One year ago at the Global Leadership Summit, Andy Stanley asked the question “What are you doing in your business or ministry that is uniquely better?” It’s a question that has spun around in my mind and implanted itself into my psyche.
“How can you do faith-based ministry uniquely better?” I asked myself. You always have the Big 3: mission fulfillment, public awareness and fundraising. Stewing on this issue, I began to pray and consider if there was a different approach to how I should lead my nonprofit. The answer quickly came to me: stop worrying about meeting your own needs, and look to help others organizations. Well, that’s certainly a unique approach—one I wasn’t sure that my Board of Directors was going to be excited about.
Fast forward a few weeks. Chad Clark and I had formulated an idea for a community group that would focus on strategic collaboration where business, nonprofit and faith-based ministry leaders could come together to work on a common goal. There was no clamoring for resources or touting one organization above another. Instead, we were united in the greater good of seeing Albuquerque change for the better.
Recruiting the help of Jim Myers for name and logo design and structural elements, the three of us formed RallyABQ. Together, we embarked upon the journey to see if we could work in a uniquely better way.
RallyABQ held its first meeting in October 2017. We meet regularly on the second Wednesday of each month. Topics have included How Collaboration Happens, The Fight Against Crime, Convoy of Hope, The B43 Network, When a Nonprofit Closes/Community Impact, Homelessness, Post Prison Reintegration, and most recently, Collaboration in Times of Crisis or Trauma.
So what is this group? RallyABQ is a backbone organization designed to help coordinate and support contributing organizations in their efforts to collectively find and implement solutions that create positive changes in our community. Instituting a common agenda and working on mutually reinforcing activities, we have opened lines of communication among agencies and organizations that might not have had much to do with one another.
We saw cross-industry collaborations form, resulting in workable solutions for our community. One such example is the subcommittee that was formed to find a common sense way to help people exiting prison obtain the New Mexico Non-Compliant Identification Card upon release. Multiple nonprofits and agencies had been investing time and money as they all worked with men and women who had been released from prison but were unable to obtain proper identification. The lack of valid ID resulted in a wide range of problems, from these people’s inability to apply for a job or housing to the violation of their terms of release.
Getting the “right players” to converse with one another took some doing, but just a few months after we got the ball rolling, it became apparent that it was the leaders from the MVD and State Corrections Department who needed to work through the details. While this deal has not yet been “signed on the dotted line,” there is excellent momentum, and I believe this issue could realistically be resolved in the near future.
Another project in the works: dealing with the homelessness crisis. As of the publication of this article, there are no fewer than 11 “factions,” each working on this issue from its own angle. Millions of dollars are being shuffled among various agencies and organizations in the hope that one of these programs will be the silver bullet. Other organizations are trying to fundraise to get their shot at fixing the problem.
Certainly, there is no one right answer to this issue. However, there is undoubtedly opportunity for collaboration that could drastically improve the odds of success. The bad news is that this is a huge, hard problem. The good news is that there are so many big-hearted, compassionate people that we have an overabundance of problem solvers trying a variety of approaches.
The list of problems our beautiful city faces seems to be growing, but so too is the list of people eager to be part of the solution. Whether you are a pastor, an interior designer, or a dog groomer, your skills and experiences could contribute to these critical conversations developing collaborative solutions. So, if you are of a mind to approach the problems of Albuquerque with a “uniquely better” outlook, you are welcome to join RallyABQ. We can accomplish so much more together than we ever could alone.
Please take a moment to learn more at our website, www.rallyabq.org.