The staff and Board of CVN have been working very hard in past months to support you. We realize what a tough time this is and how it impacts every aspect of your programs. We are in this with you – trying to listen well and anticipate some of your needs.
In trying to assess how we are doing in supporting you, we are thinking about CVN initiatives from the past year (not just during the pandemic). With the new membership year beginning on July 1, it is a good time to ask: Have we been effective in supporting your mission? Is our focus right? Are good ideas translating into impactful projects?
To help you consider these questions, I want to remind you of several efforts CVN has made to support this network.
- The 42nd annual National Conference on Faith-Based Service in Cleveland helped us focus on diversity, equity and allyship; and how to tell the story of service of faith-based service more creatively.
- The Choose Service Video Campaign is helping to tell the story of faith-based service with four videos focusing on member programs and former volunteers.
- Several COVID-related resources, calls, surveys, and more seek to help you adjust well and operate in new ways.
- Our Top Schools for Service campaign and successful social media efforts provided significant exposure for CVN programs and those partners who support service.
- New multi-session courses on Strategic Marketing, Mental Health, and Implicit Bias are allowing CVN members to obtain key training and tools.
- We have helped represent the faith-based perspective in national conversations about increasing supports for national service (AmeriCorps) to address the effects of COVID-19.
- The CVN Board offered a statement on the killing of George Floyd. We also offered a member call to help you process, hear from others, and pursue how to learn and act.
- We offered our first ever Compensation and Benefits Report with the goal of helping your program understand ways you might support employees better.
- We continued to offer regular opportunities – like our First Fridays Recruitment Chats – to engage with other programs on key areas of focus.
In addition, we are currently:
- Pursuing another AmeriCorps grant that could strengthen member programs and the network. See “National Service Update and AmeriCorps Survey” in this newsletter.
- Examining power and equity within CVN to inform our external commitments.
- Planning a virtual conference for October that will help all of us Reimagine faith-based service.
I offer this with the desire to know: How are we doing? What else can we do?
Those questions came into focus after a recent conversation with a wise CVN program leader about advertising on Facebook that promotes hate. She asked if CVN was thinking about stopping our advertising on Facebook and encouraged us to think about uniting programs to lift up a voice of witness against these practices.
I am so grateful for leaders who help us think about our potential. That conversation led to greater awareness and questions about how to identify similar concerns and offer a broader witness. It is exciting to think about the creativity within this network that could help. And this idea is helping CVN staff ask: Would CVN members value efforts like these? Could we help unite a collective voice to offer more vision for how service and justice are linked?
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CVN’s strategic plan affirms transitioning with members by paying attention to relevancy, change, identity, partnership, and opportunity. Given the events of past months, a focus on transition is even more appropriate. We hope to walk that road well – and walk it with you. We need your reflections on our vision and commitments to help create that road.
There is no survey this time. No webinar. No event with attendance numbers to tell if this resonates. Just the invitation to share whatever you can with CVN staff and Board about how we are doing and what more we can do.
With you in service,