Archive for the 'partner' Category

Forward-Thinking Charity Partners Wanted

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

When the Boston Globe headline read “Volunteers unwanted” above the fold on the front page on Wednesday 3/25/15, I had to respond in case people got the wrong impression, since volunteers are very much needed in the nonprofit sector, and this is the premise of PMD’s business model.
Yet the subhead “Nonprofits often fear what corporations want to give” had some truth to it.

So I wrote a Letter to the Editor that was published today*, adjacent to a nice letter by Community Servings’ CEO David Waters, who reminds us that contributed services are a valuable resource that can greatly expand charity impact when done right.

Another critical part of PMD’s business model is that we rigorously plan and prepare for PMD service projects, making site visits, mobilizing expertise, and buying, transporting, preparing materials, and setting up the tools and materials so that volunteers can become productive quickly AND learn about the context of their contributions. It can sometimes take 40 manhours of preparation in order for 50 volunteers to help out together for one hour; luckily when we repeat service projects like assembling Lego science kits, we can reuse the training slides we’ve carefully developed and refined over the years.

One last plug about PMD corporate partnership projects: our partners (Novartis, EMC, VMware, etc.) donate to PMD to ensure that everything is ready to go for their private groups, “much the way some organizations have an event planner orchestrate their holiday party.” PMD is currently planning summer and autumn service projects, so call me to learn about options for your business.

*Due to space limitations the only thing that was left out of my letter was my specific example, so I’ll share that part:

Now planning its fifth year, exemplary Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) makes $5,000 grants to its 40+, vetted charity partners to pay for materials and staffing, fosters communication/clear mutual expectations during a four-month planning period, as well as assigns its own staff to make site visits in advance and help lead 3,000+ employee volunteers participate in its annual, company-wide Service Day: One Community. One Blue.

Note: PMD was a BCBSMA charity partner with the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, assembling protein science kits in September, and we have applied to expand this project in 2015.)

Guest Blog on Partnerships for VolunteerMaine

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

In anticipation of my workshop at VolunteerMaine’s annual, statewide Blaine House Conference on Service and Volunteerism in Orono next week, I’m guest blogging about how to prepare for and start partnerships that support volunteer programs.

Don’t Treat Episodic Volunteerism Like One-Night Stands

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Check out my guest blog today on VolunteerMaine!

I’ll be presenting a workshop all about episodic volunteering at their annual conference next week.

It’s All About Who You Know…Well Enough for Mutually Beneficial Relationships

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I’m a guest blogger again for VolunteerMaine, leading up to their annual conference where I will present next month, building on last year’s workshop on building community partnerships.

Tell me about project problems, and I can often help you out.

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Open communication is key to good service project development, particularly since we at PMD are good problem solvers, plus tap resources and connections when things are not going as planned. Most of the partner charities PMD assists need more than simply volunteers recruited to help them.
For example, last year one of our long-time charity partners asked for our assistance with a new activity, we were excited to expand to something different, and many people signed up to participate even though an earlier-than-normal start time required many to leave paid work early. However, when I arrived 45 minutes before the project began, I learned that 90% of the envelopes, a progress-limiting supply, was missing. Had I learned about this sooner, I could have brought a few hundred from home (since I often have card stock around given that I’m a letterpress journeyman) and informed the charity how it could easily order and have more delivered from Paperworks. Finding out the problem upon arrival was too late for me to be of assistance, and our volunteers would have completed the task in a matter of minutes, not three hours as scheduled, which is unacceptable when people make time in their busy lives to volunteer. (Fortunately, at our urging, additional charity staff identified alternative work for our volunteers that still made a real difference, just not what the volunteers originally expected.)

Another example is a previously town-funded, environmental effort that sadly was not funded this year. PMD volunteers loved volunteering for this service project in 2007 and 2008, and we already had nine people signed up for the 2009 project when we were informed that it was canceled due to lack of funding, only three weeks in advance. Had the funding problem been shared with me 1-2 months earlier, I would have fundraised to make this popular project possible in 2009. We could have asked the dedicated volunteers and companies who participated in this project in years past, as well as small foundations known to support environmental efforts like this. Sadly, it’s too late to save this project and too late to schedule an alternative service project to help another charity on the date we reserved.

So you don’t think that PMD is lost in the theoretical land of “should of, would of, could of”, we’ve purchased and solicited donations of sugar pumpkins and delivered them for past community Halloween parties for Hawthorne Youth & Community Center when the pumpkins they ordered did not arrive as scheduled. Furthermore, during our service projects, PMD project managers are empowered to purchase additional supplies should the absence of a supply limit volunteers’ progress.