8 Revelations from a SuperConference 2012 Participant

What a privilege to be able to attend the MNA CMF SuperConference!  I was inspired and energized, learned a great deal of information and met new people with whom we can build relationships.  That is everything you could ask and more from an intense two day experience.

Revelation 1 came from a workshop led by Kid’s Food Basket from Grand Rapids.  They call themselves a “porous” organization, one that someone can enter from any point and get involved.  Not only do they leverage volunteer time, they have involved their volunteers financially to use their myriad volunteers as an income source.  Arts & Scraps has many common elements in mechanics and volunteer involvement, but we have not to date formalized programs for financial as well as time contributions.

Revelation 2 came from the Prize Foundation session.  Remember to look for unlikely and unknown sources for ideas and expertise.  Don’t be afraid to tackle big issues and throw open the doors to seek help.

Revelation 3 came from the advocacy preconference session.  “Keep laser-like focus on long term goals”.  Involve people around their interests and look for commonalities.

Revelation 4 came from the Impact session.  Keep a “burning patience”, nurture the backbone of your organization with optimism and perseverance to reach the goal of a successful collective effort.  I’ve often thought the best attribute to have is just plain stubbornness.  This is a much more elegant statement.

Revelation 5 also came from the  Impact session.  There is no silver bullet, just silver buckshot.  Again, an elegant phrase.

Revelation 6 on a personal level, from the Investment session, I recognized that  I’m fortunate enough to have a savings account.  I could invest that in causes in which I believe and put that money to work for social good.

Revelation 7 from the Creativity session:  a couple of wonderful tidbits.  “Money never solved a money problem”—enough said.  Don’t save creativity for big problems, rely on group input and repeat priorities often.

Revelation 8 is back from Kid’s Food Basket.  Make your MISSION seem needy without making your ORGANIZATION seem needy.

Add to this list of big ideas 6 viable contacts for serious follow up and a list of 18 items in a to do list generated by ideas.

This was a very successful two days!  Thank you to the Ford Motor Company Fund for the sponsorship.  I was so excited about it that I probably told 20 people that’s how I was able to attend.  It was a good investment in our organization.  We’ve had the first staff meeting with another scheduled next week.

Submitted by Peg Upmeyer, Director of Arts & Scraps and Superconference 2012 Attendee

MCC AmeriCorps*VISTA Recruitment – Be a Part of the History

AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a full-time national service program for individuals who are interested in developing lasting solutions to the problems of poverty in America. VISTA members address poverty in communities by mobilizing community resources and increasing the capacity of the low-income communities. Members have been striving to create positive, long-term, sustainable change since 1965. VISTA is part of the AmeriCorps national network of service programs within the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) AmeriCorps*VISTA program places members on Michigan campuses to act as transformative agents between higher education institutions and their surrounding communities. VISTA members create service opportunities and engage students in the community, in order to gain a richer and more valuable experience outside the classroom. They build mutually beneficial relationships, which lead to long‐term partnerships between community‐based organizations and colleges, enhance the quality of campus community service and service-learning programs, improve student leadership in service, increase the number of students coordinating programs, and increase the number of students in direct service within their campus communities. Through this indirect, capacity building work, MCC*VISTA members fight poverty in Michigan, and they do so with a lot of passion!

Michigan Campus Compact recruits college graduates who are committed to performing a voluntary year of national service. They are recruited, selected, and receive ongoing training by MCC staff, and they have varying backgrounds and professional goals. MCC*VISTAs are not necessarily experts in a specific field, but have typically had significant experience in college-level community service and/or service-learning programs. Having amazing VISTA members behind the work has been a key factor in running a successful VISTA program, and we are recruiting for those individuals right now!

We are looking for motivated, graduating college seniors, who are interested in (but not limited to) organizing campus and community-wide service projects, fighting poverty, working with faculty and staff to coordinate service-learning programs, recruiting and training student volunteers, gaining invaluable work experience, and receiving an education award to pay off loans/put toward further education. To further view what it means to be a VISTA in this program, please check out the video from our 2009-2010 MCC*VISTA cohort.

If you or someone you know are interested, please visit our website or contact Melissa Strapec at 517.492.2436 or mccvista@micampuscompact.org.

