Volunteering Alternatives : Virtual Volunteers

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Virtual volunteers can use their time and efforts volunteering whenever it’s convenient for them, yet still in a meaningful way.

A few weeks ago, I took a look at the difference between working for small and large nonprofit organizations. Today I will look at another aspect of volunteering—virtual and offsite volunteers.

With the social media explosion has come virtual and offsite nonprofit volunteers. Virtual volunteers? How can they be helpful from thousands of miles away. The answer is actually very helpful, sometimes more than those volunteers who show up to an organization weekly to help, especially if they’re managed correctly.

Clarifying team goals and individual goals and highlighting the skills of each individual team member is a great way to engage volunteers and keep them efficient and productive. Just like physical volunteers, each virtual and offsite volunteer comes with their own unique knowledge and skill set. By highlighting these skill sets, volunteers are more likely to be motivated and productive.

Virtually volunteers are often people who would volunteer physically, but due to time constraints cannot. What can these volunteers do for you? The typical virtual volunteer develops planned giving programs, organizes fundraisers, solicits local businesses for financial support and volunteers, researches potential funding sources, identifies donated items on the Internet, attracts new donors, maintains existing ones, and nurtures current donors into giving more. These are just a few ways virtual volunteers can be utilized. Depending on the organization, some volunteers can be utilized very specifically.

Lesley Cunningham served as a virtual volunteer for six months now. She volunteers for the West Virginia Human Resource Development Foundation as a mentor for at-risk youth between 16-21 years of age.

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Lesley Cunningham has been a virtual volunteer for six months. She says with her busy schedule, virtual volunteering is a great option. Photo courtesy of Lesley Cunningham.

“I worked at WV HRDF for three and a half years after I graduated college,” explained Cunningham. “I left the agency to work in training and human resources. I love my career, but I missed the feeling of always giving back and working in the Charleston community. When I was approached with the chance to be a mentor for the program, I jumped at the chance. “

Cunningham says her duties are very specific and communications has never been an issue.

“My duties as a mentor is to stay in communication with the youth through texting, phone calls, email and internet,” explained Cunningham. “I am there to provide them support and guidance on any issues that my arise in their life. I am also there if they just need someone to talk to. I also work to help keep them focused on obtaining their GED. I help have job readiness activities such as mock job interviews, helping with resumes as well as talking about their future goals and developing plans to help them reach those goals.”

Cunningham says that being a virtual volunteer has really meshed with her lifestyle and her career.

“I really enjoy being a virtual volunteer,” said Cunningham. “Virtual volunteering allows more flexibility than being a regular volunteer. I love to volunteer, but with my current career it makes it very hard sometimes to find the time that is needed to dedicate to an organization. Through being a virtual volunteer, I am able to give back to my community even though I may be in another state for work.”

Cunningham says being a virtual volunteer is ideal for anyone with a busier lifestyle who wants to give back to their community.

“I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to volunteer but doesn’t think they have the time needed,” said Cunningham. “It is a fantastic way to give back to your community.”

Unsure of how to become a virtual volunteer? In addition to many opportunities through local organizations, there are many search engines that can help you find virtual volunteer opportunities. Many organizations say that virtual volunteering can be important to building your resume and your career. Additionally, it’s a great way to give back to your community when and where it’s convenient for you.

Nonprofit of the Week: Mon County Habitat for Humanity

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The 700th Habitat for Humanity house will be completed right here in Morgantown. The house is estimated to be finished by December 31, 2013. Photo Credit: Whitney Godwin.

Mon County Habitat for Humanity and ReStore is part of a larger global nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles that seeks to put God’s love into action by building homes and communities. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps build houses and hope. The organization believes that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. They build and repair houses all over the world using volunteer labor and donations.

The Mon County Habitat for Humanity was established in 1990. The organization has completed over 42 homes and has provided housing for 180 individuals since its inception in Morgantown. The organization welcomes volunteers from all backgrounds, and the Mon County chapter hosts nearly 13,000 volunteers each year.

In addition to building homes, the Mon County Habitat for Humanity also has a Re-Store. Which restores old furniture and offers it to those in need.

I recently sat down with Brianna Robinson to find out more about the organization, what they do, and how they utilize social media.

The organization has helped several families in our area. Each one has a unique story that makes the organization meaningful within our community.

Tara Davis is a Morgantown resident who partnered with Habitat for Humanity to get a new house and a new way of life.

