We need help to reach our potential
We are now well into our third DCI season of awarding scholarships. Throughout the course of the pandemic, we were careful not to expend our resources in hopes of a full DCI season, instead electing to reduce our activity in preparation for a new normal. With the pandemic appearing to approach a sense of new normalcy (for now), we have resources that we feel we can capitalize on.
However, we feel we need to bring in different skills and diverse voices to reach our potential. So we are looking for volunteers to help, with the potential to serve on the Board of Directors. In particular, we are looking for help in 3 areas.
Representation matters. While our Board of Directors is committed to making the drum corps experience more accessible and inclusive for Michigan students from all backgrounds, our own background is homogeneous and privileged. We know this is a common problem across the activity, and we know that we need to have representation within our organization to change this reality.
Demographic information isn’t considered when we make scholarship disbursement decisions, but we want to make sure that disadvantaged communities have a seat at the table when it comes to our big-picture planning and outreach. We especially want to make sure we reach out to all corners of our community, instead of just the ones we come from. We’re looking for someone who is passionate about these issues and willing to provide guidance. Previous experience of any kind in the social justice space would be a huge plus, but is not required!
Speaking of communities that we may not reach, nobody on the Board of Directors is tied into the color guard community. And it shows - we have yet to award a scholarship to a color guard member. We want to make sure that the entire drum corps community, including color guard, is represented in who we are and what we do, especially when it comes to applicant outreach.
Our Board of Directors can bring experience to bear on many of our problems. We have backgrounds in music education, accounting, issue advocacy, financial and legal regulation of nonprofits, and more. But we find ourselves lacking in skills related to public communications. So far, we’ve managed to work together on our communications strategy, including managing the website, donor and applicant outreach, and material generation. But in order for us to hit the next gear, we need materials and writing that are more professional.
As we outlined in our annual report, we are looking to target grants as our next major funding source. Grants are generally larger than individual donations and we recognize that grant funding is vital for a community-driven nonprofit like ours to ensure Michigan students have a stable, long-term scholarship opportunity. Having a knowledgeable grant writer would set us on the right path to realizing this funding potential.
If you are interested in getting involved please reach out! We’d love to hear from you. While we are a Michigan-focused organization, we don’t require that someone be a Michigander to join us. The most important thing is that you care about making the DCI experience accessible for members of our community!