Dear Public Works partners,
We are truly thankful for the opportunity to work with each and every one of you. Since the founding of Public Works in 2003 our approach has been a hands-on one. We’re not changing that– our travel itinerary for 2015 is ambitious and we’d welcome yet more invitations for in-person engagements. But, we also recognize that it’s time for us to build on this approach and leverage it to its full potential in light of two developments in the field. First, advancements in technology can allow us to connect with and support you in new and meaningful ways. Second, you, our partners around the country, have amassed a tremendous amount of on-the-ground knowledge on how to build support for public systems and solutions. For these reasons, harnessing technology and creating opportunities for you all to connect with one another are priorities for us this year. So, we’re announcing two new tools with these goals in mind.
1. Hash-It-Out web-based conversations. It’s easy to listen to a presentation or training and jot down notes about ideas for improving your communications. But we know from our own experiences and from working with all of you that it’s much harder to implement those ideas when you’re back at your desk or in a meeting trying to turn those great ideas into action. So this year we’ll be hosting a series of-on line conversations in order to “hash out” some challenging topics that our partners have told us are not easy to tackle. These conversations will feature ample time for our partners in the field to share their experiences and time for others to pose questions and offer suggestions. The first of these took place recently and centered on the topic of how to navigate “self-sufficiency” rhetoric. In our attempts to depict the work effort and personal financial goals of people who benefit from some public programs we may be inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes about who’s deserving and who’s not and characterizing the role of government as temporary or limited. We’ll be sending out a recording of that conversation as well as related materials and resources very soon. Do you want to weigh in on what topics we should conquer next? You can do that by filling out this survey.
2. Partners-only Facebook page. We are launching a new Facebook page exclusively for our partners. We envision it becoming a place where you can go to pose challenging questions to us and to each other, to share great examples and celebrate successes (and perhaps console one another at times as well). We will also use this space to post new resources, pass along great examples we uncover and share new tools and research.
Other non-profits envy the “open rate” of our monthly newsletter and ask us “what’s your secret?” We tell them the truth. We have actually worked one-on-one and often in-person with the people on our email list despite the fact that they are scattered across the country. We look forward to this next phase of working with you in which we not only continue to connect one-on-one but in which we connect you and your practical know-how with one another. See you soon…literally and in cyberspace.
The Public Works Team
Dianne, Elaine, Marcia, Anika and Sarah
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