The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber's July 2021 Nonprofit Newsletter
The Nonprofit Committee brings you a newsletter once a month that focuses specifically on the issues confronting nonprofit organizations including an educational article and an article highlighting a Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber member nonprofit.
"We Served Thousands of People This Year." So What?

by Ivy Fairchild

Because measuring impact is no easy task, it is not surprising that organizations often default to measuring things they can easily wrap their heads around — people served, members recruited, dollars donated, money spent on overhead. Unfortunately, though these numbers are important, they alone are not good indicators of mission impact. An organization can meet all of these outputs, including exceeding the number of people they promised to serve and still fail to meaningfully advance the goals that are implicit in their mission.
For this reason, it is important for organizations to understand the difference between outcomes ( what the organization needs to achieve — i.e., increasing the graduation rates of students of color) and outputs ( the actions an organization takes to achieve their outcomes — serving 1000 kids or raising $100K). To adequately measure impact, an organization needs to ask itself the “so what” question. We served 1000 kids this year, so what was accomplished as a result of this service. Did the number of graduates increase? Did the youth get better grades? To measure our impact, we have to be able to show that the services we provided got us closer to achieving the mission for which we were created.

So how do we do this? Listen to Stephen Covey when he says, “begin with the end in mind”.
  1. Review your mission. Make sure that it specifies the difference you are committed to making, the people, places or things you aim to impact, and expresses your ultimate, intrinsic desire.
  2. Set mission accomplishment measures. Determine what results, outcomes and specific evidence staff should look at to inform that you are actually making a difference.
  3. Identify and measure the right performance metrics. Rather than counting activities, ask yourself: How is what we are doing changing lives? How is our work contributing to positive change? If we were to put ourselves out of business because we accomplished our mission, what would that look like?

Nonprofits work arduously to change the conditions that impact underserved communities. We must find ways of showing how our work is making a difference. Start today by ensuring that everything you measure answers what that difference is. It will guide your program development, your fundraising and your work.
Ivy Fairchild is the President of Landmark Consultants, a management consulting firm that helps nonprofits build and sustain their infrastructure, raise funds, develop the leaders of tomorrow, and affect change.
For these upcoming events:

September 28, 2021 (Evening)
Speed NP-BIZ Dating: Nonprofits meet local businesses to identify volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.

October 26, 2021 (Breakfast)
Make the Most of Your Membership: Discover all the ways the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber can help your organization! Deb Milone will present your options with an emphasis on the marketing and social media benefits.

November 23, 2021 (Virtual Lunch)
Featured Speaker: Cynthia Knox of CHOPP
Topic to be announced.

Holiday Mixer
Date and time to be announced.
To request an article about a
specific topic, please contact
Lucille Geraci-Miranda at
To request that your nonprofit be featured in this newsletter, please contact Lynn Amos at
Featured Organization: Hudson Valley H2O

by Mary F. Foster

Hudson Valley H2O is a young start-up nonprofit incorporated in 2018. This mission is simple…..introduce kayaking and stand up paddling to Peekskill residents and youth and encourage the creation of a Peekskill paddle club and center.
It all began with an idea in 2017 when Ian Berger put out a Facebook call for interested collaborators to bring a new amenity to the Peekskill waterfront. Mother Nature gifted Peekskill with an amazing waterfront that can accommodate various water crafts. The docks at Peekskill Landing were designed for canoes, kayaks and paddle boards with direct access to the Hudson River—no bridges to go under or creeks to navigate. The goal of HVH2O is to encourage local youth and adults to take advantage of open access to the Hudson River and try the sport. Beginner status is welcomed. They love to see first time paddlers enjoy the experience.

A small group of dedicated board members and volunteers has created a steady presence at the waterfront on weekends with low-cost kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals and lessons. For the 2021 summer season rentals are $20 an hour and lessons are $30 an hour. HVH2O volunteers also provide paddle lessons to local camps serving middle school age campers. Nature and art activities are incorporated into the half day programs to keep all campers engaged while not on the water.

The biggest challenge for HVH2O is garnering City support to build a paddle center on Peekskill Landing. This would enable the secure storage of kayaks, paddle boards and canoes owned by HVH2O and Peekskill residents. Paddling is a low cost sport and a natural fit for communities with a diverse economic base. But storing boards is a big challenge for those without garages. The City of Beacon has the ideal facility on Long Dock. HVH2O wants to bring that type of facility plus the rental kiosk to Peekskill Landing.

Since its incorporation, HVH2O has been learning the ropes to creating awareness and partnering with other community groups. Networking among the boating community has resulted in a paddle race now scheduled for October 9th

The paddle race scheduled for 2020 had to be postponed due to COVID-19 as was the 2020 and 2021 spring fundraisers and the stand-up paddle board lessons for the 2020 summer season. But the volunteers made good use of the COVID shut down by: getting kayak certifications so kayak lessons could be offered; purchasing and refurbishing a trailer that stores a dozen boards; submitting a grant application under the City of Peekskill’s DRI fund; and partnering with the City’s Parks Department.

So with two years of operations under their belt, what has the volunteers and board members of HVH2O learned? Stay flexible. Be nimble. Look for partners and collaborators. Awareness takes time. Stay committed and consistent. Opportunities come at unexpected times so be ready. Respect each person’s skills and contributions. Most importantly stay focused on the mission and vision. Don’t get distracted. Six people can accomplish a lot when working together and in sync.

Follow HVH2O on Facebook, Instagram and at
Mary F. Foster is a member of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Committee; Vice President of the Peekskill Rotary Foundations Board; Treasurer of The Field Library Board; a founding member of HVH2O; and a retired partner from Deloitte, an accounting and consulting firm. 
Follow the Chamber's Nonprofit Committee on Facebook:
The Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee provides meaningful opportunities for nonprofit staff, managers and board members to come together to collaborate, and embrace the importance of growth and sustainability. The Committee serves as a resource for ongoing professional development and as a forum for sharing best practices.

Committee Chairperson
Lucille Geraci-Miranda
Geranda Projects

Committee Members
Lynn Amos, Fyne Lyne Ventures
Ivy Fairchild, Landmark Consultants
Mary F. Foster, HVH2O and The Field Library
Chereese Jervis-Hill, Events To Remember
Tim Warn, Civic Member
Justin Wingenroth, The Dance Conservatory