Membership Is an Intentional Act
It has been a year since I was appointed to the board at CAMP Rehoboth. After serving as a community member of the new executive director search committee, Board President Chris Beagle asked if I would be interested in joining the board. I was honored to be considered because I care deeply for CAMP Rehoboth; also, board service is a passion of mine.
If you have not ever served on the board of a nonprofit organization, there is much more than meets the eye. According to the job description at CAMP Rehoboth, “Board Members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure CAMP Rehoboth has adequate resources to advance its mission.”
During the pandemic, that meant the board, along with the Executive Director, was responsible for ensuring CAMP Rehoboth effectively, efficiently, and safely delivered services to the community. Thanks to a committed staff, government assistance, and support from countless people, CAMP Rehoboth barely skipped a beat as the organization pivoted from a face-to-face model to a virtual one.
I have served on a number of boards and I can say without reservation that this was possible because of two primary reasons: 1) the board and staff worked as a team keeping a singular focus on the needs of the LGBTQ citizens in Sussex County, and 2) members and others continued to provide the financial and emotional fuel needed to sustain operations, especially in these unprecedented times.
Does this mean CAMP Rehoboth out of the woods? Hell no. One thing that the pandemic has taught us is that uncertainty is the new normal and today’s hope can be extinguished in an instant tomorrow. Not unlike a majority of nonprofits and businesses around the world, we also recognize that plans and systems need to be developed to respond to extraordinary circumstances.
I can proudly share with you that CAMP Rehoboth is in a stronger place because of COVID-19. While the organization was already undergoing a review of current operations once our new Executive David Mariner assumed the job in September 2019, the pandemic has served to pressure test all aspects of the way CAMP Rehoboth functions. Are we out of the woods? No...but we know where the path forward is and what it will take to get there.
One important step that the board took was to include the hiring of CAMP Rehoboth’s new Development Director in the 2020 budget. We recognized that a bulk of CAMP Rehoboth’s support came from a loyal base of donors who were friends with Murray and Steve and who, like Greg and me, saw the positive impact this little nonprofit was making in creating a more positive Rehoboth.
Not only is Development Director Anita Broccolino an experienced event planner, grant writer, and development manager, she has worked for national and international for-profit and nonprofit organizations including the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, and Rosie’s Broadway Kids, among others.
CAMP Rehoboth Executive Director David Mariner says, “Anita has strong connections to local chambers of commerce and is an active member of our local LGBTQ community. I first met Anita when she was working as an Associate Director of Development for the Human Rights Campaign, and I'm excited to be working with her.”
Anita understands that CAMP Rehoboth cannot rely solely on the amazing goodwill of community members who believe in Steve and Murray’s vision. With a budget of close to $1.5M, it requires raising funds from a variety of sources that include events, planned giving, foundation and government grants, corporate support, and annual dues-paying members.
A membership program is the life blood of a nonprofit because it enables CAMP Rehoboth to have a source of predictable income. It also helps members to develop a sense of identification with the organization, thus strengthening their support and their advocacy.
For those who are already members, thank you. CAMP Rehoboth would not be here without your continued financial support. If you have not yet become a member, I ask that you consider doing so. What many people do not understand about fundraising is that nonprofits would not exist without the financial support from the sources above.
In times like these, membership matters more than ever. If you love the town of Rehoboth as much as I do, please remember that CAMP Rehoboth played a vital role in raising awareness about LGBTQ issues and advocating for protections against discrimination we now take for granted.
At the bottom of the CAMP Rehoboth Board Member job description, these are the qualifications for prospective candidates: must have a commitment to, and a clear understanding of the mission of the organization, AND a passion for LGBTQ issues and how a LGBTQ community center can best serve a community. Sounds like our members and board members have much in common.
For more information about CAMP Rehoboth membership, contact Anita Broccolino at firstname.lastname@example.org.##
Wesley Combs, a CAMP Rehoboth Board member, is a diversity and inclusion expert, executive coach, and a passionate social justice advocate. He is the founding principal of Combs Advisory Services where he works with clients who share his values of enabling equity, equality, and opportunity in the workplace and the community.