Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Boys and Girls Club Up Close

In an effort to better get to know our non-profit peers, I interviewed Kristin Ede last week about her experience working at one of the bigger non-profits in the area. She as a great perspective on the current state of the non-profit sector in Boston, and is one of the few people I've met who doesn't have a professed love of ice cream!

Where do you work?
I work as the Communications Coordinator for Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston in the main office. We serve nearly 14,000 youth ages 6-18 through nine Clubs in Boston and Chelsea, Camp Harbor View and the Youth Service Providers Network.

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida, with a minor in Business Administration. I have also dabbled in graphic design classes at the Massachusetts College of Art and Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
I previously worked at a historical site in Florida. While I enjoyed working in the culture and tourism industry, it was hard for me to work so many hours for something set in the past, a story I could never have an impact on. After diving into my job with Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, I began to understand what was missing from my last job. Using communications to support BGCB gives me the opportunity to make an impact today, and to give at-risk youth opportunities to reach their potential. It doesn’t get much more rewarding than that.

What is the hardest thing about your job?
Inevitably each week, we receive phone calls asking if we are Big Brothers Big Sisters. Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston has been around for more than 100 years, and 57% of our alumni say the Club saved their lives. Yet people can’t distinguish our name and brand from another non-profit. When you work in communications – that’s frustrating!

What excites you most when you think about work?
I’ve recently become fascinated by the emerging field of online marketing. For non-profits in particular, this new tool is so incredibly exciting and important. Not only is it an inexpensive way to communicate with a broader audience, but it is fascinating to see how information disseminates by word of mouth. That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of the On Your Feet Project Blog. Blogging, social media, e-marketing – give me a book or an article on any of those and I’m intrigued.

Do you have any mentors - if so, who?
I think you can never have too many mentors in your 20s, so I view everyone in my family, friends and colleagues as mentors. I try to always find the good qualities in people, and then examine how I could emulate those qualities within myself. I’ve learned how to communicate better from my boss, be compassionate from my Mom, be savvy from my brother and always stay positive from my best friend.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to start working in the non-profit sector?
My one piece of advice is to bring your many hats. You have to wear a lot of hats in a non-profit. Because of tighter budgets you will work with a smaller staff, take on more roles and must be open to becoming an expert in a lot of things.

Today at work I hung a picture, updated the web site, created a project work plan, designed a brochure, edited some photos, gave feedback on an ad campaign and wrote an interview on myself. I brought my hats!

What changes do you anticipate in the Boston area non-profit sector?
I think with the economy slowing, non-profits will be forced to prove their effectiveness and become more efficient to compete for coveted donations. There are so many non-profits in Boston: I could volunteer every week of the year in Boston and still not help all of them. But in hard economic times there just isn’t enough philanthropy to go around. I think the smaller non-profits will have to really focus their missions, or merge efforts with other non-profits to stay afloat.

And finally, what's your favorite ice cream flavor?
I’m not a huge ice cream eater, but when I have a craving I always go for cookies ‘n cream.

Kristin Ede (on the far left) with other BGCB employees

Related Posts: Creating an Online Community for your Non-Profit; Intern at OYFP; Sudan Reach Foundation and Laura; Doubts about Volunteering? Read about Fred; Volunteer Profile: Elizabeth and NEDA
Photo courtesy of Kristin Ede.

1 comment:

John R said...

i participated in a Boys and Girls summer camp way back in the day, it was a blast.

oh, and btw, i like cookies ‘n cream best too!