Summit held for local non-profit organizations

MT LAUREL – The Help Shelby County Non-Profit Summit on Tuesday, April 24, was designed to help the organizations that offer help to many others.

Help Shelby County is a group project of members of the 2018 Class of Leadership Shelby County.

Kirk Cuevas of Dollar Associates LLC, a group member and elder at Double Oak Community Church, which hosted the event, said group members advocated for various passions during project planning including children, animals and fighting drugs.

The solution was an event that could benefit all of those spheres.

“We weren’t interested in creating another non-profit for Shelby County, but we were interested in a forum that would benefit these organizations that are already doing such good work in the community,” Cuevas said.

More than 100 non-profit representatives registered for the Summit, which was planned with the help of team mentor Reginald Holloway, Shelby County manager of community services.

The Summit included breakfast, networking, lunch with two keynote speakers and breakout sessions on fundraising, creating and effectively presenting an organizational narrative, communications/social media to help engage the community, board governance and strategic planning, grant writing and successful event management.

Karon Grubbs, marketing and development director for Easterseals of the Birmingham Area, said she found the summit beneficial.

“This has been one of the most phenomenal workshops I’ve been to,” Grubbs said and added that it was especially appreciated because it was free to attendees.

Leaders of non-profit organizations consider themselves stewards of the organization’s funds, so paying for such events can be a drawback.

Montevallo Mayor Hollie Cost talked about Shelby County Women United during the lunch.

Cost noted that Shelby County is the most affluent county in Alabama, but there are “isolated pockets of poverty.”

She gave an example of a mother who must travel around the county for childcare, her job and to the Shelby County Courthouse.

Shelby County Women United wants to increase the ease of securing services from various agencies. Cost presented a conceptual model for how the organization could eliminate duplicity and offer entry portals where residents can fill out an application, meet a coach and develop a “family prosperity pathway.”

“We need to have better access to these services,” Cost said. “The ultimate goal is for this family to be independent.”

The next speaker during lunch was Dan Hayes, executive director and founder of Orchard, which helps people take their gifts and use them during their limited time to affect their communities.

Hayes said there are four resource variables that every non-profit needs to be “robust, resilient and sustainable:” human talent, material resources, time and energy/passion/spiritual resources.

Hayes said fundraising for non-profits is difficult because about 80 percent of all funding from such organizations in the United States comes from individuals.

Time is the least expandable resource, Hayes said, while passion and energy are the most expandable but also most overlooked resources.

“We sometimes miss the opportunity to answer the why’s—why we do this and why we put it front and center,” Hayes said. “People won’t be set on fire unless someone sets them on fire.”

Sponsors included Double Oak Community Church, For Birmingham, Alabama Power, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Dreamscape Landscape Development, Dollar Associates LLC, Cutstone Company, Celeste Heavenly Boutique, Southern Craft Consulting, Care Real Estate Group and Golden Flake.