Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Email me

HI Blog subscribers:

If you have an event coming up, feel free to email me at:  huffmankristin_@hotmail.com .  I would love to cover your upcoming event in an "inside story" type way.  For instance, the United Way has an event that involves motorcylists.  I would like to interview one of the particpants before the event and do a story that covers the event from the perspective of the participant/volunteer.  Thus garnering you publicity, but even more importantly, more participants and volunteers.

Feel free to email me prior to the events (preferably about a month ahead of time)
Also feel free to pass this on to other non profits.



Thursday, April 21, 2011

12th Annual Kids Count Legislative Breakfast

Kids Count in Milford

The 12th annual Kids Count of Milford’s Legislative Breakfast was held April 13th at the Milford Yacht Club.  This powerful event is a chance for Milford’s non profits, especially the charities that focus on children and families, to educate and inspire our legislators at the state level to care for us even better.  To let them hear from the executive directors of the non profits in our cities as well as parents of children who need the services they offer and to help them speak in a way that is informed and passionate about the need to continue funding. 

Invited were Senator Gayle Slossberg, Representatives Paul Davis, Kim Rose and Richard Roy.  Present were Mr. Davis and for half of the event, Mr. Roy. 

Mayor Richetelli introduced Milford’s new superintendent of schools, Dr. Elizabeth Feser, who spoke about her enthusiasm for our city’s schools and the new possibilities she offers. Dr. Feser’s years of experience and passion for teaching institutions were evident in her speaking and her posture on education.

The main thrust of this event was to point out the need for continued funding for our nonprofits and to educate not only our legislators, but also the public.  Barry Kasdan, CEO of Bridges, pointed out that while the public may want lowered taxes
there is no savings to be gained by cutting mental health services to families.  He gave facts and figures on the cost effectiveness of community based care vs. institution care. “Of all non profits in Connecticut who have budgets of a million and over and who get government contracts and grants,  70% of those are in deficit.”

Charlie Clifford of the YMCA said that Connecticut is one of four states that spent more on incarceration than on higher education.  He also gave practical advice to the legislatures and parents on how to campaign for funding important programs.

The scene stealers of the day, though, were Mrs. Susan Stelez’s third grade class from Pumpkin Delight School.  Mrs. Stelez won “The Champion of Young Children’s Award” for her 30 year of teaching to over 800 students and her devotion to developing young minds.  Her class performed for the breakfast crowd, which included many Executive directors from non profits in the city. 

Gary Johnson, of the United Way presented the “Lifetime of Championing Children” award to Peggy Kelly, Executive Director of Kid’s Count.  Their mission is “to develop, enhance and promote the education, social and emotional well being of children from birth to age five so that they enter kindergarten ready to learn”. 

Representative Paul Davis, who spoke, said that his wife and son are both teachers and that while the tax payers are asking for cuts, he sees the need to educate the public about these important social programs.  “Educating the public to see this as an investment in their future”, was a theme spoken over and over. When he was asked how to educate the public he said that, “making this a financial issue and realizing that if we don’t do this it will actually cost us money in the future” was the best marketing strategy. 

“It is foolish to think that there are savings when we cut essential community services. In reality we simply shift costs to a more expensive level of care, which is government- based. This is wasteful if not irresponsible at this time of fiscal crisis”, says Barry Kasdan.

Mrs. Stelez’s third graders chanted “I’m glad that Milford’s my hometown” and spoke about teamwork, independence, participation, volunteers and  problem solving as being part of a citizen’s responsibility. They spoke about taking care of others in a way that promotes community involvement and respect.  Mrs. Stelez’s third grade: Some of the forward-thinkers of tomorrow who we hope will make a difference on today’s legislators.


Monday, April 11, 2011


Use ‘em or Lose ‘em –
  Do You Know the Value of Your Volunteers?

“I know it’s here somewhere!”

How many times have you said or heard that statement?

How important is “it”? Do you have someone to ask about “it”? OR are you the person with the answer?

Being a “go to” person is one of the most valuable roles a volunteer can play!

How many “go to” volunteers do you have in your organization? How can you grow more?

Food for thought!

By Anita Taylor

Thursday, March 10, 2011



If you are treating your website like an online brochure you are missing the point.

I know you want people to learn about your NPO and it’s events and mission.  But people donate to causes because they feel connected in a very personal way.  If you are treating them all the same when they land on your page, you are missing the opportunity to connect them to your mission. 