“I decided I needed to find a way to better my life and the life of others,” Davis explained. “I heard about Habitat for Humanity through a friend. The whole experience has been a true blessing.”

Davis has not been given a move in date for her house yet, but says she has learned so much on her journey with Habitat for Humanity.

“I am excited to receive my house,” said Davis. “I’m very blessed and thankful to everyone that has been involved. I have learned so many new skills and have better patience. I have made new friends and worked with numerous others that have ultimately made my life and the future of my children brighter.”

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Mon County Habitat for Humanity updates their Facebook page more frequently than their Twitter page.

As far as social media usage, the Mon County Habitat for Humanity uses both Facebook and Twitter to connect online with volunteers and clients. After visiting both their Facebook page and their Twitter page, it’s clear they could do some more interactive and engaging posts on social media platforms to gain more interest and volunteers. They update Facebook much more frequently than Twitter. For example, they tend to update their Facebook page every couple of days, but sometimes they go without posting on Twitter for a week or two. In addition their Twitter only has 58 followers.

I recently sat down with Brianna Robinson to find out more about the organization, what they do, and how they utilize social media.

The organization will complete the 700th habitat house right here in Morgantown by December 31, 2013.

The Ideal Volunteer: What To Look For

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Volunteers are the heart and soul of any organization, but it’s okay to be picky when choosing volunteers for your organization. Photo courtesy of Katherine Anderson.

Volunteers are often the heart and soul of any nonprofit organizations. In fact, many small nonprofit organizations could not stay afloat without the time and effort put in by their volunteers. Nearly 62.8 million Americans volunteer every year. However, just because people volunteer doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an asset to your organization. You may be saying, “Wait a minute, shouldn’t I be thankful and welcome every volunteer my way?” No. It’s okay to be picky. Actually, you should be picky.

There’s no such thing as the ideal volunteer, but there are some things you can look for when choosing what kind of volunteer is best for your organization.

Make sure your volunteer is passionate and has time to help.

Not every volunteer will be able to give five days of their time to your organization, but you do want to make sure they can give an acceptable amount of time to make a difference in your organization. In addition, the volunteer should be passionate about the cause of your organization. Whether volunteers seek you out, or you find them, take time to understand their motivations, skills, and interests to see if it fits your organization’s needs.

Find a volunteer that’s motivated.

Like it or not, many people volunteer simply out of self-interest. But even a self-interested volunteer can be a good one. Motivated people are more likely to show more effort and work harder than others. Make sure this volunteer does have an actual passion or interest in your organization, but don’t shy away from them just because they are self-interested. Many people volunteer because they are required to or think it will add to their resume. Even though their volunteering is truly out of self-interest, they will work hard to get the recommendation they want. It’s okay to use them while you have them to build your organization.

Find volunteers that are good with technology.

Social media platforms and websites are really the heart of good promotion and awareness today for many organizations. In addition, online promotion, education, and awareness can cut down on time and costs of traditional methods for many organizations. Having volunteers that are good with technology and have digital media skills can really add to an organization. There are many different aspects of online media that can help an organization. Finding volunteers that are knowledgable in this area can be key. Organizations that use social media and online methods effectively often have more successful organizations.

Find a volunteer with the right attitude.

Having the right attitude is a key to any successful job or organization. While this may seem like common sense, it should not be overlooked. Look for volunteers who are willing to do anything, even if it’s outside of their skill set or comfort zone. Many times nonprofits can be run short on help due to many factors. It’s always a possibility that a volunteer may have to step outside their skill set to cover for someone else. You want to make sure you find volunteers willing to do this, and to do it well, even if they aren’t the expert in that area.

Managing and valuing your organization’s volunteers is the key to a successful and sustainable organization.

Nonprofit of the Week: Girls on the Run

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Girls on the Run is a unique nonprofit organization for girls in third through eighth grade that encourages healthy living. Photo courtesy of Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run of North Central West Virginia is one of the many local nonprofit organizations found here in Morgantown. Their mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. Girls from third grade through eighth grade are invited to participate in the program. The program is currently available in eight local Morgantown schools.

The program seeks to combine training for a 5k running event with healthy living education. The name can be misleading because the group does much more than learn to eat healthy and stay active. Running and healthy eating habits are just a small portion of what the organization teaches the participants over a 12 week span. Executive Director and founder of the Morgantown chapter, Laurie Abildso says the program is about healthy living in general. She says many of their units include lessons on bullying, gossiping, and community service.

