For the past two days, more than 150 staff and representatives from HandsOn Network affiliates came together to network, discuss important sector trends, share best practices and celebrate their collective success. Their time together focused on innovative programming, partnership development, technology and more. The Pre-conference also featured an impressive lineup of presenters and speakers, including communication experts Michael Margolis and Allison Fine.
“Reframing the Story of the 21st Century Volunteer Centers,” presented by Margolis, focused on how reframing our message is the key to reinvention, relevance and relationship building with our constituents. Margolis, founder and president of Get Storied, an education, advisory and publishing company, takes the traditional notions of storytelling and re-invents them in the context of branding, innovation and cultural change with the goal of teaching the world to think in narrative. His popular book, Believe Me: A Storytelling Manifesto for Change-Makers and Innovators, quickly turned him into a leading voice in the world of storytelling. Margolis also teaches brand storytelling as an executive education instructor for Schulich School of Business.
Fine shared her expertise during her presentation, “From Institutions to Social Networks,” which provided a framework for re-organizing as social networks, how to use social media to power the network and how to energize a community and volunteers with this new lens. Fine is the co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit and author of the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age. She is a senior fellow on the Democracy Team at Demos, a New York-based think tank. Read more about Fine’s thoughts about the intersection of social media and social change at her blog.
The presentation of the George W. Romney Award of Excellence to HandsOn South Alabama (HOSA) was a highlight of the Pre-conference. The award was established in 1996 to honor Governor Romney and his personal commitment to volunteer service at all levels of society. The award honors the collective success of Affiliates in making a meaningful difference through volunteering and service in their communities and across the sector.
HOSA’s mission is to mobilize individuals and resources to develop creative solutions to community problems. Their innovative Volunteer Guardianship Program matches trained volunteers with wards who are incapacitated, with no family and unable to make life decisions. HOSA volunteers ensure the ward has access to safe and secure housing, nutrition and medical care.
In a challenging economic climate, HOSA has been able to build capacity for the future by securing $100,000 grant from the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to expand volunteer mobilization across South Alabama, assisting victims of the oil spill. HOSA successfully developed an endowment to provide annual, unrestricted funding to support their mission of mobilizing volunteers to meet community needs.