Training

 

July


Empowering the New Generation of Connected Supporters
July 10, 2:00PM

What is the latest data telling us about how the different generations connect to our nonprofits – and does it really matter anymore? In this new age of distributed power, learn how you can identify supporters using cutting edge data science and engage them by continuing to expand the limits of omnichannel communications.


Introduction to Fundraising Planning
July 10, 2:00PM

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

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

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

Get Your Board to Help You Fundraise—Even if They Don’t Wanna!
Wednesday, July 10, 3:30 pm

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 us 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.

How to Navigate Workplace Conflict
July 11, 1:00PM

This session will focus on helping you navigate conflict more effectively. We will explore the different approaches and stages of conflict. You will gain effective ways to anticipate, prevent, and manage conflict situations. Practical application is the key to sustained learning so you will identify actions to advance learning in your workplace.


Hold the Phone: Mobile Marketing Tips for Each Generation
July 11, 1:30PM

It’s no secret that people are attached to their phones—checking email, social media, texting, even making purchases. In fact, this year American adults are expected to spend an average of 3 hours, 23 minutes a day on non-voice mobile media. That’s up more than 1 hour from 2013.

You need an engaging mobile presence, period. This used to be a nice-to-have; now it’s a must-have. If you don’t, you’ll lose online visitors, loyal constituents and, ultimately, online donations.

Just what are people doing while staring at their screens all day? Tweeting? Reading? Donating? Chatting? It largely depends on their generation and what their preferences are.

Explore:

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

The New Volunteer Manager’s Toolkit
July 11, 2:00PM

New to volunteer management? Looking for a refresher on the basics? This webinar will walk you through the three primary Rs – recruitment, retention and recognition. We’ll discuss the most popular program components such as interviews, orientations, volunteer handbooks, and more. And, we’ll talk about the importance of managing risk for your program and your organization. All attendees will also receive a sample packet with examples of program documents and program assessment checklists to help you evaluate your existing program.

What You’ll Learn: 

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

How to Drive Social Media Engagement with your Nonprofit Storytelling with Julia Campbell
Tuesday, July 16, 1:00 am

Engagement is the name of the game in social media, but with frequent platform changes and declining attention spans, cutting through the clutter is harder than ever. Enter storytelling! Learn how to craft stories that move your audience from passive to active.


How to Add More Revenue Streams to Your Event
July 16, 1:00PM

Wouldn’t you love to find ways to raise more money at your fundraising events?  Right now you are probably doing a typical silent auction and raffle, maybe a paddle raise, but you feel like you are missing the boat when it comes to really maximizing your event’s revenue.

Well, you’re in luck, because in this FREE WEBINAR event planning expert A.J. Steinberg is going to show you how to find hidden assets and additional revenue streams for your fundraising events.

In this webinar you’ll learn…

  • How to find additional revenue hiding in your events
  • How to assign value to event elements (also known as ‘assets’)
  • How to turn event assets into revenue (i.e. logo-branded auction paddles)
  • How to sell event assets to companies and sponsors
  • How to use underwriting to boost your event profit
  • What is underwriting, and how to make it work for you
  • How to choose your underwriting offers
  • How to write underwriting proposals that sell
  • How to add revenue through entertainment at your event
  • How to choose raffles and games that will make you money
  • How to check what is legal in your state for games and raffles

Storytelling for Impact
July 16, 2:00PM

From the beginning of civilization, storytelling has maintained a uniquely impactful position in defining culture, inspiring action and bringing people together. Today’s marketers need to be better storytellers than ever before as more and more stories are told all around us.

Join Firespring’s CMO, Angie Kubicek as she delivers tips, techniques and tools to help the modern marketer tell better and more impactful stories to activate their audiences through ideas and actions.

Key takeaways:

  • An analysis of the Hero’s Journey and other storytelling frameworks.
  • Tools to aid in the process of compiling and refining your most compelling stories.
  • Use of social media story tools to build community and motivate action.
  • Exercises that your team can adopt in order to enhance and refine your storytelling process.

Engaging Pro Bono and Skills-Based Volunteers
July 16, 2:00PM

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

Your Website Data Called. Are You Listening?
July 17, 11:00AM

Numbers and stats and data, oh my! Put your website analytics to work and make a huge impact on your organization’s success.

