Archive - Nonprofit Spr06


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.

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.

Project SHARE has a very valuable mission that people can easily identify with. They are a food pantry that wants to feed the hungry within Carlisle. Not only do the recipients of this aid get balanced nutritional meals, but they themselves participate in different jobs throughout the month, so that they are not just receiving charity, but they are then aiding their neighbors as well as themselves. This is a cause that just about anybody can relate to and is a strength for their non-profit organization. Local churches feel an obligation to aid SHARE, and in this way, they receive much of their monthly tangible donations. The program is ran by individuals who greatly believe in their mission, and who inspire those around them to join in the campaign. They are inventive, and personable, so they do manage to reach out to a rather large number of people in Carlisle, and they do appear to be affecting lives for the better, though the paper evidence is hard to come by.

I think that this was a valuable experience, even though I feel like we did not really accomplish much. I went into this service-learning thinking that I was going to complete a big worthwhile project. Instead, we only managed to create an Excel program. But it taught me how difficult it can be to be a manager. There are so many obstacles that get in the way of the actual act of helping people. I think that I brought some fresh ideas to SHARE, as well as a desire to make their work easier and more efficient. Ideas about accountability and evaluation were planted in my mind from class, and discussing these ideas with Elaine and Pam hopefully helped them realize where change was necessary. I feel that while I brought ambition and a drive for change to SHARE, I was also enthused by the women that I worked with. I saw their interactions with the people that they help every week, and I can now understand how they continue to work there, putting all of themselves into a project that can feel so frustrating. There are no guarantees in this sector. Though I had not been very interested in a management position before, I do feel that it is something that I could be interested in in the future.

Putting in the service learning hours at Project SHARE really brought the readings and lectures from class to life for me. I read about the problems that these organizations face, and how difficult it is to stay true to your mission and maintain integrity while seeking financial security. I learned the importance of having systems of checks and balances within a board and the CEO of a nonprofit, as well as being accountable to the community and other constituents. Working with Elaine and Pam taught me just how difficult it is for a nonprofit to get the kind of money that they need to successfully run their program. Grants are often elusive; you may be rewarded the grant one or more times, and then out of the blue, you’ll be rejected. The guest speakers often spoke about the very issues that I witnessed during my hours. This was such a good way to bring the abstract into reality.

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