Training

 


DECEMBER


Where Do I Go From Here? Engage Volunteers in New Ways
December 4, 2019 | 2:00pm ET

How long do volunteers usually stay with your program? Do you struggle with keeping them interested, involved and engaged? This webinar will help you think about new strategies and help you evolve your program to include new roles and responsibilities for volunteers, pathways for more involvement and leadership positions in your program, how recognition plays a role in retention, and the importance of including continuing education and professional development to keep your volunteers engaged. Tools to help you evaluate your program implement new ideas will be provided.

What You’ll Learn: 
  • How to advance your volunteers’ interest in your organization. 
  • Transition great volunteers into leaders.

Introduction to Proposal Writing
December 4, 2:00PM

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

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

It will include:

  • The basic elements of a proposal

  • The “do’s” and “don’ts” of writing and submitting a proposal

  • How to follow up whether the answer is yes or no

  • 30-minute hands-on exercise to develop a proposal outline (in-person classes only)


Board Governance and Board Fundraising: Start Out Right…or Catch Up Fast with Brian Saber
December 4, 2019 | 3:00PM ET

Board governance and board fundraising are completely intertwined. One doesn’t happen without the other.  

Most organizations start with a “founder’s” board and evolve, over time, to a “governing” or “sustaining” board.  As the organization grows and the board evolves, so does the board’s fundraising role, and this often causes bumps in the road.

At every stage of your organization’s development, there are steps to take to support the board in doing the best fundraising.  The earlier you take these steps the smoother the transition will be and the more your board will fundraise.

You’ll learn:

  • How and why boards evolve, and the impact on fundraising

  • How to ensure that your governance supports strategic board-assisted fundraising

  • The top three ways to assure your board becomes a fundraising board


So Many Generations, So Little Time!
December 05, 2019 | 1:00pm ET

Did you know that, for the first time, there are five generations in the workforce? Think about it, that means there are also five generations of staff and donors with whom your nonprofit is interfacing.
 
In this webinar, you’ll  learn about what makes each generation tick and how you can connect in ways that THEY seek. 
 
Participants will discover that common beliefs about fundraising are deeply damaging to relationships with donors and ultimately their fundraising bottom line.
 
Learning objectives:
  • Name the five different generations of employees/donors and one stereotype particular to each one.
  • Identify one special, positive characteristic of each generation.
  • Learn one tip and one technique for collaborating with employees or donors from different generations.

The Benefits of Launching Your New Venture with a Fiscal Sponsor
Thursday, December 5, 2019; 2:00-3:30 pm ET

Starting a new social venture can be overwhelming. Many folks tend to jump straight into the process of creating a new 501c3 nonprofit organization and overlook fiscal sponsorship as an option. This live, online training will discuss the difference between a 501c3 nonprofit and a fiscally-sponsored project to help you determine if fiscal sponsorship may be a fit for you. We will also take a deep dive into some different models of fiscal sponsorship, how to find the right sponsor, share what fiscal sponsors are looking for in a potential partner and what the standard application process entails. Join us to get a head start on planning your project, growing your funding stream, and building your advisory board.

Outcomes:

Upon completion of this digital classroom, you should be able to:

  • Determine if fiscal sponsorship is a viable option for your project
  • Compare the benefits of fiscal sponsorship with those of starting a 501c3 nonprofit organization
  • Articulate what a fiscal sponsor is looking for in a potential partner
  • Research and find potential fiscal sponsors for your project

Citywide Volunteer Engagement – Why, How, and Where to Begin
December 5, 2019 | 2:00PM ET

Engaging volunteers is a powerful strategy to strengthen communities. Yet, many city staff and residents encounter challenges when seeking leadership support for citywide engagement strategies, plus they lack convincing case studies from other cities. In this webinar, be introduced to research and pathways to help you build a case and support for citywide volunteer engagement, Then, through a panel of peers from cities that have successfully instituted citywide engagement strategies, gain advice and ask questions of these professionals from such cities as Flint, MI, Fort Collins, CO, Plano, TX, and New York City.

Participants will also have access to a new free and downloadable Citywide Volunteer Engagement Guide.

