by Kim Roque, Director of Member Engagement
I wasn't familiar with LSA's work when I originally read the Member Engagement Director position description, but I knew all I needed to know after visiting LSA's website and reading the member stories featured as part of Foster Care Month. Since I've come on board three weeks ago, I've been welcomed with open arms by both the LSA staff and its members, and I can't tell you how excited and honored I am to be here serving our members – you all are truly doing amazing work.
Here at LSA, I'll be planning a lot of the programming and content for LSA's signature events: the Lutheran Leadership Summit and the Annual Conference. Fortunately, there are three terrific volunteer-driven Advisory Committees – one for each event – to serve as sounding boards to help guide our work. In the past few weeks, we've been able to meet with each Advisory Committee and to get a sense of what is on their minds. So far, we've learned a lot, and we'll carry it all forward to help inform our programming. Here's some of the feedback we've heard so far:
Lutheran social ministry organizations are operating in an ever-changing environment.Demand for services is constantly increasing, and government is putting more pressure on nonprofits to provide more in exchange for less. As a result, there are some real pressures to diversify revenue streams, serve more clients, recruit and retain a talented workforce in what may feel like a dwindling candidate pool, and plan for a future in which resources may be even scarcer. Even faced with those pressures, though, there is a sense of optimism and shared hope: our members feel better able to cope with the new reality because they have each other.
I believe that is where LSA comes in, and where its true power lies: to provide a national platform for social ministry organizations to come together to build a strong peer network. In my work with other nonprofit organizations, I've been able to see networked nonprofits achieve amazing results, but what has struck me most about the LSA network is what a sense of community there is among our members. I'm not sure if it's the common values, the focus on shared mission, or the heritage of faith, or maybe it's all of these things, but that sense of community is incredibly inspirational and impactful.
It's that collective power of the network that we will infuse in the 2016 conferences. We will focus on providing innovative strategies, best practices, thought leadership, and insightful speakers in the conferences, and we hope to go beyond that. We want you to come together to share your successes and your lessons learned, to connect and learn from each other, and to leave knowing that you're part of a larger network that together can shape the conversation on forward-thinking programs and policies on a national scale. I wonder if a better description of our network might be instead an ecosystem: we are all interdependent on each other, and the more ways in which we can collaborate, the richer we can make our environment. Our power is in the collective.
Do you have any ideas for speakers or themes that you'd like to see addressed at the events? Please let me know: you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-499-5824.