Join Molly in this educational session to discover:

  • What metrics matter.
  • How to set up tracking to measure performance.
  • How to analyze your data to know what’s working (and what’s not).

Google Ad Grants 101
July 17, 1:00PM

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.

We’ll also cover how to get started, how to use it successfully, and a special offer to get you started immediately!

If you attend, you’ll learn:

  • What Google Ad Grants is
  • How Google Ads works
  • How Google Ads can benefit your nonprofit
  • Real examples of how other nonprofits used it effectively
  • The costs and benefits of management services vs. DIY
  • How to get started immediately!

Introduction to Finding Grants
Wednesday, July 17, 20192:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET

Are you new to the field of grantseeking?

Discover what funders are looking for in nonprofits seeking grants and how to find potential funders in this introductory course.

You will learn the 10 most important things you need to know about finding grants, including:

  • Who funds nonprofits and what are their motivations.
  • What do funders really want to know about the organizations they are interested in funding.
  • How do you identify potential funders and make the first approach.
  • In-person classes will end with 30 minutes of hands-on, guided online grant research. It is advisable, but not necessary, to bring a laptop/tablet for this portion of the class.

10 Secrets to Optimizing Your Online Donation Process for Maximum Dollars Raised and Retained
July 17, 3:00PM

Donations made online is one of the fastest-growing gift channels. While it’s not yet a juggernaut, it is significant enough to pay attention to. And if your online gift processes aren’t operating according to best practices for user-experience and donor stewardship, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table.

In this webinar, Steven Shattuck will examine 10 simple, research-backed fixes that any fundraiser can make to their online donation process. You’ll leave with the confidence that your donation pages and forms can convert any visitor into a donor – and retain that donor for years to come.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand how and why donors complete your donation forms
  • Uncover best practices for conversion rate optimization that maximizes the gift amount and frequency
  • Learn how to formulate a retention strategy for online donors through enhanced gift acknowledgement and stewardship

ANATOMY OF A CYBER ATTACK
Thursday, July 18, 2:00 PM ET

Non-profits are being targeted by sophisticated digital attacks at an unprecedented rate. In this webinar, we’ll take a close look at exactly how these attacks work from end to end: how the attackers get into your systems in the first place, what they do once they’re in, and the mess they leave in their wake. 

The webinar will provide an overview on what you need to do to clean up after an attack, and what you can do to prevent attackers from getting into your systems in the first place. 

We’ll also dispel some common myths about IT security, and tell you exactly what you need to know to defend your organization against today’s threats.


An Inside Look at the Firespring Nonprofit Website Builder
Thursday, July 18, 11:00 am

Learn how to master your online presence and leverage the power of your website. In addition to sharing nonprofit technology trends and best practices, you’ll see firsthand what the Firespring Nonprofit Website Builder has to offer.


Finding Gold in Your Database: How to Upgrade Current Donors, Re-Engage Lapsed Donors, and Find New Donors… Right in Your Own Database
July 18, 2:00PM

Believe it or not, the best source of new fundraising dollars for your non-profit is your own donor database. Your current and lapsed donors are a goldmine just waiting to be tapped. This one-hour webinar will help you unleash your donor list’s full potential.

Join fundraising expert Joe Garecht as he shows you effective, step-by-step systems for reactivating your lapsed donors, upgrading your current donors, and getting your most committed supporters to open up their networks to your organization.


This Is How Our Most Successful Clients Fill Their Events
July 18, 2:00PM

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

Writing Accurate and Useful Volunteer Position Descriptions
July 18, 2:00PM

A good position description can make the recruitment and placement of volunteers so much easier, but this foundation component of a program is often overlooked or put into a folder and never used. 

This webinar will start with the basics of what should be included in a position description and will help you create or update position descriptions for all of your volunteer opportunities. 

Once those position descriptions are created – use them! Learn how accurate and up-to-date position descriptions can help you recruit and train volunteers, and how they can help with retention and the development of leadership positions within your volunteer engagement program. 

What You’ll Learn: 

  • What should go into a good position description.
  • Why should you have a position description for all of your volunteer opportunities
  • How can a position description help you recruit and train volunteers?

