This week I did an all day training in Louisiana for AmeriCorps VISTA members on resource development and developing strategic partnerships with businesses.  VISTA (started by President Kennedy in 1965) is one of the National Service program funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

For more than 10 years, I have worked all over the country with VISTA supervisors and members helping them develop performance measurement strategies and tools to gauge and document the impact of the VISTA members on strengthening the capacity of their host organization.  It was a great group of dedicated VISTA members in Louisiana this week – ranging in age from their early 20’s to mid 60’s!

“VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and much more. With passion, commitment, and hard work, [they] create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.”

One of the things I focused on a lot in my training was how to look beyond old school “checkbook philanthropy” and asking for donations from businesses to really developing multifaceted  win-win partnerships.  As part of the training and my self study nonprofit toolkit, I offer 65+ options for nonprofits and businesses engagement to expand the mindset of what is possible – using real life examples and offering food for thought.  All strategies are not equally appropriate for all organizations, so you need to pick and choose the ones that could work best for your own situation and goals.

So with this post, I am kicking off a series of blog posts about the various ways to give back – so stay tuned!  Hopefully you will get some great ideas for new things to try!