Does anyone else feel like the day after your birthday is a little anticlimactic? After the glow of your “special day” fades and the barrage of facebook notifications dwindle, it’s often helpful to take stock of who’s around you. Those cheerleaders are the ones who ultimately sustain us.
This year I’ve had the honor of working for Neighbors Together, a soup kitchen and advocacy center committed to ending hunger and poverty in the Ocean Hill, Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods of Brooklyn, one of the lowest-income areas in New York City. My professional cheerleaders include our Executive Director, Denny Marsh (AVODAH alum 2004-2005) and Community Organizer, Amy Blumsack (AVODAH alum 2003-2004).
One recent campaign launched by these awesome AVODAH alumni along with the Neighbors Together Board of Directors was a fundraising project called “Thirty Thanksgivings,” a program which concludes tomorrow. The goal of the Thirty Thanksgivings campaign was to honor Neighbors Together’s 30th anniversary by having 30 hot meals leading up to turkey day sponsored by generous individuals, community groups, and local businesses. Each meal here at Neighbors Together costs $750, and as you can see from our website, our month has been packed with generous donations and volunteers. We even had Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets serve dinner, and for what it’s worth, his wife looked absolutely fabulous, even in a hair net.
So why am I telling you all this? By the time this blog is posted, our campaign will have ended. I’m fairly certain Mr. Williams will pass up my unsolicited offer to be a permanent staff member at Neighbors Together and the thrill of executing our campaign will start to dwindle. How then, do we sustain ourselves after our “special day” comes and goes? How do we as an organization remain relevant as we return to daily life? A successful campaign can maximize attention and financial success in the short term, but rarely addresses long term goals and needs.
When I spoke with my coworkers past and present, I picked up on some helpful tips that may help you sustain both your personal and professional motivation.
For example, I will be suggesting to my current colleagues that we take time at our next staff meeting to acknowledge and digest what we have accomplished. It may seem counter intuitive to use precious time and resources mulling over work we’ve already completed, but from the people I’ve spoken with, this can be a crucial step. Not only does quantifying the success you’ve had help to uplift a team post-campaign, but it can also help us to work more efficiently in the future. Did we use time, money, and resources efficiently and effectively? What aspects of our outreach strategy could be improved upon? Creating time to reflect and revise both acknowledges the efforts that were made while still allowing space for growth. Win win!
I’m turning to you, readers. Have you experienced difficulty sustaining your work post-campaign? How do you motivate your supporters to continue giving after they’ve done and given so much? Advice on beating the post-birthday blues also welcome.
Mollie Simon was born and raised in Manhattan before going to undergrad at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where she majored in human development with a concentration in social and personality development. She is now living in the Brooklyn AVODAH bayit and working at Neighbors Together on the supportive housing process.
For more information about supporting Neighbors Together, click here