On October 27, we kicked off a new series of Networking and Information sessions. You’ll remember that we started these sessions last year as a way to meet new people, learn about community issues and concerns, and help develop relationships and build connections with organizations throughout Maryland. Our first one here in Baltimore (at the lovely Cylburn Arboretum) definitely helped to do that and more.
The first exciting this about the day was that we co-hosted the session with Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU). Volunteer Maryland and BVU support volunteer programs in very different ways and it was exciting to be able to collaborate in this way. Together, we spent two hours with about 25 people from 20 organizations in Baltimore. Over the course of the session, we had the opportunity to hear about challenges and successes in each organization’s volunteer programs. In small groups, we discussed episodic and ongoing volunteerism and looked at volunteer recruitment, retention, recognition, and more.
With nonprofit budgets so tight, it feels incredibly rare to be able to come together to simply network and share ideas and resources; conferences are sometimes out of reach or we simply can’t get away. This session gave everyone the opportunity to learn in a relaxed (and free) setting. What a delight!
For some of the organizations that had staff at the session, we may be able to partner next year to help them build or improve their volunteer program. We know that VM can be a great fit for some organizations that provide direct service and really need a full-time person to come in and set some program structures and recruit those volunteers! For other organizations, they may need some new ideas or a quick refresher on some volunteer management best practices; they’ll be able to benefit from BVU’s series of Lunch and Learns. (The next one is this Thursday and you can register here.) Our hope is that everyone who attended walked away having made a new connection, learned something new, or gained at least one good resource to look into back at the office. Partnering with BVU helped us to provide a nice, well-rounded session to Baltimore organizations.
We’re now looking forward to continuing the series at other locations throughout Maryland over the next couple of months. We’re coming to Frederick tomorrow, Charles County next week, and will be adding more dates as we move through the winter. If you’d like to spend some time networking and sharing information and ideas about volunteer programs, please join us! Dates, locations, and registration are here.