Briefcase

Report Features Advice on Nonprofit Fund-raising

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) released its latest edition of its Commonwealth Insights report series. The report, titled “From the Experts: Advice to Inform Your Organization’s Fundraising,” features advice from interviews with four successful Massachusetts nonprofit fund-raisers in an effort to inform and support year-end fund-raising efforts of nonprofit organizations. In an early 2017 survey of its membership, nearly 60% of MNN member nonprofits cited fund-raising as the largest challenge facing their organization. With many nonprofits currently accelerating their fund-raising operations to coincide with the end of the calendar year, MNN believes this report will be useful to its over 700 nonprofit members representing every region of the state, as well as members of the state’s nonprofit sector at large. “Fund-raising is an ever-present challenge — and opportunity — for all types of nonprofits. This edition of Commonwealth Insights focuses on ideas that can help nonprofits take their fund-raising to new heights,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. The report is centered on general strategies for fund-raisers to consider in their efforts and is supplemented with actionable advice. In a fast-paced and changing fund-raising landscape, all four experts agree that the need to consistently engage donors and provide them with new, creative ways to be involved with a nonprofit organization is critical to building and retaining support. The report also touches upon a concern of those working in fund-raising, particularly at smaller organizations: that current events and overwhelming needs from across the country and world could further heighten the competition for donors’ support. The interviewed experts agreed that, while this concern is understandable, donors of all ages are looking for even more ways to support causes they care about. “I think that many people are looking for more ways to make a difference, and I think that is what we need right now,” said Margaret Keller, executive director of Community Access to the Arts in Great Barrington, one of the experts featured in the report. “Donors are more engaged and more committed than ever.” This is the third edition of Commonwealth Insights MNN has published in 2017. Earlier editions focused on federal tax reform and the Earned Income Tax Credit. The series is made possible by support from the Barr Foundation.

Financial Literacy Ambassadors Project Receives Funding

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Partners for Community Action Inc. has been awarded a Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Special Projects grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development to support its Financial Literacy Ambassadors project. The Financial Literacy Ambassadors project is designed to facilitate the training and certification of multi-cultural and multi-lingual community residents to become peer-to-peer trainers and deliver financial education to their own communities. “We thank the department and Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay for their support,” said Paul Bailey, executive director at Springfield Partners. “With this round of funding, we plan to identify interested applicants to train and become certified financial-literacy educators capable of delivering peer training to others in the community in multiple languages.” Applications are being accepted now. Anyone interested in applying should contact T.J. Steele at (413) 263-6500, ext. 6568, or taijhias@springfieldpartnersinc.com, or Stephen Plummer at (413) 263-6500, ext. 6567, or stpehenp@springfieldpartnersinc.com. Springfield Partners is the official anti-poverty agency serving Springfield’s poor and low-income community since 1964. It offers programs and services in financial literacy, credit counseling, weatherization, emergency fuel assistance, multi-cultural Alzheimer’s, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, early education and care, community scholarship, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, veteran services, eviction clinic, and housing counseling.

Single-family Home Sales in Pioneer Valley Up in October

SPRINGFIELD — Single-family home sales were up 20.6% in the Pioneer Valley in October compared to the same time last year, while the median price rose 6% to $205,550, according to the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley. In Franklin County, sales were down 13.1%, while the median price also fell 13.1% from a year earlier. In Hampden County, sales were up 24.4%, while the median price was up 3.6%. And in Hampshire County, sales rose 24.4% from October 2016, while the median price was up 1.9%.

Community Collaboration Boosts OT Services at Square One

SPRINGFIELD — In support of the Square One mission to ensure that all children have the foundation they need to be successful in life, Bay Path University and Eversource have formed a partnership to enhance the clinical services provided to Square One children. Eversource recently awarded a $2,500 grant to the university for its Play Matters Therapy program. The funding will be utilized to expand current services and broaden the scope of assessments that will be conducted with children in this program, incorporate nutrition curriculum, and to purchase materials and equipment needed to facilitate movement groups or treatment components. Students and faculty from Bay Path have provided occupational therapy (OT) services to children at the Square One Family Center on King Street in Springfield for nearly three years through Play Matters Therapy. The Eversource grant further cements the longstanding partnership that dates back years prior to the conception of Play Matters. “From the ground up, we started building the Play Matters Therapy program that provided free, community-based, occupational-therapy services to the children and families of Square One,” said Amanda Lizotte, coordinator of Emerging Practice Fieldwork at Bay Path University. “The purpose of this program is three-fold: to provide services to children in need to support their overall development, prepare them for entrance to kindergarten, and ensure successful participation in life activities; to provide support to the child’s network, which includes parents, caregivers, and educators, by disseminating resources and education; and to provide Bay Path occupational therapy students, the majority of whom will remain in the region to live and work, with critical experiential learning opportunities that enable them to professionally grow and develop into future occupational-therapy practitioners.” Under close supervision by clinical OT instructors, students hone their skills as OTs as they work with children across a variety of focus areas — gross and fine motor development, visual motor skills, sensory integration, social skills, nutrition, self-esteem, stress relief, and coping mechanisms, to name a few — in an attempt to help bridge a crucial gap during a critical time in the child’s development. A full-time therapist from the university is also on site at Square One so that services may be provided even when Bay Path students are not present. “We are so grateful to Bay Path and Eversource for this unique collaboration,” said Kristine Allard, chief Development & Communications officer for Square One. “Many of our children experience trauma in their lives as a result of the challenges they are faced with at home. Poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, abuse, and neglect all place a tremendous strain on their health and development. Our partnership with Bay Path is meeting a critical need. We are very grateful to them, as well as Eversource for recognizing the importance of this work.”

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