Over twenty SVP Partners gathered virtually in late March as COVID-19 impacts were becoming a reality to discuss opportunities to assist our nonprofit community. As a result, six actionable items were brought forward to explore and have either been implemented or are in progress for launch this summer. Other SVP affiliates from around the country shared ideas and best practices with each other, including the creation of a reference sheet of COVID-19 related resources. Our first action item was completed in early April with an SVP Charlotte COVID-19 resource sheet. For simplicity, speed of distribution, and ease of maintenance, this growing list of dynamic references has migrated to a COVID-19 Resources tab on our Social Venture Partners website found here.
Three additional ideas involved leveraging our greatest assets–our Partners skills, experience, and expertise. These included conducting direct outreach to the nonprofit community to better understand the current needs, formulating a plan to offer our human capital/expertise to serve the nonprofits, and updating our current knowledge of SVP Partners’ expertise, interest and capacity to potentially meet those needs. All three of these ideas were quickly embraced by the new SVP Spark Teams initiative, which kicked off in February. As par of the Spark Teams program development, nonprofit surveys were conducted by phone with SVP staff or sent electronically to more than 155 SEED20 and Investee alumni organizations to better understand their challenges and desire to work with SVP on short term, time-only engagements. In addition, a separate survey was also distributed to more than 110 SVP Partners to update their individual volunteer interests, skills and capacity. The Spark Teams initiative is planning for the pilot launch of the new program early this summer. Thanks to those Partners who completed the survey. If you have not yet completed the SVP Partner Volunteer Interest survey and would like to do so , please reach out to Kristin Beck or Henry Lander.
The final two ideas included hosting virtual collaboration sessions and virtual office hours to allow our nonprofit community to ask questions and learn from each other as well as experts amid this pandemic. These two ideas have combined to form a new weekly initiative called “SVP: Partnering with You!” on Tuesdays via zoom. We have two formats-Share Your Experience and Ask an Expert. Each week, we identify the format and a topic we are discussing. These sessions are available to our SEED20 and Investee alumni network, and Partners to learn more about a topic and to become exposed to the current issues our community leaders are facing. Four sessions were held in May with an average of 25-35 nonprofit organizations and SVP Partners each week and garnered positive feedback each session. Thank you to our three SVP Partners who have served as experts this month: Joanne Beam with Fundraising, Nancy Ralston with Donor Development and Monique Stubbs-Hall with Virtual Professionalism. We also hosted a “Share Your Experience” session in which ourBRIDGE for KIDS, Profound Gentlemen, and She Built This City shared tips and tricks for moving their fundraising and programming online. The June SVP:Partnering with You! calendar will soon be available, and we hope you will join us on an upcoming Tuesday!