Sierra Club Marks 40 Years for New England
By Danielle Piscatelli, Development Associate, Massachusetts Chapter
In 1970, the New England chapter of the Sierra Club was established. Twenty years later the New England Chapter split into five separate state chapters. To mark the 40th anniversary, the Massachusetts Chapter decided to celebrate this milestone by hosting a celebration.
We had about 100 people attend. Included were people from all the individual New England chapters. Overall the event inspired folks to continue the work they started. There was a lot of work behind putting this celebration together. There was a small steering committee of four volunteers and one staffer who really worked to pull a lot of the details together. There were a couple of folks who stepped up as leadership donors basically covering the costs, enabling tickets to be revenue for the chapter.
One challenge in putting this together was finding names and addresses of people who were involved 40 years ago. We had to hire an intern to focus on the guest list by tracking people down. She did this by going through old, archived newsletters and contacting long-time volunteers for contacts of others.
We held a rather simple but elegant reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres and a short speaking program featuring Club President Robin Mann. There was also a 12-minute video, produced by a long time chapter volunteer, highlighting successes over the past 40 years.
One of the key lessons in putting this together was the need to keep good records and to surround ourselves with exceptional volunteers who were willing to roll up the sleeves and work. Although the committee didn't operate in a vacuum, some felt we did. I'd be more communicative to others about the planning process next time and give longer lead time. I had a worksheet with deadlines.
We overcame the obstacles in putting this event together and it proved to be a big success. The featured video introduced ten long-time activists talking about issues they were (and in some cases still are) involved with. Each effort represented years of work and, when all is said and done, it may be the power of the human spirit that is more impressive than the final score. Click here to watch the video.