Training

JANUARY 2019


What is Office 365/SharePoint?
Wednesday, January 16, 11:00 AM ET

As a non-profit, taking advantage of every resource available is important, especially if that resource is part of something that you are already paying for. It is possible that you already have SharePoint but you may not have a clear idea of what SharePoint is or what it can do for you. This webinar will help you with to understand SharePoint and Office 365 better, giving you a clear view of how your organization can use these tools to further your mission. In this one-hour webinar session, participants will learn what SharePoint and Office 365 are, as well as common uses for each.


Google Ad Grants 101
Wednesday, January 16, 1:00 PM

Have you heard of Google’s Ad Grant program, where they give $10,000 a month in free advertising to nonprofits?

Join us for a crash course on how Google Ad Grants can benefit your nonprofit by bringing thousands of new visitors to your website, every month. Jason Jensen, Google Ads Certified Consultant, will also cover the enrollment process, what goes in to a successful Ads campaign, and a special offer for a service to maximize the value of your Ad Grant.

Attendees will learn:

  • What Google Ad Grants is
  • How Google Ads can benefit their nonprofit
  • Real examples of how other nonprofits used it effectively
  • How to ensure your application is accepted
  • What a successful Ads campaign needs
  • Details about a management service to save you time and maximize your Ad Grant
  • We’ll also include an extra long Q&A portion so no question goes unanswered.

Introduction to Fundraising Planning
Wednesday, January 16, 2:00 PM ET

Does your organization need help directing its fundraising efforts? Planning focuses your organization by setting fundraising priorities and helps give staff and board members a roadmap to success.

This introductory class will provide you the basic steps for developing a fundraising plan, including tips on:

  • Making your case for support
  • Diversifying your organization’s fundraising base
  • Creating a plan of action

Hold the Phone: Mobile Marketing Tips for Each Generation
Wednesday, January 16, 2:30 pm ET

This year American adults are expected to spend an average of 3 hours, 23 minutes a day on non-voice mobile media. That’s up more than 1 hour from 2013.

You need an engaging mobile presence, period. This used to be a nice-to-have; now it’s a must-have. If you don’t, you’ll lose online visitors, loyal constituents and, ultimately, online donations. Just what are people doing while staring at their screens all day? Tweeting? Reading? Donating? Chatting? It largely depends on their generation and what their preferences are.

Explore:

  • 4 reasons you gotta look good on a smartphone.
  • How each generation responds to marketing and how you can optimize your efforts.
  • 5 tips for planning your mobile marketing strategy.

Creating a Comprehensive and Engaging Volunteer Training Program
Thursday, January 17, 2:00 PM ET

What do your volunteers need to know to be successful? This webinar will start with the basics and help you understand how to determine what information you should be sharing with your volunteers, and how that can be used to create a curriculum. We’ll then discuss how to present this information in a variety of ways using different delivery methods that appeal to adult learners. Assessing what your volunteers have learned, and creating ongoing training and professional development training for your volunteers will also be covered.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What information should you share with new volunteers?
  • How can you turn regularly shared new volunteer info into a curriculum?
  • How is adult learning different from child learning?
  • How can you tell how much training new volunteers are absorbing?

Motivate Monday
Monday, January 21, 1:00 PM

How are nonprofit professionals jumpstarting their week with purpose? Join us for Motivate Monday where:

  • Every Monday we share your wins
  • Feature a special guest with a quick tip to get your week started right
  • And close with a Q&A session

Social Media 101 for Nonprofits
Tuesday, January 22, 2:30 PM

This session includes practical tips and tools for extending your cause and mission via social media. We cover the basics of using social media for your nonprofit 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.
  • Powerful no-cost or low-cost tools to manage your social media presence.

Matching Gifts: The Secret to Boosting Revenue
Tuesday, January 22, 3:00 PM

In this webinar, Shelby Grossman from Double the Donation  will discuss corporate philanthropy, with a particular focus on matching gifts. Join her as she will walk-through several examples of how to communicate with donors and increase revenue using matching gifts.


New
True Program Costs

Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 1:00 pm ET

Learn how to calculate indirect expenses to determine true program costs. This webinar explores what expenses can be billed directly and what must be allocated, as well as acceptable methods for cost allocation.


