Last week, I served as contract staff for the National Benevolent Association at the Incubate Program's SENT Seminar. The NBA Incubate SENT Seminar equips Social ENTrepreneurs for leadership and change! This four-day seminar is designed for Disciples and their leadership teams who are starting new health and social services ministries. The SENT Seminar covers the basics of nonprofit ministry startups, as well as skills for leadership and change in our global and faith communities.
Twenty five folks from around the country came with their project ideas, dreams of:
Art therapy, camps, and mental health services for immigrants, LGBTQIA folks, and families of the incarcerated.
Cultural gatherings for immigrants and their families.
Interfaith Coalitions and Conversations on social justice, environmental issues, and race.
Holistic care for the aging, folks with HIV, and marginalized communities.
Integrating faith and activism
Reducing suspension rates
Coworking hubs for black business owners
Care for those who suffer from chronic illness
Throughout SENT seminar, I participated in workshops on fund raising, communication, activism and advocacy in social enterprise, law, self care, and human centered design. I was there as program staff, but I was also able to take away helpful information for my own setting at QC Family Tree. I want to share those helpful take aways with you. Here goes:
From Design Lab led by Victoria Sun Esparza Human centered design is a process of solving problems that resist traditional solutions. "Design is a process for making things right," says Ralph Calpan. Problems are never really fixed. We continue to work on the problem and it becomes more and more right along the way. We are creatively finding new problems to solve by iterating over and over again.
"Design thinking relies on the natural human ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, and to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful and functional." Tom Kelley
From Story Telling for Mission led by Hannah Hasan Think of 3-6 critical moments that have had a big impact on you and your connection to your work. Tell your Moment of Impact story that connects you to your work. People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. "Do what you can. That is all you can do anyway" Hannah Hasan
From Fund Raising 201 led by Carla Leon Nonprofits do not scale for several reasons. Two reasons are: change happens at the speed of relationship & risk aversion. Are we willing to risk the impact we are making for what can be? Are we wiling to risk the relationships we made for the growth we intend? The only time you do not have enough capacity is when you don't have enough relationship.
Consider using Carla's website, Small Business Solver, to do a business check up, a ramp up module, and impact measurement workshops.
I look forward to applying these and other lessons from SENT to my work at QC Family Tree and also as an artist, pastor, and communitarian.