Training

training

 

 

Motivate Monday with Fundraising Expert Pamela Grow
Monday, January 22nd, 1:00 PM ET
How are nonprofit professionals jumpstarting their week with purpose? Join us for Motivate Monday where:

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

Learn more and register


Salesforce Training: Importing Data for Fundraising
Monday, January 22th, 3:00 PM ET
Please join us for the Importing Data for Fundraising Webinar. We will focus on using the NPSP Data Import template, prepping and cleaning your data prior to import, and understanding the different tools available for importing data into Salesforce. By the end of the webinar, you should be comfortable using the NPSP Data Import guide to get your donor data into Salesforce. 

Learn more and register


VolunteerMatch: Social Media and Volunteer Engagement 
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2:00 PM ET
Volunteer engagement is changing. What do you need to know about social media as a volunteer program manager? How can you use social media to promote your volunteer opportunities and recruit volunteers? This webinar will offer an introduction to including social media in your volunteer recruitment and retention plans. You’ll see examples of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as blogs that other nonprofits have successfully used to draw attention to their organizations and volunteer opportunities. You’ll also learn about the social media tools available as part of your VolunteerMatch account that can help you promote your volunteer opportunity on other social networking sites.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What social media is and why it matters
  • How to use social media to recruit and engage volunteers
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of managing social media tools
  • Where to go to get resources and help

Learn more and register


Classy: Donor Stewardship 101: How to Combat Donor Fatigue
Tuesday, January 23rd, 10:00 AM PT
According to a 2016 report by The Nonprofit Times, of the 4.88M new and reactivated donors, 4.83M lapsed—a loss of 99 donors for every 100 gained. High donor attrition statistics like these remind us why fighting donor fatigue is a real thing.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to create a donor stewardship strategy that makes sense for your nonprofit. Plus, you’ll learn how to keep donors engaged and motivated to support your cause again and again.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to turn donor touchpoints into donor stewardship opportunities
  • Marketing tactics to increase donor engagement
  • Storytelling best practices which connect supporters to your mission
  • How to leverage technology to automate your donor stewardship efforts

Learn more and register


Board Effect: Top 5 Governance Challenges for 2018
Tuesday, January 23rd, 12:00 PM ET
How to address the Top 5 Governance Challenges and Solution and learn customized strategies to set your year up for success! We will partner with Dottie Schindlinger, our Governance Technology Evangelist, and Wendy Deming, Chief Operating Officer & Corporate Secretary of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. They will dive deeper into the challenges that nonprofits are facing to help you set up properly for 2018.
Learn more and register


Nonprofit Hub: Starting a Nonprofit
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2:00 PM CT
Join our very own Randy Hawthorne, as he provides you with just the right combination of knowledge and guidance to see your nonprofit dreams become reality. As if that’s not enough, the learning doesn’t stop after just 3 weeks. You’ll receive 30 minutes of in-person or virtual office hours with Randy, plus 3 downloadable workbooks so you can take your brainstorming home with you.
Session One: I have an idea…: Developing Your Nonprofit and its Fundamental Purpose
Jan 23rd • 2:00 PM CT • 3:00 PM ET
Learn how to define a nonprofit and outline your brand and foundational values.

Session Two: A 5-0-what?: Understanding the Government As A Nonprofit
Jan 30th • 2:00 PM CT • 3:00 PM ET
Learn how to navigate the government and tax environment and define your identity.

Session Three: Let’s get down to business!: Creating A Plan to Promote Your Nonprofit
Feb 6 • 2:00 PM CT • 3:00 PM ET
Learn how to structure your staff and culture and create a business plan.

Learn more and register


VolunteerMatch: Where Do I Go From Here? Engage Volunteers in New Ways
Wednesday, January 24th, 11:00 AM PT
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.
  • Who Should Attend:
  • Nonprofit Volunteer Coordinators/Managers with at least 3 years of field experience

Learn more and register


Grantspace: Introduction to Corporate Giving
Wednesday, January 24th, 2:00 PM ET
Is your organization ready to seek corporate support?

