One of the great joys of our work is seeing people come together to create something that no one thought was possible. My partner Bev Seiford and I had that experience recently when we worked with Saline Area Social Service (SASS), a small Michigan nonprofit.
We were engaged by the local United Way to work with the SASS board after the agency had nearly closed its doors a few months previously after losing some essential funding. The organization operates a food pantry and supplies other daily essentials, like coats for kids, serving 300-400 persons each month. Many clients are seniors and about half are children whose families have fallen on hard times.
Despite facing a $75,000 budget shortfall,the agency’s board decided not to close but to seek community support. We provided consulting support to develop a strategic plan and a more sustainable funding model. The idea of a community summit evolved at a time when the board wasn’t sure how much support to expect.
Invitations went out and we hoped to have 25 people attend. In fact, nearly a hundred people showed up in the church hall on a Tuesday night in November. It was a powerful, interactive Whole-Scale meeting that generated a groundswell of volunteers and ideas for raising money that frankly surprised the board and its new executive director.
The story of that meeting was chronicled in the local on-line paper, the Saline Post. Read the full story here. You will note that Bev and I were listed only as “United Way consultants” which was just fine with us.