Training

 

FEBRUARY 2019


How to Keep All Those New Donors You Worked So Hard to Get
Thursday, February 14, 12:00 PM ET

Join fundraising master trainer, Chad Barger, CFRE, for a discussion on the importance of donor retention and learn simple, actionable steps that you can take to boost donor retention in your organization.


How to Create Winning Sponsorship Strategies
February 14, 1:00 PM

Event sponsors – you know you want them but aren’t quite sure how to get them. Sometimes they feel as elusive as a winning lottery ticket! Rest assured that potential event sponsors really are out there, and they actually have funds earmarked to spend on events just like yours.

The reason most organizations fail in the hunt for sponsorship dollars is the lack of a rock-solid game plan for identifying, attracting and signing sponsors. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy-to-follow roadmap to help you create winning sponsorship strategies?

You’ll learn:

  • How to think like a marketing expert to get your sponsorships noticed
  • How to determine what makes sponsors “tick”
  • How to use language and statistics to add to your event’s appeal
  • How to create sponsorship materials that stand out in the crowd
  • How to efficiently prospect and approach potential sponsors
  • How to get your board and committee comfortable with Asking
  • How to identify sponsor prospects
  • How to contact and follow up with sponsor prospects
  • How to create an irresistible Sponsorship Deck
  • How to lay out your Sponsorship Deck
  • How to determine what information and graphics to include
  • How to work efficiently and economically with your graphics team

The Tech Effect: Discover the Simple Solution that 1000s of Organizations Are Using to Grow Membership In Today’s World
February 14, 2:00 PM

Have you noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to grow your membership?

In this free 1-hour 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.

If you’re a Wild Apricot customer, you may already be applying these strategies because our software does most of it automatically, but please join us if you feel you could learn more. We’d love to have you.


Successfully Implementing Volunteer Program Changes
February 14, 2:00 PM ET

What should you do when it’s time to change the policies and procedures that govern or guide the volunteers that work with your organization? How can you create a culture of inclusion and get buy-in for those new policies? This training will give you the tools to approach program changes in a strategic way. We will also cover what to do if volunteers either can’t or won’t adopt the policies, how to manage that situation, and what to do if ultimately you need to ask a volunteer to leave.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Theories for change management
  • Pitfalls and challenges around implementing changes in a volunteer engagement program
  • Opportunities to build buy-in and support for changes
  • What to do if you need to ask a volunteer to leave
  • Who Should Attend:
  • Leaders of Volunteer Engagement
  • Volunteer Program Managers
  • Supervisors of Volunteers

Motivate Monday with Pamela Grow
Monday, February 18, 1:00 PM ET

Every Monday at 1:00 pm ET nonprofit professionals gather from around the world to share their most recent successes, learn from the top professionals in the sector, grab an easily implemented tip for the week, and get inspired!

Motivate Monday’s guest list reads like a “Who’s Who” of the nonprofit sector, with participants ranging from Ken Burnett to Tom Ahern to Gail Perry to John Haydon to Kivi Leroux Miller to Jay Love to Joan Garry…and YOU.


How to Use Social Media to Raise Money Online
Tuesday, February 19, 1:00 PM

Packed with practical, how-to advice and examples for small nonprofits on a limited budget, this free webinar will show you how to leverage your social media accounts to raise money and strengthen relationships with donors so they give again.

Topics discussed include:

  • Current trends in the social media landscape that nonprofits need to understand
  • How to choose the correct social media platforms for your small nonprofit
  • How to build up momentum on social media to launch a successful social media fundraising campaign
  • Tips and examples of simple ways to use the major platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube to raise money and build community

CHOOSING THE RIGHT DONOR MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Wednesday, February 20, 2:00 – 2:30 PM ET

There are 100+ donor management systems out there that fit a very wide range of fundraising needs. This webinar will walk you through a data needs assessment process to help you determine which donor management system best meets the needs of your nonprofit.

 Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • Donation management software tiers
  • Donor management system core functionality
  • Pricing models
  • Four stages of needs assessment and vendor/solution selection

Get Started: Use Website Analytics to Improve Your Online Fundraising
February 21, 11:00 AM ET

If you’re not sure whether your donation form is any good. If you’re wondering what attracts your donor to your organization. If you don’t know which of your outreach efforts brings in the most online donors…

You can find the answers, and raise more dollars, by learning a few basic principles of website analytics.

Let Yesenia Sotelo of SmartCause Digital walk you through website analytics for fundraising in this information-packed training webinar specifically created for nonprofit communicators and fundraisers!


Rediscover the New Strategy Helping Nonprofits Unlock the Power of Email Marketing
February 21, 11:00 AM ET

This webinar will walk you through the fundamentals of email marketing for nonprofits, plus some new tips to optimize your existing strategy. Join us on Thursday, February 21 at 11am EST to unlock the following email marketing secrets:

  • Why you should use this specific framework to laser focus your email marketing
  • How to find, measure, and derive insights from the metrics that matter most
  • How to grow your email list without needing a coder or graphic designer

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

Creative and Innovative Recognition Strategies for Today’s Volunteers
February 21, 2:00 PM

Are you doing the right things to recognize the work volunteers do for your organization? Are your recognition strategies and events stuck in the past?