 


How to Survive a Toxic Workplace
Thursday, July 18, 1pm ET

Is your nonprofit workplace toxic? Get tips on how to cope and create positive change at our free webinar!

Choosing to leave a job she really loved because of the toxicity of the work environment was really tough. In this webinar, Sylvia Plester-Silk will share her story and how she uses this to assist nonprofits to shift their team from conflict to collaboration and cooperation.


5 Secrets of Email Marketing Geniuses
Tuesday, July 23, 11:00 am

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, we’ll 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.

Supporting Your Mid-Level Donors
July 23, 1:00PM

In this webinar, we will examine the characteristics of mid-level donors as well as tips and best practices to effectively cultivate more mid-level giving.


Rethinking Volunteerism to Build Capacity and Achieve Sustainability
July 23, 1:00pm
 
With budgets and traditional sources of funding shrinking, it’s a critical time for all to find more creative ways to achieve sustainability. Join us and hear how volunteering can be a promising source for building the capacity of our organizations and for additional funding. We’ll also explore where to find volunteers, with a focus on corporate volunteerism, as well as how best to use volunteers’ time and talent.

Presenters:

Rebecca Wang, Manager, NVIDIA Foundation
Lenny Teh, Program Manager, Servicewide Volunteer Program, NPS

Cost: 
FREE for all (PLA Members, Non-Members and Government)


4 Steps to Creating a Team to Deliver on Your Mission
July 23, 2pm ET

If you’re trying to drive impact or increase membership by yourself, it can feel almost impossible — but luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Many organizations know their staff, members, volunteers, and board members already talk about them on a regular basis. With the right training and motivation, your entire team could be spreading the word about the benefits of membership, helping you attract more new and returning members and increase your impact. To learn how to ask, train and support your team, please join us for this free webinar. We’ve invited nonprofit marketing expert Nancy Schwartz, of GettingAttention.org, to present on this highly effective but under-used approach.

By the end of the webinar, you will know:

  • How to ask the right colleagues (and others) for help.
  • Expert tips to help you train your team to be confident, competent messengers.
  • Ideas on supporting your messengers with rewards for participation and success.
  • How to get ahead of the competition by putting your team of effective messengers to work now!

BOX DEMO

Wednesday, July 24, 2:00 PM EDT

Box is a cloud content management system that securely connects people, information and applications. Thousands of businesses use Box globally to improve content security and protection, and reduce infrastructure costs. Join us for this demo and learn how Box can help your organization. An experienced data management consultant will highlight various system features, including:

  • Navigation
  • User Permissions
  • Office Integration
  • Box Drive

Online Tools that Help Nonprofits Learn, Listen & Engage
Wednesday, July 24, 2:30 pm

Every day you learn about a new mobile app or piece of software that will “change your life.” There’s so much coming at you, it sometimes feels like you’re drinking through a fire hose.

Learn how to make technology your friend. In his most revealing session, Jay takes you behind the curtain to show, in real-time, which tools he uses to manage his online presence and why. You’ll learn:

  • Which social media platforms you should care about.
  • 5 tools to help master your online world.
  • Listening tools.
  • Engagement tools.
  • How to master your online presence in less than 15 minutes per day.

The Heart of the Matter: How Simple Data Analytics Can Boost Your Planned Giving Program
July 24, 3:00PM

Nearly every fundraiser knows that single or widowed, childless adults usually make the best planned giving candidates, especially if they are long-time donors. But each organization is unique and will have specific data points that are key to finding the best of the best. Whether you’re a small shop, a mid-sized organization or a large one, you can use simple do-it-yourself data analytics to make a big difference. Join us as we learn the why’s and the how’s of making it happen.


Convert Supporters with Powerful Landing Pages
Thursday, July 25, 2:30 pm

With great landing pages, your donors, volunteers and supporters are 10 times more likely to donate, sign up, register or engage with your nonprofit. Discover real-world landing page examples that increase conversions and what we’ve learned from studying hundreds of nonprofits and their landing page designs.

