President’s Message June 2014

Since January I have made a point of starting every GRAVA workshop and roundtable with the question, “Who has made progress toward a professional development goal since the last meeting?” And every month I have been excited and inspired by the steps GRAVA members are taking to actively move toward their goals! Just a week ago at the June roundtable, we heard from several GRAVA members who had just taken their CVA exams! What a huge step!! Others were preparing to graduate from the nine-month Emerging Nonprofit Leaders program…wow! A GRAVA board member even accepted an invitation to move up to executive director at her organization! What an amazing achievement and validation of her work and leadership!! The personal growth and professional excellence that can result from these kinds of challenges can be life-changing as well as career-changing and I am so very proud to be surrounded by so many individuals who are taking their professional development AND the volunteer management profession seriously. Next month, we will honor one GRAVA member as the 2014 Volunteer Engagement Professional of the Year, but in truth, I think there are many who deserve to be celebrated for striving towards excellence and raising the standards of performance in our field.

Summer is the perfect time to sign up for a Nonprofit Learning Point class or register for one of VolunteerMatch’s free webinars. And let’s not forget that conference season is upon us!  The National Conference on Volunteerism and Service is next week, the GRAVA conference is less than a month away (and you can register online with a credit card AND pay next year’s dues at the same time!), the NVAVA conference is July 30, and the Virginia State Conference is September 11-12. So many valuable learning and networking opportunities are available, and we should all be making plans to attend at least ONE of these opportunities (besides the GRAVA conference, of course!). Have you maxed out your professional development budget for the year? Request a GRAVA scholarship! We would love to provide the funds to support your attendance at an upcoming event! 

Last but not least, five GRAVA board vacancies will need to be filled as of September 1 and we ask ALL of our members to consider this as an important next step in professional development. Within the last year, the board has accomplished so much! We have completely reorganized our program schedule, expanded our membership, increased monthly attendance, renovated our web site, created a members-only message board, secured conference sponsors, recruited a nationally renowned conference speaker…..but we could not have accomplished any of this without an active, engaged board that is deeply dedicated to the mission of GRAVA and to the needs of the membership. Do you care about the future of GRAVA? Do you feel passionate about the quality of our programming, networking opportunities, and communications?  Are you brimming with ideas and ready to take on a little extra responsibility so that GRAVA can continue to be a vital resource to the volunteer management community in RVA? Are you committed to the principles of empowerment, mutual support, communication, coaching, learning from mistakes, and practicing what we preach (the GRAVA board’s working principles for 2013-2015)? Then we hope to hear from you soon….and we hope to SEE you at GRAVA’s annual conference on July 10! It is going to be a fantastic day of learning, sharing, networking, appreciating, honoring, engaging, and growing! In other words, it’s going to be a GRAVA kind of day!

At your service,

Alison Jones-Nassar, GRAVA President

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