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Click here to download the new PFLAG Chapter Manual

 
 
A Planning Outline for a Non-profit or Community Group
1. Description:
  • What is the vision & mission of the group? If it is affiliated with a larger group how does your specific group fit into that?

  • What does this group do?

  • What are the goals of the group in the next year? Five years? Ten years?

  • How can you accomplish them?

2. Volunteers/ members/participants:

  • Who is involved or committed to this group?

  • What are their strengths?

  • How do their skills fit the mission? What needs are not being met?

  • Who is your audience- whom do you want to reach or influence?

3. Operations:

  • How does the group function?

  • How does it communicate internally and externally?

  • What kind of accountability and accounting system do you use?

4. Accomplishments:

  • Is the group accomplishing its goals?

  • Does it need more resources, training, and skills?

  • What would happen if key people or a key person left?

  • What transitions and training for new people are in place? How welcome do they feel?

5. Budget/ finances

  • Does the group have a budget?

  • Are you able to accomplish the group's goals with the economic resources available?

  • Can you accomplish the goals in section 1 with the current resources?

  • If not, what would be a plan to address that need?

6. Changes / adjustments/ suggestions

  • Does the group need to make some changes?

  • Is so, outline them.

  • What would be a good time frame to review this discussion?

  • How can you report to the volunteers/ members/ participants on the success of the group in meeting its goals?

  • How can they be further included in the process?

 
SUPPORT GROUP GUIDELINES

Guidelines are read at the beginning of every meeting in order to provide a safe place for people to share. These guidelines help maintain a focus so the time is well spent and not disrupted.

1. We are here to better understand diversity - how to be respectful and work towards compassion towards ourselves and one another.

2. We are here to learn how to avoid being hurtful, how to effectively deal with others who would make us or anyone feel threatened or uncomfortable.

3. Confidentiality is a top priority.  Nothing said in this room will leave this room.  People share as they feel safe and trusting.  Names and identities will be avoided.

4. We listen carefully, share our stories and relate our experiences.

5. We are sensitive to each person's stage of growth. We only offer suggestions if asked.

6. We are supportive rather than confrontational.  Everyone is given the chance to speak.  We are careful with the amount of time so everyone is heard.

7. We are considerate of the group, do not have side discussions, try to be on time. Cell phones & interruptions are kept to a minimum.

8. If someone feels uncomfortable, they are asked to let the leader know privately so it can be addressed.

 
When Tough Things Happen to Good Leaders

It is important to distinguish between people who disagree with the direction of the group or some policy or decision, and people who are intentionally disruptive or conflict driven.  Sometimes it may seem as if those who feel passionately about a subject or issue are creating obstacles or just making things difficult.
 
It is important they be heard and a good faith effort made to satisfy their interests. The challenge is - how much does a group or leader(s) make an effort to reach out on an issue and when and how do you determine when you have done enough?  This is where supporting one another can be essential.

In a good system people are invited and encouraged to work on solving the problems.

            Some of the specific suggestions that might be useful:

  1. Work with difficult people before a meeting or event to outline the goals. Review what needs to be done so that the situation is more satisfying for everyone. Ask them to help keep things on track.

  2. Make sure that meetings and gatherings, even informal, have ground rules. Have the group create them. Post these rules and have them on the agenda every time. If poor practices have been in place, gentle, firm reminders will be necessary.

  3. Draw out motives and respond to the best ones that reflect the group's purpose.

  4. Find a balance between staying calm and firmly defining the boundaries. This is not easy but going away feeling beaten up will not be helpful.

  5. Don't let members of the group be discounted. Quickly express appreciation for participation and redirect the discussion back to the topic. Be consistent. Do it every time.

  6. Ask them to summarize their point of view. If they are off task, invite them to stay after and have a smaller group conversation about the topic.

  7. Be sure to invite everyone to be heard- especially those who may have been quiet.

One of the guidelines should be that everyone monitors their in-put, and everyone is responsible to encourage those who have not been heard to speak. Some people need more wait time. (this can be cultural).

  1. Find some basis for agreement. Repeat the common interests that are shared by the group.

  2. Reframe their statements to show how they might be communicated more constructively. (This takes skill and practice.)

  3. Acknowledge and respect their feelings.

  4. Allow for clarifying questions first and save time for debate later. Set time frames.

  5. For hot topics: post issues neutrally on a flip chart to defuse ownership.

  6. Post opposing points of view for fairness.

  7. Summarize decisions: outline what is each person’s responsibility and when and how it will be done. Check with each person for agreement.

  8. Assess privately (in writing or e-mail) for suggestions to make the next meeting more effective. Keep it positive. Ask what they will do to help.

  9. Review what went well and set goals for the next meeting in terms of good process.

  10. It is okay to ask a member of the group to facilitate parts of a meeting so it does not all fall on one person. Watch the process and learn from one another.

Subject: Student and University Administrator Involvement in R 71

On our last call, someone asked about whether university administrators and student organizations may endorse WAFST or in general support or oppose ballot propositions.  The constraints for university staff are analogous to those for other public sector officials and employees. Here’s a brief summary:

State employees' political activities are governed by Washington's Ethics Act (RCW 42.52).  College and University Administrators are free to campaign for a ballot proposition on their own personal time and in their private capacity.  Such activities can include solicitation of funds, display of campaign buttons, and advocacy efforts.  An administrator may use his or her job title in supporting a ballot proposition, but the title must be accompanied by a disclaimer that the administrator speaks in his or her private capacity. While administrators can contact fellow employees to campaign for a ballot proposition or solicit funds, administrators may wish to avoid soliciting subordinate employees because of the risk that the subordinate may feel coerced.  Administrators must restrict their political activities to non-work hours, and cannot use public property (including telephones, email, copiers, etc.) to support or oppose a ballot proposition or for any other political purpose.  Administrators may hold events in support of a ballot proposition in a college or university facility only if the facility is available for such activities to the general public and the administrator reserves the property on the same terms as the general public.

Student Organizations (other than one which collects fees and represents the entire student body) are also generally free to campaign for a ballot proposition.  Student groups may use campus facilities for political activities in support of or opposition to a ballot proposition only upon paying the full rental value of the facility.  Student groups may not use state funds for political purposes.  Student groups may generally solicit funds or distribute literature in public areas outside of university buildings, but may be precluded from soliciting funds on university property.  Student groups should consult their student organization handbook or speak with their Administration to determine if any rules particular to political activity at their institution apply. 

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