Heather Comstock Connects

Helping nonprofits and other volunteer organizations develop strong relationships and a clear voice in the community.

Your Library Can Help! Free Start-up Seminar at the Annapolis Library

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Have you taken full advantage of the free nonprofit resources available at your library?

On Thursday, December 13th at 2:00 p.m. at the Annapolis Area Library I will be leading a free workshop on How To Start A Nonprofit.  Join us as we discuss the broad process of nonprofit startup and address specific questions and concerns!  More information about the event and how to RSVP can be found in the Library’s Winter Happenings on Page 9.  Plus this gives me a chance to sing the praises of your local library as an amazing resource for nonprofits!  If you’re not in the area, be sure to head over to your local library’s website or nearest branch and see what they can do for you!

Free Online Resources & Research –  They have amazing staff who can help you find and access to information on business/nonprofit start-up and operations.  In Anne Arundel County, Maryland, thanks to sponsorship from the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County you can access the Foundation Center Cooperating Collection at the Annapolis Area Branch.  The Foundation Directory Online is a searchable database of funding opportunities.  It is a helpful tool to make the most of your grant researching time.  Here’s the link to locate a collection near you.

Government Information – The library is a great place to learn about the services available from the federal, state, and local governments.  In Maryland, every county has a local volunteer office to help organizations and individuals make the community better.  In my area it is the Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel County and because I have worked in Howard, I have to share the wonderful Volunteer Center Serving Howard County.

Networking & Educational Opportunities – my Library often hosts face to face events with individuals from the Governor’s Grants Office and other local organizations which allows you to network and meet others involved in the local area nonprofit sector.

Free meeting space –  Did you know that most libraries will allow nonprofit groups to use their meeting rooms free of charge?  This is a great for organizations that don’t have a meeting room or periodically need to bring directors, members, or clients together.  Check with your local branch for their meeting room policy.  Check to see who is meeting at your local branch too.  Mine usually hosts Toastmasters and local history groups that are happy to welcome new members.

One Stop Shopping – for groups that are providing direct services to clients, your library is usually a hub of activity from free internet access and computers for those who don’t have access elsewhere, GED and ESL preparation materials, voter registration, and is usually accessible by public transportation.  Your clients are probably already using the services, why not meet clients there to save time and have resource at your fingertips?

If you’re just getting started in the nonprofit world or looking to reinvigorate your organization, head over to your local library to see what they offer.  You just never know what you’ll find!  Meanwhile,  ask your start-up questions here or bring them to the Annapolis Area Library on Thursday, December 13th!

Photo credit: By Tom Patterson, cartographer, Harpers Ferry Center, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior derivative work: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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