34 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine This isn’t an idea that will just work in Boca Raton, Florida; it is an idea that can work universally. Ask yourself these questions: What would it take to make this a reality in your community? What would the effects of this type of collaborative effort be in bringing W hat if nonprofits could work together to meet the deeper needs of a community? That was the question that was present in our community as we started Spirit of Giving. Spirit of Giving is a collaborative, nonprofit organization with focus on children and families in South Palm Beach County, Florida. It is a forum where nonprofits and community supporters share information, resources and best practices in order to better help our community. Through the group’s efforts, we work to streamline the delivery of services to the community by working collaboratively to solve issues and improve operations through internal and external partnerships. Our net- work unites more than 60 of Southern Palm Beach County’s greatest nonprofit organiza- tions to share resources and knowledge, with the purpose of building strong vibrant com- munities. By working together with citizens, businesses and community partners we create alliances and programs that promote lasting change, including Community Volunteer Training, Screening and Placement, Annual Back to School Bash, Annual Holiday Gift Drive, Community Involvement Marketing Campaign, Community Nonprofit Meetings, Forum for Nonprofits weekly radio show, and Community Nonprofit Calendar. Together, our efforts touch thousands of children and families.
The impact of this framework has boosted our efforts in South Palm Beach County. For example, our local synagogues collaborate with local churches to hostThanksgiving dinners, and even Mother’s and Father’s Day events. Spirit of Giving prides itself on creating a culture of collaboration through giving back to the community and by inspiring others to do so on their own. As the founder of the Spirit of Giving, Barbara Schmidt’s model was based on community spirit and collaboration. She started the organization seven years ago with a simple holiday gift drive in her garage, which later evolved into the organization we are today. Events like the Back to School Bash and The Holiday Gift Drive reach over 4,000 needy children from the nonprofits’ communities. Even the smallest impact can have the power to create a ripple effect of change. It’s all about what we can do together for our community. We believe that in the heart of every strong community is the Spirit of Giving! Wendy Friswell brings a wealth of knowledge and nonprofit management experience to the Spirit of Giving Network. She has previously worked with the YMCA, Twin Palms Center for the Disabled, American Association of Caregiving Youth, spent 10 years with Dade County Parks and Recreation Department, and holds a wellness coach certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. She has volunteered with the Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disability and has served on the City of Boca Advisory Board for People with Disability. Wendy can be reached at Wendy@spiritofgivingnetwork.com.
impact in your community? Our framework consists of 3 simple steps: Share Purposeful Communication We maintain purposeful communication to stay relevant in our community and strive to be committed to our member organizations. We strive toward creating a mindset and a collaborative culture, as our members serve on planning committees for the community projects. Sharing information, resources, and best practices is essential to fulfilling this first step. Meet Regularly The success of nonprofits depends on collaborations of groups within our community. The nonprofits in the Spirit of Giving community endeavor to put differences aside and work together as a collaborative team. This only happens when we can see each other face-to-face at the table. Discuss Financial/Social Impact on the Community As impact organizations, we encourage our member organizations to share the financial impact they are having in their community. With financial resources scarce, an increase in collaboration was seen after the market fell years ago. Of course, the demand for services is at an all-time high in most communities, and nonprofits are picking up the load by collaborating.