The program is an affiliate council with Girls on the Run International that has locations nationwide. The annual North Central WV Girls on the Run 5K will be held May 17, 2014 right here in Morgantown. Recently, the organization has expanded to cover more than Monongalia County. The nonprofit will now be servicing Preston, Harrison, Marion, and Wetzel counties in addition to Monongalia County.

The State of Nonprofits Post-Government Shutdown

After two weeks, the federal government has finally reopened for business. As previously mentioned, the shutdown took a huge toll on nonprofit organizations when it comes to volunteers and grant money needed by organizations to continue services and programs offered by nonprofit organizations.

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The state of the federal government has hit some nonprofit organizations hard and cut into funding on programs and services. The government shutdown should teach us a lesson. That lesson is to always have a plan, and to diversify funding for our organizations.

So what do nonprofits have to deal with two weeks later now that the government has reopened?

The Council for Nonprofits says the partial closure of the federal government shows that the government is attempting to offload public responsibilities onto philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. This is a problem because research shows that the nonprofit sector as a whole receives nearly half of it’s revenue from earned income. According to the council, the government is the second largest source of revenue paying nonprofits to deliver contracted services on behalf of governments. Essentially, this means that every dollar taken from nonprofits by the government, must be raised elsewhere.

In addition to the government passing more responsibility to nonprofits, the government shutdown also resulted in backed up grant and funding requests. This means many nonprofits may not get the funding they need to stay open. Many smaller nonprofits may be faced with shutting down until their funding is back in place. In fact, 43 percent of nonprofits surveyed felt a delay in government payments due to the shutdown. Additionally, the government shutdown affected millions of service volunteers nationwide.

However, there are some steps nonprofits can take when it comes to funding. Double checking any kind of agreement, like a grant or contract can be beneficial. Some programs supported by nonprofits are not fully dependent upon annual appropriations by federal grant money. There may be an alternative way to raise enough funds to keep some programs and services going despite lack of federal grant funds. In terms of volunteers, volunteers and executive directors should collaborate to form a strategy to help save money in certain areas and programs, and how to run the organization more efficiently while still meeting the needs of the general public.

Overall the shutdown is a reminder to rethink your long-term strategy and never fully depend on one method of funding. A diversified fundraising strategy is the key to sustaining a successful organization. It’s never too late to begin looking at alternative methods of funding. There are many fundraising strategies out their in addition to state and federal grants, such as events, peer-to-peer fundraising and individual donations, and social media and online fundraising.  New fundraising strategies are always developing. Being innovative is the key to success.

Does Size Matter? Working for a Nonprofit Organization

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The American Cancer Society is one of the most well-known nonprofit organizations worldwide. It’s a large nonprofit that has several smaller local branches throughout the world. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

You’ve probably heard of the United Way, the Ronald McDonald House, and the American Cancer Society, but you probably haven’t heard of The WV Family Grief Center, Stepping Stones, or Morgantown Area Youth Services Project. What’s the difference? All three are nonprofit organizations seeking to help provide services to those in need, but the first three are nationally recognized while the other three are strictly local nonprofits. But does size really matter?

What defines a large nonprofit or a small nonprofit? Income. According to the IRS, public charities are predominately small. Organizations are considered large nonprofits if they have revenues and  assets above $100,000. Smaller nonprofits are those who have revenues and assets below $100,000.

When it comes to working for a nonprofit organization, size can matter. Smaller organizations generally run on a smaller budget. In many cases, employees may have to fundraise their own paycheck. In turn they have a smaller staff that requires a larger leadership role than larger organizations. This also means more work per employee. This is where the “overworked and underpaid” cliché often comes in. Many smaller organizations can’t afford to send their leaders to conferences or training outside of the small organization due to lack of funding.

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Christian Help is a local nonprofit organization in Morgantown, WV that seeks to serve the area with several service programs that offer food, clothing, and financial aid. Photo courtesy of google images.

Alex Weiderspiel is a former Americorps member who served at Christian Help in Morgantown.

“Sometimes working for a non-profit isn’t exceptionally rewarding,” explained Weiderspiel. “The hours can be very long, the pay will never be good (hence non-profit), but it’s exceptionally rewarding to know that there are people who care. Not only do they care, but they are actively trying to make a difference and help people who either can’t help themselves or have somehow fallen through the cracks of the system. Non-profit work can be very frustrating, but it’s frustrating for everybody and it reminds you that there are like-minded people who are willing to honor the Social Contract and sacrifice personal gain for the betterment of all.”