Corporate grantmakers are different from traditional foundations in many ways. This class provides a basic overview of:

  • The different types of corporate giving
  • What motivates corporations to give
  • How to find potential corporate partners

Learn more and register


Wild Apricot: This is How Our Most Successful Clients Fill Their Events
Thursday, January 25th, 2:00 PM ET
Have you found that it’s getting harder or taking longer to fill up your events? Are you sick of waiting for checks in the mail? Exhausted from processing registration forms?

In this free 45-minute webinar, you’ll learn:

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

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

Learn more and register


bloomerang: Inspire Your Board to Give and Get
Thursday, January 25th, 1:00 PM ET
No organization can fulfill its vision and have its greatest impact without strong board participation as both donors and fundraisers. But what does that mean and how do you inspire your board to reach their potential so you can reach yours?

Join Asking Matters President Brian Saber to learn how to work more strategically with your board to get them past the soul-deadening board minimums and quid-pro-quo fundraising they’re used to.

Learning objectives:

  • learn best practices in board giving and how to help board members set their sights higher
  • improve how you work with your board to put in place more strategic policies for board fundraising
  • develop a system for soliciting board gifts and building board fundraising plans

Learn more and register


VolunteerMatch: Single Days of Service: Make ’em Work!
Thursday, January 25th, 11:00 AM ET
More and more volunteers are looking to get involved and make a difference in a single day of service. The political and social climate is further emphasizing this trend. How do you create meaningful work that can be completed in a single day by a large group of diverse volunteers? This webinar will walk you through the first steps for incorporating single days of service into your program, and help you begin to think more creatively about volunteer engagement.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Trends driving the desire for single day volunteer events
  • How to create real impact opportunities for groups to do in a single day
  • What systems and structures can help you manage single day events
  • Tips for recognition and relationship building for single day volunteers

Who Should Attend:

  • Volunteer Managers
  • Nonprofit Volunteer Managers who are new to the field

Learn more and register


NTEN: Community Call:Data
Thursday, January 25th, 10:00 AM PT
Join the NTEN’s Data group for a community call about data integration.

Online fundraising…offline donations…email signups…petition signatures…program data…and more! If you have multiple data sources, you’ve probably encountered the nightmare of data integration. We’ll discuss:

  • How to understand the relationships between your databases
  • How to manage duplicates and record merging without screwing up your integrations
  • How to troubleshoot when each vendor says integration issues are the other vendor’s problem
  • Additional integration topics of your choice

Bring your questions and experiences. Or feel free to just listen in. We can’t promise to turn your nightmare into a dream–but we can all help each other out!

Learn more and register


Charity Village: Decoding the Gen Z Factor
Thursday, January 25th, 1:00 PM ET
For the first time, Gen Z students, the generation following Millennials, are looking for their first internships or co-op positions or will be graduating from university. Are you ready to welcome them into your organization? Our upcoming free webinar, presented in partnership with TalentEgg, will give you the insight you need to successfully recruit and engage Gen Z staff.

Having grown up as the first native digital generation in history and in the shadow of a global recession, Gen Z young people demonstrate characteristics unique from their millennial predecessors that will influence the way employers attract, engage and recruit top young talent in 2018 and beyond. Mary Barroll, president of TalentEgg, will provide insights that will help you decode and attract Gen Z and communicate your employer brand most effectively to build your talent pipeline for the future.
Click here for more information and to register today
If you’re interested in the material but can’t commit to attending the live webinar, there is no need to worry – please register anyway! We will email the webinar recording and presentation slides to all registrants the day after the webinar.

 

Motivate Monday with Fundraising Expert Pamela Grow
Monday, January 29th, 1:00 PM ET
How are nonprofit professionals jumpstarting their week with purpose? Join us for Motivate Monday where:

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

Learn more and register


Wild Apricot: 21 Tech Tools Membership Managers Use to Save Lots and Lots of Time
Tuesday, January 30th, 2:00 PM ET
How are some membership managers able to get everything done and still have a life? The quick answer is that they use tech tools to do as much of their work as possible. In this webinar, nonprofit tech expert Terry Ibele will show you 21 tech tools to save you hours and hours each week.

