Thank you to the Upstate Business Journal (UBJ) for inviting me to be a regular contributor to this new publication. My column Nonprofit Matters will present  information relevant to nonprofit professionals and community leaders in a question and answer format. I am so excited about this opportunity to share my passion and expertise. My first column can be found on page 27 of the inaugural November 9th issue or you can it read here.

PUBLISHED IN THE UPSTATE BUSINESS JOURNAL ON NOVEMBER 9, 2012

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My goal in writing this column is to share my passion for nonprofits by bringing to light relevant information and success stories. This column will be presented in a question and answer format. So whether you are a nonprofit professional, an active community volunteer or someone just looking for a way to get involved, I want to hear from you. To get started, I decided to present a question I get asked frequently by newcomers to our community. Recently, at a Metropolitan Arts Council Open Studios event, I met Steve and Sara. Here is how our conversation began:

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We are recent retirees who just moved to Greenville. How do we get involved in the nonprofit community in the Upstate?
~Steve and Sara P

WOW, this is a tricky, yet important question. We are all busy people and time is so precious so we want to choose wisely. There are virtually hundreds of nonprofit organizations in our area…each with a different focus…children, education, housing, hunger, health care, animals, the environment, the elderly, the arts…to name a few.

First decide where your passion lies. Then the work begins. I suggest visiting the following websites to survey some of the opportunities that are available within a variety of interest areas. Each site showcases their partner agencies.

I also suggest that you and Sara get your feet wet by volunteering. There are numerous opportunities to do this. A great way to get started is with a group like Hands on Greenville

I encourage all of my nonprofit friends to be ready, willing and able to receive that unsolicited call or email from Steve and Sara. What a great opportunity to open the door to recruit them as volunteers, donors or board members. Be prepared with a list of volunteer opportunities, a calendar of upcoming special events and a personal invitation to visit your facility or to share a cup of coffee with an ambassador of your organization.

Steve and Sara spend time doing your homework first and you will soon be integrated into the rich-volunteer fabric of our community.

Until next time,

Debbie Nelson