More and more capacity

Time sure does continue to fly by around here! It's finally spring and lovely outside, but at least it's lovely inside the office, too. Lots of windows = productive work environment.

These days I'm spending a lot of time working with our new database (Salesforce) and learning all the many many things it can do. We're trying to figure out the best ways to integrate it with other advocacy tools so that we can, for example, have someone participate in some story-sharing element of the project, that data is loaded into the database, and then they are put onto a list for an upcoming petition that we're creating around the social justice issue they talk about in their stories. We're thinking about using a forum like Salsa to build these advocacy tools.

I'm also doing a lot of prep work for an upcoming strategic planning meeting we have. We received a grant from Dorris Duke/EMC Arts to go to DC for a week in April and meet with consultants about how to build our capacity. So I'm working on a lot of the brainstorming about what we want from our consultants and how to integrate that feedback back into Appalshop's programs.

I'm also doing a lot of grant writing for the coming year, grants that will allow us to grow our programs and bring on third staff member into the project. It's been great experience writing these grants, and I've had a good amount of help from my supervisor, which is great, because he is a quite successful fundraiser and knows the ins and outs of these foundations. I'm thinking a lot about non-profit structure and foundation dependency, and how you have to build your projects around the grants you receive. And always applying to grants makes actually doing the project work difficult. So that's what I'm challenged with right now. It isn't so much a matter for my current work, but makes me think greatly about what kind of organizations I want to work with in the future.

We have our water back. It was 10 days this time with no water. Rough. I'm not sure I (or this town) can go through that again. The lack of accountability is frightening.