We’ve had a few questions from members about how to follow discussions online, without having to login in regularly. The following post will walk you through how to do that. As internet SPAM laws require consent to receive email notices, we will need you to opt-in to each forum topic to get notifications.
Step 1: Login to the FB Community
- Go to https://www.furniturelink.co and select LOGIN
- Enter your Username and Password you created.
- If you haven’t registered complete this process.
Select the FB Community Forum from Members Menu
- There is one main forum called “The Furniture Bank Round Table”
- You can see the full members list (and details each member has added to their profile here)
- You can see all recent posts (from all sub forums too)
- You can update your profile here.
- We have 10 sub forums (Introductions to FB hacks) this is how we will group discussions
- When you have a new topic to add… click ADD TOPIC
- The recent posts are going to be listed here.
To get email notices of new discussions …
- Go into EACH FORUM you want to follow (ex. Introductions)
- Click the SUBSCRIBE FOR NEW TOPICS
Go to your email …
- The email you get from Furniture Link will include a Forum Email – CONFIRM the subscription request.
These simple steps will let you follow discussions as they occur.
If you ever want to add them again, repeat these steps.
If you decide you don’t want as many notifications, go to YOUR PROFILE and edit your subscriptions setting.
Good luck. If you have difficulties, please reach out to me directly and I can help further.
A Mid-West Gathering
Returning home to Toronto last Friday from my trip to Bowling Green, Ohio, I was excited to have had the opportunity to share and learn with a group of sister furniture banks. We gathered for what I suspect will be the first of an annual regional meeting of furniture banks in and around the midwest area. Inspired and organized by Rob Boyle of Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan. Big thanks also to Don Slobodien from Benbrook Associates, who sponsored the event.
Over 10,000 Families per year supported!
As we did our morning introductions, I was amazed that this small gathering of staff and volunteers represented organizations which, in our combined communities, support over 10,000 families annually:
We also had two advisors to the sector join us:
What Did We Discuss?
Huge thanks to everyone for taking the time to come together to share their experiences. Some of the themes discussed included:
- What is replacing FBANA?
- Fundraising: What’s working and what’s not?
- The joys of operating trucking & moving ‘companies’
- Client & donor scheduling: Are you in the 21st century?
- IT Systems
- Let’s talk Social Enterprise: Successes & Opportunities
With regards to the topic of “Where is FBANA?”, I want to take a moment to share the answer I provided. The idea of a coordinating association isn’t a new one. The furniture bank sector has had different versions operating for many years, each coordinated through different structures and different people. Since the last event hosted in 2014, we’ve been without a coordinating group. While a few Executive Directors from various furniture banks have tried to move the idea forward in 2016, we just couldn’t sustain the scope of the project. We each operate our own furniture banks, with limited time and even more limited resources. The old vision of FBANA was to formally set up a separate entity with its own budgets, staff, and board of directors. When we discussed this same theme in January at the West Coast Community gathering – we all agreed that we want to foster a community that works to gather, share and support the development of the furniture bank sector. For each of us, that looks different based on where we are in our life cycle.
- Some are thinking about a new furniture bank – like Amy from Milwaukee.
- Others are small volunteer-run organizations – like Tammy and Seth Myers of Compassion Furniture Bank
- Others still are adding and innovating new social enterprises – like John and Kevin of Furniture Bank of Central Ohio
In the case of my organization (Furniture Bank of Toronto), we got Board approval to move forward with allocating a portion of staff time and limited travel, to foster this ‘communicate & cooperate’ network. Both groups in January and April highlighted that, at this stage, COMMUNICATING and COOPERATING, are of most importance to most of us.
Using a framework called the Collaboration Continuum, with the support of Furniture Link Inc. and other funders this online community is going to focus on these two areas of collaboration. We’ve started in the last 90 days a small online forum here at Furniture Link. If you have not already joined the Community, please click HERE to join. It’s free and it is intended to be a permanent place for ALL furniture banks – big, small, new and old – to discuss, collect and share information on how to best to run a furniture bank in our own community.
Will there be coordination and collaboration by all North America’s furniture banks? I think the answer – the honest answer – is “maybe”. We need to work together in small ways and show value to one another before more complex coordination among us might be possible.
Thanks again to Rob, Tom, Tammy, Seth, Art, Kevin, Dana, Jill, John, Amy. Don, Matt, Amy, and Tammy P for coming together last week.
I encourage you to join or start the discussion in the online forum on the above themes.
We can all share and learn from each other’s experiences and expertise.
Took me much longer to post this amazing event, but no better time than today, when one of our discussion points (having an online bulletin board) has been launched here.
A Gathering of Furniture Banks
A little background, Bill Lemke and I have spoken at length about creating a sustainable community to support furniture banks around North America. So in January he kick-started a regional meeting of organizations that might all come together to share resources and observations. While a small group, it highlighted for me that gathering, sharing, and problem-solving together is an important role of a community. Attending the event:
- Dunetchka Otero-Serrano, Executive Director, Community Warehouse Portland, OR
- Megan Smith, Communication Director, Community Warehouse
- Anna Kurnizki, Development Director, Community Warehouse
- Joe Glode, Program Director, Community Warehouse
- Dan Kershaw, Executive Director, Toronto Furniture Bank, Canada
- Ray Piontek, Founder and Executive Director, Bay Area Furniture Bank, CA
- Bill Lemke, Executive Director, NW Furniture Bank, WA
- Jeremy Simler, Director of Development, NW Furniture Bank
- Matt Hageness, Director of Operations, NW Furniture Bank
45 days later…
While we discussed getting a virtual community moving, I was fortunate to secure the corporate support from Furniture Link Inc. (where we are now as you read this) to get the ‘virtual community going’. So here we are – the beginnings of a community that permit members to:
- Full member contact director
- Furniture Bank Round Table forum – where conversations around different topics can occur privately with other furniture bank members.
- Upload, download, share, comment and collaborate on documents and materials together
- Share research on measurement and impact
- Look at best practice examples from other communities to use in your own.
- Connect with Furniture Link when there are ‘free goods’ opportunities in your community through Furniture Link’s project.
- More to come as the community helps shape it.
So if you are a Furniture Bank in North America – please join – to get access. Its FREE for us, so no downside for us and our limited resources.
- See the Members Map – https://www.furniturelink.co/furniture-bank-network/
- Discuss at the Round Table – https://www.furniturelink.co/furniture-bank-network/community/
- The North American Member List – https://www.furniturelink.co/community/members/
- Member Resource Center – https://www.furniturelink.co/furniture-bank-network/member-resources/
Anyway much more to come, but wanted to highlight for the furniture banks out there, we’ve got a virtual community started. Where it goes from here we will see together.
Thanks, Bill, Dunetchka, Ray and your teams for a great Community Event.
PS. Any of your FB team members that would LOVE to join me in curating and improving the community website – do let me know!