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  • Thursday, November 09, 2017 12:51 PM | Katena Cain (Administrator)



    Katena Cain

    Management Consultant

    Katena@nonprofnetwork.org





    Bridges Out of Poverty is the most important work that I do as an employee at Nonprofit Network. We have been teaching this model to organizations and individuals for over three years, training city staff, hospital residents, housing sector employees, school districts, medical professionals, police departments, and so many more. 


    That’s 30 organizations and over 3,000 individuals.


    Bridges Out of Poverty is a proven way to counter poverty and its impact on people and businesses in your community. And it’s working.


    In fact, here are the immediate changes one group that serves and employs people living in deep poverty implemented as a result of our work with them:


    • All employees can request half of their paycheck early to help prevent the need for payday loan services
    • All forms have been rewritten in plain language
    • To increase staff's accessibility to residents that cannot take time off work, staff now works four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.
    • Baskets of toiletries, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies are available to staff


    In September 2017, an updated revision of Bridges out of Poverty resources and materials were released. I traveled to St. Louis and spent three days immersed in the content and sharpening my skills and knowledge as a certified trainer of the Bridges material. This training and the updated material have changed the way I teach Bridges Out of Poverty. If you have already been to a training, it’s time for you to come back for a refresher and new insights.


    If you haven’t experienced Bridges Out of Poverty before – or are ready to take the next step – then now is the time to take action. The insights and strategies you learn have the potential to transform your entire community.


    Nonprofit Network’s vision is to transform nonprofits to transform the world, and this work is making that vision a reality.


    For more information on Bridges or to sign up for an upcoming public workshop—there’s one on the November 28th—visit our website or reach out to me. I love to talk about this work.





    Want to know more about having a customized Bridges Out of Poverty session for your organization? 








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  • Friday, October 27, 2017 11:24 AM | Tom Williams (Administrator)



    Tom Williams

    Capacity Builder

    Tom@nonprofnetwork.org




    Decision making is the core role of a board of directors. So why do so many boards spend more time sharing information that could’ve been an emailed report instead of having high level, crucial conversations that lead to strong decisions? 


    You might be amazed at how many board meetings I have been a part of in the past at which zero decisions were reached. Or maybe you’ve experienced this also. Are your board meetings consumed with verbal reports on the status of this issue or that project or how this person performed during the last 30 days? Informing—while incredibly necessary—is not a good use of your short time together as a full board. Spending board hours giving verbal reports is, at best, barely beneficial and, at worst, a danger to your mission. 


    Instead,share data with board members before the meeting via the board packet. Provide those would-be verbal reports as written reports and give your board multiple days to read them and come to the meeting prepared..


    Empowered board members assemble to make decisions. However, empowerment requires the members to come already informed. Prior access to data not only makes decisions easier to settle, but also more likely to stay made as well. Board decisions made without solid data have a tendency to make the deciders less confident that their conclusions are correct and will ultimately bring the issue back in front of the board to wrestle again in the not-so-distant future. Examining the issue once and reaching a solid decision that stays made is the best process to build momentum in the organization.


    Board members are recruited from the community not for their ability to be updated, but rather so they can use their life skills to reach the best decisions that benefit the organization. It is a misuse of this valuable human resource to assemble simply to hear a report. The misuse is even more egregious if the entire meeting time is about reporting out data. Leaders view their roles differently when they associate board time with reaching solid decisions; one effect of transitioning to a decision-centric board agenda is better attendance.


    Imagine a board meeting at which every member is in attendance and already fully informed as to the status of programs, finances, staff and committee efforts—they are empowered by the most relevant data and with full participation of all voices around the table. That is the scene where the mission of your organization is about to be moved forward. Conversely, assembling all these valuable human resources so that they are merely more informed than they had been 90 minutes ago does not advance the mission any further and sets the stage for people to see their board participation as less relevant, or maybe even optional.


    Do you know where your board is on the Decision-Informing continuum? Here’s an exercise for you to conduct that will gather data to confirm your assumption:

    Review the board minutes from your most recent three board meetings. Take note of time spent informing and time when decisions were discussed and conclusions reached.


    Then, at your next board meeting, record how much of your time is spent informing members as to status of finances, staff efforts, program progress, or committee activities, and compare that number with how much time is spent discussing issues and data to reach decisions.


    The closer your results are to mostly decision making, the more movement you will see towards mission fulfillment.


    Continue this process each month, refining your agenda and practices until the majority of your regular board meetings is spent discussing and making decisions. Make the meeting entirely about decision making and that mission fulfillment will be even more observable.


