Event Planning: Engaging Committee Members

As Events Manager for a non-profit organization based in Des Moines serving the state of Iowa, Stacie Garmon produces events  for anywhere from 10 to 15,000+ people. She’s responsible for a 3-day children’s festival, auction gala, two golf tournaments and two children’s events, annually. Stacie previously shared her timeline checklist for fundraising event management and her approach to securing sponsorships with us. 

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Engaging committee members can definitely be a challenge. My advice:

Start your communication with your potential and confirmed committee members early. I typically start 10-12 months in advance. This will allow most individuals ample time to make room in their schedules for the planning process and the event itself.

It is best to have committee members from a variety of backgrounds. Yes, the “well-known” committee members have a broad reach in the community and lots of connections, but they can also be committed to several projects at one time. Do not be afraid to enlist young professionals and others who may not be as connected. These individuals are driven to succeed, want to get their name out in the community and often are not committed to several projects at one time — meaning they can dedicate more energy to your event!

Define clear expectations and goals during the recruitment process. If attending meetings is vital to the success of the process, make sure to state this in the expectations. At times, I have listed that 50-60% of the monthly meetings must be attended to receive recognition on event materials.

Make it clear if they will be expected to solicit for monetary or in-kind donations.Will they be required to sell event tickets? If so, will there be a minimum for each individual to sell Many people are not comfortable asking others for money or “stuff,” however they may still be a very valuable committee member.

Assign them to a task that fits their strengths: Decorations, volunteer recruitment, etc… Do not assign a committee member to a task they are not comfortable carrying out. You are setting your committee up for failure and it will only lead to last minute work on your part and could affect the outcome of donations. If you can assign committee members to tasks they enjoy, they are more likely to stay on schedule and be successful.

Stay connected throughout the planning period, even during those periods of time with less planning action. I typically hold monthly meetings leading up to the event. However, 6-8 weeks prior to an event, the meetings will be held every 2 weeks. Create an agenda for each meeting to help ensure the committee stays on task. Make sure when the meeting is complete that each individual has a clear understanding of her or his next steps. Send a meeting follow-up or minutes within 24 hours of the meeting as a reminder of what was discussed, including everyone’s required tasks. In those notes, highlight the deadlines that were set at the meeting and of course, do not forget to provide the date, time and location of the next meeting. I typically like to send our meeting reminders a week and 24 hours prior.

Hold committee members accountable for the responsibilities they selected. Do not down play the importance of their tasks. Unfortunately, those tasks that the committee fails to complete are ultimately your job. Do not wait too long to step in to ensure the task is completed on time and correctly.

I believe a great committee with an even better leader will make an event successful! Finding the right members is just as important as selecting the right date, venue and auction items.

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Finding Balance: Motherhood and the YNP

Guest post by Kristin Schaaf, new mother to Hannah and membership manager at Blank Park Zoo. She blogs about motherhood at dearbabywithlove

When I signed up a few weeks ago to write about work-life balance, I was enjoying life as a stay-at-home momma, just a couple weeks away from returning to work from my maternity leave. I had my little girl Hannah just over four months ago, and she is the center of my world.

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Before life as a new mom, I thought I had this thing called work-life balance pretty well figured out. I enjoy my job as membership manager at Blank Park Zoo, meeting new people at networking and professional development events, and spending time with my friends and family.

Transitioning back to work the past couple weeks has been a harder process than I anticipated (I may have had a minor meltdown on day four), but it has also awakened in me a new sense of self as a parent. I have come to realize that my time is a gift, and how I spend it isn’t just about me anymore.

Even if you don’t have children, you know that your time is valuable, and how you spend it can easily overwhelm you. No matter where you are in your life or career, finding balance between work, school, activities, family and friends is important.

I’d like to tell you that there are three simple things you can do to achieve this magical thing called perfect balance, but I’d be lying. What I can tell you is that there are three things that I find helpful in feeling less stressed, more balanced and happy with where I spend my time. These three truths are what I need to remind myself of as I experience life as a working mom.

1. Know your limits. Different things stress out different people – we each have our own threshold of what we can handle. It helps to know what you can handle before you hit your breaking point. Are you okay with being busy every night of the week? Do you thrive on multi-tasking and having a full schedule? Do you need a lot of time by yourself to re-energize? How much time do you want to spend at work, home or with family and friends? Granted, some of these things are out of your control, but by having an idea at what point you have reached your limit, you will be able to recognize when your plate is too full.

