As a recent college graduate, I am constantly looking for opportunities to grow and learn in my field. So I was beyond thrilled to attend the Alliance Management Institute 2016 Conference with members of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation team. The Foundation’s Chief Communications Officer and Chief Development Officer were featured speakers at the conference.
I first attended the “Dancing with the Media” session which was presented by the CCO, Tiffaney Dale Hunter. Her presentation provided effective ways and public relations tips for getting media coverage in a fun and interactive way by mirroring her tips with dancing steps and styles such as the Foxtrot and the Cha Cha. She creatively attached a famous or popular dance style to each step, which kept the attendees entertained and engaged throughout the session. Tiffaney also made a powerful connection with us by personalizing her experience and demonstrating how working with nonprofits is about service, duty and making a difference in both our lives and the lives of others.
At the end, Tiffaney teared-up while sharing a personal experience that made her realize how life is short so it is important to follow your purpose and passion. She went on to share that if working in communications for a nonprofit was a calling to us, then we should follow that passion. Her presentation and personal testimonials was truly informative and inspiring. Everyone in the room was greatly moved!
The second presentation was with the Chief Development Officer, Kirsten Stubbs and fellow VISTA’s Sara Amin and Ashley Danna. Their presentation was on the volunteer efforts and exercises needed by an organization to rally, mobilize and retain volunteers.
They shared how one of the most important resources for nonprofits to invest and take care of are its volunteers because without volunteers, goals by nonprofits sometimes cannot be reached. People who graciously give time and resources to an organization are people who not only contribute but make up the organization .Kristen provided an overview of the Foundation and informed us about the organization’s goals and achievements including its volunteer portal, Connect 4 Literacy.
Sara then presented about the rallying and retentions of volunteers making her part interactive and giving us the opportunity to use our critical thinking skills to come up with solutions to make volunteers feel included and important with the objective to retain them. She also mentioned the importance of communication with volunteers and facing challenges head on.
Ashley was the last presenter and she spoke on the importance or recognizing volunteers. She explained that though most nonprofits do not have extensive resources, providing volunteers, who are an asset, with a breakfast, little goodies, leadership and learning opportunities are good ways to show them that the organization appreciates their efforts.
Both presentations were a success and many of the students and professionals that attended learned a lot! All the presenters validated feelings and the professional goals of the attendees, and gave great insight and tips. It made me feel amazed and reminded me again of how humbled I am to be part of such an amazing organization that allows me to grow and learn at every turn.