Better Communications and a Larger Network – We’re Looking to Learn

Our application deadline has come and gone and we’re starting to review what we’ve received.  As I’ve mentioned previously, this is exciting stuff.  It’s wonderful to learn about organizations serving their communities throughout Maryland and begin to visualize how we can help them create more effective volunteer programs.  2011-2012 will be our 20th year and our 24th class!

Here’s the challenge, though.  Volunteer Maryland works with nonprofits across the state but so far this application cycle, that’s not the case.  We’ve received very few applications from Southern MD, Western MD, or the Eastern Shore.

When we had our networking sessions earlier this year, a common challenge kept coming up.  How do you increase your network and communicate with more – and different – people and organizations?  This is definitely a challenge for us at Volunteer Maryland.  Though we’ve partnered with more than 500 different nonprofits, schools, and government agencies, we know there are many, many more that aren’t in our network.  After all, there are nearly 30,000 nonprofits in this state!

So, we’ve extended our application deadline and are going to spend the next few weeks focused on learning and improving our communications.  Just like with the networking sessions, we want to learn what’s going on in all areas of Maryland.  We want to find out the best ways to communicate.  We want to understand more about the nonprofit sector.  We want to see how we can help.

How do you communicate in your county?  Have you been successful growing your network?  What recommendations do you have for us?

If you know of an organization that could benefit from a VM partnership, let them know they can submit an application until April 22, 2011.   We all benefit from diversity – and that includes our next VM class.  When I write again after April 22, I hope to report geographic diversity in our upcoming service year.


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