2. It’s okay to say no. As a person who enjoys trying new things, and as a people pleaser, it’s pretty easy for me to say yes when someone asks me for something. I like expanding my skills, and it’s a good learning opportunity to try something new. However, it’s pretty easy to let my plate get too full when I say yes to too many things. Enter stress and feeling overwhelmed.

When you’ve reached this point, it’s time to learn how to say no. Get in the habit of saying no to the things you know that you don’t have time for or aren’t passionate about. Don’t sit on the board of an organization you don’t believe in, or don’t sign up for a volunteer committee if you just don’t have the time to commit. Be honest and let the person know that you’d love to say yes, but you just don’t have the time. Say no without guilt, and know that in doing so you are saying yes to something else.

3. Say yes to what is most important. In a word, prioritize. Decide what – and who – is most important to you and invest your time there. Life Coach Tabby Hinderaker had a great guest post on the blog recently about time management, which included an exercise that helps you see where your time goes and learning how to prioritize it.

Outside of the work day, where do you most enjoy spending your time? What goals are you hoping to achieve? Seek the answers to these questions, and in doing so you’ll have a better idea of where to invest your time and what is okay to say no to.

For me, what matters most right now is spending time with my family. This may mean I spend less time at YP events, volunteering or doing other things I enjoy, but it also means I get to experience the amazing journey of being a parent. Each day is a joy as I experience it through my daughter’s eyes. I plan to ease my way back into doing more in the community, but for now as a new mom, I am enjoying this chapter in my life.

What are you most passionate about? How do you find balance?


Event Planning: Sponsorships 101

As Events Manager for a non-profit organization based in Des Moines serving the state of Iowa, Stacie Garmon produces events  for anywhere from 10 to 15,000+ people. She’s responsible for a 3-day children’s festival, auction gala, two golf tournaments and two children’s events, annually. Stacie previously shared her timeline checklist for fundraising event management with us. 

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Event sponsors are meant to underwrite the event expenses. When recruiting sponsors, you are selling your organization’s mission and how important sponsorship dollars are to the event’s success.

Before I begin recruitment, I design detailed sponsorship opportunities or levels. Design the different sponsorship levels with the event expenses in mind. You want to create a range of levels that will cover the event expenses. I also create equations to determine what my goal is for each level to equal the total of my anticipated event expenses. (Yes, you get to use math!)

Sponsors want to know what is in it for them. How many times their logo/name will be distributed and to how many individuals/households/etc… If you are printing and distributing 10,000 fliers to local businesses, this is valuable information for a sponsor. Will they receive complimentary event tickets? If so, how many? Include advertising values in the proposal. If the event will have an advertisement published in the local newspaper, what is the value of that exposure for the sponsors that will have their name or logo in the ad? Make sure this is all outlined prior to your “ask”. The trick is creating a streamlined proposal with all the details that is not 10 pages in length. I have found that a chart system typically works best.

 Typically, the highest level sponsorship is considered the “presenting” sponsor and only one is available. This sponsor receives the most recognition as their name follows the event’s names (ex. The Birthday Bash presented by Cakes4U).

I begin by creating a list of prospects. Research their mission and organization’s goals. I personalize my request for consideration, matching my organization’s mission or services to theirs. For example: If the prospect’s mission is to serve Iowans in all 99 counties, I would provide a success story from my organization’s health program that provides health services to rural Iowans unable to access major city health services. If you find that a potential sponsor’s goals do not coincide with your organization’s mission you may need to consider if it is worth taking the time to submit the request for this particular project. If it is family event, focus on prospects that embrace family and would benefit from additional exposure to families.

In addition to researching prospect’s goals, I also look into other events they have sponsored and what their guidelines are for request submittals. Does the prospect want a written proposal in a letter format? Do they have an online form for completion? What are their deadlines? You want to learn just as much about the prospect as you want to teach them about your organization and event.

