Category: Justice

RJI Director of Development and Engagement

Job Open Date: December 16
Job Close Date: Open until filled
Position Type: Full-Time
Salary Range: $32,000-$40,000 (salary commensurate with experience)

Overview of Position

The Director of Development and Engagement is responsible for planning and directing all of the organization’s fundraising activities and engaging partners to support RJI’s mission.  Working closely with churches, prayer partners, and the RJI team is a critical component of this job and requires a mature Christian faith, understanding and personal application of Biblical Scripture.  This position has a Monday-Friday weekly schedule, and also requires flexibility to attend or lead multiple monthly evening committee meetings and occasional weekend events.  This job is based at RJI headquarters in the Richmond, VA area, reports directly to the CEO and works closely with all RJI staff. As RJI is a rapidly growing non-profit with in-demand programs, this position has a high potential for growth.

Key Responsibilities:

Fundraising

  • Direct and grow all fundraising campaigns and initiatives.
  • Create all related fundraising communications (both written and graphic) through email, social media, and print.
  • Manage CRM and related applications, including accurate records and timely gift recognition.
  • Maintain best practice for donor relationships leading to donor retention and growing giving, which includes maintaining accurate records of donor meetings and valuable conversations.
  • Oversee grant seeking including research, proposal writing, and reporting requirements.
  • Manage, recruit, and train current and new development and engagement volunteers.
  • Direct the volunteer Development Committee through facilitating monthly meetings and empowering members to seek out financial partners.
  • Coordinate fundraising special events in close collaboration with volunteer Events Committee, managing all communications internal and external for fundraising events.

Partner Engagement

  • Initiate and cultivate relationships with current and potential partners including individuals, churches, businesses, organizations, field colleagues, media, etc. to support our mission.
  • Engage the public by accepting speaking engagements, appearances, media opportunities to share information about the organization with the communities we serve.

Reports and Budgets

  • Responsible for producing accurate monthly income reports for CEO.
  • Propose budgetary needs for special events and general development needs.
  • Oversee creation of publications to support fund raising activities, including annual report.
  • Ensure accurate and timely tax statements.
  • Other reports as needed.

Other tasks as needed


Requirements:

Skills and Experience

  • 3 years minimum successful experience in professional fundraising
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including a firm grasp of grammar/spelling
  • Demonstrated ability to initiate and grow positive interpersonal relationships
  • Have knowledge and experience in fundraising techniques, particularly major gift fundraising, event planning and grant writing for organization(s) with a growing budget of $250K+
  • Be a “self-starter” and goal driven to initiate donor visits and fundraising calls and launch new external relationships
  • Adeptness in managing projects from successful beginning to completion
  • Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and manage tasks in a fast-paced work environment
  • Ability to communicate well with different sets of audiences through various platforms
  • Experience in creating compelling, brand-appropriate, accurate communications to effectively engage people in an organization’s mission and goals
  • Working knowledge of Mailchimp, CRM (Little Green Light), and Microsoft Office
  • Personal understanding and experience in applying Biblical aspects of prayer, God’s heart for justice and the practical application for people of Christian faith and the church

Critical Qualities

  • Mature Christian Faith
  • Professional: represent the org well to potential/current partners, clients, team members
  • Responsible: reliable, committed to finding good solutions
  • Coachable: a willingness to learn and receive instruction with humility
  • Humble
  • Pursues excellence
  • Detail-oriented
  • Organized
  • Creative
  • Team Player: works well with others, willingness to do what is needed
  • Flexible
  • Willing to learn
  • Hospitable
  • Self-motivating
  • Goal-achieving
  • Innovative problem solver
  • Ability to build trust and strong partnerships with others
  • Culturally sensitive and appreciative of differences
  • Resilient in dealing with the difficult subject matter of human trafficking

Application Process:

To apply for this position, please click here to complete the online application (please complete the application all at once, as the form will not auto-save your information.  To complete the application, press ‘submit’ and you will receive a confirmation notification on your screen that your application has been successfully submitted.)

The online application form will require a Resume and a Cover letter before it can be submitted. Please have these documents completed and ready to upload in order to complete the application form in full. 

Click here to return to the Careers main page

The Power of Prayer

This legislative session, as part of the Kids Are Not for Sale Coalition, we introduced ambitious legislation that would close a large gap in addressing human trafficking in Virginia.

For years advocates asked for this legislation, and for years legislators gave the same answer: they simply would not pass a sex trafficking stand alone statute.

