Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Train and gain for ending poverty

In an effort to help individuals deal with problems caused by poverty, a large number of education and job-training programs have been instituted and tried for many years.

Results have been far from universally successful, but there have been some good results.In his book The New Poverty, Ralph daCosta Nunez offers details on the Train and Gain (TAG) program, which integrates a variety of services of broad-based support in order to achieve success.

According to Nunez, Train and Gain consists of the following components:

  • Pre-employment workshops. Participants attend a weeklong pre-employment workshop before beginning job training.
  • Education and GED preparation. Participants without a high school diploma enroll in an on-site alternative high school to prepare for the GED exam. Those with a diploma take part in basic education and family literacy programs.
  • Mentoring and skill-building internships. Participants choose to receive employment training in a variety of career fields.
  • Supportive workshops: practical living/useful skills. Workshops help participants learn about the issues involved in living independently.
  • Employment and basic-skill building. Participants attend weekly workshops providing support and guidance on issues related to finding and working at a job.
  • Job search and placement. Job placement caseworkers assist participants in securing permanent employment.
  • Postplacement services. Caseworkers assist with issues such as childcare, transportation or health that could threaten new-found employment.

Fundraising ... Getting that first $100,000

It all started somewhere. No matter how big the organization, it probably started with those first stumbling steps.

At a recent conference on fundraising sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Aina Gutierrez of Interfaith Worker Justice, Joan Flanagan, a fundraiser for the Center for New Community, Rabbi Laurie Coskey, executive director of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (ICWJ) of San Diego County, Bet Lawrence, ICWJ program coordinator and organizer, offered suggestions on how an organization can make its first $100,000.

Although they cautioned against a one-size-fits-all approach, they did emphasize certain guidelines:

  • Fundraising provides an opportunity for inside evaluation and an idea of what the community regards as value.
  • Fundraising is a way to build solidarity, raise money and connect to values.
  • Fundraising can be done by people of any age.
  • Fundraising from people is asking for money and is not a quick fix, but it is dependable and renewable, is internally controlled and provides multiple sources.
  • 76 percent of fundraised money in 2006 came from individuals, according to Giving USA.
  • Big money comes from individuals who are asked.
  • Independence comes from a diverse set of dependable revenue streams.
  • The job of the fundraiser is to make the obvious explicit. You get what you ask for.
  • Getting money from individuals? Begin with the board, then membership dues, annual donations, major gifts and special events.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Keeping The Faith - Eleanor Clift Latest NPT Column

Along with the Iraq War and his efforts to democratize the Middle East, President Bush will be remembered for bringing a more open embrace of religion into his administration. He campaigned on a promise to forge a partnership between government and religious organizations that deliver social services, and in his first week as president, created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

If the Founding Fathers were around, the president might have to explain why this overt introduction of religion didn’t overstep the line they drew between church and state. In any event, the faith-based initiative that is Bush’s signature project has withstood legal challenges and is now well established in the government with offices in a dozen departments and agencies, including Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services.

It is perhaps Bush’s proudest domestic achievement, and one that he would like to see extended regardless of who follows him as president. Bob Tuttle, a professor of law at George Washington University, says, “It’s safe to say none of the candidates would be devoted to it as a personal issue the way Bush has, but it’s hard to see the political advantage in abolishing the faith-based initiative. I’m not sure they’d want to take that on.”

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Is Your Staff Running To Their Next Gig? Latest Article from Don't Tell the Donor

Recruiting, training, and retaining top notch fundraising staff is perhaps the single biggest challenge facing nonprofits today.

You can’t control postal rate increases or the impact of bad economic times on your donor’s ability to give. As a fundraiser, you might even be hopeless to control the quality of programming content or the effectiveness of your organization at serving its mission.

The good news is that you probably have more control over staffing challenges than most other variables and there are some incredible new resources available to nonprofit leaders to help recruit, train, and retain. The bad news is that far too few people seem to be using the available resources.

Most successful leaders know that the hiring process is critically important for preventing “bad apples” from even getting hired in the first place. Unfortunately, you can be the most selective interviewer on the planet, but if you don’t have quality prospective employees to choose from you aren’t going to build a quality team.

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