OH YES, WE CANCAN!
By JoyBeth Lufty July 28, 2010
Every year at SDG's Annual General Meeting, our current President gives the "State of Our Guild Address". As you read this, visualize Elaine Sisler, CoDirector of Public Relations from Massachusetts, and Mary Kamp, CoDirector of Programs from Ohio, dressed up as CanCan Dancers, CanCaning us into a rollicking standing ovation, more than likely the first one for this event. Oh yes, We CANCAN!
State of Our Guild Address 2010
Last year at this time, our membership was down to 330 (from our top number of 800 in the late 1990's), volunteer and event participation (except for our special 50th Festival) had been very low, and we had very outdated administrative systems and procedures...
Statistics show that 50% of nonprofits close within their first 10 years: we certainly don't have to worry about that. We're still here after all these years and we give kudos to all past Board members. What we have to deal with now is the statistics that came out the other day that 50% of our smaller nonprofits are folding in this very economically challenging time.
Your all volunteer Board, that was 9 instead of 13 because we can't find all the volunteers we've needed, has been extra busy this year. With a lapsed membership campaign last fall, we quickly raised our membership back up to over 400. But that was just the beginning. "Greening and Growing our Guild" must be done NOW if we are to survive beyond 53 years!
Therefore: Our Journal has morphed into being online with a new color design starting with our Fall Journal and will save us between $1,000 to $2,000 per issue. Kudos to Toni Intravaia who had been our Journal Editor for 38 years. Our Archives are also going electronic saving us many volunteer hours. Kudos to Mary Jane Wolbers and Vivian Wills for their Archives work the past 10 + years. We've cleaned up and streamlined working with our Management Services Next Wave Group that we could not do without, our membership systems, our Labels Procedures, our advertising system, our Proxy's, our Honorary Memberships, our Letterhead, our Board Orientation Materials, our banking systems, and our Board Job Descriptions and Organizational Timeline. We are still updating our systems for Reciprocal Agreements and Chapters.
We produced 4 E-Board Newsletters to keep you all up to date, printed 2 Journals including a color Journal/Festival brochure combination, and other Festival Brochures/Posters. We've put 4 videos on our website showing various types of Sacred Dance, one with college students. We've piloted our SDGO, with Culture Fest in Boston , and our Traveling Workshops in Canada . Kudos to Elaine Sisler and Wendy Morrell. We hope to collaborate with local communities in bringing these programs to cities all over the world. This will solidify our 2nd 50 years focus of adding our outer journey to the inner journey of which we danced for 50 year together. The world so needs Sacred Dance right now...
We've piloted 2 SDG Fundraisers. Kudos to Lisa Michaels. We've written 2 articles on Sacred Dance and on SDG for the Catholic Encyclopedia, a real first. Kudos to Linda Telesco and Kathryn Mehilick. And we've got The National Committees of Arts and Worship for both the Presbyterians and Methodists wanting us to teach them Sacred Dance. The American Dance Guild has also contacted us to see how we could collaborate.
We've added many many new interactive pages on our website for both our membership and general public, such as Updates, Headlines, SDGO, Our Directory online, Support Pages that include Volunteer Sign Ups, Thank you's, Wish Lists, Suggestion Box, Donations, Business Supporters, Advertising, our soon to be online Sacred Dance Business Directory, Q&A, an extensive and ever expanding Resource Library, and more coming soon. Other dance nonprofits are starting to use our website as their model.
And your Board has put on this wonderful "Simply Soaring Festival"... However, the reality is that many of our members are being hit hard economically and were not able to come to Festival. As a result, we will not make our $13,000 already budgeted profit and stand to loose up to $10,000. So once again, we're in a money crisis...
So now with our systems being updated and ready to expand, we have to focus on RECRUITMENT RECRUITMENT, RECRUITMENT OF MONEYS ($100,000 YEARLY), OF MEMBERS (1,000+++) OF VOLUNTEERS (ESPECIALLY OF BOARD MEMBERS), OF LOCAL COORDINATORS, OF LOCAL CHAPTERS AND A LOT MORE SACRED DANCERS OF ALL AGES TO DANCE IN DELIGHT AT ALL OF OUR SACRED DANCE EVENTS.
I've been talking to other non-profits and they just don't know how we've made it as long as we have without: 1. Real publicity & public relations monies, 2. a paid Executive Director at the very least, and 3. The all volunteer Board (because of all the administrative work each Board member has to do) not being able to devote itself to what most nonprofit Boards normally do: Development. Our Board of Directors not only does the work of this organization, it is now having to run our Festivals because none of our local Chapters, even the ones that have managed to stay viable, have the volunteer time to make it happen. I have been told that if we stay with how we ran SDG our first 50 years, we won't make it through these challenging times into our 53...
Remember that WE ARE YOU, and a nonprofit organization can't exist without its Board. And for the third time in a row, except for me, your current President, our Vice President's have withdrawn from moving on into the Presidency because they simply can not put in the 20-40 hours a week to function as a President, an Executive Director, and taking on the roles of any of the Board positions that were not filled. Getting appropriately skilled Board Members has always been difficult in this organization and now it is even harder. For this present ballot, out of 11 positions to be filled, we could not find anyone to take on the roles of Development Co Directors, which we really need! 5 of our present Board extended their commitment another year because we could not fill their positions, which means that unless YOU step up, we will be without a Board next year, which means that we will have to fold.
Yes, this 52 year old surviving organization has been told that we're not going to be able to keep going unless we step up and make some big changes NOW. So, what's our choice here? What other organization on this entire planet do you know of provides the education, resources, and networking for Sacred Dance like our SDG? What a very necessary and greatly needed gift we are giving ourselves and the world!
So your current Board says: Oh, YES we CAN! Yes we Can Can!!!
YES, WE CAN RECRUIT BIGTIME DONORS! SDG never has, but if we're going to survive & thrive to really become the international organization we want to, we have to!
WE CAN MANIFEST THE MONEYS TO HIRE AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR!
WE CAN RECRUIT MORE SKILLED BOARD OF DIRECTORS that can devote their volunteer time to DEVELOPMENT!
WE CAN get known on a global basis and really become the premier Sacred Dance resource, networking, and educating association on this planet, INCREASING OUR MEMBERS, VOLUNTEERS, CHAPTERS & PARTICIPANTS!
WE CAN RECRUIT BUSINESS SPONSORS, ADVERTISERS, & GRANTS!
AND YOU/WE CAN VOLUNTEER AS BOARD MEMBERS, LOCAL SDGO & TRAVELING WORKSHOP COORDINATORS!
YES, WE CAN USE OUR WEBSITE and register to teach Sacred Dance, add to our Resource Library, our SD Quotes, our Event Calendar, submit our SD photos, headlines, Chapter Newsletters, communicate with one another and help to collaborate with other organizations and universities...
YES, WE CAN CAN! WE WILL BECAUSE WE MUST. WE WILL BECAUSE WE CAN!