When the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank was selected as our Spring 2020 LAB Grant partner, we did not anticipate that a global pandemic would turn our work on its head and bring volatility and uncertainty in its wake. As the Baton Rouge community faced severe economic and health challenges, the Food Bank stepped in to fill the gap: supplying seniors at higher risk of isolation and infection, setting up mobile distribution centers to better reach those in need, and quickly scaling operations with the Louisiana National Guard to serve 50,000 additional people per month.
If there’s any silver lining to COVID-19, it’s that we’ve been privileged and humbled to witness the tenacity of our community institutions, stepping up to care for the marginalized in unbelievably challenging circumstances. It’s been an honor to work with the Food Bank through this VUCA event, and play a small role in addressing their space functionality and strategic growth for the years to come.
The partnership kicked off in February with the Management Incubator class contributing their ideas, time and construction skills towards improving the volunteer training room at the Food Bank headquarters. Following a successful Phase I implementation, the Leadership Coaching Series and LAB Grant project suspended in-person meetings as local non-profits and businesses poured all efforts into essential operations. After weathering the initial storm with incredible resiliency, class participants and the Food Bank were able to reconvene this summer around the original project brief – developing strategies to ensure a strong financial future for the organization.
The Leadership Coaching Series organized into two teams, Team Perkins and Team Highland, to present on related questions: How can the Food Bank convert more one-off donations to recurring status; and how can they better provide time donors with opportunities to give financially?
Team Perkins developed several options to relaunch the Sustaining Donors program, which would increase the number of members who give on a monthly basis. The ideas included making immediate changes to the donate page in order to encourage monthly gifts, and engaging the small business community in the Food Bank’s 11-parish service area to promote the program. Team Highland presented campaign concepts that would make it both easy and fun for in-person volunteers to give, such as sponsoring a food shelf or promoting chances to donate while volunteers are on-site. After presenting research and cost projections to support the various options, Janet Pace, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s VP of Development & Philanthropy, commented on the uniqueness of the concepts and importantly, their affordability – stating that “These are great new ideas that we can immediately implement, and I appreciate that all they require is the investment of time.”
This year has shown us the importance of a community coming together in support and service. You can get involved in the efforts by donating funds, time or food to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. And we look forward to continuing to drive community impact through our LAB Grant. The Fall 2020 application period is now open – applications from nonprofits serving the Greater Baton Rouge area are due August 26. Reach out to us if you know of a local organization that would be excited to partner with a group of committed and talented emerging leaders. The grant provides nonprofits with $1,000 in unrestricted funds, $500 for project implementation, and the opportunity to work with us as a featured “real world” project for our leadership development workshops.
This Leadership Coaching Series brought together emerging leaders from a wide range of amazing companies – The Newtron Group, Baton Rouge TELCO, SE Tylose, Shintech, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. We want to thank this class and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank for creating a truly impactful experience. This community is better for what you do.
Success Labs is a leadership development and management consulting firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more than 25 years, our expert team of consultants has worked with hundreds of companies to grow leaders, build teams and drive results through great people strategy. Contact us to get proactive about expanding your company’s potential.