We talk to Partner Yona Capobianco about how she rediscovered the thrill of being a learner and got to support nonprofit leaders making a difference in her hometown through San Diego Social Venture Partners.
How did you become involved in SVP?
I spent 20 years with a medical device company doing accounting, project management and process improvement. As the expert, it felt good to be helpful, but it was no longer challenging. When the company was acquired, I started exploring using my skills with nonprofits. I was looking to learn. I heard about SVP and discovered there was an opportunity to do pro bono consulting work with nonprofits.
Why should someone consider becoming an SVP partner?
There are lots of opportunities that can fit your lifestyle. I can review grant applications at home, go out and help hands-on, or I can train others to do it when I have less time. It’s very flexible.
You also get to meet and talk with really interesting people with backgrounds and experiences different from the people you would meet in your usual networking space. And everyone is there for the same reason: to help.
What have you learned by being a partner? I’ve learned a lot of things working with nonprofit clients that I take back to my consulting business and vice versa. One of the first organizations I worked with was Traveling Stories. We used an engagement tool to create a one-page vision of their story to engage donors. In business, you have to do that, too – explain the vision simply. I also learned different ways to measure impact and outcomes. In the nonprofit space, monetary outcomes are not always the most important. Sometimes in business, too, you are trying to change behavior or measure long-term impacts. It’s a safe space for learning and trying new things.
How has SVP changed the way you approach philanthropy? I would donate to whoever approached me. I never felt connected to the group. Now, I get to see passionate local nonprofit founders and leaders overcome hurdles and evolve. I get to help them be successful, whether that’s helping a young, small organization grow or helping an established nonprofit transition to the next phase. I’m encouraged by everything nonprofits are doing and the impact they’re having right here in my hometown.