PFP Volunteer Honored

Sean Dague was honored by the United Way of Dutchess County and Hands On! The Hudson Valley as a 2011 Spirit of Dutchess County nominee as one of 29 outstanding individuals or groups of volunteers.  

Sean works at IBM and has been a member of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project for five years. He came to us to offer his assistance in enhancing our website. Because of the skills that he brought, the project was quickly reformulated as an opportunity to overhaul the website in its entirety, including a new layout, design, look and feel and back end platform. Sean was able to offer and integrate his skills with other volunteers who were involved in the project and patiently work within the constraints of staff schedules to shepherd the website to a relaunch within a year of initially volunteering with the organization.

Sean's original goal was to introduce a way for PFP constituencies to communicate with each other through our website. As the scope of his involvement grew, Sean was able to adjust his goals to the needs and capacities of the organization. Following a successful relaunch of the website in 2010, Sean has now re-conceived his involvement as supporting the PFP in a five year process of learning to harness the power of the web to further our mission. Sean has achieved his goals and has set new ones that include helping the PFP streamline its workflow, capitalize on opportunities afforded by the new web platform to increase organizational efficiency and broaden the audience that the PFP can reach by using the web as an effective communications tool.

One example of how Sean's work as a volunteer has made a difference is in the newsletter process. The PFP creates a monthly newsletter to inform supporters and program participants of events and opportunities, provide education on issues related to our mission and healthy eating and share other news of the farm and organization. In the past it has been very cumbersome to create the publication and have it posted on our website as a block of information, involving two dedicated volunteers. With the new website, we are now able to post information on the website in a timely and ongoing manner. Now only one volunteer is dedicated to the much easier task of collecting posted information into a newsletter that is immediately available online, easily e-mailed and printed. Overall, the website is more informative and up-to-date and the flow of information has accelerated, which has made a big difference in terms of allowing PFP constituencies to engage with and support our work. This has supported the PFP staff and volunteers to not only have the information that we need to do our work available at our fingertips and easily sharable but also to attract and recruit volunteers, have information readily accessible for recipients of subsidized or donated produce to learn how to get involved in our programs, get information out to customers and vendors of the farmers' market, efficiently manage fundraising event ticket sales, secure grant and sponsorship funding and just generally have an attractive first interface for new constituencies. In short, the organization's work has become more efficient and more available to our many constituencies.

Sean was honored as a volunteer because of the significant difference his work has made to our organization in support of our mission to build a just and sustainable food system. Having an attractive, easy to navigate and easy to update website is critical today. This is not something that is easy for a small organization to find the resources to invest in. Because of Sean's skill, patience, dedication and long-term commitment, the Poughkeepsie Farm Project has a world-class - and still evolving - website that would have cost us tens of thousands of dollars to create.

 

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