Friday, July 31, 2009

Volunteering in America Resources

Through its studies on Volunteering In America, the Corporation for National and Community Service continues to deliver increasingly detailed reports on the trends and habits in volunteering across the country, in order to better understand who is serving in our communities and how, when, and why they serve.

In partnership with HandsOn Network, the Corporation is providing specific resources to support the findings of the Volunteering in Americareports. The resources on this page have been developed to help you increase the capacity of your organization, company, program, or community to effectively engage volunteers of all ages. This page builds on resources developed for previous Volunteering in America reports and includes new and updated resources (as indicated below). Additionally, scroll down the page to learn more about and register for three Ask the Expert webinars facilitated by leading volunteer practitioners and researchers.

Featured Resources
Volunteer Self-Organizing – Resources to help individuals plan and manage projects to bring about positive community change
Recruitment - Strategies to recruit new volunteers, including target populations such as Boomers and students
Retention – Tips for retaining volunteers and plugging “the leaky bucket”
Human Capital Strategies – Innovative techniques for nonprofits during these difficult economic times, including the use of pro bono services, other skilled volunteers, and volunteer leaders
Cost-Effective Volunteering - Practical tips for maximizing resources during an economic downturn
Voluntourism – Resources for understanding the growing trend of combining service and vacations

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Utica nonprofit to add employees

The Central New York Business Journal reported that the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) of Utica expects to add 15 jobs over the next six months after securing four contracts with government agencies worth $5.5 million annually over the next five years.

The new contracts call for CABVI to sell EMS 911 Exam Gloves to the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services, rubber bands to all agencies of the federal government except the United States Postal Service, men's pajamas to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and double-topped file folders to the federal government.

Additionally, the Transportation Security Administration of the Department of Homeland Security extended a contract for CABVI to supply gloves used at 460 airports across the country. The TSA contract amounts to $3 million annually. Read more here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ED Groups Meet to Discuss Economic Impact Study

A joint meeting was held by the Oneida and Herkimer Nonprofit Executive Directors Group Steering Committee and the South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Special Projects Committee to discuss the SCNY Group’s recent efforts around an economic impact study. The meeting, hosted by the Central New York Community Foundation, was attended by representatives from the SCNY ED Group, Oneida and Herkimer ED Group, and the Human Services Leadership Council in Syracuse. The main presenter and chair of the SCNY Special Projects committee was Joe Sellepack, Broome County Council of Churches Executive Director. Also, presenting was Katie McDonald, a Binghamton University master’s student working to help implement the study.

The discussion began with an understanding of why nonprofits were focusing on economic impact. In recent years, taxing nonprofits (whether by PILOT, a snow assessment fee, etc) has become an issue. With the downturn, nonprofits will be facing in more scrutiny and possible tax proposals. In response, the SCNY ED Group saw a need to communicate the economic impact of nonprofits on the local community and region. As Joe related, they also saw a need to make it more than about the numbers, and make a comparison to what the real costs would be if their services weren’t provided. The Special Projects Committee was formed, and is examining how the nonprofit sector in the Broome region shapes the community and environment through social and human services, arts and culture, and environmental services.

The Committee has been spending a great deal of time and effort looking at past studies, not only locally but nationally. Hospitals have been a good source, and two state studies, in Michigan and New Hampshire, have been good models.

The idea for the study will incorporate two streams. The first is the financial information taken from nonprofits’ 990s, while the second will be the “social capital” they contribute. The study will show how nonprofits shape and contribute to the community narrative. The study will incorporate personal interviews to help demonstrate this piece. The study will hopefully subvert the forces that want to tax nonprofits, and show their clout, but also the rest of the story. The message will be much clearer and powerful as a group.

Joe Sellepack related that the Committee under the guidance of Binghamton University and two interns has spent much time developing their study protocol. They have decided to focus on range of nonprofits, which would include only organizations that file 990s and exclude very large nonprofits (hospitals, universities, etc) that would skew the study (and already do their own studies). In a sense, the study will give a voice to the small to medium-sized organizations.