In this free webinar, Terry will show you:

  • 9 tech tools the most productive people use to save time working with others
  • 7 tools to cut down the time you spend creating website and social media content
  • 5 tools you can use each day to save an hour in administrative work

Learn more and register


Grantspace: Is Consulting Your Next Calling?
Wednesday, January 30th, 2:00 PM ET
As the nonprofit sector moves toward increased levels of outsourcing, many nonprofit professionals consider a career in consulting.  If you are thinking about consulting part-time, full-time or sometime in the future, join two veterans in this field as they share stories of this dynamic career choice.  Susan Schaefer (co-editor of the Nonprofit Consulting Playbook) and Don Tebbe have facilitated workshops nationwide to help budding consultants bypass the pitfalls and get on a fast track to success.  With candor and a wide range of experience, they will guide participants through the crucial questions to ask as aspiring or novice consultants.

After this webinar you will:

  • Understand and capitalize on your motivations for consulting
  • Recognize the most important traits consultants possess
  • Identify the four major components of a consultant’s work
  • Review the five critical skills for consulting success (you already have two of them!)
  • Chart your professional development steps prior to setting up shop

Intended audience:

  • Senior nonprofit executives
  • Novice consultants,
  • Aspiring consultants

Learn more and register


Nonprofit Hub: Starting a Nonprofit
Tuesday, January 30th, 2:00 PM CT
Join our very own Randy Hawthorne, as he provides you with just the right combination of knowledge and guidance to see your nonprofit dreams become reality. As if that’s not enough, the learning doesn’t stop after just 3 weeks. You’ll receive 30 minutes of in-person or virtual office hours with Randy, plus 3 downloadable workbooks so you can take your brainstorming home with you.

Session Two: A 5-0-what?: Understanding the Government As A Nonprofit
Jan 30th • 2:00 PM CT • 3:00 PM ET
Learn how to navigate the government and tax environment and define your identity.

Session Three: Let’s get down to business!: Creating A Plan to Promote Your Nonprofit
Feb 6 • 2:00 PM CT • 3:00 PM ET
Learn how to structure your staff and culture and create a business plan.

Learn more and register


Grantspace: Introduction to Project Budgets
Wednesday, January 31st, 2:00 PM ET
Learn the basic elements of how to draft a project budget with confidence!

Are you ready to start fundraising for your project or idea, but don’t know what and how much to ask for?

If preparing a budget for your foundation grant is holding you back, this class will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to generate a standard project budget for a foundation proposal. We will discuss:

  • The basic components of a project budget including income and expenses
  • How to estimate the realistic cost of a project
  • What other financial documents you may also need to submit with your proposal

Learn more and register


Network for Good: Partner Webinar: Thank You Wednesday-It’s just the beginning
Wednesday, January 31st, 10:00 AM PT
Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday, and now Thank You Wednesday. Join Network for Good and special guest Jamie McDonald, representing 92nd Street Y, the founders of #GivingTuesday, as they share how the donor thank you is just the beginning to stewarding lasting donor relationships, increasing donor retention and creating me…
Learn more and register


Transforming Youth Outdoors: Grant Writing 101 Webinar
Wednesday, January 31st, 10:00 AM PT
In this webinar, Ivan Levin with the Outdoor Foundation will share grant writing advice, perspectives from a funding foundation, and information on what he looks for when reviewing grant applications.

Several of you have mentioned that you want to know more about grant writing, including questions like:

– How can I write compelling (i.e. successful) grant requests?
– How can I improve on the applications I’m already writing?

We want to help! The process of “getting a grant” or “writing a grant proposal” can feel confusing and mysterious when really, creating a compelling proposal only requires a few simple ingredients assembled in a logical and digestible manner – along with a little passion to do some good!
Learn more and register


Nonprofit Hub: Starting a Nonprofit
Tuesday, February 6th, 2:00 PM CT
Join our very own Randy Hawthorne, as he provides you with just the right combination of knowledge and guidance to see your nonprofit dreams become reality. As if that’s not enough, the learning doesn’t stop after just 3 weeks. You’ll receive 30 minutes of in-person or virtual office hours with Randy, plus 3 downloadable workbooks so you can take your brainstorming home with you.

