"Together, we're better," is the motto of the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance, a group founded in March, 2014 to aid the region's various community-benefit organizations.
The group's creation was inspired by a chance meeting in an elevator by Livermore community leaders Katherine Young and Mony Nop, who recognized that many nonprofits faced common challenges but lacked a means to communicate. Topics such as fundraising, volunteer recruitment, staffing, and administrative items like accounting and tax returns are important to every nonprofit, but organizations often find themselves stuck on their own, looking for solutions.
Thanks to the TVNPA, however, now a forum is being provided for nonprofits to share information on these issues among themselves, as well as to hear presentations from others connected to that community.
"It's a great opportunity to bring together nonprofit organizations throughout the Tri-Valley area for monthly meetings as a way to gather, collaborate, and get educated about best practices and other topics of interest," says Carolyn Siegfried, a member of the executive committee for the TVNPA. "When our nonprofits are stronger our community as a whole is stronger."
The group currently meets on the second Thursday of each month. Topics for these gatherings have thus far included an in-depth panel discussion featuring grant makers, corporate charity representatives and experts in the world of nonprofit organization development; planned giving programs; creating elevator pitches; social media best practices; working with the media; producing successful fundraising events; and how to create and implement an annual fundraising drive, among others. Although meetings to date have taken place exclusively in Livermore, Siegfried says that there are plans to expand the location to Pleasanton and other cities in the region.
"So far, we've had about 120 different nonprofit organizations participate at one time or another," says Siegfried. "I would say that about 90 percent of attendees to date are volunteers, staff members, or board members, while about 10 percent have been consultants or people offering services to nonprofits. All nonprofits are encouraged to attend." While these get-togethers have so far occurred during regular business hours, she says that the group intends to either expand its offerings to include after-hours events or simply move them to the evenings.
"The main thing is that it's open to all nonprofits," she says. "There may be people from Hacienda that are involved as volunteers or board members with various organizations, and they're welcome to attend as well. They don't have to be staff people."
At present, the TVNPA has no fees for either membership or its monthly meetings, an inclusive gesture designed to allow even fledgling organizations to attend. However, Siegfried notes that the TVNPA is in many ways a start-up nonprofit itself, "and we'll be looking for fiscal sponsors from the business community which would be interested in supporting our organization."
The easiest way to keep abreast of the group's activities, she says, is to sign up for the TVNPA e-mail newsletter on their web site at www.tvnpa.org . The group also maintains a Facebook page at f acebook.com/TriValleyNonprofitAlliance and a LinkedIn page at linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=6979042 . They are on Twitter @tvnpa .
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