Monday, September 08, 2014

Building a Distribution of Influence

At any given time of the year it's not hard to find a story about a company or foundation providing a grant to support a youth serving organization in Chicago or another city. At some times you might even find stories showing how a group of people, like professional football players, are encouraging people to volunteer at one or more youth serving organizations in a city.

However, how often do you see corporate leaders, or groups like the National Football League, or National Basketball Association, show maps on their web sites, as part of strategies intended to help well-organized, long-term youth mentoring, tutoring and learning programs grow in every high poverty neighborhood of a city?

I use maps, like the ones below, to show the entire city of Chicago, so leaders will create strategies that distribute volunteer talent, company technology and ideas, and flexible operating dollars to programs in every neighborhood, so each has the resources to constantly grow its impact.

I include maps in on-line essays like this one, which can be used in any organization to inspire their own thinking of ways to influence the growth of programs that help kids move through school and into jobs and careers.

Virtual Corporate Office: Strategy for Helping Youth Tutor/Mentor Programs Reach Youth in More Places. by Daniel F. Bassill

If you search Google for the words "tutor mentor" and look at the images page, you'll see dozens of graphics like the one below, which have been created to communicate ideas that can be adopted by many leaders, from many different types of organizations. You can see a collection of these on Pinterest, and in many of the articles from this blog.

This graphic shows a quarterly communications/event strategy that needs to repeat year after year in order to increase the amount of dollars and volunteers available to youth tutoring/mentoring organizations in a city, or in the country. It shows that if visible leaders, like the President, add their own voice, more people will respond.

I led a tutor/mentor program from 1975 to 2011 and used the web site to share ideas like this. While that program is still operating, it has a new web site and limits the information it shows about what it does. I host a link to that program, and nearly 200 other Chicago youth serving organizations in this section of my web library.

If you look at every one of these web sites you'll see that some do a great job of signaling what they do, while others give only limited information. However, few include a blog like this one, where they talk about the need for mentor-rich programs in more places than their own, or where they talk about the challenges they face, and ways volunteers, donors and/or business partners could help them overcome those challenges.

I hope my own example inspires others to create articles like this on their own web sites, and that it inspires talent from industry to help programs tell their stories and build great programs. Here's an article posted last week by Mark Carter, who leads a consulting company in Chicago. And this web site of an organization on Chicago's West site shows support for the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences.

School has started and while a few kids will be lucky enough to be part of a great tutor/mentor programs, many kids will not be as fortunate, and even more kids won't even have a program within a few blocks of where they live.

If more people write articles like these, more kids will begin to have great programs available to them.

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