Carolyn’s Community and Volunteer Activities

This page focuses on activities I have supported over the years, lending my time and expertise free of charge. In fact, Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog is a form of community service: it continues to be offered free of charge as a public service (est. 2011). I also provide information readily to those who reach out for help via my secure contact form. Approximately 100 nations visit annually, and this has made me consider the Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog my very own “United Nations” effort.

Most current activities are listed first. Questions? Use the secure contact form on this website to reach me.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby exists to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power. A few years ago, I agreed to help curate the Austin chapter’s Twitter feed (we have gone from 11 followers to more than 600). Join our secure community discussion platform by following this link. Monthly national meetings are scheduled online, and the platform includes information about other events and a variety of helpful resources. I also developed a Chapter website, “Voices of Austin,” to provide stationary URL links for individual letters to the editor (letter writing is an important component of our CCL efforts), and to share general information about the work of the Chapter.

TechSoup Ambassador Program includes knowledgeable advocates for TechSoup and its many helpful nonprofit educational programs. Just prior to COVID-19 lockdowns, I was pleased to work with a team to develop the TechSoup nonprofit disaster and preparation recovery course. It was funded by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy on the heels of Hurricane Harvey. Search on my blog’s main menu for a special section of articles and links on this timely topic. I joined the Ambassador Program in October, 2022 and look forward to promoting and participating in future TechSoup programs.

“TechSoup equips changemakers with transformative technology solutions and skills they need to improve lives globally and locally. We do much more than offer discounts on the tools that you need. Read about all our great initiatives and how we get these resources — and more — into the hands of people working for good all over the world.”

ONE Campaign | Since taking African literature courses in college and studying African art, I have been interested in Africa, its many cultures, its potential, as well as its challenges. And, a few years after becoming a ONE Campaign volunteer, I had my DNA tested by and discovered I have a small percentage of ancestry from Cameroon, Congo and Western Bantu Peoples.

I first became actively engaged with ONE in 2012 in San Antonio after attending a presentation by Michael Gerson of The Washington Post. When I moved to Austin in summer 2013, I connected with our local ONE Campaign staff member. Today, my mostly “online” advocacy focuses on the 25th District of Texas (the western edge of Austin). I have also written blog posts featuring ONE and the issues on which it focuses. For an earlier article on my blog about my involvement, follow this link. To view a photo blog about the 2018 event for which I volunteered, follow this link. And for a more recent post, you might enjoy, “Every Day is Mandela Day” (2021 and updated on occasion).

Yelp Elite Squad | In October, 2016 I was invited to join the Yelp Elite Squad, and I continue as a member today. I had been sharing meaningful reviews on the platform since 2013, but as I tend to take more care in reviewing and posting Instagram photos, Yelp noticed. I aim to be honest, helpful and positive in my reviews, and I share very few negative reviews (and those I consider to be a public warning). I believe a healthy business community creates a healthy philanthropic environment. We all need to be supporting the business community with that in mind.

Separately, I try to help keep my immediate community healthy and clean, doing all I can as an individual resident. Read my Tumblr on the #RestoreOurEarthChallenge on Facebook.

Prior Nonprofit Commitments

Austin Colony Chapter of National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution | I have enjoyed serving as Literacy Committee Chair (2020 through 2022). To read a report about our work, follow the link to ISSUU. We enjoyed having Emily Ball Cicchini, Executive Director of BookSpring, speak during the April 2022 meeting of Austin Colony Chapter, and we donated books and gave a financial contribution. “BookSpring is the leading Central Texas organization focusing on building literacy skills and the motivation to read through increasing home libraries and reading aloud activities for children.”

NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network | I have been a professional member of and volunteer for NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network for the past decade. From 2016 through 2021, I was the primary volunteer organizer of Nonprofit Tech Club Austin, which today is a partnership between NTEN, TechSoup and Capital Factory. I helped enlist the partnership with Capital Factory, one of my favorite innovative organizations, after having become somewhat of a “regular” at their public events.

