May 2018 Workshop Recap – Recruitment and Retention

At GRAVA’s May Workshop, we focused on the best practices of volunteer recruitment and retention. Amy Nisenson gave us insights into the motivations of volunteers and when we should recruit them. She talked about warm body recruitment, targeted recruitment and concentric circles recruitment. To get a good handle of how we should recruit, we ought to first speak to our current or past volunteers about why they volunteer, why they left and they experience as a volunteer. Having a good strategy for the types of volunteers needed helps to find out which skills or demographics you need and how to target them. Many corporate groups have grants for organizations that their employees volunteer for.

Once you have recruited volunteers you need to engage them by providing training and leadership opportunities. Some of the reasons volunteers don’t stay is a chaotic experience or the experience didn’t live up to their expectations. There needs to be clear expectations and a friendly, professional environment to better engage volunteers.

See the slideshow here.

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May GRAVA Workshop – Recruitment and Retention

May 3, 2018 8:30-10:30am
6 N 5th Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Directions: Take the exit toward Coliseum/Downtown. Continue on 3rd St. Turn left on E Jackson St. Right onto N 5th Street. The street parking starts at 8 am and you can pay 2 hours at a time. The deck across the street is $7 if you enter before 9 am.

Speaker: Amy Nisenson

Summary: Volunteers allow your organization to do more work. They often lessen the burden on your paid staff. Volunteer recruitment also raises the awareness of your organization. This workshop introduces ways to recruit volunteers, keep them engaged, and increase your retention rates. We will talk about unlikely places to obtain volunteers and ways to engage and keep them motivated. Participants are encouraged to come with their own ideas to share as well.

Speaker BioAmy’s consulting expertise includes strategic planning, board development/governance work, board and staff meeting facilitation, organizational development, succession planning, executive search and CEO evaluation, and resource development. Her over 30 years as a senior philanthropy professional includes work on both sides of philanthropy- as a nonprofit executive and development professional and as a corporate and foundation grant maker. Amy brings her unique experiences in both asking and giving along with strategic thinking, sensible fiscal management, effective communication and facilitation to her consulting work. Amy is also a Certified Governance Trainer with Board Source and is trained in nonprofit Board education.

Along with her work as a consultant, Amy serves as the Executive Director of the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, which is a private-independent foundation that grants more than $5-7 million annually to nonprofits in the Commonwealth of Virginia for capital projects. Amy also teaches classes in nonprofit management including grant writing, navigating support from corporations and foundations, and board development at many universities and programs throughout the State. Prior to her current work, Amy served as Vice President and Community Affairs Manager for Wachovia Corporation from 2005-2008, covering the three-state Mid-Atlantic Region of Virginia—Virginia, Maryland, and D.C.

Amy’s consulting practice is rooted in a strong passion for the nonprofit community. All work is geared to helping a nonprofit build its organizational capacity working within a team approach of strong partnerships between board and staff. Amy combines her professional and personal experiences with best practices to help nonprofits make informed decisions and build internal processes to become stronger, more stable organizations.

Amy received a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. She is an avid reader and along with her husband likes to cook and entertain friends and family.

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GRAVA April Roundtable – Lessons from the Faith Community

April 5, 2018 8:30-10:30am
First Baptist Church
2709 Monument Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220

Location & Parking: We will meet at First Baptist Church (FBC-Richmond) which is located at Monument and Boulevard. Parking is available at Robinson and Monument in the church parking lot. Then a short walk through the alley, cross Mulberry Street, and in the door with the awning. There is an info booth just inside which can offer directions.

Presenters: GRAVA Board members

Read about March’s workshop if you missed it. To follow up on the workshop on working with faith communitities, we’ll be roundtable discussing these topics:

  1. Bring a faith community’s mission or purpose statement.
  2. Think of one or two faith communities that might be complimentary partners with your nonprofit.
  3. Who might be a “champion” to approach in those faith communities?

