Here it is. Our grant. It'll give you guys a good idea as to what TVA does. In the grant, we've changed TVA's name to ME3. It just fits better, so we may be ME3 from now on.
Revised Draft – January 11, 2004
1. What is your new idea to create lasting social change? When and how did you come up with it?
Volunteerism is essential to building successful organizations and a strong community. It teaches life skills and fosters compassion. ME³, our new organization, will promote volunteerism in NC. ME³ will motivate people to serve with fun, rewarding projects, empower them with knowledge on how to get involved, enlighten them on areas in which help is needed, and educate them on the non-profit world and all it offers. ME³ includes three parts:
-community outreach through weekly presentations at schools, businesses, and other forums
-monthly hands-on projects that allow participants to try out a range of volunteer activities
-an annual state tour, in which 150-300 participants will engage in large-scale projects and special events in collaboration with other NC organizations
ME³ was conceived in 2003, after observing recruiting and volunteer management practices of various local organizations. ME³ will bolster the efforts of local organizations by providing them with volunteer resources.
2. As specifically as possible, demonstrate the need for your organization. Use statistics and references.
According to the Pew Charitable Trust Study of 2001, 41% of people in the nation would like to get involved in public service but don’t know how to get started. Similarly, according to a study conducted by the NC Department of Public Administration, 61% of the people in NC do not volunteer simply because no one has asked them to. Organizations could be more effective if this large percentage of people were tapped into as a volunteer resource.
Many organizations lose volunteers who are dissatisfied with their experience, a fact demonstrated in the UPS Volunteerism Survey of 1998, in which 31% of respondents stopped volunteering due to a poor use of time and skills.
There are many potential volunteers who simply don’t know how to get involved. All they need is information. ME³ will tap into this vital well of volunteers by giving them that information, peaking their interest with innovative events, and keeping all volunteers, new and veteran, interested with our large-scale projects.
3. Why have you chosen your specific approach to addressing the need described above? What is your theory or premise about how to create real and lasting social change that underlies the vision for your organization?
More volunteerism produces more effective non-profit organizations. ME³ believes that more people would get and stay involved in public service if three things occurred:
-They knew how to get started
-They could better use their skills and talents to volunteer
-They had more fun volunteering
The three-part approach ME³ uses will resolve these issues. ME³ will provide information on how to get started in public service, use an application process to match volunteers with the appropriate organizations based on interests, skills, and talents, and provide people with fun, hands-on service events. ME³ will bolster the efforts of local and statewide nonprofit organizations by providing them with more volunteers and volunteer resources. With more volunteers, non-profit organizations will be more effective; they will have more of a crucial resource, volunteers, to make their voices heard in the community and obtain the support they need for their causes.
4. Innovation is important to Echoing Green. Explain how your idea is truly innovative or unique. If appropriate, identify other organizations that are addressing this specific area of need and how your approach is different and why it is potentially more effective.
The services ME³ will provide are sorely needed. Nobody is tapping into the large percentage of potential volunteers who simply don’t know how to get started. While volunteer centers and services exist, they do not perform outreach; those who do not know how to get started will not even think of visiting a center. We will not wait for potential volunteers to come to us; ME³ will go to places potential volunteers exist and provide them with the information they need to begin volunteering.
Furthermore, there are no organizations that collaborate with other organizations to create large-scale projects, supply volunteers for those projects, or host an annual service tour. ME³ will give potential and veteran volunteers a fresh, fun look at volunteerism.
5. Describe your long-term desired outcomes. Describe the activities and/or services that your organization will engage in to deliver these outcomes.
ME³ will provide 25 NC organizations with a 5% increase in volunteer staff per year. Tentative schedule:
November 2004: ME³ will begin giving presentations with information on local organizations, how to get involved, and the benefits of volunteering. Questionnaires will be distributed at each presentation; participants may select their interests and skills, allowing us to match them with appropriate programs. ME³ aims to recruit 20+ participants for monthly service events at the presentations. Presentations will also promote the annual tour.
