Training

 

JANUARY (2020)


 
 

Overcoming the Overhead Myth: Budgeting for an Effective Website, Marketing & Growth
January 15, 2020 | 11:00AM ET

When it comes to running your organization, most nonprofits feel pressured to do as much as possible with as little as possible. Donors still scrutinize nonprofits, wondering what percentage of their gift actually goes toward the “cause.” Today, it’s crucial to invest in your organization so you can continue to operate and support your mission.

Join us in this webinar and discover:

  • What is the overhead myth and why does it matter?
  • The impact of underinvestment.
  • How to address concerns with donors.
  • What marketing efforts provide the best ROI to help you move the needle.
  • How to improve the budgeting process at your nonprofit.

5 Pillars of a Killer Annual Fundraising Plan
January 15, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

If you’re ready to jumpstart this year’s fundraising with actionable ways you can ensure your organization’s success all year round, then this webinar is for you! Join us for The 5 Pillars of a Killer Annual Fundraising Plan, where you’ll learn how to break down your annual gameplan into easy-to-master sections that will set you up to exceed your fundraising goals.

Our experts will be sharing the five crucial areas on which to focus your planning, plus key actions you can take ahead-of-time to increase donor retention, monthly giving and ongoing engagement. We’ll even share annual fundraising plans in action with some success stories from nonprofits like yours.

What You’ll Learn: 

  • The five areas to focus your planning
  • Setting key goals that maximize your resources
  • The campaign approach that boosts reach and revenue
  • Donor-centric strategies to build trust and inspire giving

Build Staff Buy-In for Volunteer Engagement
January 15, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

Is your organization open to engaging volunteers in new ways? Often one of the biggest challenges to a new model of volunteer engagement is the resistance of paid staff. Often attitudes and fears of our co-workers prevent us from expanding the work that volunteers do. But, if you’ve never worked with volunteers before, it can be scary. In this webinar we’ll discuss strategies for working with paid staff to engage volunteers. We’ll cover what you can do to alleviate some of those fears, strategies for working within a Union environment, and how you can train and support your coworkers as they become responsible for managing volunteers.

What You’ll Learn: 

  • How to assess the feelings and attitudes of paid staff around working with volunteers.
  • What does paid staff need to know about working with volunteers.
  • How to create a communication plan to talk to paid staff about working with volunteers.
  • Strategies for engaging volunteers in a union environment.

On Your Mark, Get Set … Preparing Your Message for a Capitol Hill Visit
Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 2:00pm ET

As a supporter of public lands, you understand the needs and challenges at your site, and a visit to Capitol Hill is a powerful way to share those stories firsthand with your lawmakers. In this webinar, we’ll explore how to determine your top one or two asks, and gathering information and materials for a brief and successful meeting on the Hill. 

Our very own Joan Patterson is one of the presenters.

**NOTE** This webinar is FREE for PLA members only; $25 for all others


How to Lead Event Committees to Success
Thursday, January 16th, 2020 at 1:00 PM EST

An engaged, enthusiastic event committee is key to the success of any nonprofit event. However, it is up to YOU to ensure they work as a team to help your organization maximize the event’s profits and impact.

In this live webinar, event planning expert A.J. Steinberg of Queen Bee Fundraising will show you how to be an effective committee leader and how to create a happy, productive volunteer event team.

What You Will Learn from this Free Nonprofit Webinar:

  • How to choose your committee members
  • How to run efficient meetings
  • How to make committee members feel like superstars

How to Create an Effective Legacy Case Statement to Get More Gifts
January 16, 2020 | 2:00pm  ET

A carefully crafted legacy giving case statement is a commonly overlooked element of a legacy giving program. Having an effective legacy case statement that addresses the organization’s needs as well as the donors’ values will provide loads of messaging for your marketing as well as make your legacy conversations easier. In this session, we will review why the legacy case statement is the foundation to your legacy program, how it shapes your communications and how to draft an effective one for your organization.
 
Participants will learn:
 
  • Why a legacy case statement is important and how it shapes the legacy giving program.
  • How to examine their existing legacy case statement, or create a new effective case statement.

Face-to-Face with a Major Gift Donor for the First Time
January 16, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

Face-to-face—the first time—can be scary for both you AND your donor! Whether upgrading a large annual fund donor or beginning with a new potential major donor you already know major gifts require a relationship beyond the transactional appeal letter or social engagement. Let’s get those appointments with ease and get clear on the Dos and Don’ts of the visit. What makes YOUR first experience the beginning of something wonderful? Learn how to build trust, comfort and confidence, magnify your shared values and interests and cultivate lifelong partnerships.

