Have you ever thought there needs to be an organization out there that matches skill-based volunteers with nonprofit organizations? Well, you are in luck! Such an organization exists in the Pasadena area called Jericho Road Pasadena. They consider themselves the modern-day matchmaker, except for volunteers and nonprofit organizations. Jericho Road Pasadena’s roots run deep in the Pasadena area. Jericho Road Pasadena is very connected with local nonprofits and community organizations. They seem to have their finger on the pulse of what is needed around town. I think this is such a neat business model, and I am so happy to have found them and have the ability to volunteer my time and energy with them.
What is Jericho Road Pasadena’s Mission Statement?
In order to understand the heart of the organization, it is best to first observe their mission statement. Jericho Road Pasadena’s mission statement, listed on their website says;
Jericho Road Pasadena's mission is to bridge communities by matching the professional talents of volunteers with the needs of community-based nonprofit organizations to promote community development, strengthen social services, and enrich the lives of volunteers.
What programs does Jericho Road Pasadena offer?
Jericho Road Pasadena has a couple of different program offerings. The programs they offer are listed on their website, and below...
These programs have well-thought out processes that assist in providing insightful and meaningful work. Jericho Road Pasadena interviews the skill-based volunteer to understand their skill-level in order to pair the volunteer with the very specific needs of the local nonprofit organization requesting the service. The nonprofit would have already filled out a Project Scope of Work or a Nonprofit Request for Board Members. Once the introductions have been made, then the newly paired individuals start tackling the to-do list.
What is my involvement with Jericho Road Pasadena?
This is the exciting part of my story… I was referred to Jericho Road Pasadena earlier this year by a friend of mine who had been volunteering with them for a while. I heard really great things, researched their website and was instantly sold by their business model. The executive director, Melanie Goodyear, interviewed me earlier this year to see if she could find a match for nonprofit accounting work. During this interview she mentioned a board training program called The Leadership Connection that Jericho Road Pasadena puts together, and she wanted me to consider attending.
There were a couple of things going on here… First, we wanted to start with The Leadership Connection (TLC) right away because it was perfect timing for The Leadership Connection to begin. Then we would focus on volunteering with nonprofits after TLC. Once TLC was completed, I had the extra time available to volunteer with a nonprofit. This, my friends, is how I was introduced to Elizabeth House. Read my post about them here! What a lovely group of people to work with.
It was around this same time that Melanie wanted to connect me with a nonprofit as far as board services are concerned. To be quite frank with you, I was not actually thinking I would be on a board this year! I always had thought that it would be something that I would want to do in my future, but once I had more life experience and wisdom under my belt. As it turns out, we found a match in volunteering my time as a board member with Ten Thousand Villages in Pasadena. Read my post about them here!
What is Jericho Road’s biggest financial challenge?
When asked about their biggest financial challenge, Executive Director Melanie Goodyear said: Our biggest financial challenge is raising money for capacity-building. Capacity building is certainly part of every nonprofit organization, so I wanted to touch on what that means. Capacity building is all about building up for future endeavors. This is a key area nonprofits need to focus on at different points of growth in the lifespan of the organization. Specifically, capacity building is all about sustainability. In other words, how will nonprofits continue to survive and thrive in the next year, or two, or three? The Council of Nonprofits says it best; “Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit.”
How can you show your support to Jericho Road?
They have several ways that you can donate your year-end giving to them. Would you please thoughtfully consider donating your year-end giving to this nonprofit organization?
Melanie also suggested that CalNonprofits has a great "Unconventional Giving Guide" which may give good tips about how best to allocate end-of-year donations.” Here is an excerpt:
How did I find out about them?
If you have ever walked down Lake Avenue, or entered the Vons parking lot off the corner of California and Lake Avenue in Pasadena, you may have noticed a quaint retail store selling artisanal arts and crafts from around the world. Typically, you may find Pasadenians drawn to this store near the holidays. This retail space is truly the best place you can go to find the most unique gifts for holidays, birthdays or baby showers. Ten Thousand Villages has such a wide variety of items!
What is Ten Thousand Villages, and what is their mission?
Ten Thousand Villages is in fact a nonprofit organization. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that a retail space would be a non profit, but once you read more about them, you will understand their mission and how much good they do in this world!
