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Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#1 Mar 6, 2014
I am organizing a small charity in the town where I work - would anyone like to discuss it?

This charity is not associated with any religion or church. The idea is to raise money through donations and volunteer fund raising activities and use it to distribute flower and vegetable plants to our poorest and saddest citizens who may have never experienced gardening.

What do you think??

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#2 Mar 7, 2014
C'mon! Charity is more than tax breaks and statistics - it's about investing effort in your community.

Surely it must interest someone. Doesn't it?
William

Columbus, GA

#3 Mar 7, 2014
Awesome_Steve_Monkey wrote:
C'mon! Charity is more than tax breaks and statistics - it's about investing effort in your community.

Surely it must interest someone. Doesn't it?
It is good to have charity and it means that you don't want or expect anything in return. That's not a popular definition of it today but nevertheless, good luck with your efforts.

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#4 Mar 7, 2014
William wrote:
It is good to have charity and it means that you don't want or expect anything in return. That's not a popular definition of it today but nevertheless, good luck with your efforts.
Thanks, William! I am hoping that my ideas are solid and luck won't be much of a factor - but I'll take some luck if it comes my way!(maybe around St. Patrick's Day...)

I see your point of view, that a charitable person should be willing to give and give without expecting any compensation for their work or contribution - but that is really not my attitude. If I see that no progress has been accomplished, I would consider my charity a failure. I expect to see results from our work.

My organization would benefit my community in 3 major ways - it would be an outlet for our citizens to socialize, contribute to our community, learn about gardening - we would purchase our supplies locally, so that our local economy is stimulated - AND we would be reaching out to the less fortunate and offering ideas of how they might save money and become familiar with nature.

I would be compensated for my work by seeing the plants that we contribute grow and produce, being used by our citizens and beautifying our environment. Do you think I will be disappointed?

I am preparing a presentation and a push for gathering interested participants right around April 22 - Earth Day. This is my "one last" effort to gather any interesting or helpful advice before I turn my ideas into actuality. Any concerns or advice would be helpful.

I wanted to give an example of how to perform charity other than writing a check and mailing it to the Catholic Church. I like charity that gets your hands dirty.
William

Birmingham, AL

#5 Mar 7, 2014
I wanted to give an example of how to perform charity other than writing a check and mailing it to the Catholic Church. I like charity that gets your hands dirty."

That's a good attitude to have. Same thing with the protestant religions. Cut out the middle-man and his 5% to 50% cut.

As for getting dirty, I might suggest doing a Habitat For Humanity project and see if you like it. They are always looking for help, and for a good cause.

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#6 Mar 7, 2014
William wrote:
I wanted to give an example of how to perform charity other than writing a check and mailing it to the Catholic Church. I like charity that gets your hands dirty."

That's a good attitude to have. Same thing with the protestant religions. Cut out the middle-man and his 5% to 50% cut.

As for getting dirty, I might suggest doing a Habitat For Humanity project and see if you like it. They are always looking for help, and for a good cause.
Yes! That is a good one! We see some similar charity groups who travel great distances to visit our area, repair aged and damaged homes for elderly people, and they get to see how the "mountain" people live. Usually a group of bright eyed eager teenagers - it's inspiring to see them. Ah.

Anyway, you bring up a good point - why would I go to the effort of creating a new charity when there are many charities who really need and could definitely use my support? Well, I have selfish reasons - like some seemingly honorable non-profitable organizations do. There is a particular local "garden center" that I want to use and promote while I simultaneously contribute to society.

For example: Oh, you like these plants? I got them at the local garden center, 4 of them for $1.50. You have room for 12 more, you should visit us - at the garden center. Thanks! See ya at the garden center. Gardening is great!

I have a personal interest in this garden center and these particular citizens and this particular community. I'm not so ambitious that I want to build homes for the homeless - I want to beautify this area so that it will improve the spirits of those who look at it. I want to teach our citizens the lessons that observing nature will teach you - how food is free - how plants are living and need care, like people and things - I want to encourage people to go outside. I want them to imitate me, to plant more plants and take on more responsibility on their own, because I set an example for them. My donation to the citizens will be very inexpensive, but, with care, it will contribute to the food in their household or the beauty of their home - but only if it is cared for. My intentions are also to re-visit those who accept our offer, to talk about the condition of the plant - is it dead? Aw, why? Want another - even late summer leftover seedlings can be salvaged with care.

I've listened to a lot of: "what this town needs is..." and honestly, this town could use an infinite amount of more places and stores and services and things and people and everything - I keep thinking: what we already have is not so bad - shine it up a bit - keep your chin up - do something with what you have. What this town needs is encouragement and guidance. In my opinion, it holds great potential.
Dave P

Morehead, KY

#7 Mar 7, 2014
Good ideas. How about contacting local 4-H clubs, community action groups, senior centers to try to drum up some enthusiasm and get the word out?

