Tutor/Mentor Connection

Connect knowledge, volunteers, youth and make a difference.

This image illustrates a challenge most non profit organizations face. We're trying to reach out to many different directions to find volunteers and donors to support and sustain our work. There is a huge cost to this, and we're not equally good at finding these resources.

I believe that by building a database of Chicago tutor/mentor programs and hosting this online we can all work together to educate donors and build more consistent support.

In addition, I feel that volunteers who are not part of any single tutor/mentor program and who may not live in the same area as we do, can use their own networking and communications skills to help us reach to more people, more frequently, with a result of drawing more resources to this forum, and to tutor/mentor programs.

Thus, if you are a volunteer who wants to help us raise money for Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, or for any other tutor/mentor programs that we point to, I invite you to join this group, share your ideas, ask questions, and do everything you can to help us change the flow of dollars to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities.

Please introduce yourself. Do as much as your time and talent allows. Share in the understanding that what you do helps thousands of others do what needs to be done.

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This is another graphic that is important in helping raise funds and recruit volunteers for any non profit, and especially for Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection

It illustrates how any person can look at the information on our web sites, blogs, and forums, and send a message to the people they know to encourage them to look at the same information.

This next graphic illustrates key time frame, in which the message should focus on a specific purpose. For instance, in August and September, every volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in the country is recruiting volunteers. Thus anyone can encourage their friends to consider being a volunteer, and point them to web hubs like the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, where they can lean choices of being a volunteer. The more people who do this, the greater the number of people who will volunteer.

In November and December this same networking can be used to encourage people to come together for networking conferences, such as the one we host in Chicago. It can also begin to encourage people to think of ways that year-end charitable giving can support those volunteers in tutor/mentor programs throughout the Chicago region and the country.

In January while the National Mentoring Month is building visibility for mentoring, your efforts can point to specific programs in Chicago where mentoring and tutoring are taking place. In February, this message can begin to ask new people to volunteer, as replacements for people who joined in September, but dropped out after the New Year. It can also begin to explore what it takes to be a "great" program, and what way volunteers can use their time, talent and networks to help the program where they volunteer become better than it already is.

In May, your messages can point to the good things tutor/mentor programs have done during the past year, and to the networking conferences held at the end of the school year. You can begin to help people understand that there are not enough good tutor/mentor programs in most high poverty neighborhoods, and to get good there needs to be a constant flow of operating dollars, as well as volunteers. You can also help people understand that kids in fifth grade, or 8th grade, or 10th grade are just one year older, and still need tutoring program support for several more years, just to finish high school!

Finally, your messages can continue to recruit volunteers to help build the infrastructure of the non profits operating tutor/mentor programs so that each program can learn from it's own work, and from the best practices of other programs, and apply this learning in the summer planning that leads to the launch of the cycle again in August/September.

If hundreds of people are writing articles with these talking points in mind, and pointing to the different tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago, or to web hubs like the Tutor/Mentor Connection, we'll create a much louder call to involvement, generating the needed support every program needs.

I've used visualizations to communicate ideas because "pictures are worth 1000 words" and often communicate ideas in way that more people will understand them.

I encourage you to look at this article and this article to see how the writer includes visualizations to show how the innovator/creative person is supported by the entrepreneur/business development person, and how they are supported by volunteers and investors.

I'm trying to build a similar type support system, with business development people helping develop the ideas I've shared on this web site and this wiki, which would result in a more consistent flow and distribution of dollars, ideas, talent and volunteers to  youth serving organizations in all parts of Chicago, and in other urban areas throughout the world.

Anyone who wants to help visualize and communicate these ideas, or join in the role of business development, is welcome.

I've had many people give me advise which in many cases says "simplify the message".   Others have said you need to create a "gimmick" or "hook" or "focal point" that could attract millions of people to visit our web site, provide donations, etc.

I'm trying to find volunteers who have the talent to help  me do this, since I don't have money to hire people with that kind of talent.

However, even if we were to find a way to get millions of people to visit our web site, how would be motivate them to provide dollars to help us operate and constantly expand the impact of the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute?

We're not operating as a 501-c-3 non profit so donations are not tax-deductible, and we're not a "charity" in the eyes of most people. Thus, when someone visits our web site what will motivate them to send money to help pay the bills.  While our hope is to sell consulting services to businesses and cities who would support volunteer-involvement in tutor/mentor programs, we're not there yet.  We need to generate a cash flow.

We don't sell t-shirts or wrist bands. We offer ideas that lead to more "HOPE and OPPORTUNITY" for kids in poverty. Can we communicate this idea in a way that captures the attention, imagination and dollars of people who care about this cause?  How do we do that?

If you can help think this through or create a graphic that would be used in a campaign, I need your help. Please introduce yourself and start sharing the work of doing this.


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