The mission of Alliance for Greater Works™ is to strengthen and position leaders and organizations to transform under-resourced communities. While we offer a range of services to our clients to help them increase capital, we recognize the need to properly assess and evaluate the assets of the community being served. Money is critical to the sustainability of an organization, yet when you look again, you will discover other categories of assets. In her book, Launching Greater Works, our Founder and President, Sherrye Willis, lists four categories of identifiable assets: Gifts, Skills and Capabilities of Individuals, Resources of Community-Based Nonprofits, Resources of Local Institutions and Physical Assets and Natural Resources. Each of these assets could potentially be used for the betterment of a community.
High resident participation builds strong viable communities. The Gifts, Skills and Capabilities of Individuals are unique contributions that can be tailored to meet the need of the community you serve and your organization. Although everyone is gifted and everyone is a value add, in the process of transforming under-resourced communities, the challenge is connecting with and mobilizing people that will join your cause to further the mission of your organization. This process is simplified once you realize that everyone has something to contribute. While you need financial donors to continue the work, you need every day people to do the work.
Another category of assets that is often overlooked are resources of Community-Based Nonprofits, such as ministries, church groups, PTA’s and neighborhood associations. These established organizations lend credibility and strength to your organizations. Partnerships eliminate the duplication of services and provide a recognized connection to the community. A powerful community is one in which the work is accomplished through the united efforts of its residents. While money is needed to underwrite your vision, collaboration expands your band-width and increases your capacity to serve.
The third category of assets is Resources of Local Institutions. Examples of this are churches, schools, hospitals and libraries. These organizations lend their support by giving their money, their time, their human capital and their endorsements, which provides credibility. For example, if a church chooses to partner or support you, a large portion of their congregants may choose to volunteer their time and/or give their financial support. If I am a parent and my child’s school supports you, I am more likely to give of my individual gifts and talents because I trust the school; thus, I trust your organization. The backing of well-known entities exceeds what money can buy.
The fourth and final category is Physical Assets and Natural Resources. When you know and understand the natural and physical assets of a community, you can leverage them properly. These assets can become resources that benefit the community at large. This includes natural parks, abandoned building and vacant lots. An assessment is critical to fully understand the need, and the goal is to engage and activate the residents for the improvement of their community. This eliminates having to find “new work,” but rather solving problems that already exist.
While money is essential to fulfill the vision and mission of your organization, the question is, “Is Money All You Need?” And, the answer to that question is, no. A thriving organization must fundraise, build relationships with financial donors and apply for grants, but equally important, that organization bust build relationships with community leaders, partners and residents to maximize efforts and create sustainable work. Scripture states, “Money answers all things,” but money alone cannot produce change or guarantee success.