Training

training

Public Lands Alliance: Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells
Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET
Cost: $39 for Members, $59 for NonMembers & Government
The Golden Quarter – the holidays – usually account for 36% of a retailer’s annual sales. It represents the highest level of profitability, and it’s a highly stressful time because there is so much to do. In this webinar, Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender will guide you through what you need to do to get in the holiday selling game. We’re talking a list to check twice that includes in-store events, holiday display must-dos, Top 10 Lists, selling gift cards, return policies, post-holiday markdowns, and more! All attendees will receive a free copy of Kizer & Bender’s ebook, Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells: Events, Promotions & Tips for the Holiday Season!
Presenter: Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, Kizer and Bender
Learn more and register


Silicon Valley Community Foundation: Data Stewardship for Nonprofits
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 10:00 AM PT
In a conversation moderated by SVCF, Lucy Bernholz, senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and director of the Digital Civil Society Lab and Laura Walker McDonald, CEO of SIMLab share best practices for data stewardship for nonprofits.
Learn more and register


techsoup: Getting Started: Making Your Grant Requests Sparkle
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 11:00 AM PT
Are you new to grant writing? This free 90-minute webinar for TechSoup’s audience (normally $69!) will help you prepare the basic documents needed to write compelling letters of inquiry and grant proposals.
Participants come away with a clear picture of exactly what documents they should have on hand and how to polish and present these documents in order to submit successful grants requests. Why not make your first grant proposals not only a joy to write, but also make them stand out from other submissions?
Learn more and register


Nonprofit 911: Data for Good: Fundraising and Technology Insights for your Year-End Campaigns
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 1:00 PM ET
This webinar will review data from the Global NGO Technology Report, the Global Trends in Giving Report, and Network for Good’s donor platform to determine if U.S. nonprofits are using technology in the ways that their donors and supporters prefer.

Attendees will be given access to exclusive donor data about donors’ giving preferences and habits and a detailed, data-based analysis of how effectively nonprofits are using online communication and fundraising tools.

In addition, attendees will:
Learn nonprofit benchmarks for success in web and email communications, online fundraising, and social media.
Understand how gender, generation, and ideology impact philanthropic giving (e.g. causes supported and preferred method of giving).
Gain insight into to how in-person interaction, such as fundraising events and volunteerism, affects giving.
Learn more and register


Firespring: Social Media 101 for #GivingTuesday
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:30 AM ET
This session includes practical tips and tools for promoting your #GivingTuesday campaign via social media. We cover the basics of using social media for your organization and give you handy tips for the “big 3”: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You may be surprised to learn that Facebook is less important than you’ve been told and LinkedIn may be more important.

Join us to learn:
How to use Facebook to create awareness for your organization.
How nonprofits are using Twitter to connect with constituents.
Why nonprofits must be LinkedIn to be fully connected.
Other powerful no-cost or low-cost tools to manage your social media presence.
Learn more and register


Grantspace: Introduction to Finding Grants
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 2:00 PM ET
Are you new to the field of grantseeking? Discover what funders are looking for in nonprofits seeking grants and how to find potential funders.
You will learn the 10 most important things you need to know about finding grants including:
Who funds nonprofits and what are their motivations.
What do funders really want to know about the organizations they are interested in funding.
How do you identify potential funders and make the first approach.
Learn more and register


WildApricot: 3 Easy Ways to Retain More Members Using Software
Thursday, September, 21, 2017, 2:00 PM ET
Do you sometimes feel that your membership is like a leaky boat? Every time you look at your database, you notice a few members have left?

In this free webinar, you’ll learn how to:
Get your members to renew on their own, so you don’t have to chase them
Automate your new member onboarding process and save hours each week
Quickly identify who is about to leave, and what you can do to keep them
Learn more and register


techsoup: Building A Grants Strategy
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 11:00 AM PT
Get the ins and outs of building your winning grant strategy for the year by joining GrantStation’s CEO, Cynthia Adams for this free webinar (normally $69 through GrantStation).
This webinar will take participants through the process of establishing a grants calendar for the next 12 to 18 months. Fast-paced, and filled with action steps, Cynthia Adams, CEO of GrantStation, will discuss how to design and adopt a Grant Decision Matrix before beginning the process of building a specific grants strategy for each project.
All participants will also receive a set of worksheets that they can use to create their own approach to building an overall grantseeking strategy for their organization. This presentation is geared towards beginning and intermediate grantwriters. Advanced grantwriters may also find it useful as a refresher course.
Learn more and register