“We create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.”
Fair Trade is a process by which organizations ensure that the products they are selling are doing more than serving a purpose to the consumer. “The Fair Trade Certified seal represents thousands of products, improving millions of lives, protecting land and waterways in 45 countries and counting.”
At the very heart of Ten Thousand Villages, they are focused on helping individuals in developing countries. Ten Thousand Villages has four key areas to which they are focused:
What is my involvement with Ten Thousand Villages?
I have only been involved with Ten Thousand Villages for a few short months. But, for me personally the most exciting news of it all is that I was recently voted to be the Treasurer of the Board of Directors. This is my very first experience with even being on a board. In my professional career I have certainly worked with board members and treasurers before, but in a very different capacity. So, I am not only honored, but also excited about this great new opportunity. I hope I can serve this organization well!
It will be an interesting shift for me to focus on finances from the perspective of a board member. I know this opportunity will prove itself to be a very good learning experience for me. My hope is to grow and develop alongside this organization to assist its growth and potential.
How to get involved?
There are many ways to get involved. One great way is to volunteer and provide assistance throughout the store. Another amazing way is to shop at the store. Additionally, Ten Thousand Villages Pasadena is participating in a storewide event for the Benefit Shopping Season, which goes on between November 16th through December 1st. The Benefit Shopping Season is when Ten Thousand Villages partners with other local non-profit organizations, schools, and community groups to give back to those groups by way of benefit shopping. Benefit shopping season begins today and goes through December 1st. You can make sure your Organization is involved by emailing the volunteer coordinator here. When you visit the store for your shopping needs, and you are checking out please mention a participating organization this way Ten Thousand Villages can donate 15% of your purchase back to your organization of choice!
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Make talking about budgeting a part of your everyday life!
If you do not take anything away from this blog, it is just that! The other day I was thinking of ways that I could bring a fresh perspective in order to assist in personal budgeting and finances. But then, light-bulb! I realized that simply starting the conversation could do just that!
Find ways to incorporate it into your daily conversations.
It does not have to be with just your partner either. I find myself asking friends before we go out what their budget looks like for our outing. Or, we already have a predetermined amount of money we can spend on a typical basis (which is CHEAP). I want to be mindful and cautious about spending money, and I do believe my friends want to as well.
I was just on vacation, and in order to keep track of our spending (because we only brought a set amount of cash) we literally wrote down where every dollar was going. We did not want to be in a situation where we came back from vacation and then could not figure out where our dollars went! As it turns out, we spent wayyyyyy less than we had thought we would. So, I came back with actual CASH! *happy dance* (I plan to write up a blog post on going on a budget-friendly vacation at a later time, where I detail all of our spending! Stay tuned!)
I think we are afraid of talking about budgeting!
I think the reason people tend to shy away from talking about budgeting is out of fear. Maybe we are afraid of being honest with ourselves? Maybe we feel like talking about our budgets means sharing every little detail about what is included, like income. Income is a very touchy subject. I am here to tell you that is absolutely not true! We all have different goals and priorities. But, we do need to be mindful that what one person’s priority may be, is another person’s luxury.
I am not saying that you need to share every detail about your budget. I am, however, suggesting to try and incorporate it into your daily conversations. We could all become a little more vulnerable with each other and learn how to share sensitive information in a trustworthy and safe environment.
That is to say, you most certainly do not have to share what you are not comfortable with sharing. Think about the times you and some friends are discussing which restaurant or coffee shop to visit. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to say something like; “I am on a budget and would like to keep our meals under $XX dollar amount”? I think this is absolutely and perfectly acceptable!
The biggest area of concern for me is my fringe spending. These are things that are not on the necessary list, but the “nice to have” and the “don't really need” lists. For example, it would be nice to eat out at a restaurant a few nights each week, but that is not necessary when I know how to cook and have plenty of food at home. It would be very nice to get Starbucks coffee EVERY morning, but that is very far from necessary!
What I have been doing recently is tracking my spending very carefully. Once you become accustomed to talking more about your budget and drilling down into what you spend your money on, it starts to become a little bit easier to stop spending money and focus on financial goals.
