Training

training

Motivate Monday
October 22, 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

Register


How Wild Apricot’s Membership Management Software Can Save You 20 Hours a Week
Monday, October 22, 2:00 PM ET

Are you the one who ends up staying late to get all the work done at your membership organization? Things like processing registrations, designing newsletters, and updating your website?

In this webinar, we’ll show you how a typical membership manager uses Wild Apricot, the #1 rated membership management software, to automate 90% of these tasks to save 20 hours a week or more.

In this free 1-hour webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • Completely automate payments for dues and events
  • Connect your website with your database so member records update automatically
  • Set up automated welcome emails and reminders for overdue payments
  • Create online registration forms and go completely paperless

Register


33 Principles In 33 Minutes: Guide To Good Governance, Part 3
Tuesday, October 23rd, 1:00 – 1:33pm ET

Join Diligent’s Dottie Schindlinger for the third in our series of highly interactive sessions about building and maintaining your board and policies.

Register


Muslim Philanthropy: An Act of Faith
Tuesday, October 23, 2:00 PM

Position your charity to be more diverse and take a lead in promoting cross cultural and interreligious avenues to enhance your outreach. Learn about religious philanthropic traditions and charitable practices in Islam. As one of the largest global religions, and most misunderstood, this timely discussion will provide insight into engaging Muslims in your mission.

Upon completion of this webinar you should be able to:

Describe the philanthropic traditions in Islam
Promote cross-cultural outreach within your organization
Develop a plan of action to engage your local Muslim community

Learn more and register


3 Secrets to Major Gifts
Tuesday, October 23, 1:00 PM ET

Are you frustrated and overwhelmed by the idea of raising major gifts? If so, join Amy Eisenstein as she simplifies three important concepts of raising major gifts and shares 3 secrets her clients use to raise major gift, and which will ensure you can get started raising major gifts right now!

Register now »


How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Next Fundraising Campaign
Tuesday, October 23 or 31, 2:00 PM ET

Promote your next fundraising event with tools like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Join us for this step by step guide on how to create a fundraising theme that stands out, how to turn event registrants into event promoters, and how to create a social media plan for what to post before, during and after your fundraising campaign. Click to learn more.


3 Keys that Separate Successful Grant Seekers from Those Who Struggle
Tuesday, October 23, 2:00 PM EST

You’ll learn how to think like a Numbers Person (even if you’re not!), how to find the foundations that are MOST LIKELY to give you money, and how to get your ducks in a row so you’re never scrambling at the last minute.

Get all the details and register here.


Building a High-Revenue Major Gift Program – How to Overcome the 5 Major Hurdles That Are Holding You Back
Tuesday, October 23, 12:00 PM ET
Thursday, October 25, 2:00 PM ET’

I’ll show you how to build a strong, relationship-based, proactive Major Gifts program for your nonprofit. Let’s tackle the roadblocks that keep you and your team from landing the major gifts that can forward your mission!

Learn more and register


10 Step Budgeting Process
Wednesday, October 24th, 12:00 PM CT

The success and usefulness of your budget largely depends on the process used to create it. You will walk away from this webinar with a proven 10-step budget process that will get everyone involved and ensure that your budget reflects your organization’s mission, strategic plan, and programmatic priorities.

Learn more and register


Teaching Relevant Curriculum for a New Generation of Naturalists
Wednesday, October 24, 2:00 PM ET

As America’s First Urban Refuge, located in one of the country’s most metropolitan cities, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum serves a unique audience with varied backgrounds and lived experiences. This presents an outstanding opportunity to create tailored programming and employ creative teaching styles to connect youth who may initially be unfamiliar with outdoor exploration.

Environmental Education Supervisor, Brianna Patrick, and Environmental Education Specialist, Kelly Kemmerle, will share their best tips for designing lessons that resonate with students from varied backgrounds, highlight helpful strategies for outdoor classroom management, and provide an introduction to positive discipline techniques to help students find their inner naturalist. Join us as we explore best practices for engaging students in the outdoors!

How to register and join our webinars 

To register for the webinar go to WebEx Events by Program and locate “Environmental Education Update 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?


Introduction to Finding Grants
October 24, 2:00 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.

Register


How to Turn Event Guests Into Donors
October 24, 3:00 PM ET

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy-to-follow strategy that helped organizations engage event guests and turn them into donors?

In this free 45-minute live webinar, event planning expert A.J. Steinberg will show you how to make guests feel the love at your event and turn that into long-term supporters.

