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AROUND THE WEB
The High Value of Your Nonprofit’s Values
Wednesday Jan 25, 2017
I was delighted to participate as a steering committee in the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s inaugural Spark Prize, an exciting new grantmaking initiative. I was truly impressed with how the Foundation integrated its values into every aspect of this project and leveraged them as a strategic decision-making tool in the grant review process, so I asked their fabulous DIrector of Communications, Liane Stegmaier, to write about it. - Sarah Durham
This month, Brooklyn Community Foundation marks the third anniversary of Brooklyn Insights—an extensive Brooklyn-wide community engagement project launched shortly after our President Cecilia Clarke joined the Foundation, which ultimately produced a bold grantmaking strategy that has since garnered national recognition.
And coincidentally, on this anniversary we are announcing the recipients of our new Spark Prize—one of the Foundation’s highest-profile grantmaking efforts to date, awarding 5 outstanding Brooklyn nonprofits with no-strings-attached grants of $100,000 each in recognition of their service to Brooklyn, commitment to equity and justice, strong organizational values, and dynamic vision for the future.
While we’re often asked about the major themes surfaced through our 1,000-plus Brooklyn Insights’ community conversations, the core grantmaking strategies we’ve since focused on, or our new institution-wide Racial Justice Lens—in this blog, we’re going to focus on the set of values that emerged during Brooklyn Insights that not only helped the Foundation determine our new direction, but continue to guide us and inform new initiatives like the Spark Prize.
Of course, we knew three years ago that creating a community-led strategy might also lead us to change our mission statement and vision. But what we didn’t fully appreciate at the time was that while mission and vision are critical for moving us forward, strong institutional values are necessary to define who we are as an institution and how we hold ourselves accountable to these pursuits each and every day.
Over the six months of listening to Brooklynites tell us about the challenges they faced in their communities, the opportunities they saw for change, and the roles we as their Community Foundation could play, we also heard loud and clear a call for us to be a different kind of institution: one that wears its values on its sleeve, keeps the doors open, and always positions community voices at the fore of its work.
This call led us to articulate five new values for Brooklyn Community Foundation:
Courage. We believe in fearlessly identifying barriers to change and we fight for solutions that help overcome injustice.
Creativity. We believe that the power of imagination is greater than the challenges we face. We celebrate what works. We pursue the new. We learn as much from failure as we do from success.
Honesty. We are committed to being open and trustworthy in all we do and seek partners who share our values.
Collaboration. We believe in creating solutions together, harnessing the diversity of Brooklyn, and partnering with the community to spark change and produce results.
Respect. We believe in every resident’s dignity and basic human rights, and honor diversity of race, gender and background.
We’ve come to refer to these values at every test in our decision-making, we talk about them in our Board meetings, staff meetings, and annual staff reviews, and they’ve informed our ongoing racial justice and equity trainings.
And with the new Spark Prize, we are spotlighting the importance of strong values, and celebrating 5 Brooklyn nonprofits for their exemplary values-driven work. The first-ever recipients of the Spark Prize are Audre Lorde Project, Common Justice, Make the Road New York, MoCADA, and Neighbors Together.
A committee of approximately 30 Brooklyn civic, business and philanthropic leaders (including Big Duck’s own Sarah Durham!) selected the 5 organizations from an applicant pool of over 150. They were chosen on the basis of a 1,000 word essay, followed by in person interviews where each spoke to the role their values play in their organization and how they align with the Foundation’s values.
In their application, Audre Lorde Project stated that their values are rooted in transparency, wellness, transformation, cultural work and coalition building. “Collaboration with other social justice organizations is central to ALP’s intersectional, movement-building work.”
Make the Road wrote that their values are why their 19,000+ members shape all of their campaigns: “Our youth challenge oppression by naming the disparate treatment of black and brown, LGBTQ and immigrant young people …. Their passionate advocacy has resulted in huge movement victories.”
MoCADA is “a museum founded on principles of justice, equity, and inclusion….courage, creativity and collaboration are the key elements of our mission, vision and values.”
Neighbors Together’s work is “grounded in our belief in the dignity and potential of each person to be a vital part of creating a more just society” and its members have the courage “to fight for real and lasting solutions to overcome injustice.”
And last but not least, Common Justice highlighted each of their values in their application—demonstrating a deep connection between their values and the unique nature of their healing work between victims and perpetrators of violence:
Accountability. We are responsible for our actions, our words, our power, and our impacts. We know that accountability affirms the dignity and humanity both of those responsible and of those harmed, and we hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold others.
Transparency. We are transparent about our actions, our intentions, our options, and our decisions. We communicate with clarity and consistency with those impacted by what we do.