Whatever you do, make sure it's fun for you and you can show your passion to others. If you don't look like you care, nobody else will either.

I know you're not doing this for "religious" reasons, but letting churches know could help circulate your message better. Also, Habitat is a good thing to get involved in, like William said.
William

Birmingham, AL

#8 Mar 7, 2014
"Anyway, you bring up a good point - why would I go to the effort of creating a new charity when there are many charities who really need and could definitely use my support?"

It is good to work with an established (i.e., reputable) charity and then you can see where other needs may become evident, out of the exposure to what they do and the contacts that you make while working with them. Something worthwhile usually always appears as an extra need that can be addressed by a person with the resources to address it.

It's that whole "being in the right place at the right time" thing.

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#9 Mar 7, 2014
Thanks, guys! I will keep your advice in mind.

However, there is something about my plans that I did not initially reveal and I am curious about your opinion of it.

My community visiting plans would be for Spring 2015 - my "project plans" includes one year of raising money, hoarding resources, and organizing our club - an effort to build a firm foundation for what I hope to be a long running project.

How do you think the public would receive a new charity that doesn't plan to accomplish any charity work until next spring?
William

Atlanta, GA

#10 Mar 7, 2014
Awesome_Steve_Monkey wrote:
How do you think the public would receive a new charity that doesn't plan to accomplish any charity work until next spring?
It won't be taken seriously until you can show positive results. This is why a lot of upstart charities (and regular businesses) fail.

You have to invest in it in order to gain critical mass. That means money, time, effort, and a healthy dose of PR.

Having a reputable sponsor wouldn't hurt either. It can lend credibility, but you still have to have a deliverable that people will want to sign on to.

It's just like running a business.

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#11 Mar 7, 2014
William wrote:
It won't be taken seriously until you can show positive results. This is why a lot of upstart charities (and regular businesses) fail.

You have to invest in it in order to gain critical mass. That means money, time, effort, and a healthy dose of PR.

Having a reputable sponsor wouldn't hurt either. It can lend credibility, but you still have to have a deliverable that people will want to sign on to.

It's just like running a business.
Ah-ha! Exactly the response I hope to avoid. But exactly the response I expected.

You are suggesting that I could make a PR effort to convince people and organizations to invest in my charitable effort and see it underway immediately. No time wasted, many efforts focused. I see your point of view and I do not disregard it as bad advice, only I do not agree that it is the correct advice for implementing my ideas.

If my goal was simply to see flowers growing on everyone's stoops, it would be good advice - why not hurry up and get the job done? But my intentions are to make a great investment in the "club" - the members of the organization - before our club makes an investment in the community.

See, this is not a club that is already assembled, I plan to assemble it. I don't aim to attract 100 members by Earth Day - I would be satisfied with 5 or 10 - this will be the beginning of something that is engineered to grow - like a seedling: small and unsure at first, but with care, able to produce fruit. This first year is when we invest our care. We do not yet have anything to offer our community, but if we work this year, we will have something to offer next year. It will be less of a contribution of money than a contribution of time, effort, and attention.

For example, in 2014, we will encourage garden center customers to return their plastic containers after they use the plants they purchase from the garden center. Until now, cheap, ugly black plastic pots and seedling containers are thrown in the garbage when they could be re-used. About this time next year, our club can create our own seedlings with seeds and soil and recycled plastic containers - seedlings we could offer during our community visitations. Pots could be re-used to grow seedlings on a patio for folks without yards. Our club will be responsible for collecting and storing these recyclables until we need them next year.

Another chore that my organization will take on will be to produce literature to offer with our services. Instructions for how to care for a tomato plant. A list of ways to prepare raw vegetables so they are tasty. Information about nutrition and gardening. I mean, I plan for our members to originally write unique literature to leave with those that accept our contribution - something to remind them who we are and what we do. Of course, this will be time consuming - I expect our members to volunteer their time to make it happen - I plan to have a whole year to work on it.

Another issue that I expect is one that no one mentioned so far - associating with the town's neediest people. I mean, going to their house, knocking on their door, engaging them in conversation and inviting friendship and good will - some would call it a fool's mission. What would you call it? Something that will need to be done before we knock on any doors is to make deliberate decisions of exactly WHERE it would be safe and logical to do such a thing. I would want to know some details about the people who's doorsteps we step on - our club would make these decisions together throughout this first year.