At RJI, we believe in the power of prayer and going before the throne of God with our requests. We know that our God has a heart for justice, “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” (Deuteronomy 10:18)

The day before an important meeting with several legislators, a friend of mine stood up in church asking the congregation to pray for human trafficking as well as for RJI’s work in the General Assembly. The congregation prayed, and I felt encouraged knowing that the church was behind our work.

That very evening, I received an email from one of the legislators with a statement I never thought I would read:

We are willing to have a stand-alone sex trafficking statute.

After numerous tries and facing opposition, we experienced breakthrough! Literally, our prayer was answered! This legislative session, we were able to celebrate the unanimous passage of Virginia’s first sex trafficking statute, no longer is our state the only one in the nation without a statute dedicated to addressing human trafficking.

Was it also a politically advantageous year for this bill to pass? Was success also due to the senior legislators who were patrons of the bill? Absolutely. But I do not think it is a coincidence that on the day an entire church prayed, breakthrough happened.

The Lord loves when His children come to Him in prayer, especially as a body united in His name. As my husband often reminds me, we must never forget that our most important lobbying work of the day is on our knees in prayer.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

Written by:
Alicia Cundiff
Richmond Justice Initiative Advocacy Director
To read about the sex trafficking statute that passed the Virginia legislature this session, click
here.

Fundraising: Partner Spotlight

Shopping and Making a Difference. Though these two concepts aren’t always found side by side – they are when talking about Fair Trade and this fundraiser!

This past month, Ten Thousand Villages hosted a two-hour fundraising shopping event, with a total of 20% of the proceeds donated to Richmond Justice Initiative. Thank you Ten Thousand Villages! While at this event, RJI staff and volunteers shared with shoppers about RJI, human trafficking facts and prevention, and how to get actively involved in the prevention and eradication of human trafficking!

One of the shoppers that day was a pre-teen named Grace. She asked us what RJI was raising awareness about. I quickly but carefully crafted an age-appropriate response, as I wanted it to resonate with her, but not frighten her. I briefly explained to her what trafficking is and about some of the methods that traffickers use to lure teens (as the average age of entry is 11-14 years old); she responded with the most impactful and touching question of the day: “I only have $.75 in my bag; can I donate it all to help?”

Humbled and inspired, I told her that her money would be going to help a very important cause. She smiled and hugged the Vicuna stuffed animal that had just been bought for her at the store.

Richmond Justice Initiative has partnered with Ten Thousand Villages Richmond, a Fair Trade Retailer, for several events in the past years. Our two organizations share many purposes in common, including anti-human trafficking. One of the principles of Fair Trade Certification is to ensure that no child or forced labor is used in producing goods. This means that whenever you shop Fair Trade, you can be certain that the source company went through a rigorous certification process that reflects 10 different principles. Because of this, RJI commends Fair Trade certification standards and other ways that businesses go to lengths to ensure no forced labor is used to produce any part of their products. This is why staff from both RJI and Ten Thousand Villages, among other organizations, also serve on the steering committee for Fair Trade RVA, a movement to get retailers and organizations in Richmond to carry Fair Trade products so that Richmond can be recognized as a ‘Fair Trade Town’.

The truth is, we can all make a difference. If you are inspired by Grace’s story and would like to make a difference as well, donate here to make an impact and write “Inspired by Grace” in the notes to seller section.

Written by: Jessica Willis
Richmond Justice Initiative Prevention Project Manager
Fair Trade RVA Steering Committee Member

Intern Testimonies

Here at RJI we greatly appreciate our interns. We could not do the work we do without hard-working passionate interns on our team. Below read about two of our recent interns and what they had to say about working with us:

 

KylieKylie: Advocacy Intern

My advocacy internship with the Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI) was an absolutely amazing experience. During my internship, I learned how to work in a professional environment and take on the responsibilities of being a part of a team. I left my advocacy internship more knowledgeable about public policy and the political inter-working of local, state, and federal governments. I was exposed to a network of organizations and contacts that will prove to be beneficial in my future professional endeavors. I was so grateful for the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. twice to observe how one of RJI’s partners, the International Justice Mission (IJM) works to fight human trafficking on a global level and to lobby with them at their annual Advocacy Summit. The most influential part of my internship was experiencing a work place that is grounded in the love and hope that God provides. Dealing with something as unjust as human trafficking is very difficult and the fact that RJI believes that God is the only source of strength that can combat this was very impacting. My co-workers learned to put their hope in God so that they would not become discouraged in this challenging work. RJI’s reliance on God sets it apart from other organizations in that it taps into a never-ending source of strength and energy. RJI’s work environment was extremely friendly and supportive. The staff took time to understand my personality so that I could excel. My internship with RJI has given me so much that I will take into my professional life after college, but more importantly it has helped me to understand how to take on the challenges of life, and that is through the strength of God. I am so thankful for the opportunity they gave to me and would highly recommend RJI to any person looking for a great internship experience.

