civic effort has some things in common and some common needs. Having a vision
of what needs to be done simplifies the problems, reduces the risk, lowers the
fear, and conserves resources.
In Texas we
point out the old adage that a cowboy could spend a day describing how a rifle
worked to an Indian who had never seen one, but shooting one buffalo
accomplishes a great deal.
A wagon with
round wheels is a simple tool for hauling once you see it, but it took many
centuries to originally contemplate.
Today we all
know generally what should be done in efforts, but if we have checklists and
guides, it gives confidence and turns the effort from a shotgun blast of many
pellets with great noise going a short distance into a rifle bullet aimed
effectively at a more distant and more significant target.
Determine What You Want To Do and Why.
Knowledge is understanding what to do; wisdom is in
understanding why you do it; the real virtue is in completing the effort by
(1) The first item to contemplate is what you want to do and why
you want to do it. The goal and the motivation begin the idea, they
have to be thought through first. That is what we try to address in the concept
of enlightened conservatism with the triangle examples at the start of The New
Legacy and in another section of this site. It is the reason for the
preface of The Language of Conscience. First understand what you want to
accomplish by analysis and then why you want to do it with the perspective of
character. If you really do not know what is to be done then organize the group
to study that question as the Texas Lyceum did in the case studies shown.
Build Support and the Group.
(2) The next issue is to build support and the group that will
assist you. You can always accomplish more with the support of others
and you need to be a catalyst. That is accomplished by explaining to others why
you are undertaking the effort and then documenting it. The written word does a
great deal to help show credibility, thought, and leadership. Many people talk,
few act, so you need to show substance and dedication. In The Language of
Conscience we include a number of case studies, mostly of public policy
efforts, that give an idea of how you can format these presentations. Like a
lawyer using a book of forms, usually there is a past effort that gives you a
Form the Nonprofit Organization.
(3) The next effort is to form the nonprofit and operate it
legally and effectively. There are organizations that assist nonprofits
in these areas. Our hope is to get law firms with a specialty here—not to form
them or give direct legal advice, but instead to give an overview of the
process, the key factors to consider, and the best ways to proceed. We want to
link to nonprofit organizations that provide support in operations of
nonprofits and specialize in developing leadership in various areas where you
can go directly to these organizations for more specialized questions and
once you leave our site, you need to remember they may have a different privacy
policy.) Funding is a key consideration of every organization, and we wish to
have advice from successful fundraisers at local levels. But mainly we would
like to have information on grant writing and courses available, advice from
foundation heads as to how they view and rank applications, and advice from
successful leaders of nonprofits—both executive directors who are among the
best of retained staff and from noted volunteer leaders as to what they have
found to work well for them. If you would like to be a part of this effort
please e-mail us. We will work toward creating this resource and link between
organizations and individuals dedicated to the culture of service as rapidly as
we can. The books presented and related efforts are aimed at increasing the
pool of people dedicated to these ends.
Train the Leadership.
(4) The second phase of need is to see that members can be
trained in leadership if that is their goal. They need to get an early
view of problems they will encounter so that they will not have to reinvent the
wheel. They need access to methods of fundraising that can sustain
organizations and that can provide a one time boost. Resources are key and
purpose is the key to resources, but only if it is well explained and
documented. This site will be an evolutionary process in conjunction with
various leadership groups, foundations, and nonprofit support efforts. Like any
social capital effort many details must be sorted. The accomplishment to date
has been the effort all have provided in the creation of the two books
described earlier that talk of what the culture of service is, why it is
important, and how examples of the past can be guides of the future. They are
the base upon which this site will be built. The perspective on conscience over
convenience is simple but essential to people working together.It is critical
to remember that crisis or inertia governs when leadership is not present and
will continue until leadership emerges.
The Leadership Ladder
Linking interested people to proper organizations of leadership
training or talent is complex because of age, level of knowledge, specialty of
interests, etc. The Leadership Ladder concept in Texas is an example. The John
Ben Shepperd Forum specializes in leadership of the younger level - high
school, college, and immediately after. The Texas Lyceum specializes in
analyzing policy issues for leaders in the early thirties to forties, the Texas
Leadership Institute coordinates many leadership groups for common goals and
has courses in grant writing and many leadership training specialties. All are
in our links. These will hopefully let you select something appropriate for
your needs and interests.