Charity Village: How Can We Achieve Program Sustainability?
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
Congratulations! You have a successful program or pilot project and you’ve been actively working to make it stronger. Now, how will you sustain it over time? Find out at our upcoming free webinar!
New research into the area of program sustainability has shown that there are concrete steps you can take to increase the longevity of your programs. Although many organizations diligently develop a strategic plan, few seem to draft a formal sustainability plan. In this engaging webinar you will learn what factors can increase the sustainability odds of your program and the benefits of developing a formal sustainability plan. One lucky participant will also receive a free copy of Kylie’s Hutchinson’s new book, Survive and Thrive: Three Steps to Securing Your Program’s Sustainability!
At the end of this webinar you will be able to:
Define four types of program sustainability
State the factors that promote program sustainability
List reasons for developing a formal program sustainability plan
Learn more and register


bloomerang: The Big Diff: Writing for Digital 
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
Digital is different. For one thing, it can move and speak (video). For another, it’s action-oriented: people click a lot; they read very little. Tom Ahern will cover today’s best practices in this ever-evolving world.
Learn more and register


Grants Magic: The Quick-Start Guide to the One-Page Grant Proposal
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 11:00 AM CT
Whether you’re a complete grants newbie or a long-time grants pro, “The Quick-Start Guide to the One-Page Grant Proposal” will show you the exact planning template to transform your good ideas into great project plans … and A+ grant proposals! In this fast-paced, information-packed 90-minute training:

  • You’ll be introduced to the deceptively simple One-Page Magic Wand Worksheet that has won grants of $2,000 … $30,000 … $144,000 … and more! … for nonprofits like yours.
  • You’ll learn the 7 questions that bring clarity … depth … and power … to your own best thinking about a successful project or funding need.
  • We’ll pull back the curtain on the 8 questions that give you “x-ray vision” into the minds of grantmakers, so you can deliver exactly what they really want – every time.
  • You’ll learn the one question that helps you zero in on the grantmakers most likely to say an enthusiastic “Yes!” to your request for funding.
  • You’ll discover 6 surprising ways nonprofits have discovered (and you can borrow) to put this Magic Wand to work for your organization and your community.

Along the way we’ll bust a few grantseeking myths: The Myth of the A+ Proposal … the Myth of the Hard-Working Grantmaker … and the Myth of It’s-Just-Wrong-to-Be-Mes
Learn more and register


BoardSource: Webinar 101: Be Bold! The Legal Rules for Advocacy that Every Nonprofit Should Know
Thursday, September 21, 2017, 2:00 PM ET
Leaders of 501(c)(3)s play an important role in educating policy makers, as well as the public, about policy issues and actions that impact their organization’s mission and the people they serve. Elected officials vote on bills, make public statements and executive decisions, or take other actions that may be consistent with or conflict with a nonprofit’s position on an issue. After this workshop, you will have a clear understanding of how to maximize your organization’s advocacy efforts, the kinds of advocacy activities 501(c)(3)s can engage in legally, when a communication is considered lobbying, and how to remain nonpartisan while engaging in election-related activities. This is an introductory level but all experience levels are welcome and will leave with a better understanding of the rules.
Learn more and register

 


Wild Apricot: How the Best Nonprofits Resolve Internal Conflict Quickly and Get on with their Mission
Thursday, September 26, 2017, 2:00 PT ET
Is your organization’s mission suffering because of internal conflict, office politics and interpersonal issues? You’re not alone. Many nonprofits experience the same thing, which is why we’ve invited Margaret Sumption, an expert in conflict resolution to join us for a free webinar on Sept 26. Margaret will share the unique approach she has used with nonprofits all across the country to help them turn conflict into growth.
In this free webinar, Margaret will show you:
●7 proven communication strategies that prevent conflict in the first place
●The reframing technique that turns interpersonal tension into creative solutions
●The best way to rebuild relationships after a conflict
Learn more and register 


The Good Partnership: Donor Journey for Small Nonprofits
Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
Join co-hosts Cindy Wagman, President of The Good Partnership and Brock Warner, Senior Manager of Fundraising at War Child Canada for a free webinar where you’ll learn:

  • Learn what a donor journey is and how it can apply to small nonprofits
  • Where to start with creating a donor journey
  • The most important things to focus on for impact
    Learn more and register

VolunteerMatch: The New Volunteer Manager’s Toolkit
Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 11:00 AM PT
New to volunteer management? Looking for a refresher on the basics? This webinar will walk you through the three primary Rs – recruitment, retention and recognition. We’ll discuss the most popular program components such as interviews, orientations, volunteer handbooks, and more. And, we’ll talk about the importance of managing risk for your program and your organization. All attendees will also receive a sample packet with examples of program documents and program assessment checklists to help you evaluate your existing program.
What You’ll Learn:

  • The basics of volunteer engagement.
  • What are the 3 Rs of volunteer engagement?
  • What are the components of a successful volunteer program?

