Yes, Virginia, there is real interagency collaboration! It exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist…

… and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no collaboration.

Interagency collaboration. Organizations with different boards, budgets, and slightly different mission statements — working together on a common problem and collaborating on a fundraising project. Everyone wins. The organizations achieve their fundraising, outreach, and constituent engagement goals. No one gets hurt.

Is this a fantasy… or a state worth working towards?

Poster for Seattle AIDS walk 2012If you believe in the isolationist model of development (“Are you an isolationist or relationship builder?”), then you would answer that this type of interagency collaboration is just not possible, nor a good idea.

But have you heard about the Seattle AIDS Walk and 5K run, scheduled for Saturday, September 22? Even though the walk is sponsored and organized by Lifelong AIDS Alliance, they have partnered with a number of other local organizations whose missions also focus on serving those in the community affected by HIV and AIDS, including Gay City Health Project, Bailey-Boushay House, and my good friends Rosehedge/Multifaith Works. According to Rosehedge Development Director Elizabeth, there have been arrangements of this sort in the past, too.

Everyone shares the ultimate goals of stopping HIV infection, helping those who are infected/ill, and finding a cure. It really is that simple, and it makes sense for them to work together. Doesn’t it?

It’s inspiring to me — though this type of arrangement may make the isolationist development person experience an anxiety attack.

And speaking of Rosehedge/Multifaith Works, they put together this little recruitment video for their team. This is proof that one does not need the expensive video production company to create a one-minute viral piece. This video reveals that they are trying to be careful with how they spend money and are trying to put together communication tools using the resources they have available. It’s engaging. And it’s fun! And cute! And CJ gets to push his boss-lady Elizabeth to the ground and beat her to the finish line!

Collaboration lives! And it lives forever!

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New Video: Puget Sound Labor Agency

I worked with PSLA earlier this year on establishing new development and administrative programs/procedures. This Belltown agency quickly adapted its programs to meet the extreme increase in demand for services (especially the food bank), while having to make severe cuts to account for the downturn in the economy. As a result, the executive director stopped wearing a tie to the office and took over many of the necessary duties to ensure the food bank stayed open. They do whatever it takes to continue to feed the 40,000+ mouths that come through their door annually, looking for some hunger relief and a bit of kindness.

This is my first video.

Grassroots video making, otherwise known as “there’s no budget, so I’m using the kid’s flip camera”

I am just putting the finishing touches on my very first video for a local Seattle nonprofit. There was no budget to have the video done professionally, but we had to create something to communicate to the community what work the agency does, who it serves, how it serves them, and demonstrate the hard work and dedication of the almost all-volunteer staff. Relying on traditional means of communication just will not work for this agency — neither of the two staff members are equipped to keep up on the fairly complicated website module system they are contracted into, and there is no budget to create a consistent newsletter (paper or e-news). So my work around was to make a video — and I had to make it myself. Easier said than done.

I’m not a film-maker. I didn’t have a lick of experience making films. What I did have, though, was years of experience teaching and thinking about film as another form of narrative, and so bringing the story together in my mind (and on paper) was the fun part. The not-so-fun part was learning how to edit the actual clips into the narrative using all free software. Luckily, I’m a fast learner and came up with quite a few great work-a-rounds.

I also discovered that Moby (yes, that Moby) has made some of his remixed and unreleased material available to nonprofits and film students for non-commercial video projects. Thank you, Moby and mobygratis, for allowing me to use one of your pieces!

The video is almost ready to make public, and I cannot wait to unleash it onto the social media community and the Seattle blogosphere. This agency has been running a food bank in Belltown since 1975, serving tens of thousands every year, and it’s time the Seattle community learned about them. Stay tuned!