Introduction to Finding Grants
Wednesday, January 23, 2:00 PM

Are you new to the field of grantseeking?

Discover what funders are looking for in nonprofits seeking grants and how to find potential funders in this introductory course. 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.
  • In-person classes will end with 30 minutes of hands-on, guided online grant research. It is advisable, but not necessary, to bring a laptop/tablet for this portion of the class.

Debunking Telefundraising Myths & How to Effectively Use Phoning Today
Wednesday, January 23, 2:00 PM

Join Anthony R. Alonso, President of Catapult Fundraising, for a FREE, 45 minute webinar that will debunk today’s telefundraising myths and discuss how telephone outreach is still the most effective form of fundraising, after face-to-face visits. Combination mail/phone programs, if done correctly, will upgrade donors, bring lapsed donors back on board, and acquire non-donors at a low cost per dollar.

This session will look at current statistics and trends in fundraising and how telefundraising can be incorporated to enhance your organization’s current efforts.


More Action, More Money
Thursday, January 24, 1:00 PM

You are invited to this free webinar, “Using Advocacy to Raise More Money,” presented by Bethany Snyder of Snyder Strategies.

It’s 2019—now what? With so much focus on the 2018 elections, are you ready for what comes next? Do you have a plan to harness this energy to raise more money? How are you engaging your members and supporters to strengthen your organization?


Gender Matters: A Practical Approach To Grow Women’s Philanthropy
Thursday, January 24, 3:00 PM ET

We are what we practice. Our own success with donors and prospects who care about education is almost unconscious thanks to our well-honed skills and training. But what if we knew that our deeply ingrained “best practices” either turn off women or gain only minimal support from them when so much more is possible? We finally have deep and quantifiable research showing how women give differently, yet what are the practices, behaviors and processes to adapt so we engage women donors in ways that acknowledge their preferences?

This presentation by Kathleen Loehr is designed to help participants become more aware of specific demographics about women and research data to spark more conversations within their organization about gender differences in charitable giving behavior. It will then provide examples of how to translate the research into adapted fundraising behaviors. These examples will showcase specific changes to current practices and processes used to grow support from women.

The time together will help fundraisers shift their mindsets about current fundraising behaviors that may not resonate with their women donors, plus provide them with the specific steps to take upon returning to their offices.


New
First Principles of Fundraising
Thursday, Jan. 24th, 2019 – 1:00pm Eastern

This webinar presentation will focus upon a philosophy and twelve foundational principles upon which fundraising activities should occur. When these principles underlie a fundraising program, donors will experience greater meaning through their contributions and organizations will raise more funding to maintain and expand its mission.
 
Learning objectives:
 
  • why a clear understanding of fundraising principles will increase the effectiveness and success of your fundraising program
  •  consider twelve foundational principles to compare to your own
  • you will gain insight and strategies to empower your fundraising team and multiply the impact of your fundraising program

Motivate Monday
January 28, 1:00 PM

How are nonprofit professionals jumpstarting their week with purpose? Join us for Motivate Monday where:

  • Every Monday we share your wins
  • Feature a special guest with a quick tip to get your week started right
  • And close with a Q&A session

Walking the Walk: Engage Volunteers in your Volunteer Engagement Program
Tuesday, January 29, 2:00 PM

Stop just talking the talk and start walking the walk! Learn how to effectively delegate volunteer engagement and management work to volunteers so you have the opportunity to “think bigger.” We’ll discuss evaluating your program for volunteer engagement, determining how best to deploy volunteers, creating a communication plan, screening and training volunteers to be an important part of your volunteer recruiting, retention and recognition plans.

What You’ll Learn:

How to increase your own capacity by involving volunteers in volunteer program administration. Where to go to get resources and help.


Circle of Life — Capitalizing on Visitor Loyalty
Tuesday, January 29, 2:00 PM

Are you an attraction or a nonprofit? How you answer that not-so-simple question has a profound impact on how you approach everything from business decisions to how you view your relationship with visitors. While all that existential dust settles, we will look at the factors at play in turning casual visitors into die-hard fans. To gain and maintain loyal supporters, “knowing thy self” is important for arts and cultural organizations.