After you submit your request make sure to follow up with the prospect a week or two later. Start to gauge their interest and answer any questions they may have. Many times, prospects learning about your organization or the specific event will have questions and require more documentation. Oftentimes, your presenting, higher-dollar sponsor will require the most effort to secure. Maintain a database of prospect responses. Are they an immediate and firm “no”? Are they passing for this year but express interest for next year? (If so, make sure you ask when the best time of year is to submit the proposal.) Are they interested and simply need to determine what level they will select, or are they showing a strong interest in the presenting sponsorship? If the interest is there for the high dollar sponsors, you want to make sure to establish a follow-up schedule with those prospects, making sure they are aware of you marketing deadlines. Ask to schedule a meeting to cover all of the details in person. I attend these meetings armed not only with facts and figures (just in case) but also with drafted marketing materials with the prospects name or logo to bring it to life. (Print the materials with a “draft” watermark).

SponsorThankYou2.pngOnce sponsors are secured for the event, maintain communication with sponsorsto obtain their logos, support statements (why they are sponsoring the event), distribute any event tickets they receive, etc.

Post-event, continue to build relationships! Stay in touch with sponsors. I send sponsors a handwritten thank you card following the event letting them know how the event did, how the organization will benefit (i.e. the funds raised with all us to continue to serve 1,000 Iowans each year) and that this success would not have been possible without their generous support. Be grateful and thankful to everyone who provided event support.


Tabby’s Time Management Tips to Prevent Burnout

Guest post by Tabby Hinderaker, Life Coach, dailyARC Coaching

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At the YNPN Des Moines February discussion group, we talked about challenges we face finding time for ourselves, dealing with uncertainty and change and managing heavy workloads and multiple priorities.  As I reviewed the evaluations after the session, I identified several topics that attendees wanted to hear more about.  Two of the requested topics were time management, and strategies for implementing what we learned to make lasting change. This post will provide one success tip in each of these two areas.

Time management
As we get busier and busier, it seems like the amount of time we have available to us rapidly decreases. Yet, we are each afforded the exact same amount of time each day, week and month.

The question is, how are we using that time?

In her book, Take Time for Your Life, Cheryl Richardson wrote, “Time is a gift that most of us take for granted. We get so caught up in the busyness of our daily lives that we rarely stop and take a serious look at how we’re spending this gift.”

How well are you at “managing” time?  Richardson’s belief is that time management is a myth. In reality, she said, we cannot manage time. We can only manage ourselves. Her term for this is “self-management.”  We can take control of our time and how we use it.  It’s not always easy, but it is possible.Do you know where your time goes each week?

How many hours per week do you spend:
•    Sleeping
•    Working
•    With family
•    With friends
•    Volunteering
•    To yourself
•    In your hobbies or other areas of personal enjoyment
•    Handling recurring daily/weekly tasks such as running errands, cleaning, doing laundry, etc.?

Choose one week over the next month and keep track of where your time goes. Add up the number of hours you spend on your normal activities within that week. When you have tallied your results, reflect on how much time you are spending in each area. Make a list with the category that takes up most of your time at the top, in descending order down to the category that takes the least amount of your time.

Then create a second prioritized list, with the area in which you WANT to spend the most time listed at the top, again in descending order to the category in which you would prefer to spend the least amount of time.

Review your two lists.

Which areas are most important to you?  Where are you spending the most time? Is there congruence between the two lists?  If not, what changes can you make to decrease the time in the least important areas and/or increase the amount of time you spend in the most important areas?

I love this quote from Bruce Lee:  “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

Do you know what the inessentials are in your life?  Are you ready to let them go?  Choose one small change you can make to decrease the amount of time in a lower priority area.

For example, if you are spending too much time on your work commute and not enough time reading, try listening to books on tape or podcasts while you are driving.  Or if you find that you spend too much time on Facebook and not enough quality time with your family, choose one night a week to disconnect from all technology and reconnect with loved ones.

Strategies for Implementation
As you identify the changes you want to make, start small and commit to something that feels manageable and realistic.  Don’t commit to going technology-free for an entire weekend if you are going to be stressed the whole time about being unplugged for that long.  You’ll be more likely to cave in, grab your smart phone, and then tell yourself you can’t do it so why bother trying again.  Look for those small wins that will build your confidence. Start with an hour or an evening, and as your comfort level increases, build up from there.

It can also be helpful to determine what your starting point is and reflect on where you want to be.  What is the difference between Point A and Point B?  How big is the gap? What do you need to do in order to close the gap and move closer to the desired future state?  What specific actions can you take to move you closer to your goal?

