Nonprofit business leaders share tricks of their trade

College students, nonprofit executives and philanthropists came together at a conference on Nov. 16 to learn strategies for success in the nonprofit business sector.

“Partnerships that Change Society: A Professional Conference” was sponsored by The Support Center for Nonprofit Management and the Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement at the College, and held on campus in Forcina Hall.

“The purpose of the conference is to get a sense of the partnerships we are forming,” Dave Prensky, director of the Bonner Center, said. “There is no one better than nonprofit executives to show that to the students.”

Organizers were pleased with the strong turnout of about 80 representatives.

The Support Center for Nonprofit Management is an organization that helps nonprofit leaders and organizations develop by providing them with the resources necessary to best benefit their clients and communities.

“The programs today are very interactive,” Ruthellen Rubin, fundraising consultant for the Support Center for Nonprofit Management, said. “It’s a good chance for students to ask questions and share ideas. I was excited by how engaged everyone was.”

The Bonner Center works with local organizations to involve students in the community and strengthen the nonprofit sector. “Students can benefit from the resources (we provide), which will, in the end, benefit the organization. It’s like a classic internship,” Prensky said.

Students from the Bonner Scholars Program, which consists of 11 freshmen, eight sophomores and two senior interns, attended the conference. Bonner Community Scholars is a program that prepares talented students for a future in community leadership. The students are selected through a competitive process and awarded a scholarship from the College to support their contribution to community service and leadership.

They participate in 280 hours of community service during the academic year, and take on numerous leadership roles in civic and community student organizations on campus. “These students are really interested in community involvement, and we knew they would be interested in the conference,” Prensky said.

“Our perspective is a lot different than the other people present in the seminars. We are the volunteers they are talking about and it is really a good thing to hear their perspectives and know what’s going on,” Brittany Aydelotte, freshman secondary education/ math major and Bonner scholar, said.

“The conference was a great experience to network and learn about many of the local nonprofit organizations,” Aydelotte said.

“I learned that the service I am doing now could lead to a career like many of those professionals who attended today. I feel that I can speak for the other Bonner Community Scholars in saying today’s conference was a wonderful and enlightening experience.”

“The great thing about the conference is that we see, when a group of people get together like this, how many valuable resources we have here in Mercer County,” Rubin said.

“This is just the beginning of an ongoing partnership between the Support Center and (the College),” she said.