Event Recap: How to Build a Thriving Nonprofit Community
Event Recap: How to Build a Thriving Nonprofit Community
December 14, 2021

On Thursday, December 2, Bevy held a panel discussion around the importance of nonprofit communities, how to build and scale them, and what success looks like within them. The talk was moderated by Bevy’s Nicole Adams from the Customer Success team. 


Nicole was joined by Katie Franco, Executive Director at Girl Develop It; Ivis Alfaro, Senior Project Officer at the Melanoma Research Foundation; and Miry Whitehill, Founder & Executive Director at Miry’s List

What does leadership look like? 

Ivis spoke about how virtual programming has allowed the Melanoma Research Foundation to create new champions and better build advocacy. As a result of moving online, they started offering programs with specific, helpful guidance on managing care day-to-day, as well as advice on how to stay safe during COVID. 


At Miry’s List, team members are used to working in small groups, supporting across many different roles, and frequently collaborating. In her view, every single member of her team is a leader. As a result of a shift from solely in-person events, the team has been able to lengthen their hybrid events to spread over the course of a week, and they’ve been able to include volunteers and elected officials from all over because of the flexibility that virtual and hybrid allows. 


Katie and her team at Girl Develop It are operating in an exclusively virtual environment for program offerings. In her view, the virtual setting allows people who may not have found events and classes accessible previously to be able to participate. They look at something that she refers to as an “engagement quotient,” that shows who is coming to events, how accessible the event is, and more. 

How the success of nonprofit communities is measured 

No matter the output, Ivis said that everything is geared towards benefitting or being used by community members. When it comes to social media campaigns, in particular, she and her team are primarily using reach as a measure of success. 


For Katie, the goal of her team is to offer quality, accessible, amazing training–and ensure women and non-binary people are coming back for more. They’re looking at registration numbers, attendance numbers, and number of membership subscriptions. 


The membership model, in particular, is a newer offering. It presents a tighter universe within Girl Develop It, and the result is a much stronger connection point between members and the organization. The big question they’re always trying to answer: Are we offering the right training for the right time? 


Miry’s team is looking at two core metrics: word of mouth referrals and donor retention. According to her, 95% of families currently enrolled in the program heard about Miry’s List from families who already went through the program. With donors, 90% are giving on a monthly basis. 


“The people you’re serving have to be a part of the conversation. Who got what they needed, and who wants more? Where are people tapping in?” -Nicole Adams, Customer Success at Bevy 

How to engage for profit communities for partnership 

As COVID ramped up, Katie noted that a lot of donors were resetting their public mission statements and having to scale back to protect themselves against the unknown fallout. To still allow for involvement, the team opened up for virtual volunteer experiences for their partnerships, which included the chance to mentor community members. Now that budgets are more flexible, more gifts and donations are being made alongside volunteerism. 


Miry expressed that whatever they put out into the world, they write intending that the families served will read it and understand. Even when speaking with donors, the families are still the intended audience. However, she also recognizes that philanthropy is the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations, but they’re not the only group that should be addressed. 

Looking ahead: Nonprofit communities in 2022 

For 2022, The Melanoma Research Foundation will be focused on taking a more hybrid approach to events, with the safety of community members in mind. 


Girl Develop It will be sticking to virtual events and programs, but with even greater attention to accessibility for all current and future community members. 


Miry’s List will be focused on scale for its community. They want to be able to support more families seeking refuge–without lowering the quality of service. 


“The people you’re serving have to be a part of the conversation. Who got what they needed, and who wants more? Where are people tapping in?” - Nicole Adams, Customer Success at Bevy


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Luigi Pinello
WRITTEN BY

Luigi Pinello

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