Transformation. We believe in the potential of all human beings to transform, heal, grow, change, and be resilient. We believe we all deserve individuals, communities, and institutions that support us in being our best selves.
Respect. We believe in the inherent worth, importance, rights, culture, and strengths of all people, and work to reflect and honor that in the way we behave toward others.
Purpose. We uphold the responsibilities and boundaries of our work because we are ambitious, hopeful, and outcomes-driven.
These 5 values send a powerful message, and are a primary reason Common Justice is receiving the Spark Prize in our inaugural year.
As nonprofit communicators, we are all very familiar with the adage “Show, Don’t Tell.”
Mission tells us what you do; values show who you are.
Your #GivingTuesday To-Do List
Wednesday Nov 2, 2016
#GivingTuesday is less than one month away! [That’s Tuesday, November 29th, in case you missed it!] I’m already getting emails and tweets reminding me to “save the date”... are you ready?
Earlier this week, Daniel and I shared some tips for how to maximize #GivingTuesday with the finalists of the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Spark Prize, who will each receive a match of up to $5,000 for their donations. This is part of their new local giving campaign, Brooklyn Gives, created to encourage Brooklyn residents and small businesses to come together to support some of Brooklyn’s most outstanding community-based nonprofits.
As part of the training, we offered a week-by-week list of how to plan #GivingTuesday. So if you still haven’t started your preparations, don’t fret. There’s still time and lots of hope!
Week 1 (Oct 31-Nov 6)
- Brainstorm your big idea/approach
- Set your goal(s)
- # of donors
- # of actions
- Dollars raised
- Average gift
- New donors (general and/or monthly)
- New social followers
Week 2 (Nov 7-13)
Outline your plan
- Who will you target?
- Why should people participate?
- What channels will you use?
- When will you send out messages?
- Who will be the sender or signer(s)?
- Begin producing content
Week 3 (Nov 14-20)
Finish content production
- Finalize copy and design; get approval
- Code emails
- Test online giving
- Get staff and board excited
- Tell them what you are doing
- Ask them to participate
Week 4 (Nov 21-27)
- Schedule content
- Share gratitude during Thanksgiving
- Preview your #GivingTuesday campaign as part of other communications
Week 5 (Nov 28-Dec 4)
Good luck, and if you’d like to dig into some more #GivingTuesday pearls of wisdom, read these posts:
- Send out your appeals
- Keep supporters posted on updates
- Test "boosting posts" or online advertising
- Raise lots of money on Nov 29!
- Report back on results and say thank you!
- Communications and Engagement Before and During the Giving Season http://www.bigducknyc.com/year-end-communications-and-engagement?
- 29 Ideas for #GivingTuesday 2016 you haven’t thought of http://www.bigducknyc.com/29-ideas-for-giving-tuesday?
- What's hot in year-end fundraising (webinar) http://www.bigducknyc.com/whats-hot-ye-fundraising-webinar?
- So, THAT happened…In-the-trenches reflections on December online fundraising campaign http://www.bigducknyc.com/2015-year-end-campaigns-findings?
- A great year for #GivingTuesday http://www.bigducknyc.com/raising-money-givingtuesday-tactics?
- How Your Thinking Impacts Your Fundraising and Your Life
By Gail Perry - Friday May 5, 2017
I'd suggest that your thinking has tons to do with how your life rolls out.
We had a blast pulling together our own personal mindset management tips to share - things that have helped us survive the bad times and ultimately flourish.
I have to say I was quite impressed with our audience's reaction to this session.
It's a bit "woo-woo" for all the straight-laced fundraisers at AFP.
But everyone seemed to really enjoy it. A few people shared with me later that our session helped them pivot to a more positive place. (hurray!)
Here is a bit of our presentation:
How your thinking impacts your life and your fundraising results.
1. You CAN change your thoughts.
It's important for you to simply acknowledge that your thinking impacts how you FEEL inside.
Where do many feelings come from? From thoughts that generate an emotional charge.
If you are thinking happy, positive thoughts, you will find that you'll feel much happier.
And if you are thinking sad or depressed thoughts, you'll find yourself sinking lower and lower into pessimism.
If you are really aware of your thoughts - then you can change them.
Think of a light switch - if a thought wanders into your mind that is unhappy, critical or diempowering, try saying to yourself -
"Nope, I'm not going there."
Try blocking it off and make yourself switch to something more positive.
I keep little affirmations taped to my bathroom mirror.
So every morning, I see cheerful reminders:
"People love me when I am myself." (Hay House)
"Today I spend lots of time thinking delightful thoughts." (Hay House)
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” (Marianne Williamson)
And I'm glad to brush my teeth looking at such positive thoughts. It's a nice way to begin and end the day!
