Connecting with nonprofits
2012 Non-Profit Forum: Successful Connections
Compassion, excitement and opportunity filled Hy-Vee Hall last Thursday at the 2012 Nonprofit Forum. Fifty local nonprofit organizations were present including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Amanda the Panda, Youth Emergency Services and Shelters of Des Moines, and Blank Park Zoo. They were all able to personally connect with enthused individuals and other nonprofit organizations that want to make a difference around the Des Moines area. Whether your passion lies within community empowerment, environmental restoration or the enhancement of the quality of life, there was an available opportunity (along with plenty of candy) for all.
Volunteering has a direct impact and is important for sustainable development in our community. Just think, the child you mentored and gave hope to continued on with their dreams, grew up to be a doctor who created a cure for cancer and saved millions of lives. Or, that puppy you rescued brought joy and happiness to an elderly woman who just lost her spouse. Volunteering can also open your eyes, enabling you to experience the wonderful diversity in our community and view the world in a completely different way. So, whatever the reason, get out there and make a difference, for your community, for your environment and for your future!
If you were unable to attend the Nonprofit Forum but would still like volunteer information, visit www.ypcdsm.com/nonprofitforum to connect with any of the 50 nonprofit organizations that participated.
-Jacque Poole, Charitable Committee member
Connecting for a cause
To celebrate philanthropy month, YPC hosted two new events this week – “Connect to Your Cause: Get More” and “Connect to Your Cause: Do More.” These two events gave YPs the resources to raise money for the organizations they care about as well as learning how to serve as a nonprofit board member.
Tuesday’s “Get More” event was held at Dos Rios with attendees asking panelists questions about working in the nonprofit sector and learning how networking plays a key role in raising funds. Panelists Georgena Barnes of the United Way, Dan Budd of the Homestead, Azure Christensen of Blank Park Zoo and Laura Palmer of Big Brothers Big Sisters all shared their stories and experiences in using their networks in fundraising.
Here are a few of the takeaways:
- Constantly be thinking about how you can connect people to each other – especially those with similar passions.
- Remember details about people and what they care about.
- Don’t be too quick to judge – you never know who will give. People don’t give if you don’t ask.
- Find a passionate volunteer or person impacted by your cause to tell their story to potential donors.
- Show appreciation for a donation and follow up. Be clear in what they are supporting and continue to retain that relationship.
Thursday’s “Do More” event was a lunch-and-learn at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Sue McEntee of the Charitable Giving Resource Center kicked off the event with a board etiquette training where attendees learned about expectations and responsibilities as a board member. Following the training, a panelist of speakers including Rob Brueckner of Prevent Blindness Iowa, Ray Hansen of Blank Park Zoo, Kelly Moore of the American Marketing Association and Tom Vance of Central Iowa Shelter and Services answered questions about how they got involved with serving on a board.
A snapshot of what we learned:
- Find a cause you are passionate about - don’t join a board for the sake of building your resume.
- Start off as a volunteer and advocate for your cause.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for ways to use your time and talents for the organization as well as asking about possible board opportunities.
- Be willing to dedicate yourself to and educate yourself on the organization’s mission and be a representative in the community.
Are there other nonprofit professional development events or topics you would be interested in learning more about? Leave us a suggestion in the comments below.
-Kristin Schaaf, YPC At-Large board member