Learn more and register


Charity How To: How to Promote Your Online Fundraising Campaign
Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
If you build it, they will come – right? Not so in the fast-moving, noisy, and cluttered online landscape! Once you have designed an online fundraising campaign, how will you get people to pay attention? Simply sending out one or two emails is not enough!
In this free 45-minute webinar, you’ll learn tactics to use your website, email list, and social media channels to promote your online fundraising campaign and achieve your goals!
Key Takeaways:

  • How to use video in your online fundraising campaign
  • A Campaign Calendar you can adapt and use at your nonprofit
  • Several free and low-cost ways to promote your campaign
  • Examples from small and mid-sized nonprofits who have successfully raised money online

Learn more and register


blackbaud: GivingTuesday Takedown or Turn It Up?
Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
n 2013, two friends battled it out over how their organization should participate in Giving Tuesday. In one corner an early adopter and fan of the global giving day on the other side a GivingTuesday doubter. Join Carie Lewis Carlson, Senior Director, Digital Marketing, The Humane Society of the United States and Kelley Hohl , Sr Consultant, Blackbaud as they share their story of incorporating Giving Tuesday into their fundraising efforts. Hear their perspectives on the right and wrong ways to do #GivingTuesday, and tips for a successful campaign from one of the organizations doing it best.
Learn more and register


Network for Good: Your Email Strategy for Year-End
Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
Not sure if you’re sending too many (or too few) emails during the year-end giving season? We’ve got you covered. Join us for a quick, 30-minute webinar to see how one Network for Good customer raised 10 times more with a thoughtful year-end email strategy.
In this 30-minute session, learn:
How to make the most of your year-end emails.
How often you should email your donors in December.
How a thoughtful email strategy helped one nonprofit raise more.
Learn more and register


blackbaud: Digital Life Hacks: Creative Crowdfundraising
Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 2:00 PM ET
Digi know?: 71% of millennials have participated in a nonprofit crowdfunding campaign.*
As DIY fundraising and crowdfundraising continue to grow in popularity, we’re discovering what makes for successful campaigns and why. In this Digital Life Hacks webinar, DIY fundraising expert Tammy Radencic will discuss why crowdfundraising works, how to use DIY campaigns to acquire new donors, and how to make the most of your supporters’ efforts.
Learn more and register


VolunteerMatch: Social Media and Volunteer Engagement
Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 11:00 AM PT
Volunteer engagement is changing. What do you need to know about social media as a volunteer program manager? How can you use social media to promote your volunteer opportunities and recruit volunteers? This webinar will offer an introduction to including social media in your volunteer recruitment and retention plans. You’ll see examples of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as blogs that other nonprofits have successfully used to draw attention to their organizations and volunteer opportunities. You’ll also learn about the social media tools available as part of your VolunteerMatch account that can help you promote your volunteer opportunity on other social networking sites.
What You’ll Learn:

  • What social media is and why it matters
  • How to use social media to recruit and engage volunteers
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of managing social media tools
  • Where to go to get resources and help

Learn more and register


Classy: How to Boost Year-End Giving With Facebook and Google Ads
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 10:00 AM PT
What’s your marketing strategy for your year-end fundraising campaign?
To help you boost your year-end giving, we’ve invited Community Boost to join our team for a live webinar. Get ready to learn how to leverage Google Ads, Facebook advertising, video content, email marketing, and more.
Learn more and register


VolunteerMatch: Successful Volunteer Interview Strategies
Thursday, September 28, 2017, 11:00 AM PT
Interviewing each prospective volunteer can seem overwhelming, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure that the volunteers you recruit are the volunteers you need. This webinar introduces a variety of question types used in volunteer interviews and offers strategies for honing your interview skills. Materials will be provided to help you implement this process in your organization, as well as a training syllabus so you can learn how to recruit and train a volunteer staff to assist with prospective volunteer interviews.
What You’ll Learn:

 

  • Methods for interviewing prospective volunteers
  • Strategies for honing your interview skills

Learn more and register


WildApricot: The Tech Effect: Discover the Simple Solution that 1000s of Organizations Are Using to Grow Membership in Today’s World
Thursday, September 28, 2017 2:00 PM ET
Have you noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to grow your membership?

In this free webinar, you’ll learn:

  • All about The Tech Effect, the hidden threat that is making things harder for you to grow
  • 5 proven strategies to address The Tech Effect and attract new members right away
  • How an easy tech solution can save you hours of administrative work every day

This is not your typical webinar. It follows the story of one membership manager’s challenges, and ultimate triumph. A story that has inspired thousands of others to grow their memberships faster than ever.
Learn more and register


Digital Impact: Virtual Roundtable-The Open 990 & U.S. Nonprofits
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:00 AM PT
The annual tax forms for U.S. nonprofits – known as “Form 990s” – are now available to the public in digital, machine-readable form when they are filed electronically.
Researchers, journalists, giving platforms, infrastructure organizations and others are coming together to make it easier to access and use this data, which provide unique insights into nonprofit financials, grant-making, income, spending and overall fiscal health.
Practitioners and policymakers are now navigating the many questions and challenges the data presents.
The panel will discuss the origins of the push to digitize and open Form 990 data, the ways researchers are already using this resource, and the implications for nonprofits and funders, including the impacts on social sector research, policy and practice.
Learn more and register

 

 

 


 

Partnerships that are Just Right

goldilocks2Just like Goldilocks searching for the just right porridge, chair or bed; partnerships need to be just right.

