Meet Your (Board) Match in Minutes
As for the name of the event, Jones admits there was a little pause before the organization opted to use “speed dating” in the name.
“We have gotten callers wondering why they got a speed-dating invite, but once they understand what it is there’s no problem,” Jones says. “It does catch a person’s attention.”
Prior to these events, the only way to match organizations with individuals was the old-fashioned one — behind-the-scenes with phone calls. Speed dating is a much quicker way to weed out bad matches, Jones says, adding that it’s also a really good way for smaller, less-known organizations to get the word out about their causes.
“Something may not seem that interesting when you read about it, but when you meet someone in person it sparks something,” she says.
Though Boards-by-Design believes it is the first organization to hold these events, it’s not the only one. Other organizations, including Business Volunteers Unlimited, based in Cleveland, host speed dating for nonprofits.
Sister Donna Stephenson, director of the Pittsburgh-based, Change a Heart: Millvale Franciscan Volunteer Program, says she was a bit uneasy about the event, being that it was her first date and all.
“At our first board meeting, when they heard about the event, they kind of chuckled and were startled,” Stephenson says. “But I had fun with it.”
The events have been a godsend for Change a Heart, which encourages women and men between the ages of 21 and 35 to commit to a year of service with marginalized and under-served communities. The last event she attended netted her organization two new advisory board members.
But even those organizations that don’t end up placing the people they connect with aren’t wasting their time.
“You still shared your mission with 20 people in one evening,” Jones says. “And those 20 people may tell 20 more.”