    The transition to conduct decision-centric meeting begins by deciding to change. Then you follow up that decision with new processes and a transition to a meeting agenda that reflects your new direction. 




    Want to discuss this transition in more detail?  

    Give Tom a call at 517-796-4750 or click the button below.





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  • Friday, October 20, 2017 9:27 AM | Carrie Heider Grant (Administrator)



    Carrie Heider Grant

    Program Coordinator

    Carrie@nonprofnetwork.org





    As a capacity building center, Nonprofit Network teaches best practices for nonprofits. Depending on your organization's size, stage, structure, or mission, there may be some variables in how you should operate and govern.  But there are some things that are universal and apply to us all. 


    Myself? I'm a data person who values evidence and solid science when it comes to my perspective on the world.  So if I told you that there is a way to improve the quality of conversations and decisions at your board and staff level that may take you out of your comfort zone, andwith enough hard work and planningwill be worth every minute, would you bite?


    I recently came across some research from 2008 that looks at the impact of diversity on group functioning—specifically on how a newcomer impacts decision-making and the quality of decisions made by a group.


    Here’s a breakdown of how they conducted the research:


    50 fraternity and sorority members were placed in same-gender groups of four people each. Every group comprised three members of the same fraternity or sorority (the “oldtimers,”) with a fourth person who was either another member of that same fraternity or sorority (an “in-group”) or was a member of a different one (an “out-group).


    The old-timers came together in their individual groups after reading a series of interviews from a murder investigation and discussed which suspect was most likely the murderer. Their task was to discuss the case for 20 minutes and reach consensus on the culprit. After five minutes, the fourth person—either an in-group or an out-group—joined them.



    Here are three of the most significant findings from this study and some suggestions for how you might apply them to your own organization:


    1) The groups that were all in the same fraternity or sorority (oldtimers + in-group newcomer) were more often wrong in their final decision. While the groups that had an out-group person added to the mix were more frequently correct. Having a homogeneous group was a clear disadvantage.


    Study your recruitment strategies at the board and program level.  How are you ensuring that you are bringing people to the table who have different perspectives and experiences?  



    2) The out-group newcomer didn’t necessarily bring in new ideas. But rather their presence raised the water level of the quality of the group’s discussion. The presence and influence of an outsider disrupted the cognitive processing and the exchange of information within the group. This study specifically sought to “determine whether the benefits of newcomers only occur when they brought in a new idea.” The results overwhelmingly demonstrated that the advantage of an out-group newcomer was most valuable when they did not bring in a new idea


    Examine your culture.  How are you intentionally building relationships in your group that allow for discussion and constructive conflict?  Are you allowing newcomers to influence your discussions? How are you planning crucial conversations to grow your capacity and effectiveness?



    3) When the 20-minute discussion ended, the groups were surveyed about their experience. As you might expect, the groups of like-minded people were more comfortable during the process—but they were also more confident that they chose the correct answer. The groups with an out-group newcomer reported being more uncomfortable during the process and less confident in the accuracy of their decision—even though they were right!


    Evaluate your effectiveness. Do your perceptions line up with how well your organization is actually performing? Measure the data and identify how to improve as a whole.




    Nonprofit Network strives to be a model of inclusion. We engage all people with dignity and respect. We believe that bringing diverse individuals together is essential to effectively address the issues that face current and prospective partners.


    We know that conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion can be difficult and uncomfortable.  But we also know that they can be enormously valuable and it is imperative that the nonprofit sector pursues these values.


    Looking for more general information? Check out this resource page from the National Council of Nonprofits. 


    Nonprofit Network has worked tirelessly for the past three years with the team at Michigan Nonprofit Association to build a comprehensive tool that assesses an organization's practices. This Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Assessment is one the many ways we can walk with you to build your capacity. 




    If you're ready to talk about how you can move your organization forward in this critical work, let us know.








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  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 3:54 PM | Katena Cain (Administrator)



    Katena Cain

    Management Consultant

    Katena@nonprofnetwork.org




    I was recently organizing a bookshelf at home and came across a book that I originally read over 10 years ago: Soar With Your Strengths by Donald O. Clifton and Paula Nelson. It reminded me of a time early in my career when I searched for the motivation to encourage others using a strengths-based approach. Walt Disney, the visionary who turned a single mouse into an entertainment mega-empire, boiled his success down to a simple premise: “Of all the things I have done, the most vital was coordinating the talents of those who work for me and pointing them at certain goals.” 