Some partnerships require little trust, some a little more, and others a lot.
Some partnerships need a little time, others a little more, and others even more.

Some partnerships only share information and others share everything.
Some partnership have a very loose structure while others are highly formalized.

Just like Goldilocks your organization needs to find what is just right for you. Unlike Goldilocks if both partners agree on what is just right for them there is no need to run, you want to stay around.

The right partnership depends on:

  • Reason for forming the partnership
  • Trust between the partners
  • Time available to invest in the partnership
  • Willingness to share turf
  • Structure for the groups’ interaction
  • Decision-making process
  • Ability to share resources
  • Benefits to each organization

Partnerships move along a continuum from informal networking to collaboration, where partners share their resources to accomplish a mutual goal. Your position on the continuum depends on what you want to accomplish. As the partners increase their trust in each others competencies they tend to move towards integrating decision-making authority. (See table)

The partnership between a community group, such as Friends, and a government agencies comes with challenges. The organizations often have divergent needs and cultures. However, that is why the partnership is so beneficial. Friends are part of the community and have the potential to access resources not readily available to government agencies. The Service brings their competency and passion for wildlife management. Together they enhance each others capacity to achieve their mission and joint vision.

Creating and maintaining a successful partnership takes planning. The trust, time and effort each organization contributes moves the partnership towards collaboration. It is not practical for every partnership to aim for collaboration, what is necessary is finding that sweet spot were both partners know whatever form of partnership they have is just right for them.

The following table provides guidance on the different forms of partnerships, their purpose, necessary trust levels, time commitment, and resource sharing. It outlines the structure of the partnership, joint decision-making and benefits. This research helps you determine where your organization is on the partnership continuum and what is needed to get to that “just right” spot for you and your partner.

Partnership Continuum

line

Partnership Continuum table

Adapted from Collaboration (Lessons Learned Series). AASL, Fall, 1996.
Bernard Bull, The Difference Between Networking, Coordinating, Cooperating, and Collaborating

http://www.northeastcapt.org/products/srategies/collaboration/collaborationpaper.html
http://www.buildinitiative.org/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/resource-center/community-systems-development/1B%201%20Types%20of%20Partnerships%20Continuum%20of%20Coordination.pdf

Thomas Kayser, True Collaboration Is a Partnership: Six Ingredients for Making it So

Joan Patterson currently serves on the board of Friends of the Duck Stamp/Migratory Bird and was the former Director of Grassroots Outreach of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and board member for the Friends of Tualatin River NWR and the Friends of Potomac River Refuges.

Resources:
http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/guidebooks/Partnerships.pdf
Public Lands Alliance,
Best Practices Establishing a Partnership Model for America’s Public Lands
Stephen M. R. Covey,
The Speed of Trust

When You Hit a Wall

Screenshot_2017-04-24_14-37-11

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”             Henry Ford

After leaving high-tech I had a chance to pursue a passion, team-building. In the outskirts of Kansas City, I worked on a ropes-course helping kids and corporations develop their team-building skills.

One Spring morning I faced a dilemma, a group of fifth graders, each determined to climb an eight-foot wall on their own. Mind you, the challenge was for the entire team to ascend the wall with the stipulation that anyone who had ascend could not descend the wall to boost up remaining team members. They weren’t succeeding.

My dilemma was, do I let the kids face possible humiliation at the end of the day when the various groups typically compare how many challenges they completed or do I guide them towards the creation of a process that would allow them to succeed on the wall and other challenges.

Over the next two-hours the kids worked on building their problem-solving skills at the wall. As their facilitator it was my responsibility to introduce them to a problem-solving process, help them develop their competencies, demonstrate my belief in the process and more importantly my belief in them, and mentor them as they repeatedly implemented the problem-solving loop.

loop Screenshot_2017-04-24_14-43-36

At times, their frustration was palatable, but with a little nudging they recognized and admitted their failures, learned, and grew. They SUCCEEDED!

During the process they abandoned their individual goals and worked together to achieve a common goal. The end result was everyone did more than they could ever do on their own and were incredibly proud of their accomplishment. The team completed other challenges with ease.

The kids succeeded because they doubled-down on communication including clearly articulating their goal, soliciting ideas, listening, coming up with plans, and a willingness to revamp those plans. Every attempt brought them closer to achieving their goal and with every attempt their trust in each other increased. They built trust by making and keeping their commitment to get everyone over the wall and building their competency in the problem-solving process and wall climbing.

The success of a partnership depends on these same factors. If you find your partnership stuck, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the purpose of the partnership clear?

  • What commitments are we making to support the partnership?

  • Is there an adequate level of trust to sustain the partnership?

  • Have we determined a clear working arrangement?

  • Are we accountable for our performance?

  • What have we learned from the partnership and how are we applying it to enhance the partnership?

There is a solution for every wall, sometimes you just need to dig a little deeper to find it.

Joan Patterson currently serves on the board of Friends of the Duck Stamp/Migratory Bird and was the former Director of Grassroots Outreach of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and board member for the Friends of Tualatin River NWR and the Friends of Potomac River Refuges.