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March 2018 Workshop Recap

Lessons from Faith Communities on Engaging and Empowering Volunteers

Martha Frickert and Steve Booth gave an inspiring and informative talk titled Lessons from Faith Communities on Engaging and Empowering Volunteers. The presentation focused on three key points: Understanding the Faith Community; Identifying and Cultivating Volunteers; and Strategies for Recruiting Volunteers.

Steve and Martha shared the importance of understanding faith communities, and the language they use. They advised that congregations are emotional systems. Many of us were introduced to Murray Bowen’s Family Systems Theory, and emotional triangles. To cultivate leadership, it is important to understand the emotional “call” of your volunteer. Why are they volunteering? What do they hope to get out of the experience? Steve Booth explained that when reaching out to churches as a source for volunteers, it is important to know the congregation’s collective emotional “call”. That “call” is influenced by their local church culture. This includes their faith tradition, the history of their church, and their decision-making process. What is important to the church? What are their informing beliefs, principles and values? What is their mission/purpose? He stressed the importance of understanding their language. Steve went on to explain understanding what informs their faith helps to understand their “calling”, and how best to pair it with your corporate “calling” and mission.

Steve suggested that knowing what informs an individual’s faith is important for identifying and cultivating volunteers. Martha elaborated on this thinking by suggesting conversation with volunteers about which gifts (faith speak) they bring, or which skills, talents or interests (corporate speak) they have helps both parties find the best fit, or use of volunteers.

To best recruit volunteers from churches it is important the organization’s mission lines up with church’s mission. It was suggested that the best way to find churches with potential volunteers was to locate a volunteer in your organization who would champion your organization within their church. If they believe in your cause, and already volunteer, they will be a powerful advocate on your behalf.

Steve and Martha concluded their presentation by advising churches can also be a source of funding. Many larger churches have Endowment Funds, from which they draw scholarships or grant funding. They are usually smaller amounts, but have fewer restrictions.

Steve closed with dialogue suggestions to spark conversation at our April meeting. They are:

  1. Bring a faith community’s mission or purpose statement.
  2. Think of one or two faith communities that might be complimentary partners with your nonprofit.
  3. Who might be a “champion” to approach in those faith communities?

Here is a link to their presentation.

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March 2018 GRAVA Workshop – Lessons from Faith Communities on Engaging and Empowering Volunteers

March 1, 2018;
First Baptist Church
2709 Monument Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220

Location & Parking: We will meet at First Baptist Church (FBC-Richmond) which is located at Monument and Boulevard. Parking is available at Robinson and Monument in the church parking lot. Then a short walk through the alley, cross Mulberry Street, and in the door with the awning. I believe we will be in Suite 220 on the 2nd floor. There is an info booth just inside which can offer directions.

Presenters: Martha J. Frickert, Founding Executive Director, Communities In Schools of Chesterfield (retired) and Ordained Elder, Salisbury Presbyterian Church, and Rev. Dr. Steve Booth, associate pastor, Christian Formation, Richmond’s First Baptist Church.

Drawing from more than 40 years of serving and leading with volunteers in multiple faith communities, Martha and Steve’s presentation will offer insights and strategies gleaned over their extensive experience as faith community leaders of volunteers. The presentation will highlight the uniqueness of a faith community context, how volunteers are identified and cultivated for mission and service, and strategies for recruiting volunteers from faith communities.

Martha J. Frickert was the founding executive director for Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chesterfield (retired), a non-profit public/private partnership serving at-risk youth and their families. She is skilled in strategic planning, program and board development, operations, funding, expansion, and evaluation, and has secured several awards for organizations with which she is affiliated. She is a graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond and has served on several nonprofit organizations in leadership roles. She currently serves on the YMCA Richmond Board of Directors, Salisbury Presbyterian Church Foundation Board of Directors, St. Francis Hospital Board, and Brandermill Rotary Club. She is an ordained elder at Salisbury Presbyterian Church and has led their Generosity Campaign. She is knowledgeable in establishing and maintaining linkages with national programs, state and local human services agencies plus the private sector including businesses, citizens, and volunteers developing 70+ partnerships within the business community as well as local/state government agencies

As the Associate Pastor for Christian Formation, Dr. Steve Booth leads a group of gifted
ministers and lay leaders in facilitating opportunities for learning, contemplation, and service designed to address and facilitate the formation of the whole person: head, heart, and hands. He provides leadership and direction in the areas of Bible study; discipleship, small groups; spiritual direction, individual and group retreats, new member orientation and assimilation, and the equipping of ministry leaders.

