Building on Ideas Presents New Opportunities

By Agency Relations Team
Tarrant Area Food Bank

On Sept. 29, 2016, staff from 150 Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) Partner Agencies and 24 local organizations gathered at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth for what they expected to be a typical annual conference. They would soon realize that TAFB’s “Building on Ideas” conference would be anything but typical.

As breakfast ended, Steve Martin (no, not that Steve Martin) welcomed the crowd before introducing Fort Worth’s own Four Day Weekend improv group.

Four Day Weekend started the day in a fun and thought-provoking way by introducing the concept of “yes, and.” Using willing—and not so willing—conference attendees, the group demonstrated how we can create positive dialogue and a thriving work environment by listening to and building on the ideas of others. We strike the word “no” from our vocabulary, concentrating instead on the theory of “yes, and.”

Using the active listening skills brought to them by Four Day Weekend, the audience discovered how it differs to respond to ideas with “no,” “yes, but” and finally with “yes, and.” It was fun to see the “light bulbs” going off as conference attendees got different results with different responses.

Armed with this concept of listening and exploring new ideas, attendees then delved into best practices and ways to approach fundraising to new audiences, recruiting volunteers, and using social media as a free marketing resource.

Josh Morrison, first sergeant for the United States Army Recruiting Command, shared how effective personal stories can be in recruiting new volunteers. He encouraged attendees to develop short and long versions of personal stories that illustrate why they volunteer and connect to the mission of their organization. These stories, Josh shared, should always end with a direct and specific invitation.

Mission Central Executive Director Paula Jernigan and Pastor Robin Bohlin of Fullness in Christ Church shared their successes with social media and emphasized its advantages as a free form of marketing. They also remarked how social media can help reach a new demographic.

Nancy Jeter, director of development at the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth, expressed the importance of reaching out to young professionals when fundraising. She gave the audience ideas about how to connect and engage young people to continue not only funding growth, but overall growth in an organization.

During the conference lunch, Bill Ludwig of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave a behind-the-scenes look at how much food is distributed to Texas families in need through USDA programs. As southwest regional administrator of USDA Food and Nutrition Services, Bill brought a unique prospective to the conference and expressed his gratitude for the work being done by TAFB and our Partner Agencies.

The interactive day concluded with a resource fair where our Partner Agencies were able to connect with local organizations providing services to benefit the lives of their clients.

The day was full of sunshine and energy both inside and outside, which gave all who attended a spark to take away to fuel new ideas!

To learn about upcoming TAFB events, visit our Events page.

TAFB staff at Building on Ideas conference