Each month, I plan to add results and observations from each month’s DeClutter For Good efforts.
Why do I think that’s important? Glad you asked…Two three reasons come to mind:
Reason 1: Good business practice includes setting goals, tracking results and analyzing those results. So, a social enterprise ~ serving a people and planet-focused mission in an income-generating model that incorporates best business practices ~ would certainly include goal setting and measurement. Ultimately, there will be annual goals and results measured in terms of SROI ~ social return on investment.
Reason 2: Ultimately, I see each DeClutter event as an opportunity not only to get our collective clutter to those in need and the organizations that serve them, but it’s also an opportunity to share with the community the needs that do exist, and the stories behind them, of those in need and of those working to help their fellow man (and woman) as they strive to reach a better point in their lives. Honestly, it’s part of my mission.
Reason 3: Quantifying the results goes a long way toward empowering those who contribute to the collective decluttering. My hope is that folks start to see that, with a little effort, one can contribute to make a measurable difference. I hope to inspire thoughts like, “Isn’t it great to see what we can do together?” and, “Gosh, that wasn’t so hard!” and, “Hey, I didn’t contribute to that effort, but I’m going to see if I have extra clutter for next month’s DeClutter For Good Event?”
But, no time for a long post this month! I’m such a business tiger (yes, that was meant to be sarcastic) that I’ve got my nose to the grindstone working on my bplan and financials (my info-loving brain would love to google the source of that old phrase, nose to the grindstone… what’s that all about… but I’m staying strongly on task…)
So, here’s the shorthand version of the results – by the numbers.
Business Attire Drive – Okay, more disclaimers: I misplaced the piece of paper with the exact tally. It’s not lost! It’s not gone forever. Just misplaced. I’m taking it as a teachable moment to use a 3-ring binder to log donations as they come in. See how my action-while-planning approach is making for a stronger business model. Okay, I’ve had the binder set up for months, it’s the using it that takes a while to ingrain. Good habits don’t just happen overnight.
Anyway, I remember the approximate totals and will firm them up when that piece of paper “emerges” from the piles. Here’s my best estimate:
18 – 20 complete suits
10 pair of business pants
5 business dresses
7 pair of shoes
5 scarves and neckties
Did I meet my goal of 50 suits? No. Did I meet a worthwhile level of contribution? Yes. What else did I learn? Adjust the goal to use a term that includes the other key pieces. When I’m up and running for real (feels like it now!), I’ll encourage people to perhaps collect suits at their place of business, furthering the reach and empowering folks that making a difference is easy and worthwhile of their time. Was it time well spent already? You bet!
My visit with Tracy at Solutions At Work was very meaningful. In service to my mission, I hoped to blog more about the visit. I encourage you to visit the site, taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to cyber-see for yourself the good work being done by a staff of people who were once homeless themselves and now work to help others who are striving to make their lives better, through hardwork, determination, and yes, with help from the kindness of strangers sharing their business clothes. Here’s just a short quote from their homepage:
Solutions at Work helps people transition out of homelessness. Founded in 1989, we remain true to our dual mission: helping homeless people advocate for their own needs and breaking the economic chains that bind people in homelessness.Led and run by homeless and formerly homeless people, our programs bridge the gap between being homeless and living again as stable members of the broader community. Most of our programs are built upon recycling of high-quality items that would otherwise be discarded or sold, including clothing for children and adults, computers, cars, and bicycles.
I want to add that, for those children’s clothes not meeting the standard of no stains that Cradles to Crayons and consignment shops like require, Solutions At Work has a children’s clothing section called The Children’s Clothing Exchange that will happily accept your children’s clothes with plenty of wear left in them. They have a wonderful exchange program. Here’s a little more than a snippet:
Even at a used-clothing outlet, the cost of clothing a family of four can be devastating for transitioning families. And the vast majority of homeless families are single-parent families — primarily mothers with small or grade-school children.
At the Children’s Clothing Exchange, they trade for what they need — an eight-year old’s winter coat for a ten-year old’s summer outfit. Good quality for good quality. We take toys, too. If you don’t have good clothes, you can trade your time, volunteering.
Some are surprised that our barter system works with transitioning people at all. But we’re never surprised at how much a person who’s had so little is willing to give back. It’s simple: the participants fill each other’s needs, year after year.
And, that’s the short version… Yes, I have to practice brevity in my writing (I know, lots of practice is needed there!).
Thanks to those who contributed suits, and I didn’t forget you! I’ll be getting your addresses and donation info to Solutions At Work so that they can get you tax donation info ~ I figure I have until the end of the year! All most kidding aside, it’s on my list, my long, long list!
Carpe Diem! Nancy
Anyone who knows the source of “nose to the grindstone,” post it here! Thanks!