In a larger nonprofit setting, employees tend to have more specialized roles that allow employees to focus on specific tasks and complete them effectively and efficiently. Many larger nonprofit employees do not have to fundraise their own paychecks. In addition, larger nonprofits are operationally sound when it comes to things like communication, marketing, and fundraising. Larger nonprofits also receive help and support from their larger network of organizations throughout the nation. Smaller nonprofits do not have that benefit.

Working at a smaller nonprofit, doesn’t always mean things are bad. In fact, people who work at a smaller nonprofit are often more involved with the people they are helping than those who work for larger nonprofits. Smaller nonprofit employees get to see the service they are providing in action. This is often the most rewarding part of working in a nonprofit. In turn, being so far away from the action at a larger nonprofit may result in feeling like you’re not making a difference.

Brittany Elliot works for the local Morgantown Ronald McDonald House. She believes the rewards of working at a nonprofit outweigh the negative aspects.

“I think that larger non-profits have an advantage in the fact that their name is better known than smaller non-profits,” explained Elliot. “Regarding employment, I think that non-profits that are larger may have more monetary funds than a smaller non-profit so they may be better off in that regard. I do believe the personal reward you get with working for a non-profit is worth getting a smaller paycheck,” said Elliot. “The personal connections you create with the families is worth much more than money to me. Working for any non-profit though has it’s monetary challenges because you are working for a “not for profit” organization. I think there are ups and downs to both large and small non-profit organizations.”

Weiderspiel says that working for a nonprofit large or small can be frustrating.

“The huge disadvantage comes from how frustrating it can be trying to help people when you realize that no matter how much help you give, it may not be enough in the end,” explained Weiderspiel.

But he also says it’s something he would do again.

“It is definitely something I would do again, and something I’d love to be able to tie into the world of journalism,” said Weiderspiel.

Either way, Weiderspiel says your attitude matters most.

“No matter how prepared or unprepared you may think you are–in the end you have absolutely no idea the trials and tribulations that you’ll encounter,” he explained. “You can’t predict anything. The most common thing we used to say at Christian Help was that we worked in a “reactive environment.” You simply have to have the right attitude, grab your figurative lunch-pail, and be prepared to do something new every day that may be well outside the realm of your job description. That’s what you’re signing up for. If you have the right attitude, you can make a difference. It may wind up only being a small difference, but sometimes that small difference can mean the world to somebody else.”

So does size matter? The answer lies within you. If you want to be in the action consider working at a local nonprofit. If you want a more specialized role to showcase your talent and promote your career, a larger nonprofit organization is probably a better fit. Either way, consider your motivations and what you want to accomplish before you choose an organization to work for.

Nonprofit of the Week: Ronald McDonald House Charities, Morgantown

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The Ronald McDonald House Morgantown is located adjacent to Ruby Memorial Hospital and the WVU Health Sciences Center.

The Ronald McDonald House charities seek to lessen the burden for more than seven million families every year. They provide a place to rest that feels like home for families who have a child in the hospital.

In 1974, the first Ronald McDonald House opened on October 15 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Now, Ronald McDonald Houses can be found in 59 countries and regions around the globe. There are currently 329 Ronald McDonald Houses, 192 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, and 50 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles.

What’s the difference in these three? The Ronald McDonald Houses are for families who travel far from home and spend several weeks or months to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured child. Ronald McDonald Houses were built primarily to provide an affordable place to stay for families, where they can get a meal, lay their head down to rest, and be close enough to take care of their child. A Ronald McDonald “family room” is often located steps away from a pediatric photo (2)or intensive care unit, and offers families a place to rest and regroup right at the hospital. This family room often contains a kitchen area, shower facilities, laundry facilities, internet access, a television, and reference books. Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles are state-of-the-art vehicles that are built specifically for pediatric health care services. The mobiles focus on delivering health education to reduce overall medical costs. The mobiles also address behavior and lifestyle choices that help motivate families to improve and maintain their health. In addition, mobiles provide treatment such as immunizations, and give referrals for families to receive ongoing care with a doctor or a dentist.