Also consider what resources or support you need to enlist.  If you want to go technology-free for an evening but you are not sure your family will be on board, talk to them in advance. Tell them what you are trying to accomplish and that you want to experiment with something.  Let them know why it’s important to you to turn off the TV and stash the smart phones and tablets for an evening.  Brainstorm together about what you can do instead.

As you make progress toward your goals, celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Acknowledge that you are changing and trying new things.  The more you experiment and stretch outside of your comfort zone, the easier it will become to make additional changes.

Change is hard, but it’s not impossible.  With a little planning and experimentation, you can begin to manage yourself more effectively, create the changes you desire, and design the life you want to live.

Pilot Opportunity for Young Professionals
If you missed the February discussion, check out the opportunity to participate in a pilot group exclusively for young professionals.  In this program, you’ll be empowered to identify and capitalize on your strengths, discover and honor your core values, and use this increased self-knowledge to lead authentically. Details: PILOT Group Participants Wanted


Guest Post: 4 Nonprofit Social Media Tips + Giveaway Details

JordanWilliams.jpgGuest post by Jordan Williams, writer for Brand Driven Digital. Check out details about their upcoming Content Marketing Boot Camp conference and a chance to win free admission.

As an employee of a non-profit organization, we often wonder how to build the social media audience we want, when we don’t have a product to sell. We envy the retailers, manufacturers, and restaurants for the ease of their social promotions. They offer coupons, discounts, giveaways and free samples. But what can you do as a non-profit to boost your following?

The truth is, non-profits are a unique case. We do have a more challenging job to sell ourselves online. But it’s not impossible. Let’s take a look at a few non-profit social media tips.

1. Gain Trust
This may seem like a simple statement, but consider the companies you “Follow” or “Like.” You probably view them as an expert on the product they sell and look to them when making a decision about which model you purchase or what item you order from their menu. Position yourself or your company as a reliable source of information. Post information that is relevant to your audience.

For example, I am a dog lover. But where do I go for information on the best food for my dog, training tips, and more? Probably not a company that I think only wants my business. Typically, I look to the breeders association or a local non-profit rescue league who has positioned themselves as an expert in dog care. This is where non-profits have an advantage. Because we aren’t trying to sell a product, it is easier for us to gain the trust of our audience.

2. Take Advantage of Your Network
This tip doesn’t refer to your social network – utilize your friends, business connections, members and fans. They may be able to help you with promotions and giveaways. What types of promotions you may ask? Let’s stick with the dog theme. I recently saw a great promotion for the local rescue league on Facebook. It was simple, yet effective. The non-profit partnered with a manufacturer to sell yellow dog collars for a month. In this case, the promotion was a win-win-win. The manufacturer gained extra sales from the connection to the non-profit, the non-profit earned a portion of the sales and the customer received something for their dog, while supporting a local cause.

Other options may include asking a local retailer or restaurant that has a connection to your non-profit to donate gift cards or giveaways. They too will gain business from your non-profit’s support.

3. Position Your Message
While these types of promotions are a great way to attract Followers and Likes, keep in mind, the key to such promotions is ensuring you attract your target audience.  Be sure to position your promotions and giveaways so that you find true supporters of your organization. Use fun trivia, statistics, and information you want your audience to know and promote your giveaways. Make sure your messages are tied to your organization, but yet engaging enough that your audience will participate.

A great example of this was done at the non-profit association I work for – the Iowa Grocery Industry Association. The association has a genuine interest in recycling, so instead of pushing the association’s services, etc., we reached out to the public with statistics on recycling in the State of Iowa, questions on the number of plastic bags recycled annually and questions relating to the Build with Bags Program (a program designed to promote recycling in elementary schools across the state). In turn, the person who responded with the accurate answer received a $10 gift card to an Iowa retail location.

4. Be Relevant
Do you hate seeing your inbox fill up with information that doesn’t apply to you? The same is likely true for your Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds. Always make sure the information you supply for your target audience is timely and useful. Outdated information or information that doesn’t apply to your audience will immediately discredit you as a reliable source of information. As a non-profit organization, your team is already spread thin. Make sure you have someone dedicated to maintaining your social media outlets — and take time daily to update your pages. Facebook and Twitter may be the first encounter your audience has with your organization — make sure you leave a good impression.

The other piece of the puzzle, being useful, will also build your credibility with the audience. Here I have to steal a term from Jay Baer and recommend you exercise “Youtility”: Offer insight that others find useful to build a relationship with your audience.

