As June quickly approaches, we have been gearing up for our largest and most loved event of the year: IndyVolved 11. From the first year in the basement of the Murat, to The Children’s Museum, Athenaeum Theatre, City Market, Stutz Business Center and Central Library, it’s been such a trip!
Corey Wilson joined IndyHub’s board a few years ago, and has seen IndyVolved in a few different lights now, so we thought we’d pick his brain for a few minutes! You may have met Corey last year at IndyHub’s booth, or around the city volunteering with 100 Black Men of Indianapolis Beautillion Militiare Scholarship Program, another organization he’s deeply committed to.
IH: We’re entering our second decade of IndyVolved. As the event grows, we’ve been able to engage a lot of new organizations, and one of those is 100 Black Men of Indianapolis. Can you talk to us more about that?
CW: I’ve been involved with the 100 Black Men for 12 years, the last six of those on the board, where I’m currently serving as Vice President. IndyVolved gives us the opportunity to get in front of an audience that we might not otherwise engage with, especially since our growth has been gradual and more organic, by word of mouth mostly. IndyVolved gives us a shot at getting a younger demographic engaged, and those individuals are more likely to bring a boost of most of our small nonprofits are looking for.
IH: 12 Years! That’s longer than IndyVolved (and, IndyHub for that matter) has been in operation. How have you seen things change for non-profits since that time?
CW: Social media is so commonplace now, but it’s impact has been huge. We have so many ways to interact with people, but meaningful connections are harder than ever to come by. Volunteers are critical to our mission, so when we have the opportunity to connect person to person we’re definitely able to find a better fit for volunteers, and ultimately for the 100.
IH: You’re so right, that conversation and facetime is huge. Which brings to mind, for someone new to IndyVolved, it could be daunting with more than 100 organizations present! How would you advise someone to get the most out of the experience?
CW: It’s like how to eat an elephant, you have to go one bite at a time. (Cue that visual!) Even if it’s your fifth time, my advice is the same — do your homework. Review the exhibitor list ahead of time and flag any that you want to talk to. And just don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, remember these groups are looking to meet you!
IH: Now that’s an image stuck in my head! So, Corey, what does IndyVolved say to you about the larger Indianapolis community?
CW: The awareness that IndyVolved brings throughout the city is absolutely key. The fact that people attend and exhibit year after year shows the value, and the diversity of exhibitors evolves each year. Indianapolis has such a strong talent base, and IndyHub has an immediate connection to the millennial demographic that so many non-profits crave. There is a definite demand and need for an event like IndyVolved in our city, so it makes sense that this is IndyHub’s longest running program. It just works.
IH: It does, and we get really jazzed to see the impact of those connections all year! At the same time, it’s important that we’re always looking ahead. So we’re curious, where do you see IndyVolved’s greatest potential for future impact?
CW: Absolutely. So, as a board we’re focused on IndyHub’s new strategic plan that gets into this, too. Let’s imagine being able to track a group of attendees from their first IndyVolved event and then touching base five, ten years down the road. Think of their personal and career paths that could be attributed to a connection made at IndyVolved.
IH: Love that. Afterall, that’s exactly what IndyVolved is about! Thanks so much, Corey! We’re so grateful to have board members who are engaged in our mission and so passionate about the Indianapolis community.
IndyVolved 11 is totally free to attend, but we suggest you skip the line at the door. Go to indyhub.org/indyvolved to RSVP in advance and get ahead of the crowd. And– back to that homework that Corey mentioned: all the 2016 exhibitors are listed at the link above as well. Make sure you take a look before heading to Central Library on June 9!