 

MelissaMelissa: Prevention Project Intern

When God moves your heart and tugs at your soul, the only thing to do is follow Him. The thing I love about interning with Richmond Justice Initiative in the Prevention Project department is seeing a spark light up in other people, especially students. The best part is seeing people be moved to change the lives of people affected by human trafficking because you know difference makers are arising. Even in the day to day office tasks, whether it is answering emails, creating documents, or organizing paperwork, as an intern you are making a difference in the fight against human trafficking. There is soul satisfaction in doing God’s work to bring justice. When I finish my days after working for RJI, I always feel that I made a difference in some way that day. Some days are tougher than others because of the heart wrenching subject matter that we research, but the best thing is having a supporting staff that is always there to share the sorrows and pray for the justice. I feel like I have grown in so many areas of my life through interning with RJI, for example learning to rely on God solely, understanding how to be a business professional, learning the importance of lawmaking, learning the potential that I have personally to help change the world, and so much more. Through it all I learned you can do anything with God and amazing people who continuously support you.

 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people  light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Sundays: A Message to Church & Worship Leaders (and anyone else who wants to read this and be challenged)

Did you know that the life that Christ has called us to live is not easy or safe? In fact it is quite the opposite. The life that God is calling us to live, and the life He NEEDS us to live requires great courage, and can often feel dangerous. Doing God’s will in a fallen world IS inherently dangerous.

God has called us to 1. Tell the truth and 2. Love hurting people and neither are easy or safe.

So glad you started reading this right? I promise I am not stating these facts to be a Debby Downer, but to make a point and ask some questions that I hope provoke a sense of purpose when we walk into our corporate gatherings and to state that:

Somehow…
The God we name…
The music we sing…
The prayers we offer…
The scripture we read and preach…
HAS to call us deeper into God’s heart and deeper into the world for which Christ died.

Because if we are called to live dangerously and to love hurting people our services should be equipping rooms that accomplish more than the “post-church buzz” from good worship, but our worship must move the people in the congregation to courageous action that is set to take place most often outside of the Church walls.

Matthew 23:23-34 Challenges us to look at what we are offering, and how so often we “forget the weightier matters like Justice, mercy and faithfulness.

Question for consideration: Aside from the coffee, bagels, snazzy sermon illustrations and new vamp on that worship song, are we remembering that we are ministering to a group of people with a calling to be doers of justice, mercy and faithfulness to love hurting people, and are we equipping them for that task?

So many of us have been devastated by the situation in Nigeria and have shown our support with a hashtag, mostly because aside from praying the situation feels pretty helpless. Here is the reality. This is just one horrifying example of the Locust Effect of every day violence and injustice that is happening around the world. We are awake to this one because of the enormous attention it has received from the media.

Challenge: After we have parked our cards, dropped kids off at the nursery and rushed into rehearsal or your office for last minute prep, what are you thinking about?

What do we have as a reminder of the sufferings in the world which reveals the urgency of the need for hearing and living out the Gospel and sacrificial living in the name of Christ?

Those reminders are what remind us of the need to be attentive to the people in front of us and to lead them in trans-formative worship

In the last 5 years I have been working against the injustice of human trafficking and violent oppression, I have heard countless stories of injustice, and I have heard stories of God bringing freedom to so many lives. I have met precious survivors that demonstrate more love and bravery than I will ever have and on Sundays, whether I am on stage or in my seat and we begin to worship and sing of Gods love, freedom and our need for more of Him, my experience is no longer just for me or just about me, it is always with them in mind. 

I can’t help but keep in mind those around the world who are also having Church, but their Sundays look quite different from ours. That there are those who are having Church in a brothel, praying for their freedom day. Some are having church in their new home after being sold for $12 and are praying that God will come to their rescue.

I also keep in mind the incredible stories of hope like Griselda’s, who was freed from her abuser and is now free to live our her dreams, and countless stories similar to hers where the goodness and faithfulness of the God of Justice comes to life, and worship and praise always abounds from the reality of the freedom that IS available in Christ when we come to Him and ask for His help.

