How Can We Ensure Nonprofits are Supported & Thrive During Future Emergencies?

What an honor to represent our Center and the Nonprofit Sector in my testimony at a Joint Assembly/Senate Select Committee Hearing on the topic of  “Ensuring Nonprofits are Supported and Thrive during Future Emergencies”.  This invitation was extended because the incredible work we did together over the last 2 long years of Covid and Fire response has been noticed by state nonprofit sector leaders as well as state government leaders.

I want to thank the entire Volunteer Center family – Board, staff, volunteers, donors and partners. While it is my privilege to speak on behalf of all of us – something I do with joy as frequently as possible here locally – it is all of us together that did the hard work, created the programs, tools and impact that made folks stop and take notice.  

I see the power of people bringing creativity, passion, intellect and focus to work every day. I see us confront challenges, obstacles and stress and choose to keep working together for the betterment of our community, our participants, our partners and each other.  It is often work that is not noticed or appreciated in the moment outside of our circle. I believe it is important to celebrate this recognition and share the pride in your part of something remarkable!  

I also tried to be honest about what needs to be changed and the burdens and barriers that keep us from our best work here at our Center and through-out the local nonprofits we work with. We need flexible, increased funding to pay our staff a fair and livable wage. We need smart, targeted investments to upgrade technology, training, productivity tools and onboarding costs as we all rebuild our volunteer and staff workforce after the Pandemic and the Great Resignation. This is not “overhead”, it is vital infrastructure that will pay huge dividends in increased staff retention and productivity, increased donations of time, talent and money from our volunteers and donors and ultimately, the ability to sustain and expand impact in our community and stand ready to serve in the next disaster.

I encourage you to engage with us and our local faith, school and nonprofit community to learn and grow from our shared experience and continue to Connect for Good!

Karen Delaney
Executive Director
Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County