Outreach Update Summer 2021
Over the last 14 months, Umpqua Watersheds has shown remarkable resiliency in the face of the pandemic and the restriction on gatherings for events. Our first major virtual event last year was the 2020 Virtual Membership Banquet, and Spring/Summer Fundraising Campaign. It was a big success as we were able to raise over $20,000 to support operations and continue our work. We tried to replicate the event in the 2021 Virtual Membership Banquet and I couldn’t be prouder of the presentation and the very interesting keynote given by BLM Fisheries Biologist, Jeff McEnroe, on the Archie Creek Fire restoration activities in Rock Creek. https://umpquawatersheds.org/banquet-2021-presentations/
Unfortunately, this year’s Spring/Summer Fundraising Campaign has gotten off to a slow start with only $1,210 raised so far. This is extremely disheartening because of the enormous amount of effort and results attained by our dedicated staff and volunteers. As I discussed in my presentation for the 2021 Virtual Banquet, volunteers invested over 3,000 hours into Umpqua Watersheds and our only paid staff is the Office Manager (Melanie MacKinnon), Conservation Director (Angela Jensen), and AmeriCorps member (Robyn Bath Rosenfeld in 2020 and Ryan Kincaid in 2020–21). All did marvelous work to move UW forward in the midst of the pandemic. Our Board of Directors have spent many hundreds of hours in committee and board work. Because of the efforts of our staff and volunteers, UW is coming out of the pandemic as a much stronger and resilient organization than ever before.
As with most organizations, Umpqua Watersheds is significantly impacted by what is called the Pareto principle, where 80% of our outcomes come from the input of 20% of people. This phenomenon is also known as the 80/20 rule and the “law of the vital few.” I have worked almost exclusively with nonprofits for the past 20 years and have found this to be the case in organizations for which I worked and/or volunteered. What concerns me is that in UW’s case the ratio is closer to 90/10. Put bluntly, 90% of our general donations comes from 10% of our donors and 90% of our volunteer time comes from only 10% of our volunteers. This is not sustainable. The good news is that we are working diligently to address this problem and have a plan to get us there.
We are working to build capacity and add diversity to our organization by making resources available to other small nonprofits and community organizations such as meeting space, technology, and access to our radio station. We will be looking to find our “greatest common denominator” such as education, conservation, restoration, AmeriCorps service or community events and see how we can collaborate to make positive things happen in our community and for the beautiful natural world that surrounds it.
We are also very busy writing grants to support programs and for our capital plan to improve our building by enlarging our conference room, building a state-of-the-art radio studio, and working to make our building more accessible for people with mobility problems.
In June and July, we will start having group events again. On June
19, from 9-11 we will host a virtual volunteer training session. We will have presentations of various volunteer opportunities and training for several areas. On July 16-18 we will host Camp AmeriCorps for all United Communities AmeriCorps serving in our area as well as those who have served in the past. It will be at Steamboat Ballfield Campground. On Saturday, July 17 at the same location, we will host River Appreciation Day and will be inviting all of the organizations hosting AmeriCorps to table to inform people about their organizations. There will be live music and plenty of space to celebrate safely.
The following weekend many of us will be at the Twin Lakes Youth Wilderness Campout. It is always a very special time as we engage youth to embrace the concept that “there is no Planet B” by having knowledgeable people speak about topics including botany, geology, wildlife biology astronomy, and more. Please email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
As you can see there is a lot going on at Umpqua Watersheds but we desperately need your financial support to continue the progress we have made. Please renew your membership and consider giving monthly to support our great work. You can donate now by going to https://umpquawatersheds.org/donate/
Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you in person in the weeks to come.