3 Steps to Effective Storytelling to Grow Your Memberships
Tuesday, January 29, 2:00 PM

Are you finding it a challenge to grow your membership? For many organizations, the culprit is not telling the right stories to motivate your target audience. If you want to learn how some of the most successful membership organizations use strategic storytelling to attract and engage members, please join our free webinar on January 29 with storytelling expert Vanessa Chase Lockshin.

In this webinar, Vanessa will show you:

  • Why storytelling is important to grow your membership program
  • The 5 key ingredients of effective storytelling
  • 3 ways to use storytelling to attract new members

What’s Your Nonprofit Tax IQ for Year End Tax Compliance?
Wednesday, January 30, 11:30 AM ET

Just because you are a nonprofit doesn’t mean you don’t have tax compliance issues. Actually, the IRS and the state government have similar requirements for nonprofit employees as for-profit employees. These requirements may be met by outsourcing your payroll, but you need to be sure. Review with your payroll service provider and verify that everything is occurring properly.

It is important that you know the current tax deadlines as they are constantly changing. Also, you may need to upgrade your accounting software so it has the latest tax forms and tax tables.

In this presentation we will review the various tax deadlines for:

  • Vendors
  • Employees
  • Donors
  • and, of course, the Internal Revenue Service

Does your organization have knowledge about required tax forms like the Form 990, W-2, W-4, 1099, W-9, Unemployment, 941’s, Affordable Care Act, and other tax forms. We will review the various tax forms so you can understand how to complete them and which ones to use.


Introduction to Proposal Writing
Wednesday, January 30, 2:00 PM ET

Are you new to proposal writing or want a quick refresher? If so, you don’t want to miss one of our most popular classes!

This class will provide you with an overview of how to write a standard project proposal to a foundation. It will include:

  • The basic elements of a proposal
  • The “do’s” and “don’ts” of writing and submitting a proposal
  • How to follow up whether the answer is yes or no

Development Planning
Wednesday, January 30, 3:00 PM

Join Barbara O’Reilly, Principal, Windmill Hill Consulting, LLC to learn more about development planning and how your organization can look into the future.


How to Use Facebook’s Free Fundraising Tools to Drive Donations
Thursday, January 31st, 1:00 PM ET

In the last year, Facebook launched an entirely new set of tools to help nonprofits raise funds on the platform. Did you know that your nonprofit can now collect donations with these tools on your page, via Facebook ads, and even in individual posts?

You’ll learn how to successfully register your nonprofit to use Facebook’s powerful new Fundraising Tools, and a brief step-by-step guide to using these free tools to raise money using Facebook!

Key Takeaways

  • An up-to-date overview of Facebook’s Free Fundraising Tools
  • How to sign up, register, and get started right away
  • Simple and easy ways to use Facebook’s Fundraising Tools
  • Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Facebook’s Fundraising Tools

10 Stats You Should Know About Nonprofit Websites in 2019
Thursday, January 31, 11:00 AM ET

Learn the 10 stats about nonprofit websites that you should keep in mind for the coming year, along with ideas that you can implement immediately!

Join Yesenia Sotelo of SmartCause Digital for an information-packed webinar specifically created for nonprofit website managers.


New
How to Use Facebook’s Free Fundraising Tools to Drive Donations

Thursday, January 31st at 1:00 PM ET

In this free webinar, you’ll learn how to successfully register your nonprofit to use Facebook’s powerful new Fundraising Tools, and a brief step-by-step guide to using these free tools to raise money using Facebook!

Catalysts for Change: Non Governing Boards as Pipelines for Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Leadership
Thursday, January 31, 2:00 PM

Engaging in board service is an invaluable opportunity to have substantial community impact and can be one of the most rewarding experiences volunteers can have. Non-governing boards, such as junior boards, young professional boards, or advisory councils, are creative tools for nonprofits to build pipelines for diversity and cultivate the next generation of talented leaders. Join us to learn how these types of boards can help you reach emerging leaders and add to your nonprofit’s overall diversity by fostering the support of new donors. During this webinar, you will gain the necessary insights and tools to build your own sustainable and diverse non-governing board.

