What is Greenlight’s new 501 Council?

Kim Wilson, director of development for Greenlights, let me in on the scoop behind that organization’s new 501 Council. Here’s what she said.

1. What’s the goal of 501 Council?
The 501 Council is a forum for individuals who are giving back with their time, expertise and/or financial resources, or those who are looking for ways to do so to learn, engage and have a direct impact effectively.  Operative word is the last one in the sentence….
2. Why should people support Greenlights as opposed to supporting a charity? 
Well first, Greenlights IS a charity, and in order to provide the low-cost, high quality services that we do, we have to raise money from those in the community who understand that strong, high-performing nonprofits are better able to use the resources at their disposal to achieve their desired impact. 
If your question was… “Why support Greenlights rather than a charity that is providing direct service to individuals in the community?” — well, of course I have an answer to that, too. …

There is a difference between funding direct service provision (which is what I think you’re alluding to here) and investing in the underlying strength and sustainability of the organizations that provide those services. I could get really long-winded with this topic, but the core argument –
1.    Central Texas is increasingly struggling to meet the quality of life needs of its citizens as population growth continues to boom.
2.    High-performing nonprofits are critical to meeting community needs and building a strong Central Texas.
3.    In order for nonprofit staff and boards to make wise decisions about where they are headed, where to cut costs (as many are having to consider now), where to invest additional resources, etc. – they need access to expert guidance, high-quality training and tools to improve their performance and impact.
4.    If Greenlights did not exist, they would not have access to these services.  We are the only provider of high-quality, low-cost expert guidance to nonprofit leaders in Central Texas.
5.    We also strengthen the community’s relationship with, and investment in, area nonprofits through our board matching and community outreach efforts (of which the 501 Council is one), and finally
6.    And finally, we fill an important role of catalyzing systemic change by raising community awareness of, interest in and action around issues that are important to the sector.
3. What’s the value in forming this as a “council” as opposed to your traditional outreach for donations?
Couple of answers to this:
·         This is about more than generating donations from Greenlights.  It’s about training and engaging a group of young, successful business professionals effectively in the work of the nonprofit sector.
·         But on the fundraising for Greenlights side of things, it’s ALSO a way to engage a group of current and future community leaders in the work of Greenlights.  Many of the individuals who were invited have expressed interest in volunteering with us in some way.  Unlike many nonprofits, we don’t have easy ways through our current programming to use volunteers.  But the 501 Council format is a great way to engage those who are interested in our work, and down the road, when they are serving on the boards of other nonprofits… hopefully they will think of us when the organization has a training or consulting need.
4. How can someone join the council? Do they have to be a Greenlights member?
They do not need to be a Greenlights member; they just need to be interested in learning how to give back effectively, and committing time and a relatively small financial contribution ($250 / year) to doing so.  You can read more about the expectations for members here. Greenlights will kick things off with a launch party on April 8th. 

Interested? Contact Kim Wilson at Greenlights to learn more and get an official inviation to the launch party. I’ll see you there!


One Response

  1. Fantastic site:D Will come back.

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