NAOC Workshops Provide Wealth of Ideas
The following are synopses of workshops held during the conference.
Creative Community Relations
John C. Edwards, director of development for the North and South Carolina Division, stressed the need for the Army to develop a unique vision or focus for every community it serves by combining the Army’s mission statement with local needs. Edwards said effective community relations is all about helping the local Salvation Army make a “heart connection” in its community by putting people who want to make a difference in a position to touch someone else’s life. He also advised the Army to talk less about its programs and more about the difference these programs make in the people and the community. “People don’t support programs; they support people,” he said.
Successful Service Units
By their very definition, Service Extension offices are often out in the middle of nowhere, with only occasional visits from divisional representatives. Major Olivia Gulley, Service Extension officer at Pen-Del Division, Eastern Territory, had useful words of experience for workers in these isolated areas.
Some requests such as large payments of back rent or car repairs are beyond the scope of Service Extension. “Move on to what we can do,” she advised.”Be involved with other agencies. Personal contacts with them let you cooperate and fill in gaps. Check your area FEMA board and talk to their field representative.” Discern which people are truly needy. Unchurched people lack a support system when they reach hard times and some have no one to turn to except public assistance.
Many find themselves homeless for lack of rent money. Experience has shown that it is less expensive to help people while they are in their homes than to send them to shelters. Relationships can be built “while shoveling out someone’s home…giving hands-on help in emergencies.”
“Listen,” she says, “without being judgmental.” There were cautions: guard against prejudice toward people who don’t work. Often, when you hear their circumstances, you can be sympathetic. Perhaps they are working, but their small wages force them to make choices such as pay the rent or fix the car without which they can’t get to work.
Programs of Promise
Bobbie Schofield, Chairman of the Advisory Board in Syracuse, N.Y., presented a clear picture of a large community successfully involved in Salvation Army programs. “Volunteers and donors are a vital part of our ministry,” she said. “A strong, inclusive community is essential to success, and employees should represent its minorities adequately. As for effective staff people, the motto is “Recognize, recruit and repay.” They strive for continuous quality improvement. It is important to diversify shelters, keeping homeless women and children apart from those whose behavior makes them a bad influence.
Energizing Your Advisory Board
Robert Cotner, director of development for the Metropolitan Division in Chicago, addressed the subject, “Energizing your Advisory Board.”
“It is important for the board to feel a sense of equality between the board and the Army,” he said. “It’s the force that elevates those served to be ‘brothers and sisters’ in the faith.” He cited the simple act of a new divisional commander’s meeting each board member individually in their offices. Beyond equality, the Advisory Organizations reach, through a developing camaraderie, a meeting of minds regarding the “salvation” of humankind–a doctrine that lies at the heart and soul of the Army.
Officer Outreach Opportunities
In the only workshop geared specifically to officers, National Advisory Board member B. Franklin Skinner addressed the issue of leadership. “There is no substitute for leadership,” he stated. “If you have strong leaders, you will have a strong board.” He explained that board members look to the officer as the professional who knows The Salvation Army best, and knows best how to relate to the community. “We expect you to be what you are–talented, dedicated Christian ministers. Don’t be intimidated by board members or people in the community.”
“Where’s the Money–Fund Raising with Finesse”
Moderated by Lt. Colonel Carolyn Peacock, this practical workshop presented useful, proven techniques and strategies for fundraising geared to the larger Women’s Auxiliaries. Panel members Betty Kornreich and Karen Miller, of the San Diego Women’s Auxiliary, and Julie David from Orange County shared fund raising experiences ranging from golf tournaments to barbecues, and identified keys to success, including identifying objectives and goals, making personal contacts with potential donors, and following a well-defined timeline.
–Reported by: Frances Dingman, John Docter and Sue Warner