Submitted by Melissa Strapec, AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader for Michigan Campus Compact

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Member Perspective: Summer in the City: Empowering students to create change

Story developed for the Michigan Nonprofit Story Bank.

Summer began, school was out, and students took to the streets of Detroit. They took to these streets in an organized effort to volunteer, clean, and serve others. United under the local nonprofit Summer in the City, these students took on countless projects to improve their community, including painting murals, rehabbing playground equipment, and planting and maintaining community gardens.

Summer in the City (SITC) is an organization designed to improve and explain community service in metropolitan Detroit, by offering community service projects that are fun, flexible, and fulfilling for high school students during their summer vacations.

SITC began in 2002. Founders Ben Falik, Mike Goldberg, and Neil Greenberg identified a need to locate service opportunities in Metro Detroit that were accessible to students. SITC engages high school students in a life-long commitment of service while connecting youth from the suburbs with youth from the inner-city to contribute to the revitalization of the City of Detroit.

SITC couldn’t accomplish their effort without the involvement of community partners. In fact, the program has developed more than 40 different partnerships with nonprofits, schools, neighborhood groups, and city departments to provide meaningful and successful service opportunities for the youth of Detroit. Each year, volunteers contribute more than 25,000 hours of service towards Summer in the City projects.

One key aspect that has allowed SITC to retain volunteers is their partnership with Michigan Campus Compact and Michigan Service Scholars (MSS) AmeriCorps Education Award program. The MSS program has allowed SITC to provide a sustainable infrastructure to create future leaders of positive social change. Many individuals start as a volunteer, become an unpaid intern or MSS member in college, and continue as a paid staff member as a new graduate. This structure makes it possible to empower young people in Michigan while harnessing their energy, ideas, and entrepreneurial spirit.

As classes drew to a close, students made firm commitments to contribute to the continued development of Detroit through Summer in the City. Placing students in volunteer roles through their network of community partners, SITC deploys one of Detroit’s most powerful resources: their youth.

To learn more about Summer in the City, visit www.summerinthecity.com. Summer in the City has been a MNA member since 2010.

If you are interested in learning more about leveraging the power of student volunteers, visit www.MNAonline.org/leaguemichigan.aspx.

All MNA members can feature their story in our online storybank. If your member organization would like to be featured in any upcoming MNA publication, contact Bill Gesaman, Director of Member Services at 517-492-2416 or bgesaman@MNAonline.org

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Think Locally and Nationally This September 11 – National Day of Service and Remembrance

Tackle Hunger with the Michigan Community Service Commission
Your organization can support the second-annual September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance by joining the effort to “Tackle Hunger” this fall. Get involved by collecting food or monetary donations at a local event or gathering a group of individuals to volunteer at your local Food Bank. September is Hunger Action Month and according to Feeding America’s national study, more than 1.1 million Michigan residents rely on assistance from food banks each year. In Michigan, nearly 200,000 different individuals receive emergency food assistance each week. How can you get involved? Complete the following steps:

Volunteer Lenawee - Family Volunteer Day 2009

Volunteer Lenawee - Family Volunteer Day 2009

1. Read through the relevant instructions for your organization, school, mentoring program, Volunteer Center, or national service program on MCSC’s website. You may need to reference the Food Bank Council of Michigan’s “Food Drive Guide”.

2. Find your local Food Bank by searching through the contact sheet available online.

3. Download the relevant flyer available through the MCSC website, fill in the necessary details, and post in public locations.

4. Reach out to local media outlets by completing and sharing this press release highlighting your efforts.

To participate, please complete the Michigan Community Service Commission’s Registration Form and return via fax or email to the Michigan Community Service Commission at (517) 241-3869 or harveyj1@michigan.gov.

Take Time to Support Our Troops
In addition to supporting local efforts to combat hunger, September 11 is a great time for individuals, families and communities to acknowledge and remember the men and women of our military who selflessly serve our country every day. Serve.gov gives several examples of ways we can give back to our troops:

1. Contact your National Guard State Family Program Director to learn how you can support National Guard families living in your area.

2. Organize a care package event with your friends; contact your local USO Chapter for more information.

3. Organize a holiday card drive with the Red Cross.

4. Contact your local veterans group and organize an event for veterans commemorating Veterans Day and Memorial Day in your neighborhood. Find a VFW or American Legion in your community.

