By Anna Lin
The LEAD Project has a new online resource for young professionals in the Twin Cities who want to serve their communities, but don’t know where to start or how to add value.
Made with development partner Software For Good, the site first launched in February and nonprofits are posting their opportunities for pairing with volunteers, board of director positions and committee chairs.
“It speaks to a need,” McLean Donnelly, LEAD project vice president, said. One of LEAD’s purposes is to educate young professionals about different classifications and statuses of nonprofits and show them how to utilizes their skills by serving on boards.
To that extent they also offer a mentorship program that helps those who are ready to take the next step to gain experience serving their community as board members.
“You don’t just jump in,” Peter Christian, former LEAD project president, said. Working for LEAD for the past four years, Christian believes practical and specialized community involvement is additive to postings volunteer opportunities and making virtual matches.
Many nonprofits struggle to connect with younger generations, he feels. The LEAD project appeals to the young tech savvy niche who are interested in serving their community.
“Young people are powerful advocates to have on full boards,” Donnelly said. “I can say young professionals bring a whole different, refreshing perspectives to boards.”
Since release the site has connected dozens of people with organizations like like The Will Steger Foundation, The Ordway, The Children’s Theatre, Art Buddies.
“Our organization is in need of new members to continue with our mission,” Rolando Borja, chairman of the Minneapolis-Cuernavaca Sister City Association board, said. He hopes to attract “new blood” into serving MCSCA through LEAD.
“You won’t just be signing up to volunteer, you’ll be launching a lifetime of service,” Donnelly said. On the heels of a successful Cinco De Mayo awareness event, The Lead Project is planning a ‘PhilanthroFair’ this fall as part of their online to offline engagement model.