Resources:
http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/guidebooks/Partnerships.pdf
Public Lands Alliance,
Best Practices Establishing a Partnership Model for America’s Public Lands
Stephen M. R. Covey,
The Speed of Trust

The Partnership Dance

The other week Tim Blount and I were discussing the take over of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the lessons learned about partnerships created during the occupation. Our discussion caused me to reflect on a 67-year partnership that had incredible results. You see 67 was my Dad’s favorite number, it was the number of years he was married to Mom. A little over a month ago Dad passed away, just 371 days after his beloved bride. So when I think about successful partnerships I can’t help but think of them.

Dad would boast that together they could do anything. They grew up during the Depression and their union made possible immeasurable blessings for both of them, their family, and friends. When Betty and Jerry said their “I do’s” in 1948 they were committed to a long-term partnership. For their union to be successful they realized they needed to be flexible. Their marriage evolved as they learned how to effectively manage their household, build their capacity to support their family, and shared valuable experiences.

These are the same elements that every organizations wants to achieve when working with a partner. The value of partnering with others is that each organization is able to achieve more than they could working alone. A successful collaboration requires commitment, flexibility, and an organic approach because the relationship evolves over time as each party learns to effectively manage, build capacity and gain valuable experience.

For a partnership to be successful each party must be willing to learn and evolve. As my philosophical Dad would say his best teachers were his wife and kids, my mother would smile and graciously nod in agreement.

So Friends as we look at partnerships, whether with the Service or other organizations there are some common themes that I have learned from research that identifies critical factors for success:

  • Working persistently to create a balance between working within the requirements of your partnership arrangement and maintaining the flexibility to do what is needed.

  • Building a solid understanding for the partnership including purpose, vision, goals, values, roles, decision-making, communications and accountability.

  • Understanding that partnerships have life-cycles just like organizations and they are impacted by what is going on in your environment.

As you consider forging or enhancing a partnership it’s imperative that your board and potential partner:

  • Identify what you want to achieve.

  • Determine what factors will make the partnership successful.

  • Identify potential barriers.

  • Recognize and accept any dependency on specific individuals to achieve the goals of the partnership.

  • Focus on how your partnership adds value and show that you appreciate your partner.

  • Recognize the strengths and assets of each partner that can contribute to achieving your common goal(s).

Your board needs to have frank discussions about these components.

A successful partnership offers immeasurable benefits such as increasing your organization’s exposure, ability to provide services, decrease costs and increase your organization’s credibility in the community. Plus your stellar partnership will inspire others and attract resources to support your mission. That’s what my folks did. Even in their later years, they would hold hands as they walked around the neighborhood. Their neighbors told us that simple symbol of their partnership inspired them to hold their partner’s hand a little tighter as reaffirmation of their partnership.

Friends embrace your partners. Grab their hand ask them to dance and keep on dancing. Be open, flexible, understanding and enjoy!

Joan Patterson currently serves on the board of Friends of the Duck Stamp/Migratory Bird and was the former Director of Grassroots Outreach of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and board member for the Friends of Tualatin River NWR and the Friends of Potomac River Refuges.

Your comments are welcome.

Look for future post on:
Types of partnerships at the local and national level
Managing successful partnerships
Creating collaborative work plans
Evaluating and monitoring partnerships
Partnership life cycles
Relationship versus Agreement

Sources:
https://boardsource.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/3-Questions-Collaborating.pdf
http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/guidebooks/Partnerships.pdf

Stand Up, Speak Out

A little over a year ago we woke to the unthinkable, a militia group was occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Fortunately the occupation ended and this week four more defendants go on trial. But the assault on public lands continues.

town-meeting-feature-imageSome members of Congress with extreme views on public lands are proposing more formidable threats in the form of legislation and thankfully the Refuge Association’s Action Alerts keeps us informed. We as Friends need to take action, we need to get in front of your legislators.

I’ve been fortunate to hear from hundreds of Friends members and you all have at least one thing in common – you are passionate about your refuge. I saw this passion in Tim Blount, when as the Executive Director of the Friends of Malheur, went to the Hill last January and spoke to his congressional team and the natural resources and judiciary committees. He demonstrated that his commitment to the refuge went far beyond its boundaries to include the community and the entire Refuge System.

Like Tim we all need to speak up for our refuge, community, and the Refuge System. Next week members of Congress will be in their districts for a week-long recess. Please join in contacting their offices and ask him/her when and where their next town hall forum will be. If they don’t know, ask to be added to their email list so you’ll get notices of future meetings. If you need their phone numbers go to Senate and/or Representative.

Gather a few Friends and go to the town hall forum. We can make a difference. Ask them questions to solicit their support for public lands and in particular for your refuge. We can use the message the Refuge Association sent on February 7th to formulate a question such as:

I and many of your constituents value our public lands and urge you to oppose any legislation that seeks to transfer the title or management of our public lands or legislation that would harm the National Wildlife Refuge System. These lands, like our local ______ National Wildlife Refuge, are incredibly important not just for wildlife, but also for all Americans to whom they belong. Will you commit to voting to keep our public lands public and our Refuge System safe and secure?

