Community Foundation NEWS Session Leaves Lasting Impact on On Point for College

On Point for College (On Point) has been working for 16 years to open the door to higher education for inner city youth. Since its launch in 1999, On Point has helped more than 5,500 first-generation youth to get into college, stay there, and succeed afterwards. With a growing staff of 22 and more than 180 volunteers, it has been crucial for the organization to spend its time focusing on employing the best possible candidates to help carry out its mission.

Representatives from On Point attended the Central New York Community Foundation’s “Choosing the Right People for Your Team” NEWS session in March in order to garner new tips on conducting their hiring process. The workshop provided them with lessons to seek and select applicants more efficiently, ultimately lowering associated operating costs and man hours.

“We were in the process of doing quite a bit of hiring because we needed to fill capacity in our Utica and Syracuse office,” said Samuel Rowser, On Point for College Program Director. “I found our hiring procedure was too cumbersome. The NEWS workshop turned out to be a great opportunity to learn a new, quicker way to conduct it.”

The Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Essentials Workshop Series (NEWS) offers the nonprofit community a variety of tools for professional and organizational development. With around 15 sessions each year, there is a variety of topics offered ranging from the Fundamentals of Successful Project Management to Developing Leadership Skills in Your Staff. More than over 300 organizations have participated in NEWS since the program began in 2011.

The “Choosing the Right People for Your Team” session featured Kristin Byron, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Management at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. Byron emphasized that the wrong hiring decision can be very costly for an organization but fortunately, there are proven ways of ensuring that employers choose the right people for their team.

Attendees were presented with what questionworkshop edit _DSC0753s should and should not be asked to find the candidate who has the best fit and who will perform well on the job.  Byron provided the attendees with the tools necessary to implement these methods in their organizations.

After introducing the new process at On Point, the organization has seen a decrease in spending  for human resources tasks and has saved hundreds of man hours.

“The thing that really stuck out to me was learning about the number of applicants you should bring in for an interview,” said Rowser. “We had typically been interviewing 15-20 people, and cut that to 7-9 which has tremendously trimmed down the process.”

After a successful experience with this first NEWS session, On Point representatives are looking forward to attending future programs. The broad range in NEWS session topics ensures that nonprofit leaders are able to find a program that will help improve their organization’s development in necessary areas. The Community Foundation hopes that these cost effective workshops will ultimately help to strengthen the Central New York region’s nonprofit sector.

“NEWS is really about the Community Foundation providing a higher level of support and helping to meet some of the training needs of local nonprofits,” said Olive Sephuma Director of Community Grantmaking at the Central New York Community Foundation. “On Point’s experience is representative of the difference that we hope NEWS can make.”

The fall series of NEWS sessions kicks off on August 18, 2015 with “Aligning Board Governance and Fund Development.” For more information on the upcoming sessions for the fall please Click Here

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