In this webinar we’ll discuss what motivates today’s volunteers and discuss strategies for matching recognition to motivation. We’ll also share examples and ideas to incorporate creative and meaningful recognition into your volunteer engagement strategy.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Matching modern volunteer’s motivation to recognition events
  • How to update and breathe new life into your recognition events

This Is How Our Most Successful Clients Fill Their Events
February 21, 2:00 PM

Have you found that it’s getting harder or taking longer to fill up your events? Are you sick of waiting for checks in the mail? Exhausted from processing registration forms?

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • 3 recent trends preventing people from registering for your events
  • One simple way to avoid event-related cash flow problems
  • A proven 3-step process to fill events fast and cut your workload in half

COLLABORATION & SHARING USING MICROSOFT TEAMS
Thursday, February 21, 2:00 PM ET

Join Tech Impact to learn about Microsoft Teams. Teams brings messages, files, people, and tools into a single app in Office 365. Best of all, perhaps, is the side effect of decluttering your Inbox. In this webinar we’ll cover:

  • What is Microsoft Teams?
  • Where does Teams fits into the rest of Office 365?
  • How to use channels, tabs, and integrations to match your workflow.
  • What’s happening to Skype for Business?

New
5 Ways to Keep Your Monthly Donors
Thursday, February 21, 2:00 PM ET

So you have some monthly donors? Congratulations! But, how about those expiring credit cards? 

Can you do something when the donor’s payment doesn’t go through? How many times or how long should you keep ‘nudging’ monthly donors to give you their updated information? And can you bring them back after their monthly gifts stopped? 

You’ll learn the difference between hard and soft cancels. You’ll get answers to all these questions and more during this brand-new webinar, especially designed for those organizations who already have monthly donors. But, it’s also very worthwhile attending if you’re still in the process of starting your program, knowing what to do from the beginning stages is important.

Because monthly donors are so powerful. 100 monthly donors are worth an average of $24,000 a year. They’ll give two to four times more than other donors. They’ll stay with you for at least 5 to 7 years and often even longer. They’re 7 times more likely to leave you in their will. 

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

How to launch and grow a nonprofit
February 21, 4:00 PM ET

Building a successful nonprofit begins with a passion for helping others and forming strong relationships. Join us to learn how Alan Chorun, executive director of Young Vision Africa built his nonprofit from the ground up. What started with humble beginnings grew to build a clean water system, a school, a medical clinic, and homes for families. And they have so much more planned for 2019.

Who should watch? This session is designed for any nonprofit organization wanting to engage others in the mission of the nonprofit, grow supporters and sustain the nonprofit.

This webinar covers:

  • How to establish important relationships and build resources
  • Trust-building strategies for your important audiences and using mission-focused marketing
  • The often-missed crucial step of gaining buy-in from the people you are trying to help
  • Changing lives through education and skills-building

Motivate Monday with Pamela Grow
Monday, February 25, 1:00 PM ET

Every Monday at 1:00 pm ET nonprofit professionals gather from around the world to share their most recent successes, learn from the top professionals in the sector, grab an easily implemented tip for the week, and get inspired!

Motivate Monday’s guest list reads like a “Who’s Who” of the nonprofit sector, with participants ranging from Ken Burnett to Tom Ahern to Gail Perry to John Haydon to Kivi Leroux Miller to Jay Love to Joan Garry…and YOU.


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.


Re-Energize your Volunteer Program by Designing Mission-Driven Opportunities
February 26, 2:00 PM

Too often organizations look at volunteer engagement as something that’s nice to have, and never realize the true potential of volunteers. But, our organizations become more successful, responsive, and effective when we look at volunteers as a key component to our organization’s success.

In this session we’ll discuss creating a connection between the work volunteers do and the mission of your organization. You’ll learn how to design volunteer opportunities with real impact, and how to tell the story of that impact both within your organization and to your community. Attendees will leave with sample mission-driven position descriptions and a worksheet to help craft their organization’s story of volunteer engagement.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Design impact first opportunities
  • Recognize the role of language in designing and building buy-in for volunteer opportunities
  • Illustrate impact in your volunteer opportunities

Social Media Rules for 501(c)(3) Organizations
February 26, 1:00 PM

There has been an amazing increase in the avenues available to nonprofits to communicate their messages to an ever wider audience. These means of communication may be new, by the rules that govern advocacy by nonprofits have not changed.


7 Lessons Learned from Nonprofit Leaders
February 27, 1:00 PM

Nonprofit leaders face many challenges as they work toward achieving their missions. How best can they lead as they juggle multiple demands? Learn to recognize seven top pitfalls common to nonprofit leadership and how to rise above them. During this webinar, you will learn the key ingredients to: optimize your organization’s fundraising efforts, build collaborative partnerships with your board, and lastly, foster a strong, sustainable team and work culture.