Upon completion of this webinar, you should be able to:

  • Plan to create a non-governing board at your organization;
  • Define the purpose of a non-governing board for your organization;
  • Apply insights on how to build a pipeline for recruiting diverse members; and
  • Identify the added value of institutionalizing a non-governing board

Understanding Soft Risk in Volunteer Engagement
Thursday, January 31, 2:00 PM

We all worry about the hard risks that can have an impact on our volunteers and the work they do, but too often we don’t think about the soft risk. Soft risks are the attitudes, beliefs and actions that expose our organizations to risks. Those risks may include the actions of staff – both paid and volunteer, interactions on social media, lack of training for leaders and volunteers – leading to risky behavior, and how failing to screen for characteristics or “fit” can open volunteers and the organization up to risk. This webinar is designed to help attendees identify soft risks in their organization and give them the tools to make changes to processes and culture to minimize and address these risks.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Understand how your organization’s culture of volunteer engagement may be opening it up to soft risk.
  • Lead your organization through a soft risk assessment.
  • Design communication and training plans to address soft risk.

FEBRUARY 2019


New
How Savvy Marketing Translates to More Donations
Wednesday, Feb. 6th, 1:00pm Eastern

Marketing is a critical part of fundraising. And it’s what sets up the donor for your ask. Without marketing, every call is a cold call.
 
In this session, Beth Brodovsky will show you what savvy nonprofit marketers do to build engagement and turn it into action.
 
Learning objectives:
 
• What you have to do first to make all your marketing more effective
• How to create a manageable year-round plan 
• Tactics that really work without adding more work
• Why eliminating mail may be a big mistake

So You Want to Write a Grant?
Tuesday, February 12th, 1:00 PM ET

In this live, interactive webinar we will discuss how grants can help your organization implement new programs or projects to best achieve its mission. We will also address the common pitfalls encountered by many organizations seeking grants for the first time as well as common challenges for new grant writers.

What You Will Learn from this Live Webinar:

  • What grant funding *can* do for your organization
  • What grant funding can *not* do for your organization
  • What you can do to become successful at writing a grant

7 Keys to Successful & Enthusiastic Volunteer Involvement at Your Nonprofit
Wednesday, February 13th, 3:00 PM ET

Volunteers are more than simply an extra pair of hands. They bring special skills, are trusted service delivery partners, and can extend your connections with diverse communities far beyond your agency’s doors. They are also key financial contributors, donating ten times more than non-volunteers.

The value of volunteers can’t be ignored. But, effective volunteer engagement requires a focus on the right tactics at the right time to fully realize the power of volunteer time and talent.

You will learn

  • 7 fundamentals to successful volunteer coordination throughout the volunteer life cycle
  • A key best practice for attracting high-quality volunteers
  • A key to onboarding that will convert newcomers to reliable supporters
  • A key to inspiring better staff-volunteer relations and teamwork
  • A key to acknowledging volunteers that keeps them coming back

5 Ways to Keep Your Monthly Donors
Thursday, Feb. 21st, 1:00pm Eastern

In this interactive webinar you will learn the best approaches to keep your monthly donors giving for years on end, using tools you already have in place.  

The webinar will focus on the following:
  • The difference between hard and soft cancels.
  • Different tools and approaches to help you prevent lapsing monthly donors.
  • The best approach to bring monthly donors back.
  • How to thank and cultivate monthly donors to prevent them from ever canceling to begin with.
  • Reviewing examples and case studies

Online Giving & Marketing Strategies: What Works and What Doesn’t
Monday, February 25, 1:00 PM ET

Are you unhappy with your organization’s online presence? Or curious about emerging and time-tested strategies that could boost your ROI?

This webinar will feature two online giving experts who will share best practices for nonprofits: what works now and what doesn’t work as much as it did before (and why). They’ll also present a nonprofit success story, highlighting how its digital presence has evolved and sharing lessons learned.


New
Managing Cash Flow

Thursday, February 28, 1:00pm ET

Learn how to anticipate and prepare for the ebb and flow of cash coming in and out of your organization. We’ll explore how to navigate your nonprofit’s cash flow and how different types of income and expenses impact your finances. You will learn ways to avoid and manage cash flow challenges.

 

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.

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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.

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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.