To wrap this up, as I could continue for quite some time on this subject, here are a few questions for personal or group discussion:

1. Are people leaving that service, and actually giving their lives away for the poor and oppressed in a tangible way?

2. How do we measure whether this has been accomplished? What is the criteria?

3. What/who do we have our mind set on during our Sunday morning prep time?

4. How are you leading in worship with integrity?

5. Will God’s people wake up to worshiping God in such a way that we demonstrate we are awake by loving our neighbor in God’s name?

6. Will we demonstrate faithful worship by “Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly?

* Excepts from Mark Labberton’s book “Dangerous Act of Worship” (So if this blog offends you, it’s his fault.)

Finding Faith Through Freedom Fighting

I was on my way to this speaking engagement dragging my feet a bit (not gonna lie) as I was not sure of the turn out and, as I suspected, there was a small group of 6 people. Given the crowd I decided to just gather in a group together and just share from my heart, but I wanted to hear their stories first of how they initially heard about the issue of Modern Day Slavery.

My message that evening was my personal story of going from worship leader to freedom fighter, the walk of faith it has been, and then informing them of how they can join the battle against injustice.

“When it comes to the work of justice, prayer is where we begin, prayers is how the battle is fought and prayer is how the battle against injustice is won.”

That was the point I wanted to drive home, then end in a time of prayer for the movement and give everyone a chance to pray out loud for various needs like prayer for the victims, perpetrators, law enforcement, NGO’s and the Church.

That was the moment that I had found out that someone in the group had never prayed before, as she asked “So, when you say pray, what do you mean exactly?” We had explained that it was just a conversation with God and that you can just tell Him what is on your heart then ask for His help.

Surprisingly enough, she was willing to give it a try.

“This morning I was asking myself what can I possibly do to help these victims that I am both horrified and heart broken over and I had no idea where to even start. Then I found this group tonight. This group gives me much hope. The message tonight answered the question I was asking this morning, and now I understand where I need to start. I understand now that the answer to ending this injustice is prayer. So here I am God. I am asking you to please help.

I wish I could have recorded her prayer. Not only was it one of the most honest, real and desperate prayers I have ever heard, but it was also the first prayer that she had ever prayed.

I was blown away by her willingness to go to a God that she did not know to ask Him for His help. That she was SO desperately wanting to know what the answer to injustice was, that when she found out that she just went for it!

But the amazing God news does not end there!

After our meeting concluded I had asked her how she had heard of this meeting, and I had found out that she was not even a student at the University I was speaking at, but that she had been following a twitter account that had just happened to retweet about this event tonight, and JUST that morning was her point of desperation and knew she was looking for answers and others that were also in this fight, so she drive to the campus just for this event.

She is a full time mom, and works full time as well so she knew that she could not do something that required a lot of her time so she found great relief and comfort in tonight’s message, and she stated “Now I know what I can do, I can definitely pray!”

I was blown away. I am still blown away. God never fails to amaze me. He never stops showing his goodness, and that night was no exception.

That evening (after I had repented for having a bad attitude about the evening) I was in tears, rejoicing over His faithfulness and humbled by His greatness.

My commitment and belief in the absolute importance of leading the justice movement with prayer was renewed. But He also revealed yet another result of what can happen when prayer and going to the God of Justice is proclaimed as the solution to injustice. That is that people like Rebecca*, who was so desperately seeing an answer to a horrific injustice that she was willing to pray to the God of Justice if it means that it will make a difference for these victims of oppression and violence.

Fellow believers, the issue of human trafficking has never reached more peoples eyes and ears than the present time. People of all faiths (or no faith at all) are all equally horrified at this injustice and are ALL searching for answers, and we have a unique opportunity to show them the God of Justice, who is the ultimate Good News.

 By: Sara Pomeroy |RJI Director & Founder

 

Moms Make a Difference | Let’s Make a Difference for Moms

When you are considering gifts this year for Mother’s Day, consider buying Fair Trade* products. We can all make a difference through our purchases. Buying ethically produced products is an important step in preventing and ending human trafficking. Shop for Mother’s Day gifts at the following local businesses:

Ten Thousand Villages – 3201 West Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23221

Visit in Carytown for a variety of gifts. Ten Thousand Villages supports mothers all around the world by providing them opportunities to learn new skills and work for a fair wage to support their families. Some artisan groups provide health care, childcare, or even allow women to work from home so that they can care for their children while earning an income.

AlterNatives – 3320 West Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23221

Shop for clothing and accessories. AlterNatives endeavors to create a liberating economy that supports the health, wealth and opportunity for indigenous and marginalized women and foster social entrepreneurship.