Who Should Attend:

  • Volunteer Engagement Leaders

  • City Volunteer Coordinators

  • Community Based Organization Staff


Events in a Digital Age: How to Maximize Offline Events in an Online World
December 5, 2019 | 2:30PM ET

Events like galas, walks and auctions are critical to the fundraising (and friend-raising) strategies for most nonprofits. Want your next one to be a hit? Give it digital legs. With the vast number of online tools available, you can streamline everything from event registration to email marketing to social media, ensuring you capture your audience right where they are: online. Join us to learn how to plan your next event with digital in mind from day one, including: 

  • The importance of integrating digital into your event. 

  • 3 key goals to help you measure success. 

  • 5 digital must-haves to keep your event running smoothly.


How to Avoid Fundraising’s Quiet Killer: Donor Attrition
December 10, 2019 | 11:00AM ET

In this session, Jay will help us learn how to step off of the donor acquisition treadmill and start revving up donor retention. Seven out of 10 donors give only once, but this doesn’t have to be your reality. Jay will help us understand how a 10% increase in donor retention will more than double the lifetime value of a donor and minimize our reliance on producing constant appeals for new donors. Jay is ready to teach you:

  • How to establish a powerful and engaging web presence that retains donors.

  • What we can learn from the annual Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report from AFP.

  • Why donors leave and what to do about it.

  • 6 key drivers that can double the lifetime value of your donors.

  • Methods for creating repeat donors.


Useful, Free & Low-Cost Tools, Software, and Services for Your Nonprofit
December 10, 2019 | 1:00pm ET

What software tools and services are available to nonprofits at low or no cost that are worth using? How do you judge when a tool really is low cost, as opposed to one that will end up costing you time and effort? We’ll walk through the latest free and low-cost toos, software and services that are worth knowing about.


How to Use Behavioral Economics to Build a Successful Monthly Giving Program
December 10, 2019 | 1:00pm ET

Monthly donors give 42% more over the course of a year compared to one time donors. They also stick around longer with most programs enjoying donor retention rates north of 85%. If executed correctly, a successful monthly donor program can be a game changer for your nonprofit.

However, the psychological factors that govern whether a donor will opt into a monthly giving program are still not well understood. Our understanding of giving habits is based primarily upon the intuitions of fundraisers based on what they think works well, rather than what they know works well. What if there was a better way?

Through the lens of behavioral economics, this webinar will examine the efficacy of fundraising strategies commonly used by nonprofits and makes concrete recommendations about how to make your monthly donor program more efficient and effective. We’ll dig into the emotional, social, and cognitive mechanisms that drive people to opt into a monthly giving program, highlighting the most intriguing, surprising, and enlightening experimental studies and research on donor engagement and behavior. Finally, the webinar will recommend practical suggestions for designing more effective outreach, engagement and retention strategies to ensure your monthly giving program can take your NPO to the next level.


Social Media 101 for Nonprofits with Adobe Spark
December 10, 2019 | 2:00pm ET

In the ever-changing world of social media, navigating online marketing for your nonprofit can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to. Join us for a crash course in social media marketing with the team from Adobe Spark. Learn how to create a cost-effective and engaging social strategy that is sure to increase visibility and impact. We will cover the following:

  • Learn to create beautifully branded content (no design skills required), including eye-catching social campaigns, colorful annual reports, flyers, and much more.
  • Learn design theory basics, including pro tips for applying type and color to your content.
  • Curate a feed that feels authentic and consistent with your brand.
  • Discover the power of hashtags, learn how to maximize impact with the right copy, learn what to share across social platforms, and much more!

Google Ad Grants 101
December 11, 2019 | 1:00PM ET

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

Join us for a crash course on how Google Ad Grants can benefit your nonprofit by bringing thousands of new visitors to your website every month.

Presenter Jason Jensen will also cover how to get started, how to use it successfully, and how to choose a grants management agency.

If you attend, you’ll learn:

  • What Google Ad Grants is

  • How Google Ads works

  • Real examples of how other nonprofits used it effectively

  • The costs and benefits of management services vs. DIY

  • Our recommended grants management agency


Engaging Pro Bono and Skills-Based Volunteers
December 11, 2019 | 2:00pm ET

Integrating skills-based volunteers into your existing volunteer program is both exciting and scary. If you’re thinking about adding skilled volunteers to your program, or if you’ve just started, this seminar can help you make the experience successful for both the volunteer and the organization. Navigating the introduction of the idea into your organization, developing the art of delegating work to volunteers, and setting achievable outcomes will be covered.

