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:
As we head into the holiday season (CRAZY, RIGHT?), now is the perfect time to think about charitable giving for 2018. This is the second post in my series of blog posts where I am featuring nonprofit organizations that I love, in the Los Angeles area! The next organization that I am featuring is Elizabeth House.
From their website, “Elizabeth House is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the San Gabriel Valley that specifically addresses the needs of pregnant women who also have small children and who lack adequate shelter and prenatal care.” The 501(c)(3) designation is specific to charitable organizations -- and the good news is, your cash donation is tax deductible.
Who is Elizabeth House?
Before this year I had never heard of Elizabeth House. In fact, when I started my research on them I realized their office was a place I had walked by on a number of occasions. Elizabeth House serves the Pasadena community as a residential shelter program for adult pregnant women and their children, for their own health and wellness.
A key factor is their programming. Elizabeth House accommodates six women and four children, and clients may stay between four to six months after their babies are born. “Each woman who enters Elizabeth House participates in our main programs: Case Management, Parent Education, Health Education, Financial Management, Job Skills Training, Therapeutic Services (individual counseling and group classes), and Spiritual/Emotional Health.”
How did I find out about them?
I was connected with Elizabeth House earlier this year, and I will speak more on that connection in a later blog post. Essentially, I have been working with Elizabeth House for the past several months as a financial consultant (skill-based volunteer). Since my professional expertise lies in the area of nonprofit organizations, I am partnering with the President and Director of Development to be their business partner in providing professional financial advice. I am honored and fortunate to be included in these conversations, to come alongside this organization during their season of growth, and knowing how much good they do makes things that much easier.
What do I like about them?
Teaming up with the leaders at Elizabeth House breathes life into me! They are the most gracious and loving humans to work with, which brings me hope. I know that their impact is far and wide, even though I am not directly involved with day-to-day operations. The beautiful thing that captures my attention about Elizabeth House is the mission of the organization, and their goal to house single women who are pregnant, and to provide an education for them during their time of need. Their office is a beautiful craftsman home in Pasadena that has a very welcoming environment.
How do I get involved?
Elizabeth House loves their volunteers, and have a wide variety of areas for you to volunteer. From office assistance, to childcare and babysitting, to transportation. Volunteers are needed for events as well as home repairs. If you decide that you would like to spend time with them in skills-based volunteering or hands-on in different areas that they have available, know that it will bless your heart. Some areas have specific requirements or prerequisites, so make sure to read the website thoroughly first before proceeding. They accept donations in various forms as well, like furniture and home decor. I would recommend connecting with Elizabeth House to understand what needs they have before donating any new items.
Additionally, if you would like to financially support them that would be the very best way you can help. This year is coming to a close rather quickly and to help meet their budget goals a monetary donation is of the utmost importance.
Additionally, they are having an annual fundraiser coming up! The Garden Party is October 21st. Visit Elizabeth House’s Facebook page to watch the video highlights from last year’s garden party. It looked like such a lovely time!
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
My thoughts on numbers, spreadsheets, money, spending, forecasting, budgeting, and everything in between. Read on!
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