Organizing armies of volunteers

October 10, 2009
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People who gather for trade shows, conventions and events aren’t only interested in making contacts and brushing up on professional skills. They increasingly want to do good deeds in the places where they meet.

The trend toward “give-back programs” in convention cities like Indianapolis has become so pronounced that a new business has popped up to handle the logistics.

Kelly Young, who owns public relations firm Baise Communications LLC, started an ancillary business this month called Project Vol-IN-teer LLC to help groups meeting in Indianapolis with the logistics.

Give-backs are fun, but they also amount to internal marketing for the groups. There’s nothing quite like helping children or beautifying a neighborhood to make members feel good about their organizations.

Most religious groups that meet here already immerse themselves in give-backs. Perhaps they’ll be looking for more ideas.

The National FFA Organization, which brings its national convention back to Indianapolis beginning Oct. 21, is another example. The FFA, which might bring more than 50,000 to the area, plans to build three Habitat for Humanity houses, among its many projects.

The ICVA has no formal contract with Young. However, it plans to throw business her way.

“There’s a lot of opportunity” for Young, said Susie Townsend, ICVA’s vice president for convention services. “It’s very intriguing.”

What do you think?


  • I know conventions and I know Kelly Young. If anyone can orchestrate a seemless and meaningful opportunity for incoming groups visiting our city, it's Kelly. Before working in the tourism industry, I managed multiple community service projects for a variety of nonprofits -- and the most challenging component was not finding the volunteers, but having finding the meaningful work and dealing with logistics. Taking that hurdle out of the way as Project Vol-IN-teer will do will make community service opportunities thrive for visiting groups. Way to go, Kelly Young!

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