At the end of the day, your overall goal as a non-profit should be the same as any other company’s — to build a relationship with your target audience. Although each organization is different, by considering these options, you can easily begin to market yourself and stand apart from the rest.

About Content Marketing Boot Camp: In Des Moines Feb. 27

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Content marketing is on the rise in the B2C, B2B, and non-profit sectors. Consumers today are devouring an increasing number of blog posts, photos, videos, podcasts, ebooks, and more. As such, many marketers are struggling not only to keep up with this demand but to ensure that their brand’s content is engaging enough to stand out in the crowded digital marketplace.

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win free admission ($175 value) to the bootcamp!

Increase your chance to win:
+1 – Tweet the following: I’m entered to win a Content Marketing Boot Camp ticket from @ynpnDesMoines and @BrandDrivenTeam! (Can tweet this once a day)
+1 – Like Brand Driven Digital or YNPN Des Moines on Facebook (1 each)
+1 – Follow Brand Driven Digital or YNPN Des Moines on Twitter (1 each)
+2 – Answer the following question: When it comes to creating content, our biggest struggle is…
options: Time, Money, Talent, Ideas, Other

Guest Post: Falling in Love with my Job

Written by Chelsea Ochylski, Manager of Philanthropy at Make-A-Wish® Iowa

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I fall in love every day. I fall in love with every story I hear and every wish child I meet. I want to give each child the world and that is why I do what I do and why I love my job. As the Manager of Philanthropy for Make-A-Wish® Iowa, I often receive many questions about what I do. The most popular being, “Aren’t you sad every day?” To answer honestly, while working for Make-A-Wish does have its challenges, more so, it is extremely rewarding.

In my career, every day I get to work with individuals throughout Iowa who have the means and the passion to donate to our organization. Furthermore, I work with volunteers, students and individuals throughout the state who want to better themselves by making a difference in the life of someone else. I get to share the mission and vision of our organization while they help make wishes come true.

Make-A-Wish’s mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. I realize that mission is much bigger than I am, and I will not lie, there are absolutely days where I would rather lay in bed watching eight hours of FRIENDS than work. Then I remember there is a child who has no choice but to watch hours of TV while receiving treatment and fighting for their life. That is why I get out of bed in the morning.

Even though there are days where difficult conversations are had, complaints are received, or a long drive to northern Iowa is endured, the joy I am inevitably bringing to a child’s life makes it all worthwhile. With our generous donors, I am able to share the impact that every gift has on our wish children, their families, and communities as a whole. For example, that 81% of wish parents witnessed that their child had an increased willingness to comply with treatment when receiving a wish. The money our donors give helps to provide children with the will they need to fight back.

Each day I am amazed by the generosity of college students at Universities around the state, by their endless compassion, and by their will to brighten the day of a child. Students hold meetings, seminars, and fundraisers to raise money and awareness about the impact and importance of Make-A-Wish. These students are making a change on their campus’ around the state and I get to support them and show them the difference they have made at the end of every semester when they adopt the wish of a local child.

Every day I get to Share the Power of a Wish® with donors, students, volunteers, and individuals around the state. Once in a meeting, a donor said to me, “I like you because your passion shines through in everything you do and talk about.” Of course, I politely smiled and thanked him while moving forward with the meeting, but later when I was reflecting on that conversation, I could not help but think that was one of the best compliments I have ever received in my life. Through my career, I have realized my purpose and it is not to simply raise money, it is to share my passion by helping people to realize the true impact they can and do have on others through their commitment to Make-A-Wish. Whether it is speaking to a group about our mission, holding a fundraiser, or running a toy drive that provides enhancement items to our wish children, everyone is making a difference in the life of our children. This result creates a domino effect that impacts the entire community.

I love my job. I love working for a non-profit. Each day presents a new challenge and a new reward. I love sharing the impact an individual has had on the life of a child and their family. I love seeing the unparalleled happiness of a child who has opened their bedroom door after an afternoon nap to see a brand new play set with a red slide in their backyard. I love seeing a child’s one true wish come true.


First Members

This January was an amazing month for YNPN Des Moines. We celebrated our 1st birthday with a bash at Jasper Winery and rolled out our official membership structure.

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Having a paid membership base is important for us to continue to offer professional development, social opportunities and resource-sharing initiatives. We’ll admit that we weren’t sure how our membership base would react to the new paid model, but within our first month, we’re proud to have added more than 50 paid members!

