The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber's November 2022 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.
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Volunteer Recruitment Day?
Chamber member nonprofits please contact us
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Thinking Ahead: Thoughts for Building a Successful 2023 Fundraising Program

by Lucille Geraci Miranda, MPA

An integrated fundraising and development program can generate significant revenue. It must be part of a multi-faceted process that needs to be approached in a planned, strategic manner. It also has the benefit of bringing increased visibility to your organization and enhancing broad-based community support for your cause.
As we embrace Giving Tuesday and prepare our year-end campaign, it’s also time to plan for 2023. It’s crucial that your plan consist of a mixture of strategies, such as special events, direct mail campaigns, foundation, corporate and government grants, major gifts and planned giving.
Your plan should also include ways to increase your organization’s visibility. Join a variety of community networks! This is how you begin to enhance broad-based community awareness and develop relationships and strategic alliances. Without long-term relationships with a range of people involved in your organization, you will never be able to achieve your goals.
Tell your story through whichever vehicle makes sense to your organization! Cultivate your community whether it’s through social media, public relations, newsletters, a note, or a phone call. Be sure you are consistent in your messaging -- what makes your organization unique? How are you responding to a great need? Tell anecdotal stories as a way to show the impact of what your nonprofit is doing.
Be sure that you have a process to identify and assess your donors over the last three to five years, especially those donors that made gifts through the pandemic. Who are they?
How are you touching your donors? How are you thanking them? How are you staying connected? How are you engaging them? This is part of determining your fundraising goals.
Structure and refine your data input program to easily identify donors, prospects, and gift recordings so you can set goals and consider how to attract, renew, and upgrade your donors.
Data mine and develop a prospect list starting with your Board. Ask your Board if they know of anyone else who may support your cause such as those in their personal network, their alma mater, family members or those in their respective professional organizations.
Do not forget about your volunteers and those who have attended your events. These individuals already know of your mission.
Remember, the cornerstone of fundraising and development is developing and building relationships. Together with your Board, get to know and cultivate your donors. Now you can create your plan for success, an integrated fund development plan that can raise significant funds and increase your organizations visibility – but only if approached in a planned, strategic manner.
Questions? E mail me at
Lucille Geraci-Miranda, M.P.A. serves on the Board of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber Foundation, chairs the Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee and is President and Founder of Geranda Projects – Management Consulting for Nonprofits. Celebrating ten years of serving onprofits,  Geranda Projects is ready to offer its vast, integrated experience to help more nonprofits create a strong foundation and inspire them to reach their greatest potential, straight from the heart of their mission:
Contact us to add your event here.
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
Would you like to host an event for your nonprofit colleagues at your facility once COVID restrictions are lifted?

Please contact please contact Lucille Geraci-Miranda at
Do you have expertise to share with other nonprofits? Ask us about writing an educational article for this newsletter!

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Featured Organization: TRA (formerly WestFair Rides)

TRA’s mission is to create a network of sustainable, community-based volunteer transportation and information and referral services to promote safety, independence, and mobility for older adults (aged 60+) and adults with low vision (aged 21+) in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
Formerly WestFair Rides, TRA was formed on 10/11/2011 by volunteers, including President Catherine Wynkoop, to engage volunteers to help older adults get to their medical appointments. The organization provides medical transportation services in Westchester County, medical rides from Westchester to Greenwich and Stamford Hospitals, and medical rides from southwest Connecticut to Westchester. Beyond that they provide information and referral for services in Westchester and the region. The TRA team currently includes 7 full-time and two part-time employees and there are twelve members on the Board of Directors. 

During the COVID stay-at-home period, a number of volunteer drivers chose not to drive, usually to protect vulnerable family members. Supplemented by 5 TLC-vetted livery services with funding from the Field Hall Foundation and others, TRA was able to fill all ride requests between 2019 and 2021. They still follow COVID precautions: drivers and riders mask and use hand sanitizers; drivers wipe down car interiors between trips; riders sit in the back seat with, if possible, windows cracked to promote air circulation. All drivers are vaccinated. With vaccinations and boosters readily available now, TRA is thrilled to welcome back their volunteers and to bring on board new volunteers.

TRA and before it, WestFair Rides, has always worked with a distributed work force working from their own home offices, linked by voice and data communications over the internet. This year the organization rebranded to emphasize not just their medical transportation, but also information and referral to resources for older adults and adults with disabilities in the lower Hudson Valley. TRA stands for transportation, resources, and access. Launched in March 2022, the newly engineered website – – now simplifies access for riders/family members to register, to request service, and to learn about other resources. 

Similarly, the new site better supports volunteers with a central place to apply to volunteer, sign up to drive according to their own schedules, keep their own credentials current, and to communicate with the Call Center. 

TRA also created a Resource Hub on the new website. During COVID, their Call Center hired college students to research and verify information about other ride providers and resources for older adults and adults with disabilities living in their communities in Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley. As they learned more about opportunities to refer callers, they expanded the Resource Hub to provide free access for people who prefer to search for supports online or outside business hours. The Resource Hub is available online 24/7 at and by phone Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm. TRA is now enrolling community partners in the Hub so that they can ensure their own information is current and they can initiate and receive referrals for service to/from TRA.

Finally, to ensure that they are following the latest thinking about best practices, all Call Center team members earned AIRS certification as Community Resource Specialists – Aging & Disabilities (CRS A/D). The Call Center Director and President are also AIRS certified as database curators.

Most recently, TRA has added a social worker (LMSW) to their team to better coordinate outreach and services with our community partners and to provide additional support to team members and clients with complex needs.

As we move into a new phase of living with COVID, TRA continues to add volunteers to their driver pool. In February 2022, with support from federal, state, and individual sources, TRA purchased two RAV4 hybrid vehicles and hired two drivers to supplement volunteer driving.   

COVID has been a challenge, but it also provided unexpected opportunities to use time productively to better serve their publics. Dedicated volunteers are now returning, new and enhanced services are growing, and the talented staff team are growing to meet needs in creative ways. 
TRA welcomes collaboration with other service providers, continually seeks new community partners, and encourages participation in aging-in-place and livable community activities to enhance communications and better ways to serve. 

In short, TRA recommends that other nonprofits:
  • Hire the best staff
  • Recruit the best Board
  • Recruit team (staff & volunteers) that reflect the communities you serve
  • Hear what your customers (in their case, drivers and riders) tell you
  • Embrace change and welcome challenges

Finally, TRA says, “we all work in an amazing part of the country with government leaders who genuinely care. They want to know how best to support the work that we do, so we should be sure to tell them.”

Visit TRA's website to learn more.

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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

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