The study is slated to take about 2 years. Much of the work is being driven by Binghamton University’s interns in the Public Administration Master’s Program.

A question was asked by Darlene Ford, ED for the Mid-York Library System, concerning the target audience and overall purpose for this effort. A number of reasons were offered by Joe and other participants: showing return on investment, advocacy, use for collaboration, joint funding projects, etc. The qualitative analysis will help show gaps and overlaps in funding and can figure in ways to help address and form partnerships.

In looking at why the Oneida and Herkimer ED Group should undertake such an effort, the Steering Committee members related a number of reasons. One was the conflicting messages in the Oneida and Herkimer communities coming from nonprofits. There needs to be a clear message and story around how nonprofits help and impact the community. Also, a study would show what would happen if nonprofits disappeared.

A part of the discussion was spent on recent efforts of the Human Services Leadership Council (HSLC) on an economic impact study. Susan Horn, the ED from Hiscock Legal Aid Society, offered some of the lessons they learned in a group study. A discussion continued about the different data involved with nonprofits, including how things are reported (outcome vs outputs). Joe offered that using personal stories will help illuminate some of the challenges of data that won’t mesh. Katie McDonald added that being clear about the data collection and analysis is key. She has been developing the study’s introduction and methodology. She also is gathering social and cultural impact pieces (social network and social capital). She related that the study will include the history of nonprofits in the Broome County region (for example, what happened when IBM left), and how they’ve developed.
Overall, there was agreement that the study could be a template for other nonprofits, and the Oneida and Herkimer ED Group plans to follow up with Joe in the fall about the protocol and info they develop.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Unemployment in Utica Region Increases

The Central NY Business Journal reported that the state's June unemployment rate increased to its highest level since October 1992, according to figures released today by the New York State Labor Department.

June's unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, up from 8.2 percent in May and 5.3 percent a year ago. For the month, the number of unemployed state residents jumped to more than 854,000, the largest number on records dating back to 1976.

After seasonal adjustment, New York State's private-sector job count decreased over the month by nearly 18,000, or 0.2 percent, to about 7.08 million. The job total has now dropped for 10 consecutive months.

Since the state's private-sector job count peaked in August 2008, New York has lost nearly 236,000 private-sector jobs, erasing more than half of the 400,000 jobs added during the last economic expansion from 2003 to 2008, according to the Labor Department.

Since June 2008, the number of nonfarm jobs fell 1,900, or 1.4 percent, and the number of private-sector jobs dipped 1,800, or 1.8 percent, in the Utica-Rome region. The area's unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in June 2009, compared with 7.2 percent in May and 5.2 percent in June 2008.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Utica bubbles over for Boilermaker

The Washington Times reported on that when it comes to throwing an after-race party, Utica's Boilermaker is second to none.

Some 40,000 runners and spectators cram the expansive parking lot behind the local F.X. Matt Brewery, known for its famous Saranac and Utica Club beers, and celebrate one of America's legendary distance runs, the Boilermaker 15K.

Situated just off the New York State Thruway between Albany and Buffalo, the Boilermaker is not really a destination race. Downtown Utica is a run-down former mill town decades past its peak.

Fortunately, the 9.3-mile race spares its runners any exposure to downtown. Rather, it is run through pretty, tree-lined neighborhoods, a gorgeous but hilly golf course and a quaint section of town heading to the finish at the brewery.

The people of Utica have tremendous pride in this race, with last week featuring its 32nd running. You can feel their pride while you run. A lot of local volunteers spend nearly all year working on this race, and it is the one day of the year when the city shines. Read more here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Genesis Group Forwards Invitation to a Major Announcement

To: Genesis Members and Regional Partners
Fr: Raymond J. Durso, Jr., Executive Director

The Genesis Group, at the request of Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, is forwarding you an invitation to a press conference on Wednesday July 15th - 10:30am at SUNYIT. We hope your schedule will allow you to attend this very important announcement.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I along with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, joined by Governor David Paterson are pleased to invite you to an exciting announcement of significant technological and economic significance to Utica –Rome and the entire Upstate region. The event will be attended by Congressman Michael Arcuri, leaders from across the academic, business, technology, corporate and economic outreach communities.