Whole Foods Market – 11173 West Broad Street, Glen Allen, VA 23060

Purchase flowers and chocolate. Whole Foods Market believes they have a responsibility toward a healthy planet. Whole Trade helps make it easy for you to shop with conscience. Every purchase of a Whole Trade product is like a vote for a better world.

If you don’t live near a Whole Foods, you can send flowers from an online fair trade certified florist. We recommend One World Flowers. Read more about “Why Buy Fair Trade FlowersHERE.

Blanchard’s Coffee – 700 Bainbridge Street, Richmond, VA 23224

Give her breakfast in bed with a great cup of coffee. Blanchard’s Coffee company is an independent, family-owned craft coffee roaster. Certified Fair Trade and Organic, Blanchard’s Coffee Co. is committed to roasting the very best, sustainable and delicious coffee possible.

To learn more about responsible consumerism and for more shopping ideas, check out our Responsible Consumerism page on our website.

*Fair Trade: Responsible consumerism begins with an understanding that the products we buy and invest in affect the quality of life of people around the world. In today’s global society, there are services and products that are made both ethically and unethically, including slave labor (or labor trafficking). In order to be a responsible consumer, it is important to choose companies that not only care about human rights but also actively monitor the impact of their decisions on people, whether directly within their business or to the businesses to which they outsource. By supporting businesses who do not depend upon forced labor, we allow them to grow, thrive, and employ more people in an ethical work environment.

Written by: Alisa Feliciano | RJI Volunteer

Fair Trade Flowers

Are You Sensationalizing the Anti-Trafficking Movement?

Are you sensationalizing the anti-trafficking movement? STOP IT!

Helpful tips for advocates in the anti-trafficking movement:

We have all seen it. Most of us have probably been guilty of this at some level. The images of girls, beaten, in chains, stuffed in mason jars or in a clear suitcase.

Sensationalism is a phenomenon often found within media research, where it is studied for how it affects viewers and their behavior. Often criticized within journalistic practices, sensationalism is a method by which a producer of information attempts to draw the attention of the consumer of such information. It is typically “defined in terms of its capability to provoke attention or arousal responses in viewers.”

To date, the issue of human trafficking/modern day slavery has reached more ears than ever before. In the last 5 or so years we have witnessed this largely hidden industry move from hardly anyone knowing this was something that was taking place here in the USA, to entire nation-wide movements and the President of the United States issuing an executive order.

All of this attention on this criminal industry has its advantages and disadvantages. Today I wanted to talk about the disadvantage of over-sensationalizing human trafficking.

At the onset of the “Abolitionist Movement,” understandably, there was little said about HOW people should get the message out, they were just concerned that the message got out, and that victims had a safe place to recover and receive services. Years later, I think it is time perhaps for all of us in the anti-trafficking movement to take a step back and ask ourselves a few questions about what we are actually accomplishing in our delivery of information to communities about this issue at home and abroad.

The goal of this blog is to simply start the conversation and then pose a few questions that could serve as guidelines we can follow to determine whether or not we are being realistic in our presentation of the issue as an advocate or a non-profit.

Here are a few questions that I use as a guideline before I post, tweet or add to a PowerPoint presentation that I hope are helpful:

  1. Is the image I am using honoring the actual victims of human trafficking? An example of a bad one is the one I used in this blog.
  2. Is the image or stat I am using an accurate picture of what trafficking actually looks like, or it is exaggerated for shock factor?
  3. Does my audience NEED to know this or see this in order for them to do something about this issue? If not, don’t use it, and don’t tell it.

When you think about the widespread issue of Breast Cancer, what are the prominent images that come to mind?

  • Pink Ribbons
  • Awareness Month
  • Run 4 the Cure

There was never a time when I attended a meeting, read an article or watched a commercial about breast cancer where they show the image of a large cancerous tumor in order to get peoples attention. They focus on stories of strength, survival, and they give us clear, succinct ways that we can help in the CURE of cancer.

What I have found that has made the most motivated, involved and long term advocates is when they are introduced to an opportunity to be a part of writing a story of hope. If we don’t communicate real stories of hope, answered prayer and forward movement in this issue, people tend to drown in the statistics and the dramatization and that may induce a spasm of passion, but it does not evoke a long obedience in the same direction.

Let’s not focus so much about showing people the evil tumor of human trafficking, but the possibility of a cure, and see where that takes the anti trafficking movement in the years to come.

By: Sara Pomeroy | RJI Founder & Director