Join Marcy Heim in this webinar and walk away with:

  • An understanding of why this first major gift appointment is so special—and sometimes difficult.
  • Tips for securing the appointment.
  • Dos and don’ts for that first visit that build trust.
  • Your visit prep.
  • The most important step—setting up the NEXT visit.

This Is How Our Most Successful Clients Fill Their Events
January 16, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

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 free 45-minute 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

So, Your Park Foundation Needs to Develop A Strong Volunteer Management Program
January 16, 2020 | 3:00pm ET

Hear from Ms. Candy Holloway, Volunteer Coordinator of Five Rivers Metro Parks as she provides the insights, strategies, and benefits of a strong volunteer management program for your Park Foundation.

Sponsored by the National Association of Park Foundations


Creating a Major Gift Relationship Action Plan
January 21, 2020 | 1:00PM ET

Were you feeling awkward in December setting up year-end major gift ask calls? Were you scrambling? Was it a struggle to get Board and other partners to help?

Learn this 10-step process to move from reactive to proactive. How often should you connect?  Should you have partners? Who? How do you best respect and serve the donor while still engaging them towards a major gift?  These are your VERY BEST FRIENDS – treat them well! 

We’ll discuss:

  • Just what is a Relationship Action Plan – learn the 6 key elements
  • Why is this Plan SO important to your success?
  • How do RAPS help you with time management and overwhelm
  • What is the role of the partners?
  • How do these Major Gift Actions fit into everything else you are doing?
  • Go step by step through the 10-steps for creating a RAP

Successful Volunteer Interview Strategies
January 21, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

Interviewing each prospective volunteer can seem overwhelming, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure that the volunteers you recruit are the volunteers you need. This webinar introduces a variety of question types used in volunteer interviews and offers strategies for honing your interview skills. Materials will be provided to help you implement this process in your organization, as well as a training syllabus so you can learn how to recruit and train a volunteer staff to assist with prospective volunteer interviews.

What You’ll Learn: 

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

5 Secrets of Email Marketing Geniuses
January 21, 2020 | 11:00AM ET

There is more power and leverage in one email subscriber than 100 Facebook likes or 50 Twitter followers if email marketing is done right. Problem is, 9 out of 10 nonprofits don’t do it right. In this educational session, Jay will share the secrets of email marketing geniuses, including:

  • The 5 types of nonprofit emails.
  • The anatomy of an email marketing campaign.
  • 6 email marketing mistakes to avoid.
  • 5 secrets of email marketing geniuses.

 


Lobbying and Advocacy 101
January 21, 2020, 2:00 PM ET

Now more than ever, your community is relying on you to stand up for them. If you think your 501(c)(3) public charity status prevents you from advocating for new laws and policies, think again! Whether protecting the rights of undocumented immigrants, pushing for quality education, or demanding safe communities for everyone, you can legally advocate for public policy and community change at every level of governmentClick here to learn more and sign up. 


Creating Equitable Transportation Access to Urban Wildlife Refuges
January 22, 2020, 2:00 PM ET

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be, to have a greenway or trail connecting a local community to your refuge? Or maybe you’ve thought a weekend bus service with a stop at the refuge would be a great way to get new visitors to your site? If so, we have just the webinar for you! The Urban Transportation Connections Study team has completed Refuge Access Plans at seven refuges across the country. Through our planning process we have assembled some valuable project and program ideas for increasing transportation access to often underrepresented communities surrounding urban wildlife refuges. We will briefly review the overall planning process, provide key takeaways from our collection of site visits and access plans, and offer ways that you can leverage the work from the study to help grow transportation options at your refuge/complex.

To register for the event, click here


Successfully Implementing Volunteer Program Changes
January 22, 2020 | 2:00PM 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

True Program Costs
January 22, 2020 | 2:00PM 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.


Integrating Monthly Donors in Your Annual Fundraising Plan
January 22, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

Did you know that 100 monthly donors are worth an average of $24,000 a year? That they’ll give two to four times more than other donors? That they’ll stay with you for at least 5 to 7 years and often even longer? Wow, right? 

In this interactive webinar you will find out how important monthly donors really are and how best to integrate monthly giving into your fundraising plan, growing the sustainable revenue you need to support your mission! 


Accelerate Your Mid-level Program in 2020
January 23, 2020 | 1:00PM ET

Mid-level giving is one of the greatest sources of predictable revenue for nonprofit organizations, yet, it is also the program that is most often under resourced.

Join Ryan Carpenter, Pursuant’s in-house mid-level giving expert as he shares how to build a thriving mid-level giving program, and how to bridge the gap between direct marketing and major gifts through mid-level programs.

Learning objectives:

  • Defining Mid-level
  • Creating a Mid-level
  • Good Rules to Follow for Success
  • Benefits to Direct Marketing and Major Gifts
  • Measuring Impact

3 Easy Ways to R etain More Members Using Software
January 23, 2020 |2:00PM ET

Do you sometimes feel that your membership is like a leaky boat? Every time you look at your database, you notice a few members have left?

