Offering Specialized Expertise
A second way that Emerging Sages most help their favored organization is by offering specialized expertise. This involves such things as providing staff training and professional development, planning and implementing social activities, developing organizational outcome objectives, and helping to integrate services. One mentions her role in strengthening systems:
Although it’s a small organization, there are certain systems that need to be in place no matter what the size. I think in terms of systems – both administrative and strategic—so I’ve been able to bring some systems and tools to the organization, including communications.
Promoting and developing collaboration
Promoting and developing collaboration is a third way that Emerging Sage leaders most help their favored organization. Sometimes this involves strengthening connections between nonprofit organizations and government services. At other times it requires representing their agency in community partnerships or in communicating with other organizations and community members:
I have most helped by carrying public health beyond the four walls of the health department with community-based collaborative efforts. I have also helped to develop a chronic disease prevention program with non-traditional partners, like non-profits, environmental groups, and transportation and agriculture.
Providing finance and fund development expertise
The fourth way that Emerging Sage leaders are helping their favored civic organizations is through finance and fund development expertise. Their assistance includes identifying financial problems and opportunities and ensuring transparency and sound financial practices.
In the area of fund development this includes putting “best practice” policies and processes in place, writing grant proposals, soliciting money from donors, and taking calculated risks:
When I first started, I spent a lot time trying to understand the organization’s business practices, which were few at that point. Staff were just waiting for the phone to ring to rent the theater, but it wasn’t happening. The biggest challenge was understanding that you can’t make a profit off a 300 seat theater when you’re only charging $20 per ticket. The big questions were, “Should we continue to exist? Are we truly needed?” Once we realized we had to take some risks and bring in bigger shows, we were able to raise the price of tickets and began selling out. We brought in big acts at $50 a ticket and found that many people would buy them.
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