Mon 22 May 2006
Hope Station is a non profit organization that serves the Carlisle area in attempts to improve it through means of their programs and community involvement. The experience I had at Hope Station showed me first hand how a non profit works. Krizzha, Peter and I were given the task of completing grant for Hope Station and through working on the grant we learned a lot about the manner in which Hope Station conducts their business as well as the headaches that come along with it. The grant we were given to complete was a $50,000 NAP, Neighborhood Assistance Program, grant and working on this grant has strengthen my appreciation for the literature that we read, making the experience even more enriching. The first connection I saw to the text was displayed when we first received the grant. Before having the class I always wondered how non profits attained funds, and in class I learned that they were given grants. Now I saw first hand the manner in which the grant had to be handled and the long strenuous task it is to complete the grant.
We visited Hope Station frequently with questions towards how and what we need to complete the grant and we witnessed many faults within Hope Station. The first was the interaction between executive and other paid employees. According to the text this was a vital key to keep non profits functioning and strong, however this did not occur very often from what I observed. This also lead to a lot of confusion between the executive, Jim Washington, and the deputy executive, Barbra Muller. This lead to Krizzha and I becoming ping pong balls as we were sent from one office to another when we asked questions. Another connection to the literature I noticed was shown by Hope Station’s volunteer strategy. Krizzha and I sat down with Mr. Washington and questioned him in depth about his volunteer policy and strategy. We learned that Hope Station gains volunteers through three key methods, which are Word of Mouth, board members seeking and attaining volunteers and having an open door policy for anyone who wants to volunteer. Once he stated this it sounded as if he was reading right out of our text book. He has no methods of evaluation for his volunteers and they are free to leave whenever they feel, which according to the text is a common method in most non profits. He then went on to state that he creates a very relaxed atmosphere for his volunteers, one with very little constraints and he places all volunteers in fields that they have some experience in, which is also very common in non profits. We also asked him about his methods of retention, he replied he proves incentives through means of T-shirts or awards for hard work.
Overall this experience was very fulfilling. I learned a great deal about the non profit sector and was able to witness first hand the benefits and weakness that non profits may possess. I was astonished to see how closely related for profits and non profits are in the way they conduct business. This experiences has strengthen my interest in the non profit sector and I plan to continue my involvement throughout my college years.