I recently volunteered to help improve our internal processes and with my new role I’m also responsible for board development, so I’m taking every oppotunity I can to learn about what a more typical board does. Ty was sweet enough to invite me to his board meeting so I can see how a more mature organization/board conducts its meetings. It was absolutely amazing! They were so organized. Everyone was so prepared to talk to all the agenda items. They slated 2 hours to cover all the agenda items, started 10 minutes late and still ended an hour early! I was so blown away. I’m so jealous.
Tonight was the first "VNSF Family & Friends" dinner. I organized this dinner so our new VNSF volunteers get an opportunity to meet the rest of the VNSF board and our board advisors. As is par for the course w/ the VNSF board — we had great food, great conversation and great fun! What’s even more valuable is we got to hear a fresh perspective from people completely new to our organization. Since VNSF is still small, 90+% of our donor base is through personal connections of board members. And most of the board has either served on the board for more than half its existance or was recruited my a founding member (like me). So our oganization is still very small, very personal and we’ve relied mainly on those personal, trusted contacts to fundraise, recruit, etc. Our new set of volunteers is really the first set of people who have joined without personally knowing someone on the board beforehand. As a result, they gave us great insight into some of the questions, some of the skepticisms that run through people’s minds. It was awesome! Can’t wait to schedule another one so the rest of our volunteers can make it!!
I am really digging non-profit work. It’s a real growth opportunity for me. I’m learning so much and I’m experiencing a lot that’s really put me outside my comfort zone. And as if that wasn’t rewarding enough as it is, I also know that the love and sweat I put into this organization helps hundreds of kids in Vietnam. I’m eager to make that number thousands of kids! =)
This past week, VNSF put on our Annual Benefit Dinner. Last year, I was traveling overseas and could not attend so this was all new to me. And having joined the board only 10 months ago, I went from not ever attending it to helping to plan it! I’ve never planned/coordinated events other than my own parties, outings, etc. Casual get-togethers are pretty easy but planning a benefit dinner is like planning a wedding… almost. You have to think about the invitation, the menu, the placement, the favors, etc. But we weren’t just making decisions, we had to do all the actual work too! In the end, I think it was a success and I think we all did a great job. The highlight of the evening (for me) was the Wii competition. Ryan was hilarious with his trash-talking. I don’t think it would have been nearly so fun if he didn’t add the personality to it.
These days, my mind is always on VNSF… I am always thinking about what our next step is and how we get there. But I need to focus… so here’s my list of things to do:
1) Redesign the website — been putting this off too long. I need to recruit an IT committee to help me build the website, some tools, etc.2) Fundraising strategy — need to think about how we make more money for 2008. I need to recruit a committee for this too! =)3) Scholarship process — need to make our process more efficient for the 2008-9 year