Hello everyone, my name is Sarah Kauffman and this PowerPoint is for my nonprofit organization leadership project for MGMT 321 Leadership and Motivation. This project was very insightful into the importance of good leadership skills not only in for-profit organizations but also for nonprofit groups. For my project, I worked with Santa’s Bookbag. Santa’s Bookbag is a local nonprofit organization that gives new and/or used books to children in need for Christmas.
Chairman, Lauren Grego, started the organization approximately 20 years ago after a friend gave her the idea. Grego, a long time reading specialist, believes that “Helping a child discover the love of reading is something that will pave the way to a lifelong love of books and a life of literacy.” In 2011, Santa’s Bookbag gave books to more than 650 children in Mifflin County.
Although Santa’s Bookbag is its own organization, it works together with various organizations such as the Mifflin County Salvation Army and Giving Trees. All organizations work together to provide children in need with clothes, toys, books, and food depending on the level of need. The Salvation Army collects the children’s information and passes it to Grego around mid-November. The information includes the children’s names, ages, grades, reading level, and likes/dislikes. Grego uses this information to get children the books they want.
After sorting all books and preparing them for the children, they ship them to a local church. At the church Giving Trees--various different groups who donate different products including toys, clothing, and food—finish putting the packages together and deliver them to the children. Without Santa’s Bookbag and the Giving Trees, the children would not have a Christmas.
Santa’s Bookbag relies mainly on volunteers. Grego sends out solicitations letters as well as places ads in the local newspaper beginning in November to ask for volunteers and either monetary or book donations. There is a small board which includes Grego, 2 volunteers to order books, 1 volunteer to update the solicitation list, and 1 volunteer to write thank you notes. Most of the volunteers that help Santa’s Bookbag are current or retired teachers and students (mainly through school clubs).
The organization and volunteers hold some book drives in the local schools during mid-November as well as participate in an alternative gift fair at a local church at which different groups set up and guests can choose to donate to various organizations. Santa’s Bookbag has benefited from both of these events. Grego states the organization uses around $1500 to $2000. Most of the funds go towards books, with only about $75 going towards miscellaneous supplies such as stamps, ads, and copying.
Grego said as a leader, her top priority for the organization was ensuring every child received books they wanted. Her next two top priorities were to value everyone who helps and getting donations for the future of the group. She states her biggest challenges are knowing how much help you will have from one time to the next, both monetary and volunteers.
After meeting with Grego and discussing the organization and her vision and goals for the group, some problems were made clear. Over the past few years, Santa’s Bookbag has seen a decrease in the number of volunteers as well as monetary donations. Grego specifically stated a need to find people to step up and take roles in the organization as well as to create a more organized system for maintaining information.
I have a few recommendations to help improve Santa’s Bookbag so that it can continue to help the surrounding community for many years. My number one recommendation is to work on setting up a more formal organizational structure. As the organization is now, the structure is very informal. People come and do as they please, and Grego ends up doing much of the work. Although there is a small board, the board is inconsistent. By defining an organizational structure with roles and responsibilities, volunteers will have a better understanding of what to expect and Grego will be relieved of some stress.
Another recommendation is to try new marketing techniques to recruit and retain volunteers as well as receive donations. For the past 20 years, Santa’s Bookbag has done the same process of sending out letters and doing book drives October through December. I strongly believe if Santa’s Bookbag started their soliciting earlier in the year they would have a greater turn out. I am recommending looking into doing a bake sale, bingo, or community dinner in order to collect more donations. I also recommend doing more than just letters to schools asking for volunteers and donations. I believe the more Santa’s Bookbag communicates their goals and needs with the community, the more others will recognize them and be willing to help.
This leads me into my third recommendation—COMMUNICATION. Communication is extremely important for any group, both internally and externally. Santa’s Bookbag does not utilize communication as much as I believe it should. Letters and advertisements in the local newspaper only reach a small segment of the community. I strongly believe that updating their communication to better meet community communication patters (i.e. radio advertising and website) will help the group reach more people. Also, the board should have regular face-to-face meetings to discuss as a whole the organizations plans.
This assignment was very insightful into the importance of leadership and the skills necessary to be a good leader. Grego is faces many challenges as a leader especially when it comes getting volunteers and donations. To be a great leader, Grego said individuals need good communication skills, caring and kindness, patience, honesty, dependability, and passion.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with Santa’s Bookbag and would like to thank Lauren Grego for being so helpful and cooperative over the course of the project. Although I have completed the assignment, I plan to continue working with Grego to implement some of my recommendations and help Santa’s Bookbag continue to help children. Thank you everyone for your time.
Non profit leadership strategy project presentation--kauffman
NON-PROFIT LEADERSHIP STRATEGY PROJECT: SANTA’S BOOKBAG By: Sarah Kauffman
“HELPING A CHILD DISCOVER THE LOVE OF READING ISSOMETHING THAT WILL PAVE THE WAY TO A LIFE LONG LOVE OF BOOKS AND A LIFE OF LITERACY.”