 


Engaging the Public through Native Plant, Pollinator and Partners Outreach
Thursday, July 25, 2:00 pm ET

Since 2015, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge’s “People for Pollinators” program has
used native plants and pollinators to reach new audiences. Join Patrick Bryant as he highlights successful ways you and your partners can work together to make pollinator and relevant.

To register for the webinar go to WebEx Events by Program and locate “Pollinator  Webinar Series.” Click the Register link next to the webinar. Upon registration, you will
receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar. Having  trouble joining the event?

 


Social Media 102
Tuesday, July 30, 2:00 pm

So you’ve finally adopted social media as a legit way to connect with your target audiences, but now you want to use it to stand out from the crowd. In our Social Media 101 webinar, we covered the Big 3 (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and walked through social media tools. Now it’s time to learn a few advanced social media tips and tricks, elevate your social media presence through micro strategies and activate your advocates. 

Join us to learn how to:

  • Use social media to connect with constituents.
  • Monitor conversations to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Get people to advocate on your behalf.
  • Navigate social media advertising and understand when to use it. 

Where Do I Go From Here? Engage Volunteers in New Ways
July 30, 2:00PM

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. 

Summer Retail Check-In: Progress, Trends and Observations 2019
July 31, 2:00 PM ET

Based on the success of the last several year’s check-ins, we’re doing it again! Because as the summer progresses, we all know that retail sales ebb and flow. But is there anything that can be done to change course in the middle of a season? Can sluggish sales be turned around? For this informal web chat among public lands retail practitioners, we’ll discuss the summer’s progress, trends, employee observations, and other factors that might affect how your retail outlet and others around the country are faring.
Cost:
  • FREE for PLA Members and PLA Corporate Partners
  • $25 for NonMembers and Government Agency Staff

Integrating Social Science into Strategic Monarch Conservation 
Thursday, August 15, 2:00 pm ET

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Field Museum’s Keller Science Action Center have been working to understand the social, political, and economic factors that produce environmental threats, and foster those that benefit monarchs and their habitats. In this webinar, Dr. Christine Browne (USFWS) will explain how these factors have been identified and considered in the development of conservation strategies, and Lex Winter (Chicago Field Museum) will share research on how these factors play out on the ground in urban and suburban areas in the Midwest.

To register for the webinar go to WebEx Events by Program and locate “Pollinator  Webinar Series.” Click the Register link next to the webinar. Upon registration, you will
receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar. Having  trouble joining the event?


Engaging Audiences in Pollinator Conservation 
Wednesday, September 4, 2:00 pm ET

Do you want to engage and educate others about the value of pollinators? This  webinar will examine the Service’s pollinator conservation efforts and provide valuable outreach and communications resources available to Service employees. Presented by Mara Koenig, Chair of the National Monarch Engagement Team, Midwest External Affairs Program.

To register for the webinar go to WebEx Events by Program and locate “Pollinator  Webinar Series.” Click the Register link next to the webinar. Upon registration, you will
receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar. Having  trouble joining the event?


Pollinator Meadows
Wednesday, October 16, 2:00 pm ET

Pollinator meadows are an excellent way to restore habitat in agricultural landscapes. Clare Maffei surveyed the bee communities at established meadows and has ideas for how we can do even better by our native pollinators in these important projects.

To register for the webinar go to WebEx Events by Program and locate “Pollinator  Webinar Series.” Click the Register link next to the webinar. Upon registration, you will
receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar. Having  trouble joining the event?


AUGUST

10 Fundraising Tips for a Successful GivingTuesday 2019
Tuesday, August 13, 1:00 PM ET

GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. And given the inherent social nature of GivingTuesday, it’s the perfect opportunity for nonprofit’s to use online fundraising tools in order to leverage all of the social fundraising opportunities that come with them.

CrowdRise by GoFundMe wants to help you get ahead of your holiday giving season by sharing their best tips for successfully using online tools like CrowdRise and GoFundMe this GivingTuesday. Topics include:

  • The power of social fundraising for GivingTuesday
  • Must-have fundraising functionality and features for your GivingTuesday campaign
  • The importance of regularly communicating with your supporters and fundraisers in the months before GivingTuesday
  • How to extend GivingTuesday momentum throughout the rest of the year

 

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.