Meet a Connector: Amanda in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Amanda Bancroft connects people all the time. Locals come to her to find jobs, organizations to volunteer with, and more.

“I’m an introvert. I’m not a social butterfly. So it’s not based on me having a huge network of friends,” she says. “It’s more based on the way I think about the layout of cities and the layout of resources: what already exists out there, what events are coming up, what organizations are doing what and when.”

A former AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, Amanda is obsessed with capacity building—that is, making sure people and nonprofits have the know-how to do more with the resources they have or fill in the gaps where needed.

When she’s not working at a clothing store downtown or studying to become a master naturalist, Amanda’s full-time volunteer gig is developing and blogging for Ripples. She describes it as “a loose global network of capacity builders and others who want to make positive impact with small droplets that lead to big waves.”

Amanda at Lookout

Amanda on a hike at Ozark Natural Science Center.
(photo courtesy Amanda Bancroft)

Amanda and her husband Ryan are currently creating a checklist of 30 questions for people to ask themselves before they take action. They range from “Does this action help or hurt the environment?” to “Does it support diverse communities?” to “Is there a foundation for long-term change?”

Amanda sees this accessible methodology as a way to encourage others to take their first step.

“Knowing how to think about making a difference might help people utilize these resources that are just flying all around us. There’s almost an overabundance,” she says.

Fayetteville has hundreds of nonprofits, tons of people motivated to do good, progressive values, a lot of creative types, grantmakers and donors, and in general, a culture of helping others.

But in Amanda’s opinion, people aren’t taking full advantage of all that’s there. For example, despite the large amount of nonprofits in the area, only a dozen or so are listed on Idealist.

Additionally, projects pop up and die all the time. Amanda would love to see lasting change, more ripples of action, and a shift in thinking about connecting.

“The Idealist Network could offer Fayetteville a lot in terms of connecting,” she says. “The trick and challenge will be to help people understand why connecting will get them what they want.”

Want to learn more about how Ripples might help you or your Team? Get in touch with Amanda: MakeSomeRipples@gmail.com.

Live in Fayetteville?  Join their Team! Live elsewhere? Look for a Team near you or start one of your own.

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Comments (1)


  1. Alan Botens writes:
    April 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Wow! This is amazing. Amanda’s story reflects so dramatically what Idealist is about, the Social Good Summit Ami contributed to last fall, what I experienced in the related “How to Change the World” Coarsera MOOC earlier this year. This stuff is in the air, coming on with what feels like the inevitability Springtime. Wonderful, wonderful!


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