It might sound redundant to say that the primary difference between a nonprofit and a traditional business is that the former does not provide a financial return to investors. However, when it comes to operations, that distinction is almost moot. Nonprofit does not mean non-professional.
"Nonprofits are registered California corporations, and like all such organizations they need to conduct their operations according to good business practices," notes David Rice, president of the Hacienda-based Tri-Valley Community Foundation (TVCF). Usually operating on a shoestring, nonprofits have to rely on volunteers, especially board members, to provide the competencies essential for success.
"Board members are specifically chartered to keep a nonprofit in good fiscal health and operating efficiently," Rice observes. "Nonprofits need the involvement of experienced business people in disciplines like finance, marketing, and human resources to provide best practices so the organization runs more professionally and serves its clients more effectively."
As part of its mission to support the nonprofit community, the TVCF, in conjunction with Hacienda Helping Hands, is hosting the second annual Pillars of Tri-Valley, a trade show-like event designed to help nonprofits recruit the board talent they need. Pillars takes place on Wednesday, June 1, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the CarrAmerica Conference Center, 4400 Rosewood Drive.
"It's the perfect opportunity for executives and managers who want to do something good in their community to get acquainted with many of the area's nonprofits in a single venue," Rice comments.
First held in 2009, Pillars of Tri-Valley returns this year in a revised format, scheduled during the workday with components that add more value for all participants. One new ingredient is the pre-event training session for nonprofits, held in early May. The idea was to help nonprofits prepare for their meetings with potential board members during the trade show, Rice explains. "They need to understand what information the executives will be looking for and how to deliver it quickly, with a certain amount of sizzle and persuasion."
The actual Pillars kicks off at 9 a.m. on June 1 with set-up and registration. An hour-long panel discussion follows at 10. Panelists from major corporations in the Tri-Valley will discuss best practices in attracting corporate support, giving priorities, and trends in corporate philanthropy. The corporate leaders will also field questions on strategies for preparing successful fundraising proposals.
After a light buffet lunch, the trade show gets underway at 11:30. The 40 or more participating nonprofits will have tabletop displays providing information on their role in the community, while their staff and leadership will be on hand to discuss board opportunities.
The event is free of charge to all participants thanks to event sponsors 1st United Services Credit Union, RREEF, Bumblebee Marketing, and Tri-Valley Internet.
In addition to a very diverse group of nonprofits - from cancer support groups to arts organizations - TVCF expects a strong corporate turnout, encouraging not just Hacienda businesses but companies throughout the Tri-Valley to attend.
As a follow-on to Pillars, TVCF will launch a series of educational gatherings that focus on different key competencies for philanthropic organizations, such as fundraising, board development, and governance, as part of an integrated approach to raise the knowledge base among the nonprofit community.
For more information, contact the TVCF at (925) 734-9965 or visit www.trivalleypillars.org .
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