    While there are not many Disney-type fairy tales in the real world, supporting weaknesses and leveraging strengths can take your team to levels of success you might not have previously imagined—perhaps the “happily-ever-after” of ultimately obtaining your vision. As leadership engineer John Maxwell asserts, “Work on the weakness that weakens you, and there is no telling how far you will go.”




    Top Five Tips for Leveraging Strengths and Supporting Weaknesses:


    1.  Pay attention

    Survey individuals' unique leadership styles, work ethics, skill sets and personalities. Some successes and failures may be a fluke, but if you pay careful attention, trends will likely emerge in relation to a person's strengths and weaknesses.


    2.  Make them aware

    It is easy to recognize an individual for something at which they excel—chances are they already know it is one of their strengths. The harder part is pointing out a weakness. However, it is likely that he or she already realizes some of their own inadequacies.


    3.  Utilize Mentors

    Partnering an individual who has a particular weakness with someone who exhibits strength in that same area creates ample opportunities for that person to sharpen a skill.


    4.  Consider professional development

    Consider utilizing your own resources as well by having the employee who has the sharpest skill set in a particular area lead a company-wide workshop on how they developed and best employed that strength.


    5.  Allow for failure

    By letting team members know they are being given the opportunity to fail for the sake of strengthening a weakness, not only will it give them confidence for developing a skill set or overcoming a shortcoming, but it will prepare them to use that very attribute for future successes.





    Once upon a time, most leaders focused solely on utilizing the strengths of their team members for achieving directives. 


    But the best leaders today realize that in order for real achievements to become a reality they must focus not only on the preeminent attributes of employees, but also on their weaknesses, initiating efforts to both buoy and leverage those shortcomings to achieve greater success.





    Ready for some coaching on how you can leverage strengths and support weaknesses on your team?









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  • Thursday, September 28, 2017 10:08 AM | Sharon Castle (Administrator)



    Sharon Castle

    Capacity Builder

    Sharon@nonprofnetwork.org





    “The three most important ways to lead people are: by example…by example…by example.” - Albert Schweitzer


    Fundraising doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If you want to move your organization toward a culture of fundraising lead by example – educate and advocate on behalf of your organization; make a personal gift and volunteer to assist in areas for which you are not responsible.


    As a consultant, I often find myself repeating to potential clients, “If you want to hire me to fundraise for you, I’m not that kind of consultant. Effective fundraising is the product of a cohesive organization with strong and viable programs where all members are engaged in fundraising. What I can do is help you strengthen your fundraising capability and success.”


    The strongest fundraising programs are often found within organizations that embrace a culture of philanthropy. Merriam Webster defines philanthropy as “goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare.” And, “an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes.”


    Creating a culture of philanthropy does not happen overnight – particularly in organizations that have been without such a culture – and requires the buy-in of everyone, including grounds keeping and housekeeping staff to administrators to volunteers helping run a program or answering phones to the board chair and everyone in between. Turning the corner and establishing a culture of philanthropy can be done with time, patience and buy-in from board, staff and volunteer leadership. 


    Here are some strategies that you can start using today:


    Include all staff in fundraising activities and treat them well. I organized a grand opening event and invited the program staff to attend with the one stipulation that they sit among donors and enjoy dinner. Unbeknownst to me, I was breaking a long-standing tradition of not inviting staff or inviting them with the understanding they would take tickets, help set up or tear down or some other chore. I held my ground and, in the short term, was the beneficiary of a grateful program staff and donors who were regaled with interesting stories. In the long term, the program folks understood the importance of being ambassadors for the organization and became my link to prospective donors.


    Ask program staff their goals and aspirations. Encourage them to share program stories including struggles and successes. This will help build trust and provide a link between program and fundraising. As a development officer, I shared my annual goals with program staff and asked them to share theirs with me.


    Include fundraising as part of the recruitment and orientation of board members, volunteers and staff so they understand and view it as “part of the whole” and as well as their role in encouraging a philanthropic culture.


    When recruiting board members, ask them where they think they best fit in the philanthropic process. It may be by acting as an ambassador for programs; hosting a small gathering of friends to learn more about your organization, and of course making a personal gift.


    And, most importantly: Lead by example…lead by example...lead by example.





    Want to talk about how to make this a reality for your organization?