In this 45-minute FREE webinar you’ll learn…

  • How to apply donor-centric messaging to your event
  • How to pivot from “us” to “you”
  • How to use appreciation in all of your event elements
  • How to get “up close and personal” with the art of appreciation
  • How face-to-face beats smart phones every time
  • How to switch from “mobile phone mentality” to real time engagement
  • How to use mingle-time to build community
  • How to use post-event engagement to keep the love flowing
  • How to use AJ’s awesome post-event protocol to turn guests into donors

Register


Are Bigfoot and Major Gifts Mere Legends? Three Truths About Setting Up A Strong Individual Giving Program
October 24, 3:00 PM ET

Major gifts can often seem like Bigfoot—there is a legend that they exist, other organizations seem to get large gifts, but there’s just not enough evidence that it’s real to you. According to Giving USA, individual donors comprise 75% of all philanthropy each and every year. Rarely do donors make major gifts as first-time contributions or to organizations they’ve just gotten to know. If potential major donors are right under your noses, who are they? How do you learn who your donors are and which ones have the potential for greater investment in your work?

Join Barbara O’Reilly, Principal, Windmill Hill Consulting, LLC, as she discusses:

what matters to donors and how that affects their giving decisions;
how to build an individual fundraising strategy that focuses on increasing donor retention;
creating greater engagement with your current donors so they are inspired to increase their giving.
We will explore three core truths to help you shape a multi-channel individual donor engagement plan that attracts, inspires, and retains donors at all levels from Annual Fund supporters to mid-level donors and ultimately major gifts investors.

Register


New
How Fundraising Technology Has Impacted 3 Nonprofits
Wednesday, October 24, 1:00 PM ET

Join us as we talk with 3 Network For Good customers about their experience using technology to automate parts of their fundraising operations.

Learn more and register


The Secret Ingredient to Getting a Better Website. Hint: It’s not a bigger budget
October 25th, 1:00 PM ET

A successful website project depends on many factors but the most important one is you. When you are in control and confident as a client you will make better decisions and set better expectations in your organization. Most importantly, you will get better value for your available budget. Come find out how to get the most out of your website project from the experts. You will learn how to:

  • Find and choose a vendor
  • Communicate your vision to designers
  • Decide on a CMS
  • Maintain SEO and functionality during a relaunch
  • Keep your site secure

It’s design for non-designers on a budget. All levels welcome.

Register


An Introduction to Online Fundraising for Small and Medium-Sized Nonprofits
Thursday, October 25th, 1:00 PM ET

Online fundraising is the fasting growing segment of giving. Donors of all ages are using their smartphones, tablets, and computers to connect with causes and to give money to fundraising campaigns.

During this free nonprofit webinar, you’ll learn the tactics to successfully raise money online for your nonprofit, even if you are a small or midsize organization.

This webinar will detail the basics of an online fundraising campaign;  how social media & online tools can be used to raise more money; ways you can fit online giving into your long-term strategy;  and Julia’s 10 steps to online fundraising success!

If you want to be a part of the next generation of nonprofit fundraisers,  you need to register for this FREE webinar right now.

Key Takeaways

  • The basic components of a successful online fundraising campaign
  • Tools to use for online fundraising
  • Ways to use your website, email, blog, and social media channels to promote the online fundraising campaign
  • Examples from small and mid-sized nonprofits who have successfully raised money online
  • Julia’s 10 steps to online fundraising success, including recruiting and energizing Social Media Ambassadors

Info and register


Joining the Crowd
October 25, 1:00 PM ET

This decade has seen huge growth in personal crowdfunding as a way for individuals to get help from their friends and families. Learn how organizations around the world are using personal crowdfunding to create new avenues for donor acquisition and revenue. No matter the campaign, from lemonade stands to giving days, crowdfunding campaigns can provide your supporters with endless ways to raise funds for your mission.

Register


Data Enrichment 101: Best Practices to Optimize Your Donor Database
October 25, 1:00 PM

Your database is a gold mine of insight. It can help you understand your constituents, connect with them in meaningful ways, and optimize your fundraising programs.

Join us for this one-hour webinar, where you’ll get tips and best practices for evaluating data hygiene, implementing a data clean-up plan, and performing regular database maintenance. With a comprehensive data clean-up plan in place, you’ll be well on your way to joining the thousands of nonprofits that use data effectively to optimize their fundraising programs.

