4 Of The Best Resources For Nonprofits In NYC
by Kelley Louise, Travel+SocialGood’s Executive Director
They say it takes a village… but it’s so much more complex than that. In order to create positive, lasting change – and in Travel+SocialGood’s case, a global movement – it takes the programs developed by a village to nurture and bring a project to life. Nonprofits are infamously known for being underfunded and stretched thin for resources, but there is a silver lining – there are a tremendous amount of outside platforms built to help nonprofits succeed.
I am indebted to the kindness and generosity of not only my team of volunteers who I work with on a daily basis, but also to the willingness of strangers to donate their time, expertise and resources to help TSG succeed. One of my personal strengths is my ability to be resourceful, and I can say without a doubt that TSG would not exist had I not been able to identify some core programs in New York City that have been invaluable to helping TSG grow. Below, some of my personal favorite resources for nonprofits in NYC:
1. All Good Work
As I write this article, I’m sitting in my coworking space, Input Lofts, which I’m able to come to at an incredibly subsidized cost because of All Good Work, a program that matches in-need nonprofits with coworking spaces. A month ago, I was running all over Manhattan to set up meetings, paying the freelancer’s infamous ‘coffee tax’ to work out of crowded coffee shops, or working from home, often feeling alienated from an in-person community of collaborators and supporters.
As a travel professional, I’ve always shied away from putting down roots or working from an office – sometimes I travel for as much as half the month – and an investment in a coworking space was never something I could justify in my budget… But if you do one thing for your sanity, find a coworking space. Not only will you find yourself with access to a welcoming community, but your work/life balance will suddenly become infinitely more manageable.
Members of nonprofit organizations can apply for residency on All Good Work.
2. Net Impact NYC’s Service Corps Program
I am good at a lot of things, but I will be the first to admit that I do not like dealing with budgets, financing or pretty much anything that has to do with numbers. It’s not that I can’t do it, it’s just that I hate doing it – which is probably the worst scenario for an entrepreneur who is constantly trying to do everything. In fact, I avoid any non-pressing finance issues so much that TSG simply did not have a projection for our budget… up until now. Through Net Impact NYC‘s Service Corps program, nonprofits can apply to work with a team of consultants in order to tackle whatever project they’re most in need of.
I had the opportunity to collaborate with a team on developing a long-term plan and strategy for our growth and finances. Our team suddenly doubled in size, and I had a group of professionals willing to listen to our goals, ideas and challenges, and then map out a proposed budget and plan for the next two years. In just 12 weeks, they completed a tremendous amount of research, provided feedback on our decks and sponsors packages, and built out an interactive spreadsheet to chart out our budget for our next two years. Their work was invaluable, and contributed to building a plan of action that makes TSG sustainable as an organization. Finally, we can shift from being reactive to focusing on proactivity.
Service Corps is now accepting applications for the fall 2017 round. Apply online here.
3. Be Social Change
Be Social Change is New York City’s largest community for professionals in the social good sector (or looking to break into it) – and their team has done an incredible job of providing resources, classes and networking opportunities for their community. On top of that, BSC partners with an incredible array of partners to provide information on programs that are particularly beneficial to entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders. In fact, I would not have been aware of the first two opportunities I’ve listed above (All Good Work or Net Impact NYC), if it weren’t for Be Social Change. If you’re seeking the best resources and access to a supportive community of changemakers, Be Social Change is where you need to be. I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter, which I admit to reading religiously.
4. Booking.com’s Booking Cares Program
Booking.com has a program, Booking Cares, that matches their employees with local organizations and start-ups so that Booking.com employees can use a portion of their (paid) work hours to volunteer their time and expertise for an in-need organization. Employees choose which volunteer opportunities they participate in, so your organization is matched with a team of skilled employees relevant to your organization’s needs.
When I originally built out TSG’s website, I built it the only way I knew how – as a travel blogger. But as TSG grew and our vision solidified, I just continued adding components to the website and switching things up as needs arose… and it quickly became apparent that our website just was not built out properly. I was receiving an immense amount of emails of individuals who wanted to get involved but had no idea how, people who thought TSG was simply a blog and didn’t understand our nonprofit as a whole, and so, so, so much more. Our website was contributing to the abyss that was my inbox, simply because I don’t have a background in UX design.
Enter: a team of talented UX designers from Booking.com (based in Amsterdam!), who combed through TSG’s website and provided a whopping 9 pages of detailed and invaluable feedback. I’m proud to say that the site you’re currently visiting is a brand new redesign, inspired by our Booking.com team (who have also generously offered to comb through the new site and provide even more feedback). The best part? I’m currently at inbox zero – a feat that would have been impossible with our old design.
To learn more about the Booking Cares volunteer program, visit their website.
Starting a nonprofit is incredibly rewarding, but also incredibly challenging, and I cannot express my gratitude enough to the volunteers who have contributed to helping TSG continue to grow. If you’re a nonprofit leader or employee in New York City, I highly recommend each of these resources.