By Lisa Balschunat
The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce
is hosting a free information series for
its nonprofit members, starting this month,
that will focus on recruiting, training, maintaining
and rewarding volunteers in what
Kathleen Fyfe, chamber vice president of
community development, calls “an industry
on the brink of change.”
“Needs have changed. People have changed
and technology has changed,” Fyfe said. “There
is a new generation in the work force. They
connect differently. They have their own perceptions
about the nonprofit sector. How they
volunteer is changing. How they give, what they
give and why they give is all changing.”
To help nonprofit chamber members embrace this new reality, Ray Patterson, volunteer information director for The Stakeholders Regional Volunteer Center, will facilitate the training series on Dec. 12, Feb. 13 and April 10, from 8-10 a.m., at Saratoga Bridges in Ballston Spa.
The Stakeholders was recently designated by New York state as one of its 10 regional centers, expanding its services into eight counties — Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Warren and Washington — and presently manages an on-line database to match volunteers to meaningful opportunities.
“Ray is an engaging and animated facilitator who will offer interactive discussion, provide physical materials and new ideas of how to operate more effectively and manage volunteers with limited resources,” Fyfe said. “He has taken important New York state information and created a digestible package that is divided into manageable segments to share with our nonprofits. This series is ideal for executive directors, development directors and coordinators of volunteers.”
“We have 150 chamber members in the nonprofit sector, and we are thrilled to offer this workshop to them free of charge,” she added.
Patterson, an experienced educator, presenter, business consultant and adjunct professor at RPI, will facilitates the ROSES (Recruitment, Orientation, Support, Evaluation and Saluting) training series.
The Dec. 12 session will focus on recruitment, and will include an immediate option for participants to post their organizations’ volunteer opportunities directly to the Regional Volunteer Center. The Feb. 13 session will concentrates on volunteer orientation, support and retention. The April 10 session will feature how to evaluate and salute volunteers, and identify critical metrics that reflect the effectiveness of any volunteer program.
Fyfe said, “The added reality is that many local nonprofit founders and dedicated grassroots volunteers are retiring. As those people retire, the institutional history goes with them, and it quite often changes the dynamics of an organization.
Also, several of our local nonprofits are reaching 40- and 50-year milestones, and most with national affiliations, that years ago created local chapters, are now shifting to a regional focus.”
The series is one of several concerted efforts the chamber has committed to its nonprofit members. In early 2013, the chamber collaborated with the New York Council on Nonprofits (NYCON) to build into its membership a substantial benefit, whereby every nonprofit chamber member is now automatically a member NYCON. This synergism has “opened the doors” to many additional resources and benefits designed specifically for nonprofits.
Nonprofit chamber members can register for this information series at www.saratoga.org, or by calling the chamber, 584-3255.