To be entirely and completely honest, starting a business is not easy, and it is not cheap. So, my goal for myself is to drill down on what are my actual expenses essential to my life so that the overage of dollars can be transferred into my business accounts. This way I can do more things like advertising and marketing, which tend to have very volatile spending. Initially, I would like to see my spending down by 5% overall in the variable spending category. As I get a handle on spending less money, I do plan to continue to share this with you all.
I will go ahead and share with you what my spending has looked like in my variable category over the past few months in percentages. Hopefully, you will be able to see how it takes a lot of discipline to not only just stick to your budget but to fine-tune it each month these are very very important factors in your Financial Health.
A few things to note about the chart below. This is what the total percentage of spending in these particular categories for these months look like. This is NOT what I have allocated for my budget, that would have to be stated in a different type of chart and frankly, I did not want to muddy the waters too much! You will not see items like Rent, Utilities, Car, because these are taken into consideration under my “Fixed Expenses” category.
As you can see, May has the highest spending in the dining out line item. When I think back to May, I was really busy and did not have a lot of time for Meal Planning. Take a look at the Groceries line, which is very low for May. In June, I spent a lot of money on Household items. Partially because I needed more items to replenish what I had, and there are a few summer items included in that spending number as well. When I throw my categories into a chart like this it helps visualize where I am spending my money! Then, identify areas of concern and continue to address them moving forward.
I would also say that I have been trying my very best to put more dollars as much as I can into savings, stocks, and IRA. Now this is probably my area of weakness because I do not consider myself to have a huge amount of savings, and I would like to build it up as much as I can. But, it is challenging because I feel the push and pull out of do I put my money into savings or into my business. And since I have been more mindful about my spending and budgeting over the past few years I have seen my credit score dramatically increase. So that is also another measurement that I use to encourage and to challenge myself. Well, that is also a blog for a different day!
Now, you can see that talking about your budget actually really tells the story of your life, your priorities, and what has been getting in the way. It can be challenging, but there should be no need to be frightened about talking about your budget. Obviously, I do not have it all figured out at this moment, because there are many variables at play. But, at least you are able to tell what my goals are and how I plan to get there.
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Written By: Evan Siggson
Evan Siggson is a pastor in Southern California for the past 14 years.
Let’s begin with not assuming a presupposition that the concept of charitable giving is important. Asking oneself “wouldn’t my life and relationships be happier with more money” is a fair question. In fact, it is a question that I often wrestle with myself. At times there have been purchases I have wanted to make, and in those moments it can be hard to justify giving money away. Despite my often internal wavering I have concluded charitable giving is a key to one’s personal health. Simply watching a TV show, browsing on social media, or even driving on a freeway one is inundated with commercials. These commercials all share the same narrative; buy our product and you’ll be happier, they say. While many products have brought me great happiness, more often than not the buzz wears off fairly quick. Giving money to charity declares we are not merely consumers. When we accept our identity as consumers we end up in credit card debt with products which no longer bring us joy. Some report that approximately 70% of lottery winners end up more broke and unhappy than they were before winning the lottery. Giving money regularly to charity declares one is content. It declares I can live on less and still have joy. It says no to commercials.
Giving to charity for personal health reasons does not take into consideration the reality that there are charities doing incredible important acts of love. The key is finding which ones align with one’s mission and values. I offer the following broad suggestions on what to look for in a charity.
Overhead ratio is important, but it is not everything.
If an organization claims to build wells around the world, yet 95% of their budget is devoted to staff, a US office, and marketing that is unhealthy budgeting. However, the reality is that it costs money to properly staff and lead efforts in charity. Different organizations have various needs so it is impossible to simply create a universal benchmark. For example, as a pastor my goal is that our overhead is around 50% of our total budget. To some that number might sound catastrophic. They might not consider that the salaries and training of our staff are also efforts to better serve our community. I would suggest that hiring a competent and educated adult for $60k can be more responsible than hiring an uneducated incompetent adult for $35k. Currently our church is on the verge of leading a city-wide food bank. This effort requires many of human hours along with proper training. In my opinion it would be a shame to penalize our organization due to overhead costs considering the overhead is being aimed to feed our neighborhood and community. In fact, low overhead might suggest the organization cares very little about the quality of their service.