Register


Is The Cloud Safe? Ensuring Security on the Cloud
October 25, 2:00 PM ET

When switching to the cloud, many nonprofits wonder how cloud apps and services, such as Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, Box, and Amazon Web Services, will affect their organization’s security. Cloud apps and software offer a multitude of benefits to nonprofits when it comes to keeping their devices and data safe. In this 60-minute webinar hosted by Deena Thomchick, senior director of cloud security at Symantec, we will cover the many security benefits of switching to the cloud. You will learn

  • Benefits of adopting cloud apps and services
  • What you are responsible for and what your cloud provider is responsible for when it comes to security
  • Risks to look out for when using cloud apps and services
  • How to mitigate risks with security best practices for email, endpoints (including laptops and mobile devices), content, and users

Register


The Art & Science of Effective Gift Acknowledgements
October 25, 3:00 PM ET

We all know that thanking donors is important, but how and when should we be thanking donors? How do different approaches to acknowledgements make people feel, and how does that impact future engagement?

In this session, Jay Love explores the latest research into donor behavior and effective gift acknowledgements, with special attention given to the recent groundbreaking findings of Jen Shang and Adrian Sergeant. You’ll come away with practical takeaways to help you craft thank you’s that are both impactful and memorable!

We’ll cover:

  • the connection between thanking and retaining donors
  • what donors want out of the communications we send them
  • the ways in which surveys can play a role in thanking donors
  • the enlightening results of several gift acknowledgement experiments

Register


Shaping Board Culture through Board Member Peer-to-Per Assessment
Thursday, October 25, 2:00 PM ET

BoardSource’s Peer-to-Peer Assessment (P2P) tool is similar to the familiar 360 degree assessment that you may have experienced as an employee or manager. In this case every board member completes an assessment of every other board member. The questions cover the skills and behaviors that the person demonstrates in their board work. The Peer-to-Peer is an incredibly powerful tool to shape the board culture and improve board performance. If each board member improves, then the board as a whole will improve.

This webinar will explain:

• When to use and when not to use the P2P
• The features of the P2P tool
• The benefits that the board can expect
• How to use the tool for maximum effectiveness.

Learn more and register


Motivate Monday
October 29, 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

Register


Turning Supporters into Fundraisers this #GivingTuesday
October 30, 1:00 PM ET

#GivingTuesday is right around the corner! On November 27, you’ll have a small window of time to make a big impact, so make the most of every minute. Join us for a review of quick-win strategies and campaign essentials. Discover how your organization can empower supporters and turn them into fundraisers on one of the biggest giving days of the year.

Register


Social Media Rules for 501(c)(3) Organizations
Tuesday, October 30, 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…

Learn more and register


Champion Your Cause with Airbnb Social Impact Experience
Tuesday, October 30, 1:00 PM ET

Join us with Airbnb to learn how Social Impact Experiences provide nonprofits with an opportunity to introduce their great work to a larger audience and to generate revenue from tour registrations.

Register


The State of Recurring Giving: Insights to Drive Monthly Donations
Tuesday, October 30th, 1:00 PM ET

Learn how to communicate with, market to, and attract more recurring donors.


New
How to Drive Social Media Engagement With Your Nonprofit Stories
Tuesday, October 30, 2:00 PM ET

Recent reports found that 87% of Americans use social media. With so much noise and clutter in the online landscape, how can nonprofits stand out? In this webinar, digital storytelling expert and social media strategist Julia Campbell will review examples of nonprofits using stories to supercharge their social media engagement – and the steps to take to adapt their success to your own organization.Register now


Trends Shaping a New Reality for Nonprofits
October 31, 10:30 AM ET

Advancing technology, social enterprise and shifting demographics are changing how nonprofits communicate, engage, operate and serve. While these shifts are creating unprecedented opportunities for nonprofits, they also present new challenges as we learn to navigate this new and ever-evolving landscape. Join Jay Wilkinson as he reviews five major trends shaping a new reality for nonprofits:

  • Shifting demographics.
  • Greater interest in service.
  • Blurred lines between nonprofit and for-profit.
  • Advancing technology.
  • New ways to engage and collaborate.

Register


Building a Superior Budget
October 31, 11:30 AM ET

ow should your evaluate your budget and planning process? Please bring your questions so we can have candid conversation regarding budgeting.

We will cover the critical aspects of budgeting including:

A strong budget is an essential element for any nonprofit organization to achieve financial leadership. Superior budgets, though, have written plans about the core activities to include strategic, organizational, and program goals and how they will be financed.

Most financial leaders focus too much time on budget variance analysis and not enough time to anticipating or planning for the future. By anticipating or planning, organizations can focus on what’s upcoming regardless of its budget cycle or fiscal year end. A budget can be complemented with rolling forecasts to better anticipate upcoming financial results.

Budgets also need to include cash flow projections, which maybe outside of the finance departments capacity or capabilities. Financial leaders must have a direct role in developing useful cash flow projections and assumptions with frequent, detailed analysis.

