I just returned from a mission trip to the Navajo Indian reservation just outside Gallup, New Mexico. It was not my first trip there. In fact, I have been there 12 times in the last four years and intend to continue going as often as I can in the future.
During these weeklong mission trips, we work to improve, however slightly and temporarily, the lives of Native Americans living on the Navajo reservation. The area where we do our work in New Mexico is situated in the second or third poorest county in the United States, depending on who’s doing the talking. So we do what we can… fixing holes in roofs; replacing broken windows; building handicapped accessible entrances to homes; chopping wood for winter warmth; running electricity to replace a single extension cord powering an entire house… the needs are endless and the effect eye-opening and life-changing. Each time I go, I come back with a crystal clear understanding of how blessed my life has been and how uplifting it can be to serve others.
But another thing the mission trips have taught me is that you don’t have to travel to Gallup, New Mexico, to find need. There is no shortage of opportunities to serve right here at home. Many of these needs are currently being addressed by non-profit organizations that are unselfishly making a very real and significant difference in the lives of others.
It was this realization, and our experience as the pro-bono marketing arm for the past two years for Meals from the Heartland, that prompted us to start an effort at Love Scott we call “Mission Assist.” Simply put, Mission Assist is an effort to help non-profit organizations better tell their stories, enhance their missions, and increase their funding. Mission Assist provides complete, coordinated marketing and development assistance to non-profit organizations at a substantially reduced charge.
It is headed by an individual who has spent 30 years in the non-profit sector, many of them at the top level of various non-profit organizations. He completely understands the problems and opportunities common to non-profits. This level of knowledge and experience, combined with Love Scott’s 40 years in marketing, results in Mission Assist having a lot to offer non-profit organizations seeking to rise to the next level of effectiveness.
But the most rewarding aspect of Mission Assist for me has been the excitement it has generated among our staff. It turns out they have generous hearts for helping advance the work of non-profits. They have embraced Mission Assist with enthusiasm and seem to get an energy boost when their talents are turned toward helping a non-profit be even more effective.
Last March, we brought a couple dozen Navajo youth from New Mexico, who had been identified as having leadership potential, to Des Moines for a week of intense leadership training. On the last day, after they had worked several afternoons for non-profit organizations serving various needs around the city, we asked them if they were surprised at the level of need in our city. They answered that they weren’t particularly surprised by the level of need, but they were surprised by the number of local organizations actively involved in addressing those needs.
I think that says something really good about the caring nature of the people of Greater Des Moines and the great work being done by so many area non-profits. It’s a pleasure for us to be able to partner, through Mission Assist, with the important work they’re doing.