What You’ll Learn: 
  • How to design successful skills-based volunteer projects
  • Strategies for managing skills-based volunteers

How to Captivate and Engage Constituents with Your Website
December 11, 2:30PM

Everything you do as a nonprofit organization leads people back to your website. It is the center of your marketing universe and home base of your brand. Does your website captivate and engage people or is it merely an online brochure with a few photos and mission statement? In this session, we will share more than a decade of focus group research that reveals:

  • The 5 elements of an engaging website.

  • The one thing every nonprofit should be thinking about, but isn’t.

  • Real-world examples of nonprofit organizations that have mastered their online presence.


Last Minute Strategies to Boost Year-End Giving
December 11, 2:00PM

Whether you’re just getting started with a year-end campaign or you’re far-along in the planning of it, our live webinar, Last Minute Strategies to Boost Year-End Giving will bring you the best, most effective tools for amplifying your mission in the last weeks of 2019.

Our fundraising experts will be sharing the seven ways you can quickly focus and optimize your Year-End Giving efforts, the essentials for a successful campaign and how to create a thank you email that inspires long-term loyalty and giving.

What You’ll Learn: 

  • 7 easy-to-use strategies to quickly optimize your campaign

  • Last minute communication plans that deliver big results

  • How your ‘thank you’ emails can significantly boost giving

  • Building a bond with donors that encourages future support


Free Nonprofit Webinar: How to Recruit and Manage Amazing Event Committees
December 11, 2019 | 3:00pm ET

It’s a fact – committees can help with almost every aspect of fundraising events, including getting auction donations, soliciting sponsorships and selling tickets. What’s not to love about a group of volunteers working as a team to make sure your organization’s event is profitable!?!

This free 60-minute webinar will take you through the process of identifying candidates for your chair position, discuss how to recruit committee members, and show you how to effectively manage your team and maximize the resources they bring to your event.


Measuring Success: How to Strategically Assess Your Program
December 12, 2019 | 2:00 pm ET

Your volunteer engagement program can be measured by more than just the hours a volunteer gives your organization. What other kinds of information should you keep track of, and how do you know if you’re doing a good job with your volunteer engagement program? This webinar will help you think through both the quantitative and qualitative information you can use to evaluate your program.

What You’ll Learn: 
  • What are the criteria for success for your volunteer program?
  • How can you work with others to create a culture of measurement for volunteer engagement? 

Drive Engagement Using Ancient Myth, Social Media and User Generated Video
December 12, 2019 | 2:00pm ET

In 1949, Joseph Campbell published the book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In it, Campbell reveals his discovery that myths from around the world and for all of recorded history with powerful influence all followed a similar pattern – The Hero’s Journey. Today, The Hero’s Journey powers your favorite movies and books, and has become a key to modern marketing. In a world of intense technology change this ancient story framework can guide us to effective fundraising and communications. Join Michael Hoffman, founder of See3, a digital marketing agency based in Chicago, and the CEO of Gather Voices, a technology start-up. 
 
In this session you will learn:
  • Where technology is going and why it matters for your organization. 
  • What is the Hero’s Journey and how it applies to companies, products, brands, and nonprofit fundraising and engagement.
  • How video content is dominating the online landscape and how that changes your strategy.
  • How state-of-the-art tools and technology can give you access to the kinds of stories that move people to action.

Raise Your Giving Season Potential with Major Gifts
Thursday, December 12, 2019; 2:00-3:30 pm ET

A large proportion of charitable donations are made in the last few months of the year. That’s why it’s commonly called the Giving Season. During this live, online training, campaign expert, William (Bill) Mountcastle, will walk you through the strategic process of reaching, engaging, and following up with high-capacity, major gift donors and prospects during the end-of-year giving season. This training will describe giving season strategies, highlight practical examples, go through the key role of a major gifts officer at year-end, and much more.