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  • Thursday, September 14, 2017 8:06 AM | Tom Williams (Administrator)



    Tom Williams

    Capacity Builder

    Tom@nonprofnetwork.org




    What comes to your mind when you hear the word "discipline?" Is it a child is being punished as a result of misbehaving? Does it bring to mind the restriction of choices from being part of a highly organized group like a military battalion or a high school marching band? I encourage you to not let the negative definition restrict you from giving the results oriented version proper consideration. Over the next few hundred words, I want to put the word discipline in context of nonprofit success. I want to make the case that it is a positive practice that will transform your organization.


    The well respected business and nonprofit management author Jim Collins tells us discipline is the difference being a "good" nonprofit and being a "great" nonprofit. In his short, 40-page monograph called “Good to Great In the Social Sector,” he shares being a great nonprofit is the result of being disciplined in three specific ways.



    3 Disciplines of the Best Nonprofits:


    1) Disciplined people are those that are absolutely on fire for the organization’s mission and deliberately surround themselves with like-dedicated people that will act on that ambition to see the mission be reached. 


    2)  Disciplined thought is that consistent effort to address whatever issue is between you and mission obtainment and to operate in the specific space where your passion, resources and your niche in the community intersect.


    3) Disciplined actions are those that operate in the framework of responsibilities and the relentless building of incremental progress to obtain, increase and benefit from organizational momentum.



    Collins makes the point that great nonprofits include disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action. In this context he is using the definition of discipline being a prescribed pattern of behavior.Collins shares that the nonprofit sector would greatly benefit from more disciplined planning, more disciplined people, more disciplined governance, and more disciplined allocation of resources.


    In my personal experience, I have observed well-disciplined nonprofits revisit thorny issues less frequently (time and energy saver), they have better relationships with their supporters (through the discipline of consistent contact), and they retain their board, staff, and volunteer human resources for longer periods of time (roles and responsibilities are clearer and understood by all). Organizations that adhere to a disciplined approach to their work aren’t rigid and emotionless, but rather they are consistent and relational because they know and practice those efforts that lead to mission obtainment.


    Take heart, discipline can be learned. Once it becomes a habit, you have arrived.



    Practical ways to become more disciplined:

    • Leadership makes the decision and declares the intent to be held accountable
    • Increased documentation of all decisions reached
    • Awareness and dedication to adherence of best organizational practices
    • Clarification and documentation of roles and responsibilities of board, committees, and each staff person
    • Time spent projecting (and documenting) the need for resources
    • Increased awareness and adherence to meeting start and stop times
    • Organizational commitment to meeting all promised deadlines.
    • Time devoted to prioritizing tasks so as to address those most important for organizational successes


    Initially, becoming more disciplined takes additional time. However, upon becoming disciplined, your efficiencies will provide you more available time than you currently enjoy.





    Want to discuss this further with Tom?






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  • Friday, August 18, 2017 10:05 AM | Sharon Castle (Administrator)



    Sharon Castle

    Capacity Builder

    Sharon@nonprofnetwork.org




    “I don’t have time to meet with donors about their estate plans. I’m a small shop and I wear many hats.” 


    “I would love to have a planned giving program, but it’s almost the end of our fiscal year and I’ve got to raise 30% of my goal if I’m going to make budget. Plus, our annual gala is next month and I’m swamped.” 


    Sound familiar?


    If your organization does not market planned gifts as a giving option you are missing an opportunity to help build its capacity and long term sustainability. Consider a 2016 Gallup poll that reports only 44% of Americans say they have a will instructing how they would like their estate and money distributed upon their death. Interestingly, that is lower than two earlier Gallop polls conducted in 1990 (48%) and 2005 (51%.)1


    So what does this mean for you as the person charged with development? Well, 55% of Americans do not have a will designating where their assets will go once they die and some of them are likely in your donor pool. With little time and resources, how do you get them to realize that a will is important and your organization is an excellent option for leaving some of their hard earned assets? 



    It’s not as hard as you think.


    First, think simple. The mystique around planned giving can be off-putting, however, according to an article from Nolo by Ilona Bray, J.D., “…the vast majority of legacy gifts to nonprofits are not made through fancy annuities and other financial arrangements requiring the nonprofit’s management, but the old fashioned way, through wills and other simple probate-avoidance devices…”2



    Here are 6 strategies that inspire planned giving:


    1. Place simple, direct verbiage  on all of your written materials, website and even use it as a tag line after your signature. For example: “Please consider leaving __________in your will or estate plans.”


    2. Create a collateral piece highlighting your organization, its mission, and ways to giveincluding leaving it in a will or bequest.