Try to get a video of their response and please post your experience on Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates Facebook group. This information will be helpful as we work together to support the Refuge System.

Fellow Friends members please make sure you are receiving the Refuge Association’s Action Alerts and GO to your representatives town hall forum and STAND up for you refuge. Let your representatives and everyone else at the forum know how important these public lands are to you and your community. Thanks.

 Joan Patterson is the former Director of Grassroots Outreach of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and has served on the Friends boards at Tualatin River, Potomac River and the Duck Stamp/Migratory Bird.

What We Friends Can Do: Part 2

Across the country, nonprofit sector leaders from many different areas (conservation. child welfare, health care, arts, education, etc.) are working overtime to make sure that all nonprofit board members everywhere understand that advocacy is an important strategy for achieving their mission. (Find out more about the national campaign at the Stand For Your Mission website here.) The right to provide information to our elected leaders is fundamental in America, and 501(3)(3) organizations absolutely share in that right. Advocacy – including lobbying at the national, state, and local levels –  is a critical part of our role as Friends. Remember, there are limits on what our Service colleagues can do to advocate for the refuges we love. If attacks on public lands continue or gain traction, it will be up to us to mount the defense.  So what can we do to get ready?  Here are my thoughts.

Clarify your mission.  If you haven’t already done so, please read the blog Joan Patterson posted on November 5 regarding the mission of Friends groups. Share it with your colleagues on the board and ask for time on the next meeting agenda. Ask yourself and each other: “If the administration proposes or supports actions that threaten the refuge system, are we ready to oppose it?” “Is our mission to support the refuge or the organization that manages it?” “Do we as a board believe that a threat to any refuge is a threat to us here?” “Is it part of our mission to defend Vieques, Arctic, Monomoy or Loxahatchee?” Have those discussions internally and know where your group stands before the time comes.

2013-11-12-12-05-18

Cathy Allen with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio in his DC office

Know Your Rights.  There is a lot of confusion about the laws governing nonprofit advocacy. Misinformation abounds. Since my days as Executive Director of Ohio League of Conservation Voters, I have successfully relied on The Bolder Advocacy Initiative of the Alliance for Justice (AFJ). They provide legal information, tools for effective advocacy, even a technical assistance hotline for getting your questions answered. Their attorneys want us to engage in vigorous conservation advocacy without crossing legal lines.  They are an excellent resource. Click through to learn more.

Establish an Advocacy Policy. AFJ and others recommend that all organizations put a policy in place governing their practices, stating what issues they would take up (or not) and what activities they will engage in (or not.) The Friends of the Carr Refuge adopted such a policy a few months ago, thereby empowering me as advocacy champion to take quick action when an issue emerges. I know exactly what my board colleagues want me to do and not do, and I can use my title and the name of the organization within those parameters without any risk of getting ahead of the group.  We will make adjustments as we go, but we are ready.  To download the policy we created, click here.

2013-11-12-14-05-22

Joan Patterson and Cathy Allen on Capitol Hill

Sign up for action alerts.  If you don’t already receive the action alerts Desire Sorenson-Groves sends from the National Wildlife Refuge Association, please visit their website and sign up.  She and her team provide a quick and easy way to stay up to date on the issues in Washington, and the Refuge Association’s stance on them. They craft position papers on everything from the budget to species conservation to threats against individual refuges.  Together with the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement, they kick out a great deal of information about how to lobby, the positions taken by individual members of congress, and how we can best help. If you do talk to a representative or senator, make sure to feed that information back to Desiree. It all helps. 

Participate in coalition activities.  As refuge Friends groups we are not alone. Many other organizations stand with us in the fight to defend our public lands. There are Friends groups at national parks, state parks, and local land trusts, as well as conservation-minded organizations like The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Audubon, League of Conservation Voters, and many more. Many savvy and experienced advocates are out there waiting for us to add our voices to ongoing efforts. If there is a local coalition or network in your area, make sure you are part of it.  If there isn’t, call a meeting. There is strength in numbers.

Much as we Friends love being in close partnership with our Service partners, on the question of advocacy we must be on our own.  Let’s use this forum for open discussion among ourselves.  Please comment and share widely.

Cathy Allen is a nonprofit organizational development consultant in Florida who is also a passionate lover of wildlife refuges.  A former president at Friends of Ottawa NWR (Ohio), she currently serves on the board at Friends of the Carr Refuge.

 

It’s Time for a Hug (and Some Work)

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I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about the transition to a new administration and what it might mean for the National Wildlife Refuge System. It is clear to me that our national discussion about the value of public lands will be as important as ever. I know there are hopeful signs, and I agree with those who say we don’t need to hit the panic button yet. Still, the wise women in my family always said “Expect the best, but plan for the worst.” So, what can we Friends do to make sure we can participate in that national dialogue and be as strong as we can be in case we are called upon to defend our refuges? Here is my list. I’d be glad to know what Friends around the country are thinking or working on.