Take away: Pay attention to your thoughts, and make them as positive as possible.
2. The Gratitude Game
Have you ever noticed that when you start simply appreciating the things around you, that you feel better?
If you want to instantly put yourself in a mindset of well-being and satisfaction, then try the Gratitude Game.
Here's how you play it:
Get a partner - your spouse, colleague, child or friend.
Take turns saying out loud - something that you are grateful for.
Go back and forth, sharing these happy thoughts.
We played this game with the entire audience at the AFP Conference last week. People paired off, and just took turns sharing their gratefulness.
You should have seen everyone's faces!
Expressions changed. Smiles appeared. Happiness was everywhere. I was stunned at the transformation of people's faces.
Last Thanksgiving, my family and I gathered around the dinner table. After saying grace, I suggested that we all take turns sharing something we were thankful for. We ended up going round and round, over and over, with each person sharing an appreciation.
Wow! It might have been the happiest moment of the entire weekend!
Check out this interesting article: 31 Benefits of Gratitude. It has links to many scientific studies about the benefits of this practice.
3. Forgiveness as a Mindset Practice
Forgiveness means letting go of grievances.
We all have people who have hurt us. Situations that happened in the past that still ache and hurt. Even health issues that continue to pester us. Can you let this all go?
This practice is difficult!
That's why they call it a "practice" - you have to practice it over and over!
You could consider forgiveness as a spiritual practice. That's how I embraced it.
The sages say that keeping anger festering against someone or something only hurts yourself. It doesn't hurt the other person.
My own forgiveness practice has helped me forgive myself for many things. I've become easier on myself.
We all have that inner critic who is "our own worst enemy." Well, if you practice forgiveness, it's easier to shut that mean inner voice down. :)
The benefit of equanimity.
Something else good comes out of this practice - you are better able to let go of things and people, and situations that rankle you.
You develop more of a sense of equanimity, easiness and calm about life. You can take the ups and downs with a bit more of an emotional cushion.
We all want to feel calmer, more peaceful. We all want to find happiness and joy.
If you do, then start within. Cultivate your thinking and your attitudes, just like you are planting seeds.
These practices are NOT easy, for sure.
They take years, and even lifetimes!
But they can make you a far more pleasant, positive and happy person.
And then career success comes more easily. You become a person whom others want to be around. A person who is respected. A person who radiates an energy that helps others feel good.
I don't know about you, but that's where I aspire.
If you want to change the world, then you have to work within as well as without.
I totally believe that positive emotions within help bring about positive situations.
And this practice has certainly worked for me!
BOTTOM LINE: You CAN Control Your Mindset - and Impact Your Life AND Your Results!
What has been YOUR experience with mindset practices? What's worked for you? I'd love to know!
Would you like more posts like this one - it's a bit out of the box for fundraising?
,Source: Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry
- Popular Mechanics
Thursday May 19, 2011
Usually, I only read magazines whose content appeals directly to me: ones with glossy spreads of the top 50 newest lip glosses, advice columns on how to look hotter than and stop Googling your ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend, what flea market in Brooklyn has the best cheese -- chick mags, if you will. So Popular Mechanics wasn't high on my must-read-every-month list. That is, until I saw the May 2011 issue wrapped in plastic with a supplement featuring what I thought were laptop accessories -- in other words, things to buy.Source: Media Post: Magazine Rack
- Cyclist Killed by Bus in New York’s First Citi Bike Fatality
By MATTHEW HAAG and HANNAH ALANI - Tuesday Jun 13, 2017
Dan Hanegby of Brooklyn fell under a bus’s tires in Chelsea. He worked for Credit Suisse and was once the top-ranked tennis player in Israel.Source: NYT > Home Page
- Neighborhood Joint: Staubitz Market in Brooklyn: 100 Years of Sawdust, Steaks and Chops
By ANDREW COTTO - Wednesday Jun 14, 2017
A display contains frozen items, and the shelves are stocked with jars and cans. But there’s just one reason to visit this Boerum Hill business: meat.Source: NYT > Home Page
- Pride 2017: New York’s L.G.B.T.Q. Story Began Well Before Stonewall
By LIAM STACK - Monday Jun 19, 2017
The gay bar’s 1969 patron-police battle, hailed as a starting point, actually followed many events in the city, now mapped in a sites project.Source: NYT > Home Page
- Charter Urges Judge To Throw Out NY's Suit Over Slow Web Connections
Tuesday Jun 20, 2017
Cable company Charter is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who alleges that the company duped consumers by delivering slower-than-advertised broadband speeds.Source: Media Post: Television News Daily