  • I was honored to receive a national 2011 NTENy Award for being, “Most likely to recruit all their friends – and total strangers – to join NTEN.”
  • I have given presentations at two prior Nonprofit Technology Conferences. For the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference at CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, I spoke about donors and social media. You can view my slide deck on ISSUU. I also discuss some of my experiences during that conference on Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog. For the 2015 NTC at the Austin Convention Center, I spoke during WordPress Day. For that conference I also served as an onsite volunteer and VIP dinner organizer.
  • Prior authorships include: 1) NTEN Connect, “Technology Adoption in the Workplace: A View from the Trenches” (2016); and 2) for CHANGE, “Engaging Major Donors with New Media” (2011 – my article begins on page 26). You can find these on ISSUU.
  • In May 2020, I gave a Nonprofit Tech Club Austin presentation, “Prospecting: Reviewing Your Own Database(s) for Hidden Gems.” In May 2021, I gave an updated research presentation to the North Texas affiliate of our tech club. You can view a video of my PowerPoint slides on YouTube.
  • During my service as lead volunteer organizer for Nonprofit Tech Club Austin (TechSoup Connect Texas Chapter), between 2015 and 2021, I donated 600+ hours of volunteer support.
  • I created some Adobe Creative Cloud videos to promote and thank our tech club speakers and partners. See my YouTube channel for examples of those and one playlist from a recent year of programming.

IREC: Interstate Renewable Energy Council | I served on the Board from 2011 to 2018. The focus of my work was on nonprofit infrastructure, communications, identification of potential partners and funding sources. I also helped identify and recruit two new members of the Board, and helped IREC transition to a new constituent management software platform.

Big Medium | I had been a visitor to Big Medium for a few years, but became an active volunteer in early 2015 through mid-2017. Office work, gallery opening support, and photo documentation (including social media promotion), were included. I moved to Bee Cave in 2017 – on the opposite side of Greater Austin – and that hindered my being able to volunteer in person.

National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (former project in Corpus Christi, Texas) | I have been pleased to discover several Patriot ancestors, one of whom worked closely with General George Washington, Irishman John Honeyman. I was elected to membership in the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution officially in 2010. Today, I belong to the Austin Colony Chapter (my initial chapter was Corpus Christi). For information about my 18th century Irish family member, see Tumblr. Today, I have a total of five formally documented and approved American Revolutionary War ancestors at NSDAR.

As a prior volunteer and former resident of Corpus Christi, I helped the Corpus Christi Chapter of the DAR organize and present the 2011 Silver Tea, which honored Mrs. Maureen Miller (benefiting the Art Museum of South Texas and the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra). During the event, special proclamations were made commending Mrs. Miller for her outstanding philanthropic endeavors by Texas Governor Rick Perry, Representative Todd Hunter and the Texas Legislature, and Mayor Joe Adame, who declared February 18, 2011, “Maureen Miller Day.”

Cathedral Music Ministry | While living in Corpus Christi, Texas, I enjoyed volunteering for the Corpus Christi Cathedral Music Ministry. In honor of Mrs. Maureen Miller, I helped she and the Diocese do the initial work to organize a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign for a new Cathedral organ. A now-popular slide presentation was developed, and you can view it on ISSUU.

Friends of the Texas Historical Commission (THC) | I served on the Board of Trustees of the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission for five years. I helped organize activities associated with the Annual Historic Preservation Conference and THC Commissioners’ meetings in May 2008 in Corpus Christi, in partnership with Mrs. Maureen Miller (THC Commission private reception). I also worked with the USS Lexington staff to select Commissioner gifts, and I purchased those for the THC. I also worked with the staff of the THC to review and select the recipients of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Preservation Fellows Program-Diversity Fellowships in Historic Preservation (application review and recommended selections).

I participated as a guest speaker for the Advanced Grant Writing Workshop in Austin, Texas in February 2010, sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission, and the Texas Grant Writing Workshop in Victoria, Texas in July 2010. For the latter, I was pleased to help secure seminar sponsorships from The O’Connor & Hewitt Foundation and First Victoria National Bank. My PowerPoint on grant writing, developed for the first workshop, is available on ISSUU (it remains one of my most popular).

Coastal Bend Chapter, AFP | As a member of the Board of the Coastal Bend Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, I assisted for four years with educational program development. I was asked to join the leadership team to help energize it. I identified many guest speakers and experts for programs during this time frame. About 2003, I set up the chapter’s first website using my own free website platform via Earthlink, and I managed it free of charge as a public service. In 2007, I set-up the Chapter’s Constant Contact e-communication system, from which I designed and distributed the Chapter’s first professional e-announcements for the first year.