Hug a member of your Refuge staff. Some federal employees may be quite worried – for themselves, their families, and the refuges they love so well. The expected hiring freeze has many moving around these last few weeks. New leaders are coming to fill those top jobs. Let’s make sure we show our staff how much we appreciate all that they do and stand for. Tell them that you will be there to support the refuge, that you will always be in communication, and always working for the values you share. At a recent gathering of the USFWS directorate here in Florida, we were able to hold a reception and include Friends from nine different refuges. I know it made these leaders feel better, seeing that we were with them, and it helped strengthen our bonds of friendship.

Strengthen your organization. If you are not operating at full capacity, now is the time to get organized. Learn about nonprofit legal requirements and best practices in governance and organizational development and start taking steps to improve. Find your state affiliate of the National Council of Nonprofits, a local nonprofit resource center, or a consultant, and get their assistance. Find the treasure trove of great resources at the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s www.RefugeFriendsConnect.org. Think through what kinds of skills and talents you need on your board and recruit people, orient them, and integrate them into the existing team.

Develop contingency plans. During the government shut down of 2014, the Friends of Ottawa NWR found that we were unable to get to our computers, files, lists, phone messages, mail,and more. Everything related to the running of our organization was at the refuge, and we were prohibited from going there. Other groups have experienced the sudden departure of a treasurer or web master and all the related passwords were lost. In the electronic age there is no excuse for that. If your records and operating systems are not cloud-based, set that up and make sure multiple board members can access everything from home. Set up a post office box in town and start shifting your incoming mail to it. Recycle the telephone answering machine and invest in voicemail.

Make sure you are communicating with members. Your members may be even more interested than usual in knowing what is happening and how they can help. Do your best to gather all forms of contact information from members, donors, supporters, visitors to the refuge, anyone you can. Make sure you have a good contact management system. Send out electronic newsletters. Get people used to seeing you in their inbox. Get on the mailing lists of some of the other Friends groups and see how they are doing it. There are some Friends volunteers out there who are doing super inspiring and creative things with electronic media.

Build outreach efforts. In addition to beefing up our websites and social media efforts, this is an excellent time to begin seeking opportunities to present information about our refuges and their friends in schools, libraries, churches, civic organizations, and service clubs. Invite community leaders to the refuge and give them a great tour. Set up a media day and invite all the reporters. Provide them with information and make sure they know how to contact you if they have further questions.

I have other ideas that are more specifically related to advocacy and lobbying, so watch for those next week. Meanwhile, I will be working locally to make sure we have as much in place as we can if the time comes when we really have to be on the hustings. If that time doesn’t come – great! Our organizations will be stronger and able to accomplish even more. Thanks for listening. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this offline or on.

Cathy Allen is a nonprofit organizational development consultant in Florida who is also a passionate lover of wildlife refuges.  A former president at Friends of Ottawa NWR (Ohio), she currently serves on the board at Friends of the Carr Refuge.

Your Mission Matters

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Your Mission Matters
by Joan Patterson

Many years ago one of the founders of the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge proposed amending the group’s bylaws to change its mission from supporting the Service to supporting the refuge. I am so thankful that the membership had the foresight to approve the amendment.

You see this particular founder was a leading advocate for the creation of the refuge and even donated 12-acres to get the refuge established. She and others in the area saw the refuge as a community asset. However, twenty plus years ago a refuge in a metropolitan area was controversial and some members of the community had a nagging concerns that the Service might pull the plug on the project.

Thankfully that did not happen and the refuge is now one of the Refuge System’s leading urban refuges.

In the case of Tualatin River changing the wording of the Friends’ mission from “Service” to “refuge” ensured the Friends’ ongoing support for the refuge’s natural, cultural, educational, and recreational resources. In the original mission statement, the word “Service” referred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service organization and not the Service’s mission which is “…working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.” This change to the group’s mission is even more important today than it was then.

The Refuge System is faced with external and internal threats. Historically, Friends have spoken up against external threats such as: militants occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), language in the Puerto Rico debt relief bill to transfer ownership of a portion of Vieques NWR, and current legislation to transfer portions of Desert and Monomoy refuges out of the System. The National Wildlife Refuge Association keeps Friends informed of these threats.

Proposals or actions by an Administration can create predicaments for Friends. For example, the current GOP platform (and I’m not saying which party I support), calls for the transfer of federal lands to states. It declares,“Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states.” Imagine a future Administration implementing this provision – YOUR national wildlife refuge could easily be turned over to the state and thus no longer protected under the Refuge System Administration Act or Refuge System Improvement Act – both ensure lands and waters in the System are managed for biodiversity and wildlife dependent public use. As federal employees who work for such an Administration, Refuge System staff would have to support such a proposal, but Friends who support the mission of their refuge, the Refuge System, or the Service’s mission (instead of the Service organization) could take action against such a proposal. However, if your group’s mission supported the Service, you would also have to support the Administration’s proposal.

