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501(c) Success Series 2019: Natalye Paquin on The Civic Century

How are you and your organization going to kick start the multiplication effect? This, among many other takeaways, is what Natalye Paquin, President & CEO of Points of Light, wants Kansas City nonprofit leaders to infuse into their volunteering movements. Natalye spoke to over 100 nonprofit professionals in the Kansas City area on Tuesday, October 29, as part of the Nonprofit Connect 501(c) Success National Speaker Series.

The Civic Century – What Is It?

Natalye is on a mission to change the conversation about what it means to volunteer in this day and age. She believes we are living in The Civic Century – a period of sustained and meaningful engagement where it is critical for organizations to be intentional about providing opportunities for their constituents to make an impact. Points of Light has developed The Civic Wheel, which shows how modern civic engagement goes beyond the traditional view of volunteerism. It argues that civic life today encompasses volunteerism, social networking, donating, service, social entrepreneurism, purchase power, professional work and voting.

The Multiplication Effect

Natalye described the power of intention through the Multiplication Effect – how small actions can make a big difference and potentially kick start a movement that can transform communities. She urged everyone in attendance, not just as nonprofit professionals, but as members of the community, to make intentional decisions every day, demonstrating that what we celebrate is a reflection of what we value.

As nonprofit professionals, how do we offer our constituents the opportunity to be multipliers? First off, don’t view an individual through one dimension (i.e. member, contact, employee, donor, volunteer). Acknowledge that everyone has a further role to play and expand their opportunities to engage with your organization.

Time and Intent

In many ways, the word volunteer isn’t big enough to encompass Natalye’s vision for civic engagement. She advises nonprofit leaders to focus on the holistic power of people, rather than the somewhat limited label of “volunteer.” Volunteers give up their time, but perhaps their intent goes beyond that.  30% of Americans say they volunteer, but 62% say they help in other ways. Nonprofit leaders should be investigating ways to engage that 62%, or as Natalye puts it – meet them where they are. By capitalizing on their time AND intent, you will be turning your volunteers into multipliers.

So What Can I Do?

So ask yourself, are your constituents able to live their most civic life through your organization? And if not, take a look at the Civic Circle and see where you can do better. The ultimate goal is to create a society where an individual has the power to accelerate change. As nonprofits serving our community, we have the power and the potential to make that a possibility a reality.

Did you miss the last 501(c) Success Series? Not to worry – there’s still one more speaker joining us in 2019. Click here for details on the next one. 

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