Session Three: Let’s get down to business!: Creating A Plan to Promote Your Nonprofit
Feb 6 • 2:00 PM CT • 3:00 PM ET
Learn how to structure your staff and culture and create a business plan.

Learn more and register

Bolder Advocacy: Social Media Rules and Elections
Tuesday, February 7th, 2:00 PM ET
There has been an amazing increase in the avenues available to nonprofits to communicate their messages to an ever wider audience. These means of communication may be new, by the rules that govern advocacy by nonprofits have not changed. 

This one-hour webinar addresses: 

  • How your nonprofit can take advantage of social media, while still staying in compliance with laws that regulate advocacy 
  • How to treat social media and other communications in the context of lobbying limits for 501(c)(3) organizations 
  • How 501(c)(3) organizations can avoid campaign intervention in an election year.

Learn more and register


GuideStar: Quarterly Impact Call 
Wednesday, February 14th, 2:00 PM ET 
Here at GuideStar, we’ve been hard at work and have some exciting updates to share!
Join our Impact Call, we’ll discuss:
·        Last quarter’s organizational and financial achievements
·        Our programmatic plans for 2018
·        Last quarter’s lessons learned
·        And more!
Learn more and register


GuideStar: The Top 10 Things Nonprofits Should be Doing in 2018
Wednesday, February 21st, 2:00 PM ET
2018 has officially begun. We know it is important for you to implement streamlined processes and explore new opportunities to leave no stone unturned! This webinar will tell you the things you could and should be doing to make this year your most successful year ever. GuideStar and CrowdRise are here to help!

On this interactive webinar, you’ll learn how to:
·        Streamline processes to maximize your impact
·        Diversify your fundraising portfolio
·        Efficiently amplify your digital presence
·        Utilize tools and resources to increase the return on your efforts

Learn more and register

 

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.

2013-11-12-12-05-18

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.

2013-11-12-14-05-22

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)

bears-hugging

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

bison-herd-_usfws-cc-by-2_

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.

Friends of Loxahatchee Need Your Help!

wodstk-usfws-jkleen-promo-large

J. Kleen, USFWS

Now another refuge needs your help! The State of Florida is proceeding to terminate its lease with the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge because of invasive exotics. The Friends of Loxahatchee are appealing to you for help.

The Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge believes that the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is proceeding to the next step in the process of terminating the 50-year lease agreement under which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the Refuge.  SFWMD wants to terminate the lease because of invasive exotics. There is not sufficient federal funding to control the spread of invasive exotic plants. Invasive exotics, like melaleuca trees and especially Old World climbing fern, smother the native plants that native wildlife depend on for survival. Federal funding that is dependent on Congress has always been problematic, but in recent years the state and federal governments have been working in partnership to fund the treatment of exotics. In August, however, the state issued a notice of intent to terminate the lease if the federal government cannot provide all of the funding needed.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation, Audubon Florida, the Everglades Coalition, members of the Florida Congressional delegation and, of course, the Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge have all spoken out in support of keeping the Refuge and increasing both state and federal funding for the treatment of exotics. They’re now asking for other Friends groups and their members to speak in support of keeping the Refuge and increasing both state and federal funding for the treatment of exotics.

The Refuge Association has a blog providing information on the agreement between U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state’s South Florida Water Management District and the exotics issue.

The Friends have written letters to the editor, to Congress, to Florida Governor Rick Scott, to Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewel and to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe. We need to keep the Refuge System hold! Please make you voice heard and speak up in support of the Refuge.

Please contact Governor Rick Scott at www.flgov.com/contact-governor and urge him to continue to work with the federal government in a cooperative partnership to control the exotics and preserve the refuge that attracts visitors from around the country and the world. A sample letter is available below this blog  and the password to access it is, Gov letter.

If you live in Florida please contact your Members of Congress:
– Representative: go to www.house.gov, type your zip code at the top of the screen and click “Go”, then click on your Representative’s name.
– Senators: go to www.senate.gov, select Florida and click “Go” next to the “Find Your Senators” box at the top of the screen. A sample letter is available below this blog and the password to access it is, MOC letter.

Thank you for your support of a sister refuge facing an uncertain future.