Category Archives: News

TFO Seeks Coordinator

Tools for Opportunity is looking for someone to help coordinate our backroom. If you are skilled at keeping things organized, communicating, and tracking processes, then we want to hear from you.  If it sounds like fun to support an organization that helps less fortunate people become financially strong by learning a business trade, then we want to talk to you.  Tools for Opportunity is a small group of fun people who have a passion and a vision.

Tools for Opportunity Coordinator

Requirements and Responsibilities

Coordinates the administrative tasks for Tools for Opportunity (TFO). Generally this includes:

  • Drafting communications internally (TFO board members, on-site coordinators) and externally (partners, suppliers, donors).
  • Managing the TFO annual calendar.
  • Donations (in-kind & monetary): communication, storage, etc.
  • Training in El Salvador or Honduras: shipping product, materials, and supplies to locations where classes will be held.
  • Responsible for publicizing the organization and its programs to the community via internet, mailing lists and press.
  • Offering ideas to enhance anything related to TFO growth and success.

Specific Tasks

Emails/Communication

  • Check email communication and responding timely. Conferring with the President on any emails that demand additional attention.
  • Manage email account: deleting spam, archiving as needed.
  • Politely communicate regarding donations accepted and not accepted.
  • Send “thank you” communications to donors (in-kind, or monetary) documenting donation values for tax purposes. Include the TFO tax ID number.
  • Promote in all communications the purpose of TFO, future events, and the need for future donations.
  • Coordinate communication between TFO board members and on-site (El Salvador & Honduras) coordinators. When communicating with on-site coordinators, be sensitive to communication barriers, culture, and unstable internet and electricity issues. The best is to use language that is simple to understand, professional, sincere/humble, honest, and thorough.
  • Communicate with volunteers traveling on TFO service trips and assist in travel details.
  • Coordinate communication with the press (print, broadcast, internet, news) on future events, accomplishments, donations, success, etc.

Coordinating

  • Remind Board members of the tasks they agreed to do and the deadlines they agreed to complete the work.
  • Create and manage an annual calendar of events with decision and delivery deadlines.
  • Manage the shipping of product, materials, and supplies to El Salvador and Honduras.
  • Arrange recognition events with partners, suppliers, and donors.
  • Support the TFO Board members by helping them with information about TFO, supplies, collaboration ideas, etc.

Donations

  • Communicate with donors to thank them for their generosity and to promote upcoming events needing continued funding.
  • Manage the storage of donations, supplies for events, etc.

Special Skills

  • Fluency (verbal & written) in Spanish helpful.

If interested, contact coordinator@toolsforopportunity.org.

How You Can Help Central American Craftsmen

Every year, Tools for Opportunity tries to make one or two trips to Central America.  During each trip, we have one or more trainers on our team to teach new woodworking skills to local craftsmen, carpenters, woodcarvers, and furniture makers.

Tools for Opportunity Class Graduates

Before each trip, there is an enormous amount of planning and preparation that needs to take place. The first item on the agenda is finding eligible craftsmen in our target areas such as El Salvador and Honduras. We have a local team member in El Salvador that interviews craftsmen to determine their eligibility for training and what specific training is needed. One of our board members annually visits Honduras for several weeks to work with local residents to find craftsmen that need our assistance.

While candidates for training are being selected, we work on gathering tool donations for shipment to the training areas. These tools can be donated by individuals or tool companies. We accept usable power tools like hand drills, routers, and circular saws. We also try to gather as many hand tools as possible such as chisels, clamps, carving tools, and hand planes.

Tools ready for distribution

If we are lacking any necessary tools for training our carpenters, we must purchase them. We’ll search around for the best pricing and look to tool manufacturers that are wanting to get rid of old stock. Sometimes, we’ll wait and purchase tools in the host country if the prices are reasonable.

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Our tool shipments are sent by cargo ship to the target location many months ahead of time. The tools are stored until they’re needed for training.

In the meantime, travel arrangements need to be made for our team. This includes air fare, lodging, and food. As you can imagine, these expenses add up fast.

Once our team arrives in-country, the work begins. Classes are held that may have anywhere from 4 to 12 students. These students could be young people that have had some technical training and want to expand their skills. Other students have been woodworking for many years but need to advance their skills to the next level.

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We’ll typically spend a week conducting 2 to 4 training sessions during that time. Once the training is complete, the students sign a contract with Tools for Opportunity. They agree to use our donated tools and training and their time on projects for their community, in addition to growing their business to provide income for their families. Many of these families survive on only a few dollars a day. We try to help the carpenters increase their income through our training and tool donations.

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The board of directors of Tools for Opportunity has established a budgeting goal of $10,000 per trip. As I mentioned before, we often make two trips per year.

You can help by making a tax-deductible donation. We make it easy using the “Donate” buttons on our web page and Facebook page. We appreciate any amount and you can rest assured that your dollars are spent with the utmost care.

We sincerely thank you for your support!