SRU’s Student Nonprofit Alliance kicks off campaign

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Members of the Student Nonprofit Alliance, who attended the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership Summit in 2015, are now gearing up for SNA's 2016 Annual Campaign which provides funds for nonprofit majors in need of financial assistance.

August 3, 2016

Alice Del Vecchio

   DEL VECCHIO

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Broadening the understanding of potential career opportunities, ways to engage in the world and learning how to make choices that have an impact on people and places are key to Slippery Rock University's nonprofit leadership program.

Under the direction of Alice Del Vecchio, assistant professor of interdisciplinary programs and program coordinator, students involved in nonprofit studies are also learning about helping one another through the Student Nonprofit Alliance.

Last year the SNA launched its inaugural annual campaign to raise funds for those nonprofit majors in need of financial assistance.

Del Vecchio's students designed and scripted a brochure that profiled the SNA and its purpose. The piece was then mailed to a variety of SRU alumni, former faculty, SNA board members as well as family and friends.

The campaign exceeded the students' wildest dreams, garnering more than $10,000 in donations.

With those monies, the SNA was able to distribute more than $1,500 in scholarships last year to current SRU students majoring in philanthropy and nonprofit management, while also being able to offer scholarships to incoming nonprofit majors in 2016. Scholarships for summer internships were also made possible for the first time as a result of the campaign, in addition to putting monies toward professional development trips for students.

"We were honored and humbled that so many people wanted to help our program so that our students can use their lives to make a difference," said Del Vecchio. "How exciting for them to have had the chance to not only learn how to manage a campaign, but to have it have been such a success.

"There aren't too many 20-somethings that have the opportunity to manage the distribution of upwards of $10,000, especially for the betterment of their fellow students."

Del Vecchio and the students hope this year's campaign will be just as successful.

To attract a variety of donors, the campaign provides for different levels of giving, from a $50 "Rock Steps" contribution to a $2,5000 "Journey Leader". Those wishing to donate can do so at: www.givetoSRU.org/SNA.

According to Del Vecchio, the rising cost of higher education and the impression that it's hard to make a difference while earning a living can deter students from joining the field. In reality, the nonprofit sector offers competitive wages and benefits.

As baby boomers serving as nonprofit managers leave the sector, it is predicted there will be a deficit of leaders, according to a study conducted by The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit adviser to organizations and philanthropists.

The study found that beginning in 2016, nonprofits would require nearly 45,000 new jobs each year over the next decade.

"Labor research suggests that the (baby boomer) exodus will likely cause employment gaps that could interrupt organizations' capacities to efficiently and effectively provide services," Del Vecchio said.

SRU students trained in the philanthropy and nonprofit management program will be able to address the sector's manpower challenges, she added.

"Within the nation's 1.6 million nonprofit organizations, SRU nonprofit graduates provide social services to persons with disabilities, the homeless, veterans and the hungry," said Del Vecchio.

"They work in the arts, youth services, health care, schools, recreation and professional associations in areas of direct services, public relations and marketing, fundraising, program evaluation, human resources and volunteer management. A few have even launched their own nonprofit."

"For the past 20 years, SRU has been Pennsylvania's only university preparing undergraduates for nonprofit careers," said Del Vecchio. "Support is needed now more than ever so that our students can give back."

For more information about the campaign and the SNA, contact Del Vecchio at alice.delvecchio@sru.edu.