How much does the CEO make?
This might be an important detail to seek to glean an accurate picture of where the overhead is designated. For example, Gail McGovern the CEO of Red Cross reportedly makes an annual salary over $1 million dollars compared to the $126k William Roberts the CEO of Salvation Army earns. While organizational efficiency is important, I personally would struggle donating to an organization which pays their CEO at a level of affluence. I am more comfortable with a large overhead which is being devoted to a fairly compensated and trained team rather than one person becoming rich. If the charity refuses to share their CEO, pastor, or leader’s salary; consider not sharing your hard earned money.
Does the charity have a clear vision which their budget is accomplishing?
A friend of mine asked me to give him advice on how to save money for a down payment for a home. (I first asked if he was open to leaving California!). We went through his online banking and discovered he spent approximately 40% of his budget on restaurants, fast food, and coffee houses. It was painful, but I told him his stated vision was saving for a house, but his actual vision was eating out. The numbers always reveal our priorities. Compare the budget with the organization’s stated vision. If a church expresses a vision to care about teenagers their budget should reflect that. If a charity is declaring the empowerment of single moms, evaluate how the money is spent. The numbers will share an organization’s priorities. As with the leader’s salary, if the organization hides their budget consider hiding your donation.
Another option . . .
Perhaps consider making a designated donation to a charity rather than feeding their annual operating budget. Determine an amount you would like to give spread out over a year. Ask a pastor, CEO, leader, if they have any dreams or projects that they would like to accomplish but need funding. This year our church was able to pass out $2,200 dollars in gift cards as prizes to a local school. We rewarded the kids and families who reached the school attendance benchmarks we set with the school’s principal. This was made possible by the generous donation of one individual. When making a designated donation it is illegal for the organization to use the funds for anything other than the expressed purpose. Keep in mind under some scenarios a designated donation might result with limited tax benefits.
I would love to invite you to live on less.
Serve a greater purpose.
Find a charity you can be proud of.
Partner with them.
Photo credit by Katie Horning, follow her @gallivant.go.delight on Instagram
It is so good to receive feedback from so many different sources. I love hearing how my blog posts are helping you, and I love the questions that arise from them. Keep ‘em coming!
Recently, I have received a few inquiries with regards to credit card spending. It sounds to me like people are generally thinking about how they can be responsible with their credit cards. So, with that in mind, I am devoting this blog post to the proper use of credit cards.
First off, I would like to share a personal story. When I first went into college after high school, I did not have a lot of money nor resources. I was a lifeguard and swim instructor at the local YMCA, and that job did not pay very well. But, it was my joy at the time. When I received my first credit card offer in the mail I was ecstatic because I thought, “Hey, there's a free $1,500 available to me!”. It was never really explained to me in high-school what the credit card offer really meant nor what having an APR was all about. So, I signed up and went for it. I started to rack up debt on this very first credit card of mine. Once it hit its limit, that’s when I realized… Uh-oh… The minute I realized my folly, I immediately shredded the credit card and have not looked back!
Do not let this happen to you!
Even though there is a major warning that comes with every credit card, debt still happens to be a very real thing for a lot of people. I think we can get so focused on the here and now and not realize what this can mean a year or two or five down the line. We are entranced by sales, we are drawn in for the newest piece of technology, and then there are times where the unfortunate happens and we have to lean on that credit card to pull us through some tough financial situations. There has got to be some psychology out there on this . . . but for now -- let’s stick to the numbers.
In this fictitious scenario a beginning balance of $5,000 with an APR of 20% will take 5 years to pay off. This scenario assumes that you are charging $100 per month and paying off only $250 against the balance. The total amount of interest that is paid over time will be $2,359.09 during that time. I wanted to illustrate this with a graph so you can take a step back a minute to see what this does over the course of 5 years. My hope is that when you see the trends, you will be more adverse to collecting debt on a credit card.
Here is a pretty chart to show you the trending over time.
Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts for credit card spending:
Let me know in your comments below what helps you from spending more money than you have!
My thoughts on numbers, spreadsheets, money, spending, forecasting, budgeting, and everything in between. Read on!
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