In this free 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

Online Fundraising Performance: Does Your Nonprofit Measure Up?
January 28, 2020 | 11:00AM ET

Online fundraising is managed most effectively when performance metrics are measured—something the most successful nonprofits do regularly. In this session, Firespring’s CEO Jay Wilkinson shares the best detailed formulas every nonprofit should use to track metrics and measure the success of their online fundraising efforts. Join Jay in this metrics-driven webinar to learn:

  • 7 steps to online fundraising success.
  • 5 metrics to measure fundraising performance.
  • How to combat the donor retention problem.
  • The attributes of a killer email campaign.

How to Create an Engaging Donor Journey in 2020
Tue, Jan 28, 2020 10:00 AM – 2:00 pm ET

This is your year. It’s time to take on new terrain by building a targeted multichannel donor journey that ensures every member of your community feels connected to your cause throughout the year. In this must-watch webinar you’ll learn how to:
  • Take a multichannel approach to your donor communications
  • Align your digital strategies to form a cohesive donor journey – Build meaningful donor relationships through timely touchpoints
  • Track and measure your success so you know how to invest resources

The inspiration doesn’t stop here. After you’ve tuned in, DonorPerfect wants to help you stay on task with Your 2020 Fundraising Calendar, a printable calendar with fundraising ideas and resource links for every month of the year. After the webinar, you’ll be able to download the calendar right from your inbox.


Free Nonprofit Webinar: Asking Styles: A Revolutionary Concept in Fundraising
Tuesday, January 28th, 2020 at 1:00 PM EST

There is no one right way to ask for a donation. Some people take great care preparing well-organized and complete presentations. Others prepare with just a few talking points and then use the energy of the prospect to guide the conversation. Some people are energized by the prospect of tying down a gift. For others it is a great act of courage.

You have your own Asking Style, and if you learn to ask in your Style, you will be more comfortable, confident and successful as an asker. Are you a Rainmaker? Go-Getter? Kindred Spirit? Mission Controller? A mix of two Styles?

Join Brian Saber, President of Asking Matters, to learn about the revolutionary concept of Asking Styles created by his company.

What You Will Learn:

  • The unique strengths you bring to the table and how to apply them to the ask
  • Which prospects are the best match given your Asking Style
  • How to craft your Case for Support in your own words and Style
  • What to watch out for along the way

10 Ways to Improve Relationships with Your Grantmakers
Tuesday, January 28, 2020 | 2:00pm ET

Grant writing is not only about writing. It is about the other best practices you embrace as an organization so that your well written proposal is well-received and fully considered by a grantmaker. Relationship building with both new potential grantmakers and with previous supporters is an area many nonprofits could improve as a way to strengthen their grant seeking strategy.
 
In the interactive webinar, 10 Ways to Improve Relationships with Your Grantmakers, we will provide you with detailed insight and examples to try in your own organization.
 
We will look at real world examples from nonprofits with strong grantmaker relationship so that whether a small or large organization, you will gain new ideas on how to enhance grantmaker relationships in a way that aligns with your organization’s capacity and voice.
 
We will increase participant’s understanding and knowledge of ways to enhance their grantmaker relationships, and specifically focus on:
 
  • Enhancing relationships via shared channels and networks;
  • Being creative in reporting and expressing gratitude to grantors;
  • Keeping grantors abreast of program and be their primary source for information; and
  • Maintaining seamless communication with grantors.

10 Online Tools to Skyrocket Your Nonprofit’s Marketing in 2020
January 28, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

Where does marketing sit on your task list? If you’re wearing multiple hats in your job, it can be difficult to keep track of which marketing campaigns are working and which aren’t paying off. In this webinar, digital marketing strategist, Maria Bryan, will show you the tools and resources you need to track and measure your marketing, make you more efficient with your time, and help grow your memberships on a shoestring budget. 

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • How to succeed as a nonprofit marketer (and the skills you need)   
  • 10 online tools to help you manage your workload   
  • 3 online resources to brush up on your marketing skills 

Creating a Culture of Volunteer Engagement
January 28, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

It’s important to create a culture of inclusion and engagement of volunteers within your organization. But, it can be hard to recognize what your current culture says to volunteers, or identify how to make changes to help volunteers feel more welcome. This webinar will help you identify how your organization’s current culture is shaping or limiting what volunteers do, and provide steps you can take to start to create more understanding, respect, and appreciation for engaging volunteers. 

What You’ll Learn: 

  • How to understand the role that culture plays in an organization’s volunteer engagement plan. 
  • Ways to identify opportunities within your organization to create a more open and inclusive culture for your volunteers. 