    3. Develop a list of local estate planning attorneys and email them the collateral piece annually.


    4. Find out who the top estate planning attorneys are in your area and make it a point to invite the top 3 or 5 to lunch (one at a time) to introduce yourself and your organization. Everyone has got to eat, right? Remember, you can do this over the course of a year.


    5. Get to know your donor base. Someone who has given small and consistent amounts over many years may be a great candidate for a planned gift.


    6. If you have 50 or more donors who give small, consistent amounts, add their gifts up and consider hosting an inexpensive luncheon to thank them for their support over the years. This gives you a great opportunity to showcase your programs and let them know how their gifts have made a difference. During my American Lung Association of Michigan days, I actually had a donor call me the day after she attended one of these luncheons and tell me she wanted to leave us in her will!




    Remember, planned gifts are not immediate so don’t fret if you don’t see immediate results. By investing a few hours a year, you are planting the seeds for future gifts.


    If you need coaching to help you build and implement a plan, reach out to me at sharon@nonprofnetwork.org or call our office at 517-796-4750 to have a conversation.



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  • Tuesday, August 01, 2017 2:03 PM | Regina Pinney (Administrator)





    Regina Pinney

    Executive Director

    Regina@nonprofnetwork.org





    It was one of those board meetingsthe kind that makes you question if you are the right person for the job, if you have the stamina to continue, if anyone in the room has even been listening for the past 6 months to anything you’ve said and if working at a “for profit” is an option.


    You knowone of the those meetings.


    I think all Executive Directors experience one of these meetings. They have happened to me. And even though they don’t happen frequently, they do happen. And they create an indelible memory.


    So what do you do the day after? How do you recover your momentum?


    Here are five steps that can help get you back on track after a bad board meeting.






    Step 1: Seek Perspective.

    Reach out to a trusted peer. It helps to debrief with a mentor and friend. Feel free to do this over a glass of wine. Vent, but also listen for the root causes for this bad meeting. Sometimes, reflecting with a peer who can ask good questions will reveal something that could have been done to prevent it, other times not. Remind yourself of all the things you love about your job—decisions made in the heat of the moment are rarely the best.


    Step 2: Go Back to Your Roots.

    Consider all the things you do that have made you successful, all the best practices and pearls of wisdom that got you here. Often, when I am coaching a frustrated ED, I ask them what they have done in the past to ensure board meetings go well and they realize that they have forgotten good habits.


    Step 3: Review with Eyewitnesses.

    Reach out to your board members for support. They were there—they saw it happen. Start with your Board Chair. Review the events, ask for feedback, ask for suggestions. Make a plan.


    Step 4: Acknowledge and Accept Roles

    Have an honest, open conversation with the key players about your experience—and theirs. Be willing to accept responsibility and the role you played, but also be willing to be tactfully and compassionately honest about their role. This needs to be a healthy conversation—use all of your crucial conversation skills (use “I” statements instead of “you” statements that can feel accusatory, focus on information that is data-driven, presume positive intent of the other party, refrain from incendiary language, and provide solutions).


    Step 5: Call Out the Elephant.

    Don’t sweep it under the rug. At your next board meeting, start by saying, “We had a rough meeting last month. I’d like to re-frame the conversation, share the steps I and some of the board members have taken in the past month, and let you all know that where we are today.” Everyone experienced the same meeting on different levels—ignoring the reality that an uncomfortable or unproductive conversation has occurred breeds resentment and negative conflict. Addressing it directly can help the whole team be better and stronger.




    Use the opportunity to illustrate how we recover from a bad day, that we all take ownership and that we can all forgive and be a better team.




    Find yourself reeling from a tense meeting? We can coach you through the steps and help you equip yourself to navigate the conflict like a pro.  Call today to set up a conversation with a member of our capacity building team.




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  • Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:04 AM | Katena Cain (Administrator)



    Katena Cain

    Management Consultant

    Katena@nonprofnetwork.org





    Talking is something we often do without thinkinglike breathing. We talk to our friends, kids, coworkers, spouses, clients and customers without thinking much about it. Although it may seem easy, true communication takes quite a bit of skill: Choosing our tone, controlling our body language, and paying attention to how we listen. The ability to clearly get our message across requires intention and practice.


    Additionally, each of us have a unique way of communicating, often based on our family experiences, culture, gender and many other factors. While there is no right or wrong natural style of communicating, our past experiences build expectations that we don't verbally communicate with others, and others fail to meet our expectationsor we fail to meet theirsthe result can be tension and misunderstanding. For example, if we come from a large family that tends to shout in order to be heard, we may think that speaking loudly is normal. But if our coworkers come from a smaller, quieter family environment, they may be uncomfortable or even frightened by a raised voice. These differences in communication styles can lead to communication roadblocks—in an organization, communication roadblocks lead to conflict. 


