Monday, November 27, 2006

New Sources of Volunteers

No matter what topic I am offering a workshop in for nonprofits, the subject of the lack of volunteers always comes up. I talk about some new possibilites for volunteers today but what I am always surprised at is how few organizations take advantage of college students.

College students may be available for free as interns, or at a very low rate as work-study students where their funding from federal grants requires that they work. Some colleges only employ students in on-campus jobs to fulfill this requirement, but others seek community service jobs in nonprofits. You have to find out who is responsible for interns and work study at nearby colleges and they can describe how it works - it is different at every college. College fraternities and sororities frequently have a community service requirement as part of their national affiliation. Some colleges also have a community service requirement associated with some courses. My daughter had to complete community service as part of a required course in ethics. She was an America Reads tutor and received a nomination from the program director for college student volunteer of the year. Other students want to have volunteering as a resume builder and then of course there are those who just want to volunteer to help others. This all adds up to a lot of possibilities.

Now, a new study says that the number of college students who volunteer has grown sharply over the past four years, due in large part to Sept. 11th. The report, "College Students Helping America," was released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps and other service programs.

About 3.3 million students, or one in three, volunteered their time in 2005, up about 20 percent from 2002, a growth rate that is more than double that for adults over the same period. Much of that growth was driven by students who were in high school or entering college on 9/11/01 and who witnessed the acts of firefighters, police and others in the wake of the disaster.

You can check out the full reports with statistical data and charts at:

College Students Helping America Report

Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Conference on Philanthropy Report - Part 1

On November 3rd I attended the Association of Fundraising Professionals - NJ Chapter's annual Conference on Philanthropy. There was an outstanding choice of workshops and keynote speakers. If you haven't attended one of these conferences in the past, I strongly suggest you consider doing so next year. Today I want to blog about the Luncheon Keynote Speaker - Carol Weisman. Carol is a well known author and speaker in the nonprofit sector. Her topic was the same as her newest book - Raising Charitable Children. She gave a great speech about introducing the concepts of philanthropy with children and gave excellent advice.

I thought her most important idea for young children was to introduce the idea in a positive manner as an extra rather than as something they are giving away instead of getting themselves. Carol had some interesting ideas about how to approach this. She recommended that you start with asking children what made them happy and what made them sad in the last year. Their answers then become the inspiration for suggesting charities that they may support.

Carol talked about a family who told her 3 children that on the second night of Hannukah they would each have $36 to give away and how this had become an annual event and each year each child found a way to leverage their gift and get more than $36 to give away. She also described how she involved her own children in choosing the charities that her family supported.

Carol was definitely inspirational and I came away with great ideas for my clients and my own family.

I have to run now because I am working on a deadline but I will post again about two other sessions at the conference.

Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

10 Easy and Cost Effective Ways to Promote Your New or Redesigned Web Site

TechSoup has a great weekly eNewsletter - TechSoup- By the Cup - that I strongly encourage you to sign up for if you are not already subscribed. Each edition has featured articles, a list of upcoming events and actual soup recipes. This week's has two especially good featured articles. The first article chronicles the experiences of three nonprofits who have 3 different new donor databases. It is always good to hear about actual experiences in addition to the more clinical analysis available comparing features and costs of various products.

But my favorite article is entitled "Promoting Your New (or Redesigned) Web Site. These simple ideas include everything from sending out an email announcing the web site to sending out press releases. You can read the whole article at:

TechSoup - Promoting Your New (or Redesigned) Web Site

And don't forget to go to TechSoup and sign up for By the Cup!

Marion Conway Consulting