10 Ways to Improve Relationships with Your Grantmakers
January 28, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

Grant writing is not only about writing. It is about the other best practices you embrace as an organization so that your well written proposal is well-received and fully considered by a grantmaker. Relationship building with both new potential grantmakers and with previous supporters is an area many nonprofits could improve as a way to strengthen their grant seeking strategy.

In the interactive webinar, 10 Ways to Improve Relationships with Your Grantmakers, we will provide you with detailed insight and examples to try in your own organization.

We will look at real world examples from nonprofits with strong grantmaker relationship so that whether a small or large organization, you will gain new ideas on how to enhance grantmaker relationships in a way that aligns with your organization’s capacity and voice.

We will increase participant’s understanding and knowledge of ways to enhance their grantmaker relationships, and specifically focus on:

  • Enhancing relationships via shared channels and networks;
  • Being creative in reporting and expressing gratitude to grantors;
  • Keeping grantors abreast of program and be their primary source for information; and
  • Maintaining seamless communication with grantors.

It’s a New World: How to Cultivate Your Online Community
January 29, 2020 | 2:00PM ET

One of the biggest challenges facing organizations is changing the culture of giving and engagement, and our futures depend on it. Often we get so caught up in ‘the ask’ that we forget what motivates people to support us in the first place: relationships. Join Angie Kubicek, chief marketing officer at Firespring, to discover the secret sauce of cultivating a community of online donors primed and ready to support you. You’ll learn:

  • What donor stewardship means in an online world.
  • How to fire up board members, volunteers, donors and staff to fundraise every day.
  • 10 vital actions to cultivate a network eager to support you.
  • How to generate loyal support long past a specific campaign.
  • Why a consistent communications plan is essential.
  • Although campaigns serve their purpose and give donors an exciting event to rally around, the time in between initiatives can make all the difference. We guarantee you’ll walk away confident in the steps you need to earn the trust and vigorous support of your online community.

Marketing Trends Nonprofits Need to Know (and Embrace)
January 30, 2020 | 11:00AM ET

Marketing trends come and go, but the top marketing trends are the ones worth adopting. Digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing—each plays a role in a nonprofit’s strategy. Join us to discuss the 2020 marketing trends that’ll shape your nonprofit’s future and grow your impact, including:

  • How to use artificial intelligence (AI) to engage.
  • Micro moments and influencer marketing.
  • Gaming as a fundraising and awareness tool.
  • The differences between visual, local and voice search.
  • How to automate your marketing.

Find New Donors the Easy Way: 8 Steps to Stop Stressing and Having New Donors Flowing Into Your Organization
Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 2:00pm ET

You want to get the attention your nonprofit needs and deserves to attract long-term, loyal donors. The problem is it is hard to break through the clutter and connect with new donors while keeping up with your current ones. There’s never enough time, money or internal support to achieve this at the level you know possible. The reason why is because we try to convince people to care instead of focusing on strong messages that connect to like-minded donors.
 
Learn the 8 steps to bust to stop convincing and start connecting, so your organization commands attention and attracts new audiences. We will unlock new techniques to start communicating with ease, joy and abundance to create stronger relationships with existing supporters and attract new ones.
 
Learning objectives:
 
  • Understand the difference between connecting and convincing
  • Creating a culture that supports strong messaging
  • Learn the biggest mistakes nonprofits make in messaging, what it is costing you and how to stop
  • How to craft messaging to attract like-minded donors
  • How to deliver the message and give value to potential donors so they will respond

 

News from The Link: Fall 2019

Photo with Senator Merkley (OR)

National Wildlife Refuge Association Board Members Chad Brown (left) and service dog Axe and Cheryl Hart (right) with Senator Merkley (OR)

Welcome to the second edition of The Link! This newsletter was written by Friends, for Friends, in collaboration with the Refuge Association and the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA).

In this edition we focus on advocacy, a topic that creates confusion. Read how Friends are speaking up for their mission and in the process educating their lawmakers. The Friends of Tennessee share their advocacy efforts and accomplishments.

We want to hear from you! Take the short survey and let us know how we can be a valuable resource for you.

We hope that you enjoy The Link.

Articles in the fall edition of The Link

  • Friends as Advocates
    5 great ideas to engage your legislators
  • Speaking Up for Your Mission
    All about advocacy and lobbying. Do you know what your nonprofit can do?
  • Focus on Friends: Tennessee NWR
    Get to know this Friends Group of the Year (FGY), set your sights on being the next FGY!
  • Survey
    Got something you’d like to see covered in future issues of The Link? What questions would you like answered? Would you like your Friends group featured in a future issue? Share your thoughts and questions in the survey.

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.