I'm pretty passionate about the initial year of investment for a 2015 project. Are you convinced?
Mike Peterson

Birmingham, AL

#12 Mar 8, 2014
Partner up with your County Extension Service. They already have resources for this. Find the agent in your area . They will no doubt have all the literature you need for free.

They can even get the word out for you.

http://ext.wvu.edu/

I used mind for learning how to maintain my fishing pond on some property I own in the country.
William

Midland, GA

#13 Mar 8, 2014
You are indeed passionate!

Now get out there and make that business model work. Fight the Power!

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#14 Mar 8, 2014
Mike Peterson wrote:
Partner up with your County Extension Service. They already have resources for this. Find the agent in your area . They will no doubt have all the literature you need for free.

They can even get the word out for you.

http://ext.wvu.edu/

I used mind for learning how to maintain my fishing pond on some property I own in the country.
Excellent resource!

I will find out more about this..
William

Birmingham, AL

#15 Mar 8, 2014

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#16 Mar 8, 2014
William wrote:
You are indeed passionate!

Now get out there and make that business model work. Fight the Power!
You like my business model? It's straight from Utopia 101. In addition to covering the world with flowers, I plan to personally hug every person and let them sign my yearbook before I fly away on a rainbow unicorn.

JK. I have put an abundance of thought into these ideas and I plan to present them to someone who would have the resources to allow me to assemble at least an initial meeting of people who would be interested in joining my project. I'm fairly confident I will get two thumbs up.

That approval will depend on my ability to impress them with my presentation. I'm realizing now that I'm glad I'm practicing on you, because I think I've taken the wrong approach by labeling my project "charity" - the focus should not be on what we are able to give to society - I should focus on assembling the club. The charity is the goal that the club works towards.

I do appreciate everyone's ideas, I asked for them, and please know, I am using this thread to test my abilities to explain myself coherently and to have intelligent responses to any reservations that others may have of my ideas.

Where's MarkEden? I need to practice my heckler skills.

OK - new approach..

Suppose I advertise a cool, new "gardening club" and gather up a group of young people and adults. I could explain my Spring 2015 Community Visitation ideas and explain how we can promote recycling and environmental awareness immediately. The people who attend could express their own ideas. We could arrange and schedule fund raising and children's activities. We could discuss our own gardens and yards, encouraging one another to make the most of our own gardening and offer help to one another with canning and storing our harvests.

Maybe I should have titled this thread, "Join the Club".

The issue about my presentation is to get my "audience" psyched up about my visitation program while emphasizing that it is intended for NEXT spring. My "business model" is slow and steady - raise money before spending it - have something to offer before you offer anything. I don't know what advice I'm searching for, but I want to assure myself that I'm considering all the details and I am not going to be asked questions that I don't know the answers to.

And of course, I have doubts. Is this an enormous waste of time and effort? Will my ideas be rejected or mocked? Am I really just a "stupid hippy"?

Suppose you noticed a poster on your workplace break-room that advertised a "garden club" - would you consider attending a meeting to find out about it? Does gardening interest you? Do you have the time or attention span to take on a new project or club just for fun? Do you think a gardening club would be fun?

How important should my Visitation project be in my presentation? Is it my attention-grabbing opening or my grand finale? Maybe that part is just another idea in my list of ideas.

Hmm, I'm just over thinking it all - I am actually confident that I can make this project happen if I have the courage to actually do it. Until now I've been too scared to actually push my ideas on to the public - too scared to use my leadership skills even though I know I have them - too scared, man, too scared. Recently, I've been challenged - I've been leveling up at work - I've had to take on an air of authority over people I consider my peers. I've never been given much respect before - I think this project will help me gain respect in my life and also at work. See, it's OK to be selfish AND charitable - it balances out. I call it a win/win.

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#17 Mar 8, 2014
William wrote:
Did I mention that my son was accepted to WVU in the fall? I'm so fn proud.

He's not an athlete, but he is entering the engineering department. That school has amazing resources.
William

Cusseta, GA

#18 Mar 8, 2014
Awesome_Steve_Monkey wrote:
<quoted text>
Did I mention that my son was accepted to WVU in the fall? I'm so fn proud.

He's not an athlete, but he is entering the engineering department. That school has amazing resources.
What kind of engineering does he want to study? I know a few things about it.:)

Since: Jul 12

Oceana, WV

#19 Mar 8, 2014
Computer Engineering

http://majors.wvu.edu/home/details/265

or Computer Science

http://majors.wvu.edu/home/details/266

He has not committed to a particular major yet but he was accepted to the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources particularly - it is the place where they keep all the computers, apparently.

http://www.statler.wvu.edu/
William

Birmingham, AL

#20 Mar 8, 2014

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