3 Lessons Learned – Valerie Evermon

I have been very excited about working with Easter Seals and helping them spread the word about the wonderful work they do. The events and fundraisers they host throughout the year are very important to help them continue to help those in need and the main focus of my internship is telling the community about those through social media outlets. Before I can tell the community about Easter Seals, I found out that I have a lot to learn about them myself. I know the facility as a daycare provider because that is where my niece attends school, but I did not know much about them as a non-profit organization and all that entails. I have learned three things about non-profits this week that has given me even more respect for Easter Seals than I already had.

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#1 Be Organized!

At this moment, Easter Seals is working on getting their re-accreditation to continue to be considered a CARF international organization. This process takes place every three years. During this time, they have to reassess all of their policies and procedures to make certain that they all line up and provide the best care for their participants. If any of the policies have to be rewritten, the revised policy has to be approved by several people. Contacting these people and getting them to sign off on the policies in a timely manner makes this simple task become a long process. When they are reviewing these policies for CARF, they also need to keep in mind the other organizations they work with to ensure that the policies, not only adhere to the CARF guidelines, but also the guidelines of the other organizations as well. Once the policies have been approved, the directors must ensure that all their staff are familiar with the policies and know where to access them if needed. While this is a stressful process, the directors know it is all for the good of their participants.

#2 Be Frugal!

Sharon, the CEO of Easter Seals, saves money whatever way they can. The spending budget for a non-profit organization is not enormous and Sharon does not wish to spend much on office supplies, but more on ways they can make the facility better for the participants. If that means reusing sticky notes several times, so be it. She has also found ways to improve the facility while saving money. The biggest way she does this is by having a bottle cap drive. What do they use all of these bottle caps for? Making outside furniture like benches and picnic tables. By doing this, they save in two big ways; they save the environment because the plastic in the caps is not able to be recycled like the thinner plastic the bottle is made out of, and this furniture is saving them money. It is more durable and is promised to last longer. Being creative is a big part of being frugal and Sharon and the other directors at Easter Seals are very creative.

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#3 Do it all with a smile on your face!

Running a non-profit organization is not easy, it’s actually very stressful. But, the staff at Easter Seals would never let that stress affect the way they interact with their participants. They love the job they are doing and they love the people they are working so hard to help.

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I hope these three lessons I have learned have helped you gain a greater respect for the people who work for non-profit organizations and the work that they do.

Remember to check out their website for ideas of how you can donate or be a part of their fundraisers!

Thanks for reading!

Valerie

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