Closer than you think

Closer than you think


Recently, we shared our take on three of the most defining, sector-wide shifts impacting nonprofits, social enterprises, entrepreneurs and investors’ and their ability to attract the resources they need to achieve their goals. Also known as moving from scarcity to abundance.

It’s interesting to talk about trends. But it’s how we turn these possibilities into actual opportunities that it’s really all about. And while there are no magic bullets to unlocking new financial resources to transform lives and build community — a local, place-based, community development approach – is a great PLACE to start.

That’s because local, place-based initiatives by design, concentrate where people live, work and raise their family.  So it’s a very productive way to build connections and attract financial resources. Consider this:

Local communities, especially those in urban areas, are already part of an established eco-system of home-owners, nonprofits, small businesses and other employers, philanthropic organizations, universities, restaurants, individual supporters– and neighboring towns – with a vested interest in what happens.

And we know that cities are drawing in lots of new, creative and community-minded people, many who want to use  their resources for broader good.

But regardless of whether you are in an ‘urban’ area or not, there are many ways to begin to expand your base of support.

Many communities are using arts, creativity and innovation to build thriving, vibrant destinations in areas that were  were considered under-served and ‘distressed’ in a movement referred to as creative place-making.

Another place-based, cross-sector approach that is engaging a variety of new stakeholders is around ‘healthy communities.’  By designing and building affordable housing; financing small businesses; and creating community assets like schools, day care centers, and vibrant public spaces many under-served communities are creating positive health outcomes – and gaining buy-in from a host of nontraditional players.

And of course food, which is increasingly concentrated locally, is one of the most effective ways to engage others and build community — all of which will begin to open you up to new relationships- and new resource development opportunities.

Check out a few examples of how we used these dynamics to attract new sources of funding and finance in support of community and economic development in NJ,  NYC and Beyond.

No matter where find yourself, keep these principles in mind as you look to advance your vision for change:

1. Know your value. It could be a particular approach to a program – a place – your reputation, or access to a specific constituency. Understanding and leveraging this value is the basis of any good relationship, alliance and/or any successful fundraising effort.

2. Even if your work is not tied directly to a particular place consider how what your are doing contributes to and benefits a/the larger community.

3. Start with where you are and go from there. It’s the only way to make progress.

Move forward and share your experiences below.

March 05, 2015 in More Than Money