Do you have donor profiles for each of the various types of donors you have or are you sending them all the same form letters? Each type of donor relates to different forms of media ie video, text, webinars.

What if you had a webinar series led by a group of your best recipients who wanted to talk about what a difference your NPO made in their lives? Or your best donors? Two minute blurbs that reached out the minute someone landed on your page.  

Get out the flipcam and go to work! Tell the story to each different type of donor, volunteer or staff member.  Treat them differently and personally and they will become your best advertisement, volunteers and donors. 

Please read The New Rules Of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Powerful Impact People: Charlie Clifford

“Our pool is our main attraction!” states Charlie Clifford, Executive director of the YMCA in Milford, about the Z-shaped, enclosed-in-glass, retractable-glass-roofed pool and family oriented facility. “Families can spend time together either structured or on their own.” As the ED for the last four years and a family man himself, Charlie runs the Woodruff family YMCA branch of the Central CT coast YMCA and he understands what families need.

Balancing fund raising with community development, this busy ED sites one of his projects, a national movement called “Activate America” as the Y’s response to obesity and diabetes in the country.

His pet projects involve fund raising.  “First and foremost, we are a charity! A 501c3 and the Y doesn’t turn anyone away because of their inability to pay.” Those who can’t afford to pay are benefited by the “Strong Kids Campaign”, a scholarship drive which generates funds for people who can’t afford the Y’s fees. “We gave $200,000 in scholarships last year to over 600 individuals. We raised about $110, 000.  The challenge is how to fund the gap. We aren’t going to turn away the kids that need our services. “

A natural tie in the to Y’s fund raising efforts is the Sprint Triatholon (swim, run, bike) all based out of the Y.  Last year they had 90 participants and they are hoping to double that this year on May 22nd. 

As a father himself he understands that Milford has a lot of dual income families. “Parents are still struggling with money and kids need a safe place to go after school.   The scholarships really provide a place for them to go.  For our summer camp, 96% of kids were on scholarships for the entire summer”. 

A great example of a collaborative effort within the community is their work with Platt Tech called “ Fit club”.  “The principal was telling me that one of the fears is that the kids weren’t passing the President’s Physical Fitness test due to overweight and inactivity problems. We started raising money so they could come across the street and our staff takes them through making healthier lifestyle choices. Because they are coming over here their scores have improved quite a bit.”

 Charlie’s development projects deal with how to best position the Y to deal with the physical aspects of the “ health seeker” or someone who tries to live healthy and struggles.  “We design anything new, large or small, with the health seeker in mind to make this the most comfortable place they can come “. 

 Located at 631 Orange Ave in Milford, this branch is open from5:30am-9pm and sees about  450-600 people every day.  “We have standard fitness classes like zumba, pilates, yoga, and H2O Power, a senior morning aerobics class. 

Still another project aimed at families is the “Milford Collaborative”, a group of providers and parents of kids with special needs. “You are connecting the Y’s resources with what the community needs. We ebb and flow and are more of a community development YMCA. More ground up than national down.” 

The Y has many child-care programs from summer care to nursery school and is the largest provider of child-care in Milford. Charlie is their most energetic an enthusiastic advocate about what this non profit is trying to accomplish for kids and for families. “All this stuff is brand new and at our gym you could have a 14 year old next to someone who is 90 years old who looks 50 years old.  People of all abilities can come”, says the YMCA’S family man.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


# 7  Use ‘em or Lose ‘em –
  Do You Know the Value of Your Volunteers?

Tradition – every time I hear that word I think of Fiddler on the Roof! Religion (in that instance) was easy! It was written in the “Good Book.”

Where is your organization’s Good Book? Do you have just one? How many do you need?

Defining the tradition/history of your organization is very important for ALL volunteers – new and seasoned.

After all, once they know what’s in their Good Book, they can spread the word.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


We don’t do it that way here
This is such a powerful statement and sometimes even said without real thought.
If you say this phrase to a colleague, a new hire, a volunteer or a board member you may have just squashed an initiative that could take you to the next level of fund raising, motivating volunteers or spreading the word about your NPO.
Maybe you are more comfortable with the ‘way things have been done’ in the past, but I encourage you to entertain every idea, no matter how off-the-beaten-path it is, just to encourage innovation and possibly….brilliance!