Dear ELGL members,
I’m excited to share something important (Diversity Dashboard Kickstarter campaign), something fun (a video we made for ELGL at the #ICMA2017 conference), and something cool (two free webinars this week for ELGL members) in this Weekly Update.
We’re also wrapping up final loose ends from last week’s hugely successful #ELGLPopUps events. If you attended one, you saw how much work went into them by the local organizers. And if you didn’t attend, you probably saw the big impact the events had on social media. We love how freely our members share what they’re learning from our events; it’s a way to get more people high quality training, even if they can’t physically be at the conference. In total, we had 375 people attend, and added 78 new members to ELGL!
Have a great week –
Kickstarter for Diversity Dashboard
For the last month or so, I’ve been shopping around a grant proposal to raise $25,000 to fund research costs to collect race, gender, veteran status, and age data for every local government chief administrative officer (CAO) and assistant CAO in the nation. It’s the continuation of great work that’s already been done in NC, WI, CO, and CA.
Raising money is hard. It’s probably the thing I enjoy the least about my job as an executive director. But it’s easier when you care deeply about a project and that’s how I feel about the Diversity Dashboard.
Think about it: there’s no single source of information about the race, gender, veteran status, and age of the people leading our local governments. There’s no way to compare and contrast communities where leadership is representative of their community members. There’s no place to learn from best practices (or recognize where progress isn’t occurring).
This is an important project and I want to get it done – soon. I don’t mind pouring my heart out to potential funders about why it’s important. But I also don’t want to wait, jump through hoops, navigate a bunch of red tape, and let this data go uncollected for another six months.
So, ELGL is dipping our toe into the Kickstarter world. Our goal is to raise the full $25,000 research cost in 29 days. It’s aggressive, but that’s the approach we are taking with this data collection. We want a full data set so we start 2018 knowing where we stand and where we need to improve.
Please indulge a few personal reflections:
Earlier this week I was a on a call where an organization wanted us to pay $14,000 for a wall of TV screens at their conference, to showcase tweets that were coming in each day. (Clearly, that’s outside of ELGL’s bank account so we declined.)
But that amount got me thinking. $14,000. And after I said that we couldn’t afford it, the organization said they have several sponsors who are willing to pay that amount.
That’s what got my blood boiling. I started thinking about the importance and relevancy of a giant wall of TV monitors at a two day event, and the impact that a complete data set could have on diversity in local government leadership.
Every local government organization talks all the time about what we need to get more women, veterans, and people of color into leadership. And one thing that everyone agrees on is that we can’t solve a problem that we don’t fully understand. Getting quality data is the first step toward that understanding.
We have companies that are paying for walls of TV screens at conferences.
And, we have an identified need to tell the real and true story of local government leadership diversity.
We have to balance these concepts and figure out what’s truly important to us. What matters most. What do we value, and how do we show that value?
I’ve put on enough conferences now that I know sponsors want something tangible. They want a wall of TV screens they can point to and say “we paid for that.” But I can’t help but hope for more – that funding important research is more valuable.
I have this hope because I’ve seen the amazingness in ELGL members. People who don’t just talk about diversity because they’re supposed to – people who believe with all of their hearts that diverse leadership results in stronger organizations.
I want to believe that we can do better. That raising $14,000 for a TV wall shouldn’t be easier than raising $14,000 (and hopefully more…) for critical research into how we make local government leadership stronger, better, and more representative. Here’s that link again. Please consider donating, and sharing it with anyone who believes in this project, and wants to make local government stronger.
San Antonio Video
We’ve started staying in the local gov equivalent of a “Real World” house at ICMA conferences. Mainly because it’s much more affordable than a traditional conference hotel rate, but it’s also a really fun way to connect with fellow ELGL members at a large conference. Here’s this year’s video (you can also check out last year’s). The #ELGLSconnies get extra points for being the best lip syncers.
We’re pleased to host two webinars this week.
RSVP is required for both events, please use the links below to reserve your spot on the webinar. All ELGL webinars are free for ELGL members. Not a member yet? Join today.
Hosted by ProudCity & Stripe
10:00 a.m. on October 4
Hosted by Rick Usher, city of Kansas City, MO
10:00 a.m. on October 5