August 31, 2010

Congratulations! You’re now a Development Specialist! Now go develop… what, exactly?

I’m the new kid here at the Literacy Coalition, about six weeks into my position as a development specialist.  While sharing the good news about the new job with my friends, one of them told me that she would hate to do development because fundraising and asking for money sound like horribly difficult things to do.  While I’m not sure if I agree with her, I can certainly see her point.  Fundraising can be kind of scary.   In the past few weeks, however, I’ve realized that development does always not mean frantically writing as many grants as humanly possible or soliciting everyone in sight for money.

In fact, the most important thing we’re trying to develop is the community.  Dedicated individuals and non-profit organizations that address different facets of illiteracy can do only so much on their own.  Illiteracy is a convoluted community problem that has to be addressed at every juncture.  The community as a whole, every sector, is what has to put in some effort if we truly want to eradicate illiteracy.  Employers, neighbors, legislators, and doctors: these are just a few of the people who have to help turn illiteracy around.   Human capital is the most valuable resource we can obtain, not foundation grants (although those aren’t so bad either).

So, we’re starting a social media campaign (you can thank the campaign for the blog you’re currently reading), sending newsletters, writing press releases, publishing reports, meeting with elected officials…the list is lengthy.  We are hosting a series of get-to-know-us events called the ABCs of the Literacy Coalition.  The point of these events is not to wrangle dollars out of people.   The point is to raise community awareness.  It’s all to develop our most valuable resource – you.  Interested?   RSVP to come to an event (check out for more details).

It’s almost too bad development isn’t just about writing a ton of grant requests.  That would probably be a lot simpler!

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