Locally, there is Ronald McDonald House right here in Morgantown. CEO and Executive Director Steve De Jesus, recently sat down for an interview with me, to tell more about how the organization came to be and  what the Ronald McDonald House brings to Morgantown.

West Virginia resident Elizabeth King knows firsthand just how comforting the Ronald McDonald House can be. Her family stayed there when her youngest child Alex, was having serious medical issues.

“Our stay at Ronald McDonald House was wonderful,” explained King. “Their staff is friendly, kind and helpful and the accommodations are comfortable; knowing we were close to Alex was very comforting as well.”

Angel Houston said staying at the Ronald McDonald House meant a lot to her family, and had a huge impact on their lives.

“When my son, Justin, was 2 and a half months old he had open heart surgery,” explained Houston. “I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. They were very nice and helpful. Its a very home feeling..Everyone that stayed there could talk to each other its like a support group when It’s very helpful when you don’t know what’s going to happen to your loved one. People would come in and fix Dinner for everyone. Its a very nice place. When we left the last day they gave him a blanket that someone made and donated..We still have it 11 years later, and  we save pop tabs and send to them.”

De Jesus says the Morgantown Ronald McDonald House is always looking for donations and ways to get the community involved.

Nonprofits & The Local Government

The federal government shutdown continues to affect many individuals as well as nonprofit organizations all around the country, and it appears that the shutdown won’t be ending anytime soon. The government relationship with nonprofit organizations is often a vital one when it comes to grant, financial stability. However, national government isn’t the only source of a government-nonprofit relationship.

Local governments are often criticized for lack of communication with nonprofit organizations in their area. In fact, nonprofits are always looking for ways to strengthen their relationship with their local government. Local governments are often looking for ways to increase benefits to both parties. The scene is a little different here in Morgantown. Our local government boasts a great relationship with local nonprofits.

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Morgantown is known for it’s beautiful scenery; it’s also known for it’s hospitality. The local government seeks to keep a good relationship with nonprofits and citizens in the area.

The city of Morgantown focuses on helping nonprofit organizations in the area as part of their daily activities. According to Morgantown Community Development Administrator David Bott, the city of Morgantown provides limited funding to nonprofits in the community through the city’s general fund and the Community Development Block Grant. One of the most successful city-nonprofit relationships is with the homeless service providers in Morgantown.

“The city works closely with many of the nonprofits especially the housing authority and Habitat for Humanity,” explained Bott. “The city coordinated and lead the first few points-in-time counts of the homeless from 2005 – 2007. “I serve as the President of the Board of the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness. We are working to resolve the problem not only in the state, but also in our city.”

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The city of Morgantown boasts more than 400 local nonprofits. It takes not only financial contributions from local government and donors, but also contributions of time and effort from citizens to keep these nonprofits serving.

In addition to funding, the city of Morgantown also promotes the nonprofit organizations in the community on their webpage.  They often feature nonprofit events in their blog as well. Aside from financial help, promotion, education, and awareness is often some of the best help nonprofits can receive. Bott says education and awareness is important, because most Morgantown citizens are unaware of the variety of services available or ways to volunteer.

“The average citizen is unaware of the array of non-profits in the community,” said Bott. “The last count I had Monongalia County had somewhere around 350 non-profits. Most people see the United Way as the face of non-profits in the community.”

There are currently over 400 local nonprofits in the Morgantown area. Local government can play an important part in keeping these nonprofits in service. In addition, so many types of nonprofits exist locally, that a wide variety of volunteers are needed. As a community, we can do our part to help keep these nonprofits serving those in need whether it be through donations, contributions, or volunteering our time and effort.

 

Nonprofit of the Week: Stepping Stones

People with disabilities constitute the nation’s largest minority group. It’s also the largest minority group that anyone can become a part of at any given time. Research shows that more than 20 million families in the United States have at least one disabled family member.

Here in West Virginia, there are an estimated 405,000 people with a disability. Around 257,000 people in West Virginia have a form of work disability, while 60,000 people with disabilities in the state are employed.

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Stepping Stones is a one-of-a-kind nonprofit organization in Morgantown, WV that offers programs and activities for disabled people over the age of five. Photo Courtesy of Stepping Stones.

One of the many nonprofit organizations in Morgantown is Stepping Stones. Stepping Stones is a non-profit recreational center for people with disabilities. It’s been around since 1946, but is very little known. It’s one of a kind in the United States. According to SteppingStones, there are over 69,220 disabled individuals over the age of five living in our service area. Stepping Stones seeks to help people focus on their abilities instead of their disabilities. They offer several programs including soccer, basketball, wheelchair basketball, summer camp, day camp, golf, computer classes, therapeutic riding, social activities, and swimming.