Outcomes:

  • Avoid seven common mistakes made by nonprofit executive directors
  • Develop and implement a plan of action to engage and collaborate with your organization’s board
  • Identify the roles your nonprofit’s leadership will play in fundraising
  • Modify internal practices to build a strong team and nurturing work environment
  • Learn some tips for sustainable time management practices

Integrating Direct Response Strategies into your Annual Fund Outreach
February 27, 2:00 PM

Join Anthony R. Alonso, President of Catapult Fundraising, for a FREE, 45 minute webinar that will explore ways to integrate all forms of direct marketing into your Annual Fund program. Discover techniques to incorporate direct mail, e-mail, telephone solicitation, social media channels, and other forms of digital media content into your case for support and solicitation efforts.

This session will look at current statistics and what these numbers really mean for your organization and for your team’s development efforts. Develop a strategy for capitalizing on your social media platforms and how to make the most out of your email, text message, and telephone solicitation efforts for your non-profit.


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.


Resources for Resilient Nonprofits, Revealed
February 28, 1:00 PM

How is resilience defined at your nonprofit? When faced with economic shifts, political challenges, and demographic changes, would you rise above?

In this webinar, industry leaders will reveal how they recovered from setbacks, adapted to change, and kept their organization going in the face of adversity.


3 Easy Ways to Retain More Members Using Software
February 28, 2:00 PM

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 45-minute 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.

If you’re a Wild Apricot customer, you may already be applying these strategies because our software does most of it automatically, but please join us if you feel you could learn more. We’d love to have you.

MARCH


Nonprofit Succession Planning: Leading By Sharing Power
Thursday, March 7, 2 PM ET

How long will it take to for your organization to meet its mission, declare victory, and go out of business? Some nonprofits can envision success in a decade or two; others will continue for centuries. Will you be around for the victory party? If you’re not training the next generation of leaders, who will carry on?
 
In this workshop, we’ll discuss:
 
  • How organizations grow and change over time – and how leadership needs change as nonprofits grow
  • Why “just doing it yourself” is seldom the best choice
  • Short-term contingency plans vs. long-term transition plans (you need both)
  • Tangible tips for training and empowering others to lead


Recruitment on a Mission: How Nonprofits Can Attract & Retain Today’s Talent
Wednesday, March 13, 2:00 PM ET

Millennials are currently the largest generation in the workforce, with generation Z earning their degrees and entering the job market hot on their heels. With for-profit companies and organizations of all sizes clamoring for a record low number of available workers, small and medium size nonprofits need to know how they can compete. Armed with insights into key areas of opportunity, mission-driven organizations can not only stand shoulder-to-shoulder with larger and for-profit organizations but also even excel in attracting the next generation of discerning workers!

Attendees will leave the webinar with more information on:

  • How their mission can serve their recruitment efforts
  • How nonprofit organizations can stand apart from the competition—without breaking the bank—to make their company attractive to multiple generations, including millennials and generation Z 

7 Steps for Getting Started in Major Gifts (Even in Small Shops)
Wednesday, March 13, 3:00 PM ET

If you wish you could be raising big gifts for your organization but you don’t know where to start, then this webinar is for you! Join us to learn 7 basic steps for connecting your organization to individuals with the capacity to make a significant gift.

In this free webinar, you will learn:

  • How to define a major gift for your organization
  • What 5 elements to have in place before starting a major gifts program
  • What your fundraising goal tells you about prospects
  • How to find major gift prospects to support your mission
  • How to build donor relationships that lead to big gifts
  • What you must do when planning a successful Ask visit
  • The best ways to thank your donors so they keep on giving

Thursday, March 14 at 1pm ET

Do you struggle to keep a treasurer on your board of directors? Or aren’t sure where to even look to recruit someone qualified for the treasurer role?

By the end of this webinar, you will learn:

  • Standard financial governance roles and responsibilities for boards of charities and not-for-profit organizations
  • Standard financial positions and responsibilities in charities and not-for-profit organizations, including the treasurer
  • How and where to find awesome treasurers
  • Ideal qualifications for treasurers
  • Training materials and resources for treasurers

Much has been written about the growing importance of managing uncertainty to protect and enhance organizational value. Some will wonder, however, what managing the downside and upside of risk or uncertainty looks like. Others may wonder what the process and role of a risk management practitioner entails, and some will ponder over the key steps needed to shift from theory to practice. Monica Merrifield is an internationally recognized strategic risk executive who will share practical approaches, techniques and tools to build risk management capabilities in your organization. Join us for this timely session to gain insights on how to navigate uncertainty with success, while achieving the impact we desire for our communities.

By attending this webinar, you will:

  • Obtain a deeper understanding of risk and opportunity, and why actively managing uncertainty matters more today.
  • Learn what managing risk and embedding risk thinking means for social sector leaders.
  • Gain insights that will help you navigate the upside and downside with success in your organization.

What’s My Role as a Nonprofit Board Member
March 27, 12:00 PM ET

You’re at the table – now what? Learn to participate in board meetings and other engagements with more confidence and knowledge about your role as a board member. We’ll cover board responsibilities and how you can be a strong resource for a nonprofit organization.

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.