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“Maine’s nonprofits are indispensable to Maine’s economy.”
Today’s Monday Maine Maven is Abbie McGilvery, the Maine Association of Nonprofits (MANP) education program coordinator.
In the nonprofit sector, quality training and education are important to the health of organizations and their ability to achieve lasting results. It’s Abbie’s job to organize SkillBuilders (3-6 hour workshop sessions) to meet the professional development needs of nonprofit boards and staff, and to continue to build the community of learning and collaboration among Maine nonprofits.
Abbie’s specialties include: social media marketing, event coordination, building relationships/networking, creativity, and problem-solving.
To connect with Abbie, visit her LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/abbiemcgilvery.
1.) How important is the role of nonprofits in Maine’s economy? What unique challenges do you experience in the nonprofit sector that for-profit companies might not face?
Nonprofits are a necessary component of Maine’s economy in so many ways. Maine’s nonprofits protect the environment, care for our most vulnerable citizens, support arts and culture, educate our children, develop community leaders, and sustain our spirit.
Nonprofit organizations employ 1 in 7 Maine workers and provide a wide range of jobs from entry-level administrative and direct service jobs to jobs that require advanced degrees and extensive training and experience. These jobs paid over $3.1 billion in wages to Maine workers in 2008 which translated to more than $119 million of personal income tax revenue for the state and nearly $354 million in federal income tax revenue.
In short, Maine’s nonprofits are indispensable to Maine’s economy.
The nonprofit sector is comprised of staff, board members, and executive directors who wear many hats each day. Each member of a nonprofit must be ready to take on tasks that may be outside of their “job description” in order to meet the needs of the organization. Nonprofit staff and leaders can become easily overwhelmed by daily tasks involved in running a successful nonprofit, and it is MANP’s goal to provide resources and training to make their jobs easier.
Clearly, finding the necessary funding for Maine’s nonprofits to thrive continues to be a concern in tough economic times. Many nonprofits find the development and grant writing processes daunting, but MANP can provide essential education to help nonprofit staff tackle fundraising in a more strategic and efficient way.
In a time when there are many nonprofits contending for funding opportunities, it is essential for nonprofits to focus more on messaging, content creation, and social media strategies in order to make their case for support.
2.) What marketing tactics do you feel have been the most successful in promoting work done by MANP and other nonprofit organizations? What role is social media playing in your PR efforts?
In marketing the education events we offer at MANP, I have found it very useful to take a grassroots marketing approach.
With over 750 members and many for-profit “friends,” MANP is able to make use of the many networks within the organization in order to disseminate news, events, and resources in an efficient way. Our quarterly SkillBuilder events also serve as a wonderful marketing tool for our organization as this is where the real relationships with staff members begin with valuable face-to-face interaction.
Through the combined efforts of in-person meetings, the strategic use of social media, online calendars, and weekly email newsletters, we share our programs and resources more effectively throughout our huge state.
Social media is vital to the marketing efforts we use here at MANP. Our Facebook page has over 1,400 followers and was designed to be a “go to” page for Maine nonprofits to share their successes, announcements, and stories. Social media is generally free, making it an easily accessible marketing tool for nonprofits in Maine. MANP actively participates in conversations of Twitter and Facebook, and we also use groups on LinkedIn to connect leaders in the nonprofit world.
The strategic use of social media as a marketing and communications tool helps to build relationships with constituents, raises awareness about events and resources, and connects networks of people within the state and beyond.
3.) In a time where many organizations are losing federal dollars and donors are saturated with asks, what is your advice to nonprofits in terms funding and raising awareness of their work?
My advice to nonprofits is to become as educated as possible about the many aspects of development, grant writing, communications, and advocacy.
Now more than ever, nonprofits need to be able to convey the impact of their nonprofit to the community and to funders. Nonprofits must learn to create a powerful case for support, develop a clear, consistent development plan, and use supporters and constituents to create powerful stories to highlight the values and impact of their organization.
I also encourage nonprofits to make use of the many resources MANP offers to help nonprofits navigate the funding environment. While Maine nonprofits are often competing for the same dollars, I encourage nonprofits to collaborate, talk, and learn from one another about funding sources, marketing efforts, and opportunities so that we can strengthen the sector as a whole.
4.) What upcoming training sessions is MANP offering and how do www.maineprmaven.com readers find out more?
You can view all of our upcoming SkillBuilder trainings here: www.nonprofitmaine.org/skillbuilders.asp
We also have a Facebook page set up specifically for SkillBuilder trainings: www.facebook.com/MANPSkillBuilders
To learn more about the comprehensive work we do at the Maine Association of Nonprofits, you can:
Visit our website: www.nonprofitmaine.org
“Like” us on Facebook (“Maine Nonprofit Community“) and add to the conversation!
Follow us on Twitter: @mainenonprofitcommunity