Echelon Launches in Atlanta
By: Laura Poff
The Atlanta Area Command is launching a local chapter of Echelon at an informal gathering in Buckhead Atlanta.
Echelon, a young adult fund-raising and volunteer organization, was first implemented in Dallas before spreading to other cities across the country. It came to the attention of the Atlanta development team after it was presented at the National Advisory Organizations Conference held in Phoenix in April
“We have known about Echelon for the last two or three years and always thought Atlanta would be a great place to implement in,” said Martha Reich, director of development. “Atlanta is a great place to live and it really lends itself to attracting businesses and young professionals.”
She worked closely with the volunteer coordinator, Kari Weaver, to determine a plan of action for first identifying young professionals who support The Salvation Army and then convincing them to form the core team of a committed Echelon chapter. They used contacts on their women’s auxiliary and advisory board and also reached out to past volunteers. Those who responded met and planned the launch and recruitment gathering to be held during a University of Georgia football game at a local restaurant. Attendees are asked to bring canned goods, catch the game and chat about joining a small but committed team.
The goal is not necessarily to raise large sums of money – it’s to engage young people with the organization so that as they age, they too will actively support The Salvation Army.
“It’s very important that we are intentional about developing leaders for our advisory board, moving forward,” Reich said. “This is a great opportunity to introduce folks who don’t know us to The Salvation Army.”
As of right now, the only qualifications for membership are age and interest. Kari Weaver will attend the launch event but ultimately this group will run itself independent of staff leadership.
“One of the great things about this program is that the members really lead the way, so there’s not a lot of staff involvement,” Weaver said. “I’m definitely playing a large part in it but we really want them to take ownership of it and develop leadership skills and grow as young professionals. I’m excited to see who steps up.”
For more information, or to get involved, visit @EchelonAtlanta.