February 15, 2008
Helping nonprofit organizations refine and deliver their message effectively is the theme of free training seminars at Johnson State College.
The college's Career Center has been inundated by nonprofits wanting to sign up for its Nonprofit Management Workforce Development Initiative, organized by the center's co-director Ellen Hill.
The program, funded by a grant from the Next Generation Initiative, is part of a State of Vermont effort designed to "Link Learning to Earning" to build an educated and prosperous workforce, and encourage people to live and work in Vermont.
Recent seminars at JSC have focused on self-evaluation, values in the workplace, non-profit marketing on a tight budget, and results-based accountability. Upcoming seminars will be on "Bridges Out of Poverty," and board development.
Demand for the program has been overwhelming. "For the recent "Nonprofit Marketing on a Tight Budget" seminars we had 48 people sign up, and 17 waitlisted," said Hill.
Attendees at the first of the two-part seminar, Nonprofit Marketing on a Tight Budget, led by facilitator Andy Robinson, worked on "Getting the Message Right." Part two of the seminar on February 28 is titled "Delivering Your Message." Both seminars are designed to help nonprofits craft a compelling message, define their audience, prepare a marketing plan, create effective marketing materials, and learn how to work with the news media.
Hill and others all noted how the seminars help connect people and organizations with similar goals in Lamoille County.
"One of the great outcomes of these seminars is the networking opportunities for people in the nonprofit community," said Hill. "Getting to know people just down the road is an extremely valuable outcome."
Others agreed. "This is a real networking opportunity for us," said Steve Ames, Executive Director of Rivers Arts in Morrisville. "This program can really help build coalitions. Our mission is to reach the community through the arts, but we can also do it through other nonprofit organizations like ours."
"We're here today because we value the partnership with Johnson State College and the resources they provide to help us do a better job," said Jane Ralph of the Clarina Howard Nichols Center, a women's shelter in Morrisville. "I also come for the collegiality, and it's great to be in the company of other non-profits in the Lamoille Valley."
According to a 2002 report by the former Vermont Alliance for Nonprofit Organizations, nonprofits were the largest collective employer in the state, creating 42,373 jobs, or 12.3 percent of the workforce. Nonprofits generated $2.8 billion in revenues and contributed nearly $2 billion, or more than 10 percent, to state earnings.
For more information about JSC's free nonprofit training seminars, contact Ellen Hill at 802-635-1257, or firstname.lastname@example.org To view upcoming training sessions, visit the WDI Web site.