The Community Action Committee (CAC) is the Arlington Chamber’s forum for its nonprofits member and business members who support nonprofits to meet and discuss common issues and goals. One ongoing issue is how nonprofits can attract and engage for-profit Chamber members for contributions, volunteer time, and other needs. In this article, the three of us – all of whom are Chamber members working in the for-profit sector – will tell you about our interaction with the Chamber’s non-profit community.
I got involved with the CAC when I first joined the Chamber six years ago, and have been attending meetings ever since. In that time, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting dozens of fantastic people who are totally devoted to the causes of their organizations and the Arlington nonprofit community.
One of the CAC’s goals is organizing the annual Volunteer Arlington Day (V-A Day). V-A Day is an event where we match up volunteers from the for-profit community with Chamber member nonprofit organizations who are looking for help with projects that have sat on the back burner. As an annual V-A Day participant, I’ve helped member organizations including Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, Homeward Trails, The Reading Connection, and Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. These organizations and many others have been able to cross tasks off their to-do lists, thanks to the help of all of the volunteers.
For me, helping the Chamber’s nonprofits doesn’t end with V-A Day, as many have received donations from my wife and me, so we’re helping out in a couple of different ways.
I would encourage every for-profit Chamber member to do their part to help a nonprofit member out, with a donation of either time or money. It’s a win-win for all!
Tara Claeys (Design TLC, LLC):
As a resident of Arlington for over 20 years and the owner of a small business here, I have had opportunities to help nonprofit organizations in our community. In addition to donations to A-SPAN and AFAC, I have found ways to help local nonprofits by donating my professional skills.
Over the years, I have donated graphic design services to Doorways and AFAC. I also often produced documents and donated graphic design services to my children’s school, and created a website for my neighborhood association, Beyond the Hoop, and local bicycling organization, Babes on Bikes. By participating in V-A Day, I was able to help The Reading Connection with data entry. This activity prompted me to join the CAC this year to learn more about the nonprofits in Arlington and their needs, and find more ways I can help them professionally.
Many small businesses have skills and services which can be of great value to charitable organizations. The Chamber has many excellent nonprofits, which provide invaluable services to at-risk and less fortunate members of our community. Donating professional services is a great way to give back to the community and create good will for your business at the same time.
Dan Blaine (Danaher-Skewes & Associates):
Since my youth, I have been active in nonprofit service organizations. Serving as an AmeriCorps Volunteer, nonprofit consultant, and in-house fundraiser for a nonprofit, I was able to witness firsthand the business of mission-driven work.
In the new phase of my career, I work with both for-profit and nonprofit sectors providing insurance solutions tailored to organizations. I look to my experience in both sectors to provide solutions for today and in the future. I am confident that each of us has professional and personal experiences that could enhance the work of a Chamber nonprofit member. I encourage you to reflect on what you might be able to add to a cause. Have you considered pro bono support? Would you be able to assist a local organization as it looks to plan for its future? Would your sales experience help a development team share the impact of investment to potential donors? Those are three of countless ways you might be able to help improve our community.
Are you all revved up now, but don’t know where to start? Contact Tina Bennett, the Chamber staff liaison to the Community Action Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 525-2400 to learn how you can get involved!