By Denise Boyd, Senior Marketing Program Manager, Tyco Security Products
Last December at the Conference for Women, Tyco Security Products’ Women’s Growth Network (WGN) in Westford tried an experiment. We invited Budget Buddies, a nonprofit organization that matches mentors with low-income women to help them build money-management skills, to share our booth.
“I’m so pleased our chapter members voted to share the Tyco booth with Budget Buddies,” says Anita Santos, Tyco’s vice president of marketing. “The Westford WGN’s mission is twofold: to empower women and to make a difference within our community. Budget Buddies’ mission aligns with ours, and it was a logical fit with the Conference.”
Big Impact in Just One Day
Turns out it was a perfect fit, too. “The December event was an ideal venue for recruiting new Budget Buddies mentors,” says Katie Neville, a volunteer coordinator and business manager for the organization. “Support from other women is key to the success of our programs, and the women who stopped by the booth were exactly the type of people we want to reach—motivated, non-judgmental, socially aware, and eager to pay it forward.”
“The Conference was a great way not only to spread the word about Budget Buddies and its ongoing programs in Lowell, but also to make women aware of our latest program in Lawrence with Lazarus House,” adds Katie Stoll, a program coordinator with the nonprofit.
In fact, the Conference helped the non-profit reach important goals. “I’m happy to say that a recent orientation session was well attended, and women from as far away as Melrose drove to our Chelmsford headquarters,” says Neville. “Several bilingual women expressed an interest, which would make the program more accessible for Spanish-speaking Buddies. This wouldn’t have happened without our participation at the Conference.”
An Inspiring Experience
The booth staffers also personally benefited from the day of motivational speeches. All four said they found the experience inspiring.
“We were all blown away by the quality and sheer size of the event,” says Claire Barrett, who acted as the nonprofit’s social media coordinator. “While we handed out lots of flyers about Budget Buddies, there was just no way to reach all ten thousand attendees in person.” So Barrett Tweeted with the event hash tag, which, she says, “was a great way to engage attendees. And I can now stay connected via Twitter @MassWomen and Facebook at maconferenceforwomen.”
While there was no way to reach every attendee, Jayne Mattson, a Budget Buddies confidence coach, made it her mission to network with as many exhibitors as possible. “The exhibit floor was a fantastic outreach opportunity,” Mattson says. “I had the chance to connect with people from many other mission-driven non-profits. All kinds of possibilities can grow from those conversations and connections.”
New Year, New Programs
In February, Budget Buddies started its first program with the Methuen and Andover Housing Authorities. “We’ll be working with women in the family self-sufficiency program who will be able to use escrow money to purchase a home, start a small business, pay off a debt, or save for retirement,” Stoll says. “It’s so rewarding to see our Buddies become empowered.”
The organization is also considering a “train the trainer” pilot program in the Boston area. If you’d like to learn more about Budget Buddies and how you can help low-income women gain greater self-confidence through basic financial education, visit budgetbuddies.org or call (978) 703-0820.