Week 6

This week, our fist panel of non-profit organization executives came to speak to our class. I felt that all of the organizations’ mission statements somewhat matched our group’s mission statement. Although some organizations specifically deal with children or food, I feel that all of the organizations were able to reach out to families.  I thought that all of the executives were passionate about what their organizations do and they did not hesitate to inform us about all aspects of their organization. I enjoyed that they also told us about what we could do to reach out to their organizations by volunteering. These organizations will most definitely be considered for our group’s final donation.

The topic of fundraising has become a lot more complicated over the past few weeks. The fundraising activities that we planned to do, we can no longer enact because school fundraising is now prohibited. My group and I are discussing what other options we have because we cannot let this little obstacle keep us from fulfilling our goal.

Week 5

During class this week, we learned about the different methods of evaluating investments into companies and organizations. We learned that quantitative analysis is very important because you need to know that your money is going straight into the cause you car about. It is also important that the organization can make the money last for awhile so that you know your money is being allocated wisely. However, quantitative analysis is not the only way you can decide how to invest. You must also consider qualitative aspects of the organization. It is important for an investor to see that the organization wants the money. If they are eager to communicate with you regarding an investment, then you know that they really appreciate the help. If they feel like you are taking up their time, then clearly they aren’t representing their non-profit well, and don’t really want the money. Perhaps the most important qualitative characteristic of an organization is how they manage leadership. If the organization has extremely strong leadership, then chances are the organization is going to operate very efficiently and orderly. If the organization has lackluster leaders, then the organization as a whole will give of an uninspired feeling, and will probably run in a very disorganized fashion. Good leaders will make sure the investment is put to good use and they will never skip out on an opportunity to help their cause. This quality in a good leader will surely inspire other employees and volunteers to feel the same way. It is very clear that qualitative characteristics are just as important as the quantitative ones.

In regards to the organizations I have researched, I have found it very easy to evaluate some non profits. As I have mentioned before, The Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County is clearly doing something right. When I  look at their website, everything is very organized and their tax forms are readily available on the internet. This organization’s mission is clear right when you open the home page of the website. (http://www.ctrfam.org) This website includes a photo gallery right on the home page that shows that the organization values its volunteers and makes a difference in children and their families’ lives. The executives are also very easy to contact and extremely eager to listen to interested investors. They are clearly passionate for what they do, and this comes across even on a simple phone call or email. These qualitative characteristics as well as the excellent financial position of the organization makes The Center for Family Services of definite interest for our group.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 11.02.25 AM

Week 4

This week, we continued contacting and researching organizations. I learned many things from the organizations’ websites as well as specific executives that work for the non-profits. The 990 for The Center for Family Service of Palm Beach County revealed that the organization was financially stable and devoting funds to the right programs. The program ratio for the organization was 90.7% meaning that over 9o% of total expenses were allocated to programs by the organization. The management ratio was 4.6%, and the fundraising ratio was 4.2%. In class, we learned about tax returns and how they can provide us with information about their financial stability. I thought it was actually interesting to look at an official tax document because I had never seen one before. I learned that these  tax returns can tell you how long the organization can survive without funding, how much money is devoted to the actual cause of the organization, and how much money is devoted to paying employees or fundraising projects. It is very important to look at these numbers on the tax form because when making an investment, you want to make sure the money will last, and the organization won’t fail.

 

Week 3

This week our group drafted a purpose and vision statement while trying to come up with a possible mission statement. It was difficult to narrow down our focus on the groups under the umbrella of “Family Services.” Although our vision and purpose statements were broad and contained large goals for ourselves, our experience with drafting a mission statement really made us think about what was important to us under the category of Family Services. Throughout our search for organizations this week, we will keep in mind some things that are important to us and things that we would like to see changed in the world.

I have identified a few organizations that fit under the category of Family Services and one organization, “The Center for Family Services” really stuck out to me. This is an organization serving Palm Beach County that believe a strong family unit is necessary to better the community. I will be contacting this organization and researching more about it to see if it will be a good candidate for our donations.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 2.55.20 PM

Week 2

I was not at the first class due to the YMUN conference, but I was still able to complete the MAD card activity. I thought it would be a lot easier than it actually was to narrow down the categories of organizations. My three choices were all encompassed by the Family Services choice. This choice means the world to me because I am very close to my family. I also know that my family is extremely fortunate, and that many families don’t even know where their next meal is coming from, where they are going to sleep or even what “clothes” they are going to wear. Having a reliable food source and a certainty of mind are things that many of us take for granted. When considering Family Services, I hope to help out families that aren’t as lucky as our families are.

This week I learned many new things about my group members (Piper, Camille, and Antonio.) I learned that all three of them have unique passions or things that are close to their heart. When discussing the paper bag activity, I learned that family and relationships were important pieces of my group members’ stories. Antonio brought in a photo of his niece and expressed that he was very close to her as well as the rest of his family. Camille brought in a tea K-Cup and her marathon medal to express her comfort in tea and her love for running. Piper brought in a pictures of herself with her boyfriend and her best friend to stress the importance of others in her life. It was difficult for me to bring in only 3 small items to describe the story of my life. I decided to bring an orange shoelace to describe my passion for running but also to represent my favorite color orange. I also brought in a photo of my dog that I took. I chose this to describe my love for photography but also the love of my dog. Finally, I brought in a painted alligator clothespin that my Nana gave me. I chose this little gift because I am very close to my grandmother, but my favorite animal is the alligator. This alligator is also a symbol of my home in Florida. In addition to learning things about others, I also gained insight into a few of my passions. I hope to learn even more about myself and my group members as the course progresses.