5. Volunteer at a camp for military children. To find a camp for military kids in your state, go to MilitaryFamily.org

Submitted by Ashley Gulker, program specialist for the Volunteer Centers of Michigan and Michigan Campus Compact.

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Celebration – Make It A Part of Every Project

Almost every volunteer management and project management guide lists celebration as a step to be implemented as a general practice. However there’s little direction provided as to what that means or what it looks like. Most guides tend to lump celebration in with reflection or volunteer recognition.

Reflection, recognition, and celebration are each steps that should be included in the organization’s general policies and procedures. Reflection provides volunteers with the time to assimilate the values of volunteering. Recognition is most often defined as “showing appreciation”. Recognition is often incorporated into a “celebration” meaning a program of some sort. But, celebration goes beyond showing appreciation and staging a program.

Flickr user: sharie productions

A study and publication by Blackbaud Company—“What Women Want–Understanding The Needs and Objective of Women’s Philanthropic Giving” (March 2009) lists “to celebrate” as one of the “Six C’s” of women’s motivation for giving. The study helped me define celebration as it links celebration to impact. Volunteers and donors want to celebrate the positive impact of their gifts and time. This correlates with the desire to serve others as impact clearly identifies and defines the results of the volunteers’ hours of service and donor’s dollar contributions.

Impact must be clearly communicated as volunteers and donors measure success not by numbers of volunteers or numbers of hours volunteered, but by the needs served. Linking efforts to impact can be included in the reflection done as a part of a event. It should be a part of any recognition activity or event. Regardless, building “celebration” in terms of communicating impact into volunteer management practices, project planning, and donor recognition is a necessary and effective practice. How is your organization building celebration into your policies and procedures?


Submitted by Sandra Miller, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader for the Volunteer Centers of Michigan.

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Resource Friday: Michigan Nonprofit Management Manual

New MNA Nonprofit Management Manual Now Available

The 5th edition of the Michigan Nonprofit Management Manual builds on the informative chapters found in previous editions, with many new features and updates, including: a new chapter on Risk Management, alignment with MNA’s Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Michigan, updates on laws, regulations and filing requirements, expanded chapters on the use of technology, connections to other resources with many website references and a revised format to help locate information quickly. MNA members can take advantage of the reduced member price of $75.00. The non-member price is $95.00. Order your copy today at MNA’s online bookstore: www.mnaonline.org/bookstore.asp.

Submitted by Kelley Kuhn, Director of Management Support and Capacity Building Services for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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Diversity and Inclusion – What’s Now and What’s Next

Examining the current state of diversity and inclusion among Michigan nonprofits is a first step in strengthening our organizations through diverse ideas and people (including board members, donors, staff and volunteers). The report from MNA’s latest quarterly survey, Nonprofit Diversity and Inclusion, is now available on our Web site at www.MNAonline.org/mnrp.asp. 230 nonprofits participated in the study and highlights include: 59% of responding nonprofits have a formal policy regarding diversity and/or inclusion; 95% of responding organizations believed that being more diverse and inclusive would benefit their organization; and nearly half of nonprofits reported needing help recruiting and retaining diverse board members. This study was conducted in partnership with the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University.

Not only is it important to examine our current commitment to diversity, but to be prepared for the future. The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently published a report called The Future Starts Now. Ian Wilhelm predicts that five major trends will reshape philanthropy in the next ten years:
-A Grayer America, an increasing number of Americans over 65;
-Technology advances, a new way to raise funds and serve people in need;
-Growing influence of Hispanic Americans, challenging our recruitment of Hispanic volunteers and donors;
-Global philanthropy, increasing international donors and “citizens of the world”;
-Charitable business, increasing business as an engine for social change.

Each of these shifts will dramatically alter the existing state of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations, bringing not only new challenges but new opportunities to adapt to the changing needs of our environment. Agile and flexible organizations are needed, are you ready? Does your organization need an iPhone app? Are you ready for multiple-generation issues? Is there a need for bi-lingual advertisements and materials? It’s best to begin preparations now.

Submitted by Allison Treppa, director of marketing and communications for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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