Sign up for yourself here. Annual dues are $35, or $15 for AmeriCorps volunteers.

A big shout-out to the more than 50 people who joined in Month One:

Brianne  Sanchez, Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation
Kelsey Tyrrell, Community Youth Concepts
Kristin Huinker, Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS)
Sarah Myren, Orchard Place-PACE
Danny Heggen, Healthways
Katy Heggen, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland
Chad Driscoll, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
Kristen Lancaster, The Stelter Co.
Joe Sorenson, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Rachel Bruns, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
Michelle Raymer, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
Brianne Fitzgerald, United Way of Central Iowa
Zebulon Beilke-McCallum, Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Jessica Ireland, Bidwell Riverside
Jenna Ekstrom, Des Moines Art Center
Ash Bruxvoort, The Nature Conservancy
Ted Heying, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Zack Davis, Organizing for Action
Courtney Howell, Drake University/Dress for Success Des Moines
Shauna Isaac, ICVS-Everybody Wins! Iowa
Remee Sedlacek, Drake University
Heather Binkley, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa
Arlene Heng, Evelyn K Davis Center for Working Families
Alicia Lavender, Central College
Kayla Burkhiser Reynolds, Catholic Charities
Jason Burkhiser Reynolds, Proteus Inc.
Mindy Euken Cadenillas, Des Moines Public School
Warren Aaberg,  United Way 211
Juan Cadenillas, Polk County Health Department
Jeremy Poland, Thrive United Methodist Church
Lindsay Eastin, Special Olympics Iowa
Joe Crimmings, LS2group
Erin Del Collo, P.E.O. Sisterhood
Kelli Lydon, Des Moines Rehabbers Club
Emily Shields, Iowa Campus Compact
John Mark Feilmeyer, ArtForceIowa
Karla Bromwell, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Amara Hartley, The Salvation Army
Nate Monson, Iowa Safe Schools
Jennifer Chittenden, Des Moines Downtown Chamber
Josh Skipworth, League of Conservation Voters
Emilee Richardson, Science Center of Iowa
Shauna Isaac, Everybody Wins! Iowa
Amanda Thys, WesleyLife
Erin Gille, Community Youth Concepts
Ashley Dockendorf, Make-A-Wish Iowa
Daniel Akright, Drake University
Natalie Koerber, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland
Chantelle Mathany, Alzheimer’s Association
Sunni Swarbrick, Simpson College


Why Become an Official YNPN Des Moines Member?

Over the course of a year and a half, YNPN Des Moines has grown from a small group connecting over coffee to a full-fledged organization with a calendar complete with professional development, resource sharing, social and online networking opportunities. We’re having a blast adding value to our community, and we don’t want to stop here.

In the nonprofit world, “sustainability” is at the core of every programming plan. We’re always looking for sources of revenue and enthusiasm to keep delivering on the mission. To address the issue of sustainability, YNPN Des Moines has launched an official membership structure. Annual dues are $35 or $15 for AmeriCorps volunteers. Consider asking your employer to assume the cost of a membership as part of their professional development budget.

Membership perks include:

  • Free or discounted admission to our professional and social events
  • Eligibility to serve in a leadership role for YNPN Des Moines
  • A subscription to the monthly newsletter and other communication
  • Access to a membership directory and conferences hosted by YNPN National
  • Plus, additional opportunities as we grow our list of partners

We are – and plan to remain – a completely volunteer-driven local chapter of a national organization. Our leadership team believes so much in what we’re doing that we’ve plunked down our own credit cards for everything from reserving meeting space to paying startup legal fees. As our organization grows, so do the costs. As young nonprofit professionals ourselves, we’re not making millions, so we’re calling on our members to contribute, too.

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BECOME A MEMBER TODAY: https://ynpndesmoines.wufoo.com/forms/membership-form/

We’re focus our efforts on adding even more value to being involved in YNPN Des Moines in 2014, including a trip to the YNPN National Conference in Twin Cities this June. Road trip!


Engaging Committee Members

StacyGarmon.pngby Stacie Garmon

This can definitely be a challenge. My advice; start your communication with your potential and confirmed committee members early. I typically start 10-12 months in advance. This will allow most individuals ample time to make room in their schedules for the planning process and the event itself.