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HandsOn Merges into the Community Foundation

Here is the official notice about HandsOn merging into the Community Foundation!  Also job posting for the Civic Engagement Director is linked at the bottom:

Recognizing civic engagement and community participation are an essential part of building a regional culture of philanthropy, The Community Foundation and HandsOn Greater Richmond have joined forces. The integration is a natural next step, after sharing a back office and common goals since HandsOn began in 2007.

The Community Foundation and HandsOn are both deeply invested in supporting community change initiatives that make Richmond a better place. We work collaboratively across sectors and with generous networks to encourage gifts of time, talent and financial resources to shape and advance regional solutions. Together, we can offer customized opportunities that allow individuals, families and teams to learn, engage and connect in ways that are both meaningful and effective.

Vanessa Diamond, Co-founder of HandsOn Greater Richmond, assumes a new role as Senior Vice President of Civic Innovations. Her team will be responsible for developing, testing and scaling new models for learning, service and philanthropy to create on-ramps for greater engagement and participation. This work will be done in close coordination with colleagues across the organization and the region to ensure a seamless experience for all valued partners. Our goal is to build an inclusive and well-informed network through the active input and involvement from donors, volunteers and nonprofit partners, as well as the business community, faith organizations and localities.


Civic Engagement Director

Provides daily oversight to Community Foundation civic engagement programs including HandsOn Greater Richmond’s volunteer center operations This includes the creation and management of volunteer opportunities and civic education and engagement programs. This is a full-time, exempt position.

Duties include but are not limited to:
• Serves on Civic Innovations team with responsibility for strategic planning for and evaluation of volunteer and community service programs and initiatives.
• Oversees program operational budget for fiscal responsibility and grant compliance.
• Oversees volunteer center and program operating procedures, which comply with Community Foundation Board policy, HandsOn Network/ Points of Light Institute Standards, and all legal requirements.
• Oversees strategy, with Community Foundation staff and volunteer leadership, and supports models for learning, service and philanthropy (giving circles, civic learning cohorts etc)
• Develops and supports program advisory committee and other committees and task forces.
• Oversees implementation of regional volunteerism and civic engagement initiatives.
• Supports partnership for program implementation and funding with local corporations and businesses to engage in employee volunteer programs.
• Works with staff team to develop capacity-building trainings and effective practice workshops for nonprofit agencies in volunteer management.
• Works collaboratively with other community volunteer programs and with state and national volunteer program organizations.
• Participate in activities of the civic engagement field to enhance Community Foundation operations and the volunteer center, as well as those of the field.

Full Posting Here:

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GRAVA Workshop February 2018

February Workshop “Engaging Youth & Young Professionals in your Nonprofit”: February 1, 2018

We got snowed out for GRAVA’s first workshop of the year, but we are combining it with February’s Roundtable:

We will meet on Thursday, February 1 at the Science Museum of Virginia located at 2500 W Broad St beginning at 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. 

Whitney Guthrie, Director of Community Engagement for Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity will be our speaker.  We will focus on the topic of Engaging Youth & Young Professionals in your Non-Profit.  Come learn from one of our own GRAVA members and winner of the 2017 Volunteer Engagement Professional of the Year Award.

Whitney started her career in volunteer engagement with AmeriCorps, where she worked as their Volunteer Engagement Coordinator and helped to build volunteer programs for local nonprofits funded through United Way.  Two standout programs she worked to develop and grow are coordinating two large-scale Day of Caring volunteer days in York County and developing a weatherization program for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

Five years ago, Whitney came to Richmond Habitat.  Since that time she has engaged over 10,000 volunteers, developed youth volunteer programs, started our Global Village volunteer abroad program and worked to engage different segments of the population in the mission of Habitat for Humanity, including faith groups, women, young professionals and more.

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