State of Texas CMA

Texas Environmental Education Partnership Fund Board | I served as a member of the Texas Environmental Education Partnership Fund Board, appointed for two consecutive four-year terms by former Texas Governor Rick Perry from 2001 to 2009. The project was in partnership with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and officially concluded in summer, 2009. My work included attending quarterly annual meetings (very few missed in 8 years), securing the Texas Capitol Annex (below ground) for TEEP Fund Board meetings in coordination with the Governor’s Appointment Office (for the second half of my appointment), suggesting/hosting special invited guest speakers, identifying and hiring a TCEQ reporting and documentation coordinator (and reviewing/approving Board meeting minutes), suggesting (and having appointed) another TEEP Fund Board member, securing a free website service to discuss our work with the public (and developing and managing it), and providing my own professional advice and guidance about K-12 science-based environmental education for Texas. Once the TEEP Fund Board’s work concluded, at the request of the Governor’s staff (as I had the most complete set of records and was in more regular touch with the Governor’s office), I documented eight years of proceedings and donated it to the Texas State Library and Archives. No small feat! The commission was then formally “sunset” by the Texas Legislature and my documentation accepted. Some of our TEEP Fund Board ideas were ultimately adopted/carried forward by TCEQ staff and by the Texas Education Agency.

National Leadership Foundation | I enjoyed participating in the Adopt a Soldier Program of the National Leadership Foundation, sending care packages to a soldier deployed to the Middle East in the late 2000s. We remain in contact today.

The University of Texas at Austin, College of Fine Arts | While working on the expansion of the Art Museum of South Texas, I reconnected with a member of the faculty of the College of Fine Arts in Austin, as I hoped he would give a lecture to our project donors. In the midst of this, I donated a research scholarship to an art education student and helped her attend the Study in Italy program in 2004. I had received a research scholarship myself back in the mid-1980s, and I remember how much it helped advance my studies. I really enjoyed this experience!

Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin | I served for approximately six years on the Advisory Council of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. I helped sponsor the 2007 showing of the award-winning WWII documentary, “Last Best Hope” aboard the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas. The idea of the presentation was suggested by me as a way to showcase the work being done by The University of Texas at Austin. I have also donated some of my family’s historical documents relating to the Civil War to The Briscoe Center, as well as documents from my years attending The University of Texas at Austin.

Rotary International | Although not currently active with Rotary, I am a Paul Harris Fellow (having made the one-time, lifetime charitable donation required). For the Corpus Christi Chapter, I suggested and hosted several guest speakers on topics ranging from energy and archaeology to wildlife and donated to the ShelterBox program for emergency relief. I also provided volunteer support to Rotary’s annual Harvey Weil Sportsman Conservationist of the Year banquet for seven years (Coastal Bend region of South Texas), including suggesting several potential recipients who were ultimately approved, among them Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg, Daniel A. Pedrotti, Ben F. Vaughan, III, and the late Richard C. “Dick” Bartlett. Later in 2021 for the Lake Travis-Lakeway Rotary, I gave a presentation on nonprofit fundraising in Texas, sharing insights from more than 30 years of hands-on experience. You can find my slides on ISSUU.

Additional Volunteer Work

I have volunteered for nonprofit causes since grade school days with Camp Fire USA in San Bernardino, California. Our parents had a strong focus on “giving back” to the communities in which they lived over the years, and their volunteer service is noteworthy. That mantra was part of our upbringing.

Nonprofits for which I have done more in-depth volunteer work not fully described on this page include: 1) Laguna Gloria Art Museum (now The Contemporary), where I volunteered for the Art School during graduate school, and where I was subsequently recruited for my first nonprofit position; 2) The Volunteer Center of Austin as noted in the slideshow above; 3) Austin Chamber Music Center (I helped create its first membership program); 4) Dallas Zoological Society “Zoo To Do” Gala (serving two years on the silent auction committee during the mid-1990s); 5) Dallas Contemporary (formerly the Dallas Visual Arts Center), where I served on the Board of Directors for two years in the late 1990s; 6) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where between 1999 and 2010 I provided free assistance on multiple projects, including coming up with the idea of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System in Texas with a gala event (which ultimately occurred at the Fort Worth Zoo in 2003); and 7) the Altar Guild, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd for approximately three years (altar maintenance and service preparation). When living and working in Corpus Christi in the 2000s, I took the formal coursework required and was officially confirmed in the Episcopal Church (I had been a Lutheran but inactive since high school). For COGS, I also advised them free of charge on major gift fundraising and planned giving.

Several of my Austin-era volunteer documents (early career) are now found in the archives of the Austin History Center, a division of the Austin Public Library.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’d accomplished. It’s about what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

– Denzel Washington, “A Hand to Guide Me” (posted on Goodreads)

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