December 2004: ME³ will begin collaborating with a different organization each month to host a service event, offering participants a diverse sampling of fun activities and giving newcomers a chance to try volunteering.
June 2005: ME³ will host its first annual five-day tour, taking 150-300 participants across NC to conduct a series of service events, giving participants a chance to network and experience making a difference on a grander scale.
6. How will you measure the impact of your work in the communities that you serve?
We will measure the impact of ME³ as follows:
-Surveys will gauge general reactions to presentation
-Questionnaires will be given out to match interested participants with appropriate organizations, based on skills and interests
We aim to have 10% return questionnaires with immediate interest in volunteering.
-Attendance aim - 20+ people
-For 6 months after each event, we will contact the organization we worked with to see who has joined as a result of the event
-Attendance aim - 150+ people
-Nightly, participants will write short feedback essays, citing their feelings about the events of the day.
-Participants will be given a satisfaction survey.
The annual tour will cover 25 charitable causes, which will correlate with the 25 organizations ME³ will select to promote in a given year.
If, a year after the tour, organizations ME³ promoted through its 3-part program have a 5% average increase in volunteer staff, we will consider ME³ a success.
7. Why you? Why now? How are you uniquely qualified to take on this challenge? What personal or environmental factors are driving you to make this commitment at this time?
We are both pursuing careers in public service, and are intensely involved in the community and community organizations. Our indubitable community support not only uniquely qualifies us to lead this effort, but enables us to do so.
Working with various service-oriented organizations, such as the Literacy Council of Wake County, the Salvation Army, Wake County Human Services, Wake Adults Volunteer Educational Services and Kiwanis International (NC Division 12) has made us privy to hearing complaints about a lack of local and statewide volunteers and volunteer resource services. This has reaffirmed not only our belief that an incredible need exists for a subsistence program for organizations, but our belief that an innovative model for this program must be developed if organizations are to receive the support they need. Considering these needs and our already strong commitment to a variety of social issues, we can think of no better time than now to begin.
8. Describe your experience with the proposed constituency or community. Describe your experience in providing the proposed services and/or working within the program area.
Experience with constituents
-Recruiting diverse people for Kiwanis International
-Working with at-risk youth at Salvation Army
-Teaching students good environmental habits for the NCSU Waste Reduction and Recycling Office
-Working with Wake Housing and Homeless Coalition members and Board
-Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Amnesty International, Wake Adults Volunteer Educational Services, and El Pueblo
Experience providing service
-Acting as President, Vice-President, or Secretary in Kiwanis International
-Fundraising for 50+ blankets for local homeless with Hope for the Homeless
-Fundraising for the Literacy Council of Wake County
-Hosting a fundraising event for InterAct, to fight domestic violence
-Raising $1,300 for clothes for 100 needy children for Salvation Army
-Grant-writing for the Wake Housing and Homeless Coalition
-Publishing a newsletter reaching 1,100+ for the Wake Housing and Homeless Coalition
-Leading service events for Kiwanis International
9. Identify your current financial resources.
--$500 in individual donations for the purposes of attaining of 501c3 tax-exempt status, received December 2003.
--$300 of in-kind support in the form of free legal services, received April 2003.
--Application to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for $20,000 in progress.
--We are currently in discussion with the NC Governor’s office, seeking state funding for ME³.
10. Describe the major challenges and obstacles that you anticipate for this organization and how you will overcome them.
Lack of funding in the face of direct service providers will be the greatest challenge for ME3. It is admittedly difficult to recognize the value of advocacy - for ME3, promoting civic engagement - when seemingly fast, simple solutions to problems exist. Despite this, we will hold fast to our belief that true social change will come from strengthening the foundations of non-profit organizations with more volunteers. So, while we recognize that funders value fast, simple solutions, we also know that community support can determine the worth of a program. Through networking with local and statewide organizations, ME3 will build upon its already thriving community support. We aim to nullify a funder's uncertainty of the value of ME3 by presenting them with the irrefutable community support for our inventive program.