    In order to resolve conflicts, we need to communicate about the issue; but negative patterns of communication can often lead to greater frustration and escalation of conflict.  Remember, different communications styles are not not necessarily bad, but tension can breed bad behavior. Strong communication skills can help you and your team overcome conflict that results from these roadblocks.


    Here's one step you can take to begin overcoming communication roadblocks and conflict in communication: a soft startup to the conversation. 


    Start with something positive, express appreciation, focus on problems one-at-a-time, and take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. Discussing our backgrounds and perceptions can also help to clarify expectations of ourselves and others and can also help our coworker understand our point of view.  Knowing this information about one another is a critical piece of the problem solving process.


    I invite you to join me on August 18th to learn about the rest of this process.  At Employee Communications: Creating a Positive Workplace Culture, we'll take a deep dive into how strong communication skills can transform your workplace. It's the perfect opportunity for multiple team members to attend together and maximize impact.  Here's a preview of what participants will learn:

    • Your own style of handling conflict and how those with other styles handle conflicts
    • Communicating and working effectively across multi-generational lines
    • The key principles of effective communication
    • Using communication skills to address conflict
    • The resources available to assist in resolving conflict 
    • The importance of perceptions 
    •  Applying good listening skills in order to communicate with diplomacy, tact and credibility
    • The impact stress has on communication
    Register today for Employee Communications 101: Nurturing a Positive Workplace Culture. The content is relevant and powerful, and the day will be fast-paced, engaging, and fun.


    If you have any questions about this session, or if you'd like me to to bring it straight to your organization, let's have a conversation about how I can help you build your capacity.  





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  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:21 AM | Sharon Castle (Administrator)



    We are so excited to present you with the newest member of Nonprofit Network's staffSharon Castle!  With a wealth of fundraising experience as a development director, executive director, and consultant, Sharon has a unique perspective to offer nonprofits seeking to build their capacity. We'll let Sharon introduce herself. 




    Sharon Castle

    Capacity Builder

    Sharon@nonprofnetwork.org




    As the newest staff member of Nonprofit Network, I am delighted to be writing my first blog post (and first blog postperiod) as a Capacity Building Consultant. I welcome the opportunity to share my background, experience and philosophy in working with and helping build the capacity of Nonprofit Network’s members.


    First, a bit of background. I credit my in-depth fundraising knowledge to my work as Deputy Director of Development for the American Lung Association of Michigan (ALAM) where I oversaw the fundraising activities of 5 staff members and was responsible for all aspects of statewide fundraising including, special events, telemarketing, direct mail, major gifts and planned giving.


    While I loved my work and colleagues at ALAM, I was fascinated by major gift fundraising and left to become Executive Director of Development for the Michigan Historical Center Foundation where I completed the fundraising for the Michigan Historical Museum’s 20th Century permanent galleries and planned and executed the grand opening gala.


    During my tenure at ALAM, I was able to assist several organizations (with my ED’s blessing) in a consulting capacity. So, in 1995, when I discovered I was pregnant with my second child, I decided to try consulting full-time. Now, as an empty nester ( that second child is now 22) I still love consulting but want to be connected to an organization. Fate intervened and I met Regina when she presented at the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Capital Area Chapter’s annual conference. Fun fact: Regina’s session received the highest level of feedback!


    I introduced myself and asked if we could set up a time to meet as my husband and I are looking at relocating to Chelsea to be closer to family and I was looking to make connections in “that part of the state.” We met for coffee a few weeks later and I learned about Regina’s vision for Nonprofit Network, its services, including the outstanding Bridges Out of Poverty framework, and her quest to hire a Capacity Building Consultant. A couple of weeks later I had the opportunity to interview for the position and meet Carrie, Jessica, Katena, and Tom and, as they say, the rest is history and here I am writing my first blog post!


    Nonprofit Network is a perfect fit: the ability to consult while having a team of fellow consultants and outstanding support. The organization’s mission to strengthen nonprofit governance and management is spot-on. As a consultant, I worked with numerous nonprofits that simply didn’t have the basic building blocks to attain their goals. Nonprofit Network’s respectful approach to each organization fits with my philosophy of not taking a cookie cutter approach and instead looking at each organization’s unique strengths and challenges and dovetailing them with sound fundraising principles and practices

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    I am excited and honored to be part of this outstanding team and looking forward to working with our members!




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