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IIBA Atlanta’s Non-Profit Volunteer Program
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I was recently blessed with an opportunity to learn how the IIBA Atlanta Chapter uses their mentoring program to help support both their Chapter and community.
About seven years ago, Wanda Hudgins Spain was the VP of Professional Development for the IIBA Atlanta Chapter. During her tenure, she introduced the Non-Profit Volunteer Program (NPVP). This program was designed to enable the Chapter to assist non-profit organizations, seeking project-related help. In its first year the IIBA Atlanta Chapter gathered requirements for a Mexican orphanage, which was building a website. This project established a long-term relationship between the Chapter and the orphanage; the Chapter is still an active advocate and sponsor for the organization. In the following years, the NPVP continued and flourished; the Chapter has helped Atlanta’s Midtown Assistance Center, a social services organization, and has most recently turned its efforts inward, on the Chapter itself. The most recent projects have focused on identifying and solidifying policies and procedures for each role on the Board, establishing recognized practices and enabling effective transitions between incoming and outgoing Board members.
Now, you may be wondering – how does this relate to mentoring? Like many Chapters, the IIBA Atlanta Chapter has a “traditional” mentorship program – pairing between senior and more junior BAs. In addition, the NPVP acts as a mentoring program as well. Each project is run by a combination of “master BAs” and junior BAs. The master BAs set the stage, using the BABOK® Guide as a foundation. The junior BAs then execute the project-level tasks both individually and as a group. For example, the master BA may ask the entire group to write individual versions of the project charter or workflow diagrams. Then, individual junior BAs may take lead on separate activities, with the rest of the team observing – for example, stakeholder interviews. With the combination of activities, junior BAs can get real experience and apply tools and techniques in a safe and professional environment. In fact, in our discussion, Robin Bond, the VP of Operations as well as the VP of Finance (and NPVP participant), reflected that these experiences are excellent resume builders. If a member is “light” on a skill, this is a mechanism to gain that skill; if a member is new to the BA practice, this is a way to gain that needed experience. In the end, the NPVP is FULL of wins – the participants win by gaining hands-on knowledge and skills; the community wins by getting expert guidance on desperately needed projects; and the Chapter wins through its member engagement and outreach – and you win as a member by getting involved!
When I reflect on my conversation with the IIBA Atlanta Chapter, I see two important lessons…
- Change things up – Look for new, different ways to educate yourself. Attend virtual events, conferences, and Chapter meetings.
- Start small – While the IIBA Atlanta’s NPVP started by helping a Mexican orphanage, your Chapter may not have taken on such a big project. Has COVID-19 made you re-evaluate a few things? Could an NPVP-like project be an effective way to engage your community and provide a mentoring/mentee opportunity too?
Thank you to Robin Bond and Galina Mattson for enlightening me on this excellent opportunity!
About the Author:
Koryn Anderson enjoyed a couple of careers before finding her ultimate one. She has been a business analyst for more than 10 years and is currently a Lead Business Analyst at Baird. She is passionate about the BA discipline, has her CBAP® certification, is Past President of the Southeast Wisconsin Chapter, and is the current Communications Director for the Global Chapter Council.