –Have a strong sense of mission,program design,and what it is that your organization does well. Know how to communicate that story effectively and make sure that new programming is mission-driven.
- Know your partners –Understand partners’ strengths,access to resources,and areas where you are in a position to meet their needs. Leveraging resources is also about helping others succeed.
- Know your funding audience –Understand not just what they care about but also their culture.
- Understand your funding streams –Know where all your resources
are coming from and what restrictions funds have. Think about funding as investment-oriented—how will specific funding contribute to your long-term success?
- Use resources to attract more resources –By demonstrating that you can effectively attract money for successful programming you will inspire other grant makers and possible partners to bet on your future success.
- Diversify –Don’t rely exclusively on public funds:find ways to engage foundation,education,Community business organizations,and private sector partners. These sources of funding are not exclusive,they’re complimentary.
How are you leveraging resources to maximize success?