Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our Board Raises the Bar -- and More!

As a part of our Comprehensive Strategic Plan our board, clients, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders recognized that our visibility in Atlanta was frankly inadequate. When a forty-three year organization is a “best kept secret” in Atlanta, this provides a serious barrier to engaging the volunteer and donor support needed to meet the critical mission.

However, allocating funding to marketing instead of services is just not a part of Senior Citizen Services’ culture—we have always hung our hat on the fact that very little donated funds are utilized for administrative expenses (usually less than 15% annually).

The solution? SCS was fortunate last fall to receive a challenge grant from an anonymous foundation. This foundation challenged our staff and board to find a significant amount of funding that would be matched by the foundation—all of which was to be invested in raising the organization’s visibility, and therefore its ability to engage volunteers and donors.

Our Development Committee Chairman, Al Kleeman, embarked on a new adventure—what if we could raise a portion of the funding needed from the Board? Would this cannibalize our special events? Our original projection was that we could raise about half to two-thirds from the Board and then go to other foundations and friends of the organization for the rest.

We knew we were on our way when one of our Board members responded in a Board meeting with a phenomenal gift—she challenged the rest to give in a meaningful and significant way…and they did!

Within three months we had raised and surpassed the goal—and could go back to the foundation with the funding in hand to meet the challenge.

This is but one example of how Senior Citizen Services’ Board of Trustees is “raising the bar”—and more. They are raising needed funds to invest in SCS’ future. There have been numerous other examples for “raising the bar” since, whether it was participating in fund development workshops, adopting an aggressive new job description, or now embarking on a new fiscal year Board and Friend-Raising Campaign.

I have witnessed a dramatic change since I have been at Senior Citizen Services. Our Board members continue to engage more, encourage each other more, and in so doing enable more seniors to receive the vital services of Senior Citizen Services.

Hats off to you, our leaders and ambassadors! You are setting an exciting course for our organization and our treasured seniors.

Jeff Smythe, Executive Director

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