Any cash flow shortage needs to be further evaluated to determine if it is just a timing difference or an actual cash deficit. Shortfalls created by deficits need to be solved by budget adjustments or strategic choices to absorb a shortfall. An organization can determine timing or actual deficits by reviewing the budget to see if it had planned for or not.

Financial sustainability can only be achieved with a well-prepared and continuously monitored budget. Conversely, a poorly developed budget can diminish mission focused activities opportunities and threaten long-term success.

This webinar will help Executive Directors, Finance Directors, and finance staff to develop and use a financial policies and procedures manual. Savvy nonprofit leaders know that effective budgets and projections can be the difference between good and great performance.

How should you evaluate your budgeting process? We will share our expertise and candid advice to better prepare you for this important role to your organization.

3 Key Things you will learn include:

1. Financial sustainability can be achieved with well prepared and monitored budget
2. Budgets should include cash flow projections
3. Best practices for a superior budgeting process

Immediately following the presentation on building a superior budget, we will host a discussion on budget refresher.

Register


New
Prep Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile for #Giving Tuesday
Thursday, November 1, 2:00 PM ET

Learn how to make your nonprofit stand out on more than 200 charitable websites and applications in time for #GivingTuesday. By updating your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile, you’ll provide fresh information to GuideStar’s 9 million unique users, as well as the millions more via our partner sites like Charity Navigator, Facebook, AmazonSmile, and Network for Good.

During this one-hour workshop, we’ll cover:

  • How to get your Seal of Transparency on Charity Navigator before #GivingTuesday
  • How our top partners display information from your profile during Giving Season
  • How to get donations through your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile
  • Questions & answers from the crowd!

Register


The Countdown is on: A Procrastinators Guide to #GivingTuesday
Tuesday, November 6, 1:00 PM ET

A crash course in executing a #GivingTuesday campaign on a tight timeline> On this webinar you’ll:

  • Review previous giving trends and a look at future of #Giving Tuesday
  • Learn tangible strategies you can focos on today to maximize #GivingTuesday success
  • Hear case studies from nonprofits that have seen success with planning a last-minute campaign

Register now


New
How to Jump Start Your Planned Giving Program During Year-End
Wednesday, November 7, 1:00 PM ET

Did you know that last year nonprofits received over $36 billion through bequests and other planned gifts? The stats are clear, and if you haven’t built out your planned giving program, you’re leaving money on the table.

The good thing is End-of-Year is one of the best times to acquire new planned gifts so join our free webinar and learn more about what you can do to expand your planned giving program or how to get a new program started!

Learn more and register


New
3 Ways to Grow Your Membership in a Changing World
Monday, November 12, 2:00 PM ET

If you want to learn how the top membership organizations are able to keep growing in a changing world, please join our free webinar on November 12 with membership expert Joy Duling, the founder of ‘The Joy of Membership’.

In this free webinar, Joy will reveal the real reasons why many organizations find it difficult to hit their growth goals, and the practical steps you can take to increase your membership.


Lobbying and Advocacy 101
Thursday, November 15, 2:00 PM ET

Now more than ever, your community is relying on you to stand up for them. If you think your 501(c)(3) public charity status prevents you from advocating for new laws and policies, think again! Whether protecting the rights of undocumented…

Learn more and register


Using Storytelling to Boost Your Nonprofit’s Communications
Thursday, November 22 at 1:00 PM ET

Storytelling: you know it’s important and you know that it’s effective. But all of the buzz around storytelling in recent years (though it’s anything but new) can make it feel like yet another “latest thing” to pile on to your already full plate. Are you feeling the pressure?

For more information and to register


Core Mission Support: Re-visioning Overhead
Wednesday, November 28th, 12:00 PM CT

Nonprofit overhead is not a piece of the budget pie we should try to make smaller, but rather it is core mission support critical to program and mission success. How can we reflect this in our financial charts? We’ll show you the tool we’ve created to transform the conversation from overhead to core mission support and demonstrate how you can use this new re-visioning template at your nonprofit.

Learn more and register



Advocacy and Community Organizing: Evaluation and Capacity Building
Thursday, December 13, 2:00 PM

Recent changes in the political climate at the national, state, and local levels have put pressure on organizations to engage in intense advocacy and community organizing. We know that even in times of political upheaval, the most effective advocacy and…

Learn more and register


12 Golden Rules of Finance
Wednesday, December 19th, 12:00 PM CT

Finance is one of your nonprofit’s most valuable tools, not a subject to be scared of. We’ll walk through real nonprofit examples and reports to help you become more comfortable with terminology, accounting rules, roles and responsibilities, and procedures and policies.

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.

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.

Friends of Loxahatchee Need Your Help!

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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.