Anna


I feel like I can honestly contest that my time spent working with Project S.H.A.R.E. has become very worthwhile. Going to site visits, talking to Elaine and Pam about Project S.H.A.R.E., and working on the grant project with Joy all proved to be very fulfilling and educational experiences for me. I feel like Project S.H.A.R.E. was a perfect fit for me because it really opened up my eyes to what it is like to actually work in a nonprofit. This being my first time ever working for a nonprofit, I learned a lot about management skills, leadership, volunteering, and myself. This organization really helped me see and discover the key to success in nonprofit work; which is that passion really drives ambition and ambition drives desire to do good for the greater good, and this in the end provides continuous fulfillment. You see, by working at Project S.H.A.R.E. I was able to see hands on how important it is for an individual to be passionate about his or her work at a nonprofit because it is a working environment that could easily frustrate someone if they aren’t there out of their own will. The lack of organization, miscommunication, and slow pace of things at Project S.H.A.R.E. could frustrate a person who doesn’t have an interest in the organization. On the other hand, for me this type of environment was the perfect fit because I felt passionately compelled to do a good job with my work both for Elaine and the organization because of my interest. Furthermore, this organization was a perfect fit for me because of how fruitful and enjoyable my relationship was with both Elaine and Pam. I learned a lot from them because of our shared conversations and just from observation alone.

I felt that I personally impacted the agency because of my presence there, my genuine interest to learn more about Project S.H.A.R.E. and Elaine’s role, and because of the end result of my work. I remember when Joy and I first went to Project S.H.A.R.E. and we came back with a bucket full of brainstormed ideas. Now, two months later, we have come back with an Excel grant organizing system for Elaine and Pam to use. We created this organizing system out of the ideas that we had brainstormed because we saw that there was no way that Project S.H.A.R.E. could apply for the grants that it sought to apply for, if it did not already organize its files about those that it had and hadn’t applied to previously. Joy and I both saw how dangerous it was for Project S.H.A.R.E. to not keep track of its grants because this jeopardized the organization’s financial accountability. We felt that Elaine needed to know how much money she was getting for her grants, what it was going towards, and if and when she could have the chance to apply for the grants again. In creating this Excel program with Joy, I feel and hope that I have personally impacted this agency because I feel that this program is one step in the right direction both for Elaine and the direct management of Project S.H.A.R.E.

This experience phenomenally connected to my work in class in a multitude of ways. In working at Project S.H.A.R.E. I learned about effective leadership skills, management skills, was able to talk about strategic frameworks with Elaine, understood the basics of financial accountability a bit better through the creation of the Excel program, was able to use the class readings and discussions as tools to better understand how Project S.H.A.R.E. was managed, what could be improved in this organization, and really began to understand how important my small role was in this organization. It’s really difficult to put into words all that I have learned and absorbed about nonprofit management. It is one thing to learn about management in a classroom and it’s another to see how effective management is executed. On paper, leadership skills look easy to obtain and implement. In reality, I found that by working at Project S.H.A.R.E. it can be much harder to follow through and abide by all these rules. In the end, it was my experience outside of the classroom which taught me how to take what I knew about nonprofits and transform it into something more tangible than words.

Joy and I went to Project S.H.A.R.E. last week with our first ‘grant organizing’ blueprint. We came to Project S.H.A.R.E. with an organized data sheet which listed all the grants that Elaine had applied to from 2004 till 2006. Using Microsoft Excel, we made an attempt to organize the grants for which Elaine had and had not applied for through measures of effectiveness. Each grant received a column that described its purpose, the year that it was applied for, the amount of money that was or wasn’t received from it, the application date for the grant, and if the approval process for a grant was still pending or not. As we met with Elaine and Pam, Joy and I weren’t very confident in what we had produced. After all, this was our first attempt, and to us, it didn’t seem that Elaine could or even might find our organizing method useful. But you know what, she did. And to her, the organizing system that Joy and I had begun, proved more useful to her than the stacks of folders that she currently had to organize all her materials. As both Elaine and Pam looked at our data sheet, they then were able to fill in some missing data for each grant because of how organized the information was. For instance, by looking at a specific grant’s column, they were able to see what information they thought they had, but didn’t. As Elaine worked more and more with our data sheet, she also gave productive feedback to Joy and I. She made several suggestions about the things that she would like to see added unto the data sheet. For instance, Elaine wanted to have the contact information for each grant added into another column. After Elaine and Pam reviewed this data sheet, they then thanked us for our efforts and made both Joy and I feel very confident about our work. They reminded us how great accomplishments can be made because of small successful attempts to reach the final destination. In other words, what we did was significant because it bring Project S.H.A.R.E. one step closer to becoming a more effective and accountable organization.

Like usual, Joy and I had a very productive and educational experience at Project S.H.A.R.E. Before Joy and I went to Project S.H.A.R.E. we were a bit apprehensive about our data sheet and didn’t feel that confident that this was something that Elaine could work with. But after seeing Elaine’s reaction to our work and her appreciation for it, I came to realize how vital little and innovative steps can be in reaching a final goal; an ultimate accomplishment. Furthermore, since this was the first time that I had ever tried to create a data sheet, I felt proud of this accomplishment, since it came from just experimenting different means and ways to create such a thing. And lastly, by creating this grant blueprint, I feel as if I can now successfully rise to the occasion in completing and executing tasks like these, when needed.

It is my hope that by creating a successful grant organizing system for Elaine and Pam, that Project S.H.A.R.E. may have a better way to assess its effectiveness as a non profit organization. I hope that this method of organization will be one way that Elaine and Pam may measure whether or not Project S.H.A.R.E. achieves a portion of its mission statement. In essence, as we have discussed in class, it is my hope that because of this data sheet, Project S.H.A.R.E. will be able to organize its accountability in a well documented manner that will help it both to progressively grow and enhance its performance. Robert Behn’s article, Why Measure Performace? Different Purposes Require Different Measures and Susan Paddock’s, Evaluation, articles both illustrate the necessity and need for organizational accountability in non profit organizations such as Project S.H.A.R.E., in order to help them asses both their internal and external challenges and capabilities. Furthermore, the presentation about PANO in Thursday’s class further reinforced the need for how and why non profits should implement and use ‘logic models’ to help them measure their success and effectiveness. As is my understanding, in order for Project S.H.A.R.E. to grow in the coming years, it desperately needs to make its organizational policies less nebulous and more clear. If Project S.H.A.R.E. can’t measure its own accountability and fix its own problems, then how can it begin to conquer Carlisle’s community?

I know that there isn’t much time left in my internship, but there is enough time to create an effective grant organizing system that will end Elaine’s infamous filling system for good!

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