Recently I attended and volunteered at the Non Profit Boot Camp in Manhattan (an event sponsored by The Craig’s List Foundation). It was truly amazing with over 1,200 emerging and established community leaders in the non-profit world in attendance. Everyone seemed filled with boundless and contagious enthusiasm; it was remarkable how organized the chaos was.
Most of the attendees were young and idealistic, many just starting out in the non-profit arena, there to soak up as much knowledge as possible during a very long day. Others came with only a dream, hoping to learn from others how set up their own non-profit, each convinced their cause was unique. The event included a day of interesting workshops, keynotes and some great networking. The volunteer staff was terrific, smoothing over any issues that occurred throughout the day and the killer coffee and natural snacks supplied from vendors for free were an added plus especially for those sitting in the trade show section!
So what was my part besides taking a booth at the trade show and drinking some great coffee? For two hours I sat in a small room working one-on-one in twenty minute intervals with 5 different people who signed up to speak to me for help with branding and marketing (the sessions were organized and run by a great organization called Non-Profit Central NY/NJ with its CEO Sue Caruso Green at the helm). I began each session w/, "How can I help you?" and often just being a sounding board seemed to help. Sometimes my "EXPERTISE" was just coming up with a simple solution for them to consider. (after all how much can you learn in twenty minutes?) Nonetheless, I felt very valued, with many of them trying to grab an extra minute with me before the next person came in to take a seat, and each leaving with a heartfelt thank you. Something that doesn’t always happen with paying clients.