Published December 17, 2021
In a year when SCORE Bucks County saw a record number of business mentoring requests, the chapter’s volunteers stepped up to provide twice as many workshops and saw nearly double the number of attendees compared to previous years.
The local chapter of the national nonprofit organization offered 41 webinars for the fiscal year 2021, a 105 percent increase over the prior year. In all, 1,575 entrepreneurs and business owners participated in the no-cost virtual sessions, an increase of 99 percent over the previous year.
The Bucks County chapter – which most recently includes the eastern Montgomery County chapter as well – had the highest online seminar increases among any local chapter in SCORE’s 10-chapter district, according to SCORE Bucks Chairwoman Linda Zangrilli.
Given the success of its virtual information sessions, Zangrilli is hesitant to resume in-person workshops.
“People just find it more convenient,” she said of webinars, adding that the chapter commonly saw 20 people at in-person events as compared to several hundred at webinars. “We’re seeing how tremendously successful it’s been allowing people to do this.”
Zangrilli is hopeful that the chapter can return to its in-person women’s networking event in spring 2022 but is unsure if that will be possible given the pandemic.
Besides the growth in popularity and attendance of webinars, the chapter is also expanding its pool of certified volunteer mentors, according to Zangrilli. SCORE Bucks now has 63 members, including 10 provisional members who have recently come on board. However, even with these new volunteers, there is still a need for more since the chapter receives three or four mentoring requests from clients a day.
The influx of new members is necessary given the nearly 200 percent increase in mentoring sessions the chapter has seen year over year.
Based on data from the national SCORE organization, the Bucks chapter increased its total services to the community by 78 percent in the fiscal year 2021 and grew it's total mentoring by 62 percent.
Growth is a common theme for Zangrilli and her executive committee. When Zangrilli – the chapter’s first-ever female chair – joined the chapter five years ago, she was one of the chapter’s only women volunteers. That is no longer the case as 25 percent of SCORE’s local membership is made up of women.
“We are attracting a lot of new, more energetic women,” said Zangrilli. “We’re also attracting people who are still working who want to be part of this organization, which is good because their skill sets are fresh.”
In addition, the chapter, which strives to recruit members representative of a diverse community, is comprised of 13 percent minority mentors.
Zangrilli attributes the year’s successes to her executive committee, who she said, “really pulled together to make the chapter what it is.”
“All of the successes we’ve had are a cooperative effort,” she said. “I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been able to achieve all of this during some difficult times.”