Monday, November 5, 2007

Fundraisers need to take a stance: Tomorrow's important vote in Dallas

For those who might ask what this has to do with fundraising for social service organizations, let me respond by saying that I do not think that such fundraising should be strictly focused on bringing in revenues for one organization.

In our jobs as fundraisers, we should primarily be focused on advocating for an allocation of the community's resources in a way that supports our non-profit's mission.

Directly raising funds for our organization is obviously the clearest way to do that. However, taking actions that result in increased funds for organizations that complement our organizations' mission is also a worthy pursuit -- particularly when such actions "increase the pie," rather than simply reslice it.

But we also must not neglect the importance of supporting large, public initiatives that also complement our organizations' various missions. We must acknowledge that the government has a capacity to address the needs of society at a scale that dwarfs even the largest charitable efforts.

That being said, I realize that a 501(c)(3) cannot ask people to vote in a particular way. This limitation on "institutional communications" from your organization, however, should not limit your personal voice.

In addition to supporting initiatives that allocate resources in a way that supports their organizations' missions, fundraisers should also take actions to prevent the allocation of resources that stand against their missions.

In my case, I work for Central Dallas Ministries. Our mission is to share the love of God by building genuine community in the neighborhoods where we live and work.

We live and work in Downtown Dallas.

Downtown Dallas needs people to call it home, not just a place to work. Only then will it begin to provide "genuine community" to those who live and work there.

For that reason, I am going to ask all the Dallasites who read this blog to vote FOR PROPOSITION ONE tomorrow (November 6).

(This is not a request on behalf of Central Dallas Ministries, which takes no organizational stance on this or any other vote. This is my personal request, which comes out of my personal understanding of what is best for our community.)

Tollroads will not bring people to live Downtown. They will efficiently carry them in and out of it.

For this reason, I am going to ask you to consider voting FOR PROPOSITION ONE on tomorrow's ballot. This proposition's passage will help ensure that a tollroad is not built through the land where Dallas was supposed to receive a park.

For more information, please visit:
TrinityVote - A Community Movement to Reclaim the Trinity River Project

More importantly, please read this blog from the Dallas Observer's Jim Schutze:
At Least One Developer Thinks a Toll Road Taking People Away from the City's a Bad Idea

If the city wants to fill up downtown with the kind of energetic young people who might want to live there, he said, the city needs to get the rents downtown way down from the $1,400 level. He gave me a theoretical example of a project downtown where the owner needs to get $850 a month per unit to make money. What the city should do, he said, is subsidize those units so the rent will be $600 a month.

The key, he said, is not poverty-level housing or rich-people housing. It’s affordable housing. If the city were willing to spend its money making downtown affordable, then the city could develop the kind of occupancies downtown that would support retail, entertainment and neighborhood service industries.
Please consider reading the full blog