Outcomes:

Upon completion of this live, online training, you should be able to:

  • Describe how the year-end Giving Season can (and should) inspire major gifts
  • Apply strategies for paying special attention at year-end to your top-tier philanthropists
  • Plan a successful year-end approach to your big givers
  • Apply practical approaches for maximizing your revenue from year end major gifts 

Get Your Board to Help You Fundraise—Even if They Don’t Wanna!
December 12, 3:00PM

Are you a nonprofit trying to fundraise? You have a board—and believe it or not, your board should function as a fundraising machine. If it runs more like a college clunker than a luxury sedan, this webinar’s for you.

Join Kelly in this fundraising webinar to:

  • Assess your board’s fundraising personality.

  • Motivate your board members to fundraise.

  • Set goals and kick off campaigns.

  • Create individual plans they’ll rock.

  • Track without nagging.

  • Use goal attainment as board engagement


Motivate Monday with Pamela Grow
Monday, December 16, 2019 | 1:00pm ET

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. Join us every Monday to:

  • Share your wins
  • Learn from a special guest
  • Close out with a Q&A session

3 Ways Starting a Podcast Can Help Your Nonprofit Grow
December 17, 2:00PM

You’ve likely heard of podcasts or have a few of your own that you subscribe to. But how are nonprofits using podcasts? Podcasts aren’t just about growing an audience, they serve many other purposes. 

In this talk, we will discuss:

  • How starting a podcast is a surprising way to create deep content

  • How to use podcasting to connect with dedicated supporters and meet new audiences

  • How you can get your podcast started and what resources you will need 


The Power of Blogging & Thought Leadership for Nonprofits
December 18, 2019 | 11:00AM ET

Most nonprofits that have tried to blog have failed miserably. In this session, we will share the collective wisdom we’ve gleaned from dozens of nonprofit organizations that have stumbled upon the magic formula for becoming thought leaders in their community.

Join us to discover:

  • 3 keys to becoming a thought leader.

  • Who should blog? It’s not who you’d expect.

  • 7 components of the best nonprofit blogs.

  • Tips to optimize your blog’s effectiveness.

  • 4 ways to promote your blog.

  • Tips for measuring your blog’s performance.


Developing Effective Dashboards and Key Performance Indicators
December 18, 2019 | 11:30AM ET

Do you have a dashboard and know what your key performance indicators (KPI’s) are for your organization?  Please bring your questions so we can have a candid conversation regarding dashboards and KPI’s.

We will cover the critical aspects of Effective Dashboards and Key Performance Indicators including:

Nonprofits are complex organizations that are built around mission and outcomes, which must be supported by the right revenue and expense models.

Dashboards are one way to simply communicate and give an overview of the organization by using a graphical summary of important information. It is an easy way for decision-makers to see where and whether the organization is on the planned financial path, and additionally can be used with funders and stakeholders to transparently show progress towards desired goals.

But a dashboard without metrics is useless to the organization, it is important to develop the associated metrics and constantly review to ensure you are measuring success for the organization.

A properly designed dashboard allows a nonprofit to monitor its effectiveness as evidenced by the financial health along with the impact of the programs and services provided.  Board and staff should develop strategy and goals to create dashboards with focused conversation and collaboration.

When you select the dashboard elements, you should understand the data you will track and how that data will influence decision making.  Questions to ask include: Are the metrics for the organization or function? Is the tool for the board, staff, or funders?


Where Does Governance Stop and Management Begin?
December 18, 12:00PM

A nonprofit’s board and the staff need to be collaborative partners in order to achieve the mission of the organization. However, there are times where roles and responsibilities become blurred. Join us as we clarify where governance stops and management begins.

Thursday, December 19th at 1pm ET

With 2020 on the horizon, many nonprofits are wondering: how can I acquire new donors to start off the year successfully? Building a network of donors that are inspired by your nonprofit’s story can be challenging, but Network for Good is here to offer you tips and tricks to maximize new donor acquisition!
 
You’ll learn:
  • How to leverage volunteers and board members to expand your donor base
  • How to use social media to expand your reach and target Nonprofit List Exchange
  • How to set up your Donor Management System or system of record to connect with more donors
  • Tips for connecting with people who donate to similar nonprofits
  • How to leverage events to acquire new donors

 

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.