Non-Profits Urged to Fight Poverty
Symposium held to boost community engagement
By Ethan Madsen
MILWAUKEE- People across Milwaukee came out to the fifth symposium on poverty on Wednesday to learn ways to help their companies and nonprofits.
The Social Development Commission (SDC) held their fifth annual symposium on Poverty at the Italian Conference Center in Milwaukee. The SDC hosts this symposium to help reduce poverty in a changing economic landscape.
The symposium was held starting in the morning and through the afternoon with different discussions being held to help people with mostly how to manage and optimize their nonprofit company or organization. There were also two keynote speakers during the day that addressed all of the people in attendance.
The people of Milwaukee came out on a cold, dreary, and rainy day to the symposium to get help on poverty and to learn new information on the current economic situation.
The morning started with a Continental breakfast that was hosted for all of the people in attendance in the early hours of the morning. Then the CEO of the SDC welcomed everyone and talked about reducing poverty in the city of Milwaukee and how they are hosting this event to help the people of Milwaukee who have questions.
From there people split up and when to different areas of the center to go to different sessions on different topics. The topics were mostly about how to help nonprofits to succeed in the future. They discussed what works and how to reduce costs to help these nonprofits during a down time in the economy.
The presenters of the sessions were different people from different companies and organizations throughout Milwaukee including representatives from the Milwaukee Bucks. They talked about how corporations and nonprofit organizations are working together to impact the Milwaukee community in new ways.
These sessions were designed to try to give people information to help them learn different tools to use for their organization or company. Also in some sessions the presenters gave hands on help with how to use these tools for their company.
Another organization at the symposium was the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The CSR helps companies manage the economic, social, and environmental impacts that companies have.
The CSR is relatively new to the US but it has been growing fast and companies have been using the CSR more and more because they have a big social and human focus and today the social aspect of things is bigger than ever with Facebook and Twitter and the CSR can help with that.
One of the main things that they help companies with is with the social aspect of the business, because companies now are expected to be more involved in the social community. They help companies be accountable to shareholders and to the stakeholders involved in a company.
First Keynote Speaker
The first keynote speaker of the day was Dr. Gregory Thornton the Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools since July 2010. Thornton’s goals for Milwaukee are to increase student achievement, effective and efficient operations, and sustained partnerships with the Milwaukee parent and business communities.
He talked about how he wants to create new school-community partnerships to help the Milwaukee Public Schools and how he wants to improve the fiscal and business efficiencies of the districts of Milwaukee.
Second Keynote Speaker
The second keynote speaker of the afternoon was Secretary Eloise Anderson who was appointed as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and families by Governor Scott Walker. She has experience in child welfare and work support issues. She also has an experience as a Social Worker in Milwaukee.
She said that her goals are to help the children of Milwaukee to prepare them for when they are looking for jobs and to make sure that they have the tools to succeed in the workforce. She also wants to help the citizens of Milwaukee that are having trouble in the current economy and to help them and give them tools to help them get out of poverty.
Professionalizing Social Media for Nonprofits: MKE123
One of the sessions at the symposium was the session that had information on how social media can help your nonprofit organization. The session was led by Matt Brown one of the people that helped create the website MKE123.org. (http://www.mke123.org/)
MKE123.org was created on September 16 of this year and it is the only website of its kind in the United States. This makes it a very unique website and tool that the people of Milwaukee can use and it is free.
He stressed the importance of companies and organizations being able to use social media and that so far they don’t use it very well. “The number one mistake nonprofits and businesses have with social media is that it is a conversational tool and not a mouthpiece,” said Brown.
So companies need to have discussions with people and not just say something without having any feedback, “Not sending out one way messages,” said Brown.
During the session he showed people the site and how to register yourself and your nonprofit organization. He also talked about how being able to use social media can help you if you are looking for a job. “A vast majority of people hiring are looking at peoples social media profiles,” so having a profile on a social media site can help you get a job.
He talked about how making a profile on this website can help your nonprofit build relationships and make it easier to collaborate with the community.
This is the fifth year that SDC has hosted this symposium and with the continuing of good turn outs at the symposium they will be hosting it again next year. If you want more information on the SDC then you can go to their website here. (http://www.cr-sdc.org/index.htm)