There may be times that Friends will disagree with an action proposed by the Service. This year the Service began discussions about potential support of legislation to transfer the National Bison Range in Montana to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Transfer of this national wildlife refuge would require legislative action by the U.S. Congress. The National Environmental Policy Act requires proposed legislation that has a significant effect to include an environmental impact statement (EIS). The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and others believe that this transfer proposal would have a significant effect and, therefore, the Service must conduct an environmental analysis. However, the initial legislation that the Department of the Interior helped draft specifies that the transfer is not a major federal action and therefore does not require environmental analysis. Or take another example when in a previous Administration: the Service was supportive of the de-designation of wilderness at the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and subsequent transfer of lands to the state in order to build a road through the heart of the refuge. Or yet again during a previous Administration when the Service supported drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Regardless of whether the proposed transfer at the National Bison Range might be appropriate, the Service needs to adhere to the National Environmental Policy Act and adhere to regulations of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. An EIS would provide a transparent, public forum for the Service to explain its proposed transfer and alternatives to it, and discuss the relative impacts of such actions. Hopefully the Service will not support legislation that will bypass Federal environmental requirements that would chastise another agencies for attempting to avoid. Additionally, while the draft legislation states that this transfer should not be viewed as precedent for any other federal properties or facilities, in fact it would establish a dangerous political precedent. This is a difficult situation tied up in history and culture and hopefully whatever the resolution is will ensure the protection of the wildlife the Range currently protects.

If a future Administration were to implement the transfer of federal lands to willing states, I just can’t imagine supporting the removal of the Tualatin River NWR from the Refuge System. My family and I, like so many community members, dedicated so much time and energy to getting that refuge established and open to the public so everyone can experience the wonders of nature.

So I am very thankful that one of the leading advocates for the creation of the Tualatin River NWR had the foresight to propose amending the bylaws and more importantly having discussions with the board, members, and the Refuge employees on the importance of supporting the refuge, its resources, and the entire Refuge System versus the Service organization. It was important for both parties to discuss what the term “Service” means.

That discussion at Tualatin about our mission enhanced the partnership between the Friends and Refuge employees. It affirmed our joint commitment to conserving and restoring habitat for the benefit of wildlife, the surrounding communities, and the nation. This affirmation recognized our common vision and acknowledged that both organizations could support the vision through different means. Friends and Refuge employees knew that based upon our shared vision we would work together and on those rare occasions when either party’s policy or action conflicted with the shared vision, Friends and the Service had the capacity to respectfully disagree.

I urge you – if you haven’t yet – to have this mission conversation with your Friends board. Ensure that you can always be a powerful voice for your refuge, your community, and for your National Wildlife Refuge System. Our voices supporting public lands is more important now than ever.

Friends of Loxahatchee Need Your Help!

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J. Kleen, USFWS

Now another refuge needs your help! The State of Florida is proceeding to terminate its lease with the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge because of invasive exotics. The Friends of Loxahatchee are appealing to you for help.

The Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge believes that the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is proceeding to the next step in the process of terminating the 50-year lease agreement under which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the Refuge.  SFWMD wants to terminate the lease because of invasive exotics. There is not sufficient federal funding to control the spread of invasive exotic plants. Invasive exotics, like melaleuca trees and especially Old World climbing fern, smother the native plants that native wildlife depend on for survival. Federal funding that is dependent on Congress has always been problematic, but in recent years the state and federal governments have been working in partnership to fund the treatment of exotics. In August, however, the state issued a notice of intent to terminate the lease if the federal government cannot provide all of the funding needed.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation, Audubon Florida, the Everglades Coalition, members of the Florida Congressional delegation and, of course, the Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge have all spoken out in support of keeping the Refuge and increasing both state and federal funding for the treatment of exotics. They’re now asking for other Friends groups and their members to speak in support of keeping the Refuge and increasing both state and federal funding for the treatment of exotics.

The Refuge Association has a blog providing information on the agreement between U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state’s South Florida Water Management District and the exotics issue.

The Friends have written letters to the editor, to Congress, to Florida Governor Rick Scott, to Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewel and to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe. We need to keep the Refuge System hold! Please make you voice heard and speak up in support of the Refuge.

Please contact Governor Rick Scott at www.flgov.com/contact-governor and urge him to continue to work with the federal government in a cooperative partnership to control the exotics and preserve the refuge that attracts visitors from around the country and the world. A sample letter is available below this blog  and the password to access it is, Gov letter.

If you live in Florida please contact your Members of Congress:
– Representative: go to www.house.gov, type your zip code at the top of the screen and click “Go”, then click on your Representative’s name.
– Senators: go to www.senate.gov, select Florida and click “Go” next to the “Find Your Senators” box at the top of the screen. A sample letter is available below this blog and the password to access it is, MOC letter.

Thank you for your support of a sister refuge facing an uncertain future.