The announcement will be made July 15, 2009 at 10:30 AM at State University of New York Institute of Technology (SUNYIT) Utica- Rome, in the Peter Cayan Library.

Please contact my office at 732-1055 or at to let us know that you can attend. Join us and show your support for this innovative partnership that will create new jobs and additional high technology opportunities for our community.

RoAnn M. Destito
Member of Assembly

Monday, July 13, 2009

NYCON launches Interim Executive Leadership Program

Are You Looking for an Exciting Opportunity to Lead a Nonprofit Organization?
Consider becoming an Interim Executive Director!

What is the Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program? The Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program is designed to help meet the needs of nonprofit agencies as significant numbers of nonprofit executives are expected to retire over the next 5 years. The Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program is a comprehensive training, placement and support initiative designed for qualified, experienced nonprofit professionals in transitional nonprofit Executive Director/CEO positions in New York State. Interim Executive Directors trained through our program will provide effective transitional leadership to nonprofits in order to strengthen organizational health and effectiveness during a time of transition.

Consider Becoming an Interim Executive Director if you are a:
Current and/or former executive director with successful experience in nonprofit executive management;
Nonprofit professional who is currently or have already served as an Interim Executive Leader who would like to be involved with this initiative and receive specialized training to augment and build upon their current skills;
Nonprofit Professional or consultant who clearly demonstrates executive leadership knowledge, abilities, maturity and effectiveness.

Program Dates & Locations: Please note that space in the training sessions listed below is limited. Registrants must complete an application process that includes submission of a writing sample and at least one reference. Candidates who successfully complete the training and secondary evaluation process may be placed into Interim Executive Director positions through this program.

August 18th, 2009 - Albany, NY NYCON Main Office, 272 Broadway, Albany, NYTime: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Cost: $150, Training Materials & Lunch Provided

August 20th, 2009 - Rochester, NY United Way of Greater Rochester, 75 College Avenue, Rochester, NY Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Cost: $150, Training Materials & Lunch Provided

For more information click here or please contact: Jennifer Lockwood, Program Director 454-5062 x. 102

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Strategic Planning Request

I received this request from Jennifer Collins at The Good News Center:

Hi Andrew,
I am currently planning our annual Strategic Planning session to be held with our board and staff this September. This would be a revisit to the plan we have had in place since 2007. I remember that a while back you coordinated some type of survey where people indicated areas of skills / expertise - and one area indicated was Strategic Planning. Do you have names of people who may have designated that as an area of expertise? Might you have suggestions of people who could serve as a facilitator for this session? Thanks for any help you can offer.

Jennifer Collins
Associate Director
The Good News Center
10475 Cosby Manor Road
Utica, NY 13502

Interested in the skills inventory? Click here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Colgate, five other upstate colleges team up to explore cost savings

The Central New York Business Journal reported that six private liberal-arts colleges across upstate New York have joined forces to share ideas about how to work together to reduce costs amid the difficult economic climate.

Colgate University in Hamilton, Hamilton College in Clinton, St. Lawrence University in Canton, Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, and Union College in Schenectady are exploring various cost-saving measures such as joint purchasing. The group calls itself the New York Six consortium.

In addition, the colleges hope to collaborate in areas such as educational support, student-life activities, and sustainability initiatives.

"We are actively looking to address ways to contain costs while continuing to maximize the academic experience we provide our students," Lyle Roelofs, interim president at Colgate, said in a news release announcing the consortium on Colgate's Web site.

A one-year $100,000 planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund the consortium's efforts.

The group hired a project manager, Amy Doonan Cronin, based at Hamilton College, who will work in consultation with administrators and others on each campus.

Areas of focus for the New York Six include harnessing technology to allow for greater collaboration, acquiring goods and services through joint purchasing and other options, maximizing student engagement, shaping work forces including faculty development, and fostering intercultural literacy. Read the article here.