I recently sat down with Stepping Stones Recreation Coordinator Kim Walls and some Stepping Stones participants to talk about what Stepping Stones brings to Morgantown.

Stepping Stones offers a variety of ways to connect on their website and their Facebook page. Users are encouraged to comment on open forums, Facebook posts, and on Facebook photos and walls. Stepping Stones Recreation Coordinator Kim Walls said they try to get the word out about their unique organization as much as possible. Stepping Stones does not use Twitter as a communication method, but Kim Walls said they are looking to update their website and social media usage. In addition, the Stepping Stones website features a donate button for their organizations with information on how to serve the organization.

The Government Shutdown: What It Means For Nonprofits

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CBS reports that nearly 800,000 people will be forced out of work during the government shutdown.

America is currently facing the first government shutdown in 17 years. According to CBS, about 800 thousand workers are jobless, veterans’ disability claims will not be decided and national parks are closed as a result of a shutdown.

The government shutdown is already affecting people right here in West Virginia.

“My job is half federally funded and half funded by state,” said WV Resident Brittany McIntosh. “I am a state employee the does all my work for a federal agency. I am lucky to still be receiving a pay check however i am forced to move my office 20 miles away to a state building since my usual federal office is shutdown. i am banned from working on any federal work–everything I do.”

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    Greg and Megan Shafer are WV Residents that are facing real issues due to the government shutdown. Photo Courtesy of Megan Shafer.

    “My husband, Greg, was injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in August of 2010, which caused him to be given a disability rating percentage high enough to be medically retired from the Marine Corps, with retirement benefits,” explained WV Resident Megan Shafer. “He is currently working in the oilfield, but nothing too strenuous. With his retirement pay and his oilfield pay, it’s as if we live in a 2 income household. Since he’s gotten out of the military I decided to go back to school and finish up my bachelor’s degree at WVU. My plan was to not work while in school and to focus on my studies and grades since we have that 2 income scenario at the moment, but we have been informed by the VA that November 1st retirement benefits will be discontinued because the VA will run out of money. In this case, I will need to begin working while in school so that we can cover all of our expenses. Also, Greg was recently accepted into WVU to begin his bachelors degree in January on the GI Bill that he earned during his enlistment and that will also be discontinued and he will not be allowed to go to college if the government shutdown is still in affect because we can not afford to send him ourselves.”

    So how is the shutdown affecting nonprofit organizations? Federal-Grant Recipients may find themselves in a tough spot. The Corporation for National and Community Service which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to nonprofits announced they will operate with 72 full-time employees as opposed to their normal 610-member staff due to the shutdown. In addition, the corporation will only support programs that are exempt from the budge impasse such as the National Civilian Community Corps, Vista antipoverty work, and FEMA corps. Nonprofits who already have grants will not be affected immediately, but no new grants will be given at this time.

    Gail Cormier, Executive Director at North Carolina United Families, says her nonprofit is already feeling the impact.

    “We have been impacted by not being able to gain access to NIH,” explains Cormier. “In addition we can not process our SAMHSA billing. Therefore our small non -profit is going to have to wait for $30,000 to be processed and reimbursed. That outstanding debt can have a big impact on my agency and my staff and how we function.”

    Aaron Palmer says his nonprofit research institution here in Morgantown is experiencing similar problems.

    “Working for a non-profit research institution we have been impacted in a number of ways, primarily gaining access to NIH, which has been shut down due to the lapse in the federal budget,” explained Palmer. “Grant submissions are due October 5th.  The NIH web site says transactions may not be processed, and the agency may not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted.”

    Many national nonprofit programs such as Meals on Wheels could be affected after just one week of the shutdown.

    One of the immediate effects of the shutdown may be staff numbers. With delayed payments from the government affecting the amount of income the organization receives, many nonprofits will be forced to lay off their employees. This is a problem, because as nonprofits are forced to lay off staff, the demand for services will grow.  As services grow, the budget will be depleted if no new money is coming in. Payments aren’t only delayed or nonexistent to nonprofits, but to American citizens, especially government employees. Programs providing food stamps, housing and veteran’s services will cease. Thus, the need for nonprofits will be greater than it already is.