Men's Shelter of Charlotte

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It’s All About the Impact

It’s long been held that a nonprofit needs to demonstrate either great need or great success in order to gain support for its mission.  I believe this is true and I believe that for too long nonprofits have been stuck in thinking that showing high or increasing demand is the most effective way to make their case for support.  I’ve certainly been stuck in this mode of thinking at times myself.  But when you really carefully consider it, which would you rather invest your time, talent, and treasure in supporting?  For some the answer may actually be both.  But, I think more and more people today want to invest in nonprofits that can demonstrate their mission is having an impact on the social issue that caused the agency to come into being in the first place.  Think about it another way – are you more likely to invest in the mission of the Men’s Shelter because, so far this fiscal year, we have sheltered 1,500 men (need) or because we have moved 400 men into more appropriate housing (impact)?  For some, this may be a tough question to answer, so let me elaborate a bit.  At the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, providing safe emergency shelter to men experiencing homelessness is in our DNA – so much so that’s its the first part of our mission statement.  We exist to meet to a need.  But, I would argue that we cannot exist only to meet that need, we must be solution-focused so the need no longer exists.  That’s why the second half of our mission statement focuses on our impact – ending homelessness for each man we serve.  At the Men’s Shelter, we’ve made an intentional decision to focus our energy on demonstrating how our impact is solving the issue of men experiencing homelessness in our community.  I truly believe that the more people understand the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte’s impact, not just the need we’re meeting, the more they’ll want to invest in us as a solution-focused, impactful agency.   

Carson Dean

In September 2008 I became the Executive Director of the Men's Shelter of Charlotte. I've spent almost 15 years working to end homelessness in North Carolina. After working with homeless and runaway youth in Raleigh, I served as the Director of the South Wilmington Street Center (men's shelter) in Wake County and then worked on Orange County's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. I am a former board chair for the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness and former chair of the Homeless Services Network in Charlotte. In 2014 I served as the partner agency representative on the United Way Central Carolinas board of directors.

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