It's that time of the year where we share some of our reflections about our year at NeighborLink. Below are some of the main things we're reflecting on and want to share with you.
10th Anniversary - 2013 was our 10th year as an organization. For a small, grassroots nonprofit like ours to survive for 10 years is quite a feat. There are no guaranteed funding streams and despite everyone's great intentions to volunteer more, it doesn't always happen. We are happy to have the resources to continue our efforts and volunteers who believe NeighborLink to be a resource they want in our community. Much of NeighborLink is about doing for others that you don't naturally want to do for youself. It's what makes our projects so transformational for those that take them on.
Our 10th year was about strenghtening our organization for the future. We added two new board members, tightened up some internal processes, and made some significant adjustments for the future, which include hiring a new employee that we'll share more about in coming weeks. We needed to determine if we were going to continue doing things at the same level we've been doing for the past few years, or if we were going to expand and try to see NeighborLink grow further around the country. We're hoping for the latter and we're putting new resources behind it.
Project Totals - We have to remind ourselves sometimes that we care far more about the relationships we develop and facilitate than we do about number of projects completed. This is especially true this year as we had a steep delcine in completed project. We went from 935 to 369 this year. This is primarily due to some changing leadership in two of our most committed volunteer communities. We've know that our project completion numbers were not sustainable forever at the pace they were going combined with the amount of resources we have to support that activity, so we're not surprised.
The great part about the projects is the relationships that were formed between volunteers and neighbors in need. We have countless stories of successful projects. We also saw a handful of new churches really embrace service this year and did a lot of organizing around NeighborLink projects. We're looking forward to their partnership in 2014.
Fundraising, Grants, & Crowdfunding - We landed our first major grant from Foellinger Foundation for operational support and we received $5,000 from Home Depot Foundation to help our veteran recipients with materials. It was also another successful year with project fundraising. You all donated close to $15,000 through our online web platform for project expenses. Every dollar raised for those projects went to the expenses related to those projects. Not many organizations can tell you that. We are proud to provide our donors the ability to make projects happen and know where their dollars go.
As we grow at NeighborLink, our need for operational support is growing. We're completely stable, but in order to resource our vision and be able to keep up with the demand on our services, we need to be able to work quicker and with more capacity, which always results in additional staff or outsourced labor. These operational dollars are what we need to pay for website development, operational costs, travel expenses, and all the stuff that isn't glamourous but is vital for the success of NeighborLink. We need people to donate to NeighborLink that believe whole heartedly in our mission and believe that funding the operational side of our work is important too. If this is you, please contact me and let's talk. I'm happy to provide more info our operations if needed.
Intern Program - This was the first year we had a full intern program that saw two part-time interns in the spring, three full-time interns over the summer, and a part-time intern through the fall. We learned a lot and hope that we can continue offering this program in years to come. Interns bring new life to our organization and offer us fresh perspective and questions that help us stay focused on what we're trying to accomplish.
NeighborLink Network - We launched one NeighborLink in 2013 in Indianapolis, which we are thrilled about. It's our first major metro area that is using our platform as we always intended it to be use. We're in a few other large cities, but they've licensed the tool and use it slightly different. They did over 50 projects in 2013 and were only up and going a few months. We expect them to be the shining star in the NeighborLink Network in no time.
Events & Campaigns - We had some incredible events this year. We did a picnic in August, a fire hydrant painting effort (160 hydrants painted), a Neighbor of the Year Campaign, and our year-end celebration in December. Each of these events were vital for us to thank our volunteers, create a bigger impact in our city, and connect our volunteers and neighbors to the mission of NeighborLink. They kept us focused and allowed us time to reflect on the goodness of being together with one another and what can happen if we put more energy into that.
2013 may not have been the flashiest of years at NeighborLink Fort Wayne, but significant and deep things happened that I believe will solidify our future. We believe that God has been faithful for the last 10 years and is stirring in us a sense of the reality that we're just getting started. I can't wait to see what 2014 will hold for us. We'll see you on the website and the job sites!