It is best to have committee members from a variety of backgrounds. Yes, the “well-known” committee members have a broad reach in the community with several connections, but they can also be committed to several projects at one time. Do not be afraid to enlist young professionals and others who may not be as connected; these individuals are driven to succeed, what to get their name out in the community and often are not committed to several projects at one time…meaning they can dedicate more time to your event!

Define clear expectations and goals during the recruitment process. If attending meetings is vital to the success of the process, make sure to state this in the expectations. At times, I have listed that 50-60% of the monthly meetings must be attended to receive recognition on event materials.

Make it clear if they will be expected to solicit for monetary or in-kind donations. Will they be required to sell event tickets? If so, will there be a minimum for each individual to sell?

Many people are not comfortable asking others for money or “stuff” however; they may still be a very valuable committee member. Assign them to a task that fits their strengths; decorations, volunteer recruitment, etc… Do not assign a committee member to a task they are not comfortable with, you are setting your committee up for failure and it will only lead to last minute work on your part and could affect the outcome of donations. If you can assign committee members to tasks they enjoy, they are more likely to stay on schedule and be successful.

Stay connected throughout the planning period, even during those periods of time with less planning action. Meeting with the committee on a regular basis; I typically hold monthly meetings leading up to the event. However, 6-8 weeks prior to an event the meetings will be held every 2 weeks. Create an agenda for each meeting; this will help ensure the committee stays on task. Make sure when the meeting is complete that each individual has a clear understanding of their next steps. Send a meeting follow-up or minutes within 24 hours of the meeting as a reminder of what was discussed and everyone’s required follow-up. In those notes highlight the deadlines that were set at the meeting and of course, do not forget to provide the date, time and location of the next meeting. I typically like to send our meeting reminders 1 week and 24 hours prior.

Hold committee members accountable for the responsibilities they selected. Do not down play the importance of their tasks. Unfortunately, those tasks that the committee fails to complete are ultimately your job. Do not wait too long to step in to ensure the task is completed on time and correctly.

I believe a great committee with an event better leader will make an event successful. Finding the right members is just as important as selecting the right date, venue and auction items.


Get to Know: Lisa Shipley

LisaShipley.jpgName: Lisa Shipley

What she does: Public Alies Iowa, Program Manager

Age: 30

How she spends her free time: Right now I fill it with getting situated with my new apartment. Typically I fill it with walks, spending time with friends, reading a good book, watching movies, volunteering, and being an active Alum through AmeriCorps and Public Allies.

What she loves about her job: Right now I have a dream job (I could only be saying this because I’m still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ since getting hired on haha). My current job over laps many of my passions — leadership training, mentoring/coaching, commitment to service and AmeriCorps, and continuous learning. My supervisor is supportive, encouraging, provides direction with flexibility, and offers a helping hand when she can.

Hardest lesson learned on the job: Knowing when it’s time to move on — from a job, a project, a volunteer position, etc. This was a hard lesson to learn but I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn it now versus later in life. Through this experience of ‘letting go,’ I have learned that by doing such I provide room for others to grow and learn, as well as for me to do the same.

What inspires her: Teaching others any type of material. Not only does it push me to learn more about the subject matter, but it also challenges me to relate the material to them so they would have concrete examples to work with. It’s important to keep educating ourselves and others because I feel the good majority of inaction comes from not being informed. By being more informed about a variety of different topics, we’ll become a less passive society with only occasional interest in life altering topics — trafficking children in the US, the effects on children and their education from inactive parenting, and equal opportunities for all preferences of lifestyles.

How she got to Des Moines: I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL, and for the past six years I have lived in Indiana — attending Ball State University in Muncie, IN, completing a RM-of-service in AmeriCorps, and working with a local nonprofit. September 14, 2013 I moved to Des Moines, IA for a Program Manager position with AmeriCorps: Public Allies Iowa.

What she wishes she knew when she started her career: That I should have paid a lot more attention to the ‘theory classes’ I had while in Undergrad. By doing that information could be applied a lot more easily now.

What she wanted to be as a little girl: Growing up I had interests in teaching and service (nonprofit or government).

Dream job?: My dream job is service based, with 60% being administrative and 40% being direct service. Additionally, the supervisor would not only be supportive and encouraging, but would also be a great coach/mentor. This would provide me with an example to learn from, as well as challenging me exceed my comfort zone(s), so I can reach that next level in my career.

Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.



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