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  • Thursday, August 13, 2020 2:47 PM | Tracey Wilson (Administrator)

    Contact Sharon today

     Laura Fuller
     Capacity Builder

    As I prepare for the workshop I am leading next month on Project Management Basics, I feel like we need to highlight a tool that nonprofits need to embrace right now, and that is doing a Risk Assessment.

    For project managers, a risk assessment is a series of calculations to determine what things may be likely to derail your project.  The equation is simple. 

    Risk = probability of something happening x the Impact of it happening. 

    The people on the project team will list the "risks" and then assign a number from 0 to 5.  0 is no impact/probability and 5 is high impact/probability.  Anything 12+ is High, 6-9 is Medium, and 5 and below is Low Risk.

    Let’s say you are planning an outside event in the fall.  A possible risk might be Bad Weather.  The probability of a storm or other bad weather in the fall in Michigan is fairly high, I’d say a 3.  Determine the impact, I'd say the impact of a storm on an outside event is fairly high, so I'll assign it a 5.  3 x 5= 15.  So we've determined Bad Weather is a High Risk Factor.  *Please note, at this step we are not looking for ways to mitigate a risk (that comes later!) we are only determining the risk.

    12+ is High, 6-9 is Medium, and 5 and below is Low Risk.


    Now, let’s say you’re planning a "Stream Clean Up" in the spring.  What’s the risk of not having enough volunteers to your event?  The impact of not having enough volunteers might be medium because you’d still manage to get some of the work done.  I’ll say a 2.  What are the chances of you not having enough volunteers?  Maybe also a 2?  2 x 2= 4.  Not having enough volunteers would be Low Risk.

    So, why is this tool important for nonprofits right now?

    Because we are in a time of unprecedented uncertainty for many organizations.  Thus, using a simple tool like this with your board allows you to rate the risk to various programs, funds, and events.  What is the Risk to your organization of losing a grant that your organization has counted on for years?  Ask the people on the board to use the 0-5 scale and ask them what the impact would be, and what the probability of it happening is.  If the Risk is high, then start now in trying to figure out what you need to do to mitigate that risk!  Perhaps a call to the donor before the application is due is in order to get more information on their funding priorities.  Perhaps it is time to cultivate other funding streams (hint: it is ALWAYS time to cultivate new donors!). 

    Go through the list.  Assess your risks honestly, and use the scores to prioritize what you need to do NOW to keep your organization alive and afloat.

    To discuss these scenarios and others further please join me on Wednesday September 2nd at 9 AM for our new workshop, Project Management Basics

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  • Thursday, July 30, 2020 8:07 AM | Regina Pinney (Administrator)


    Regina Pinney
    Executive Director

    Regina@nonprofnetwork.org

    From the moment we are brought into this world, we begin to hear how important it is to be kind to others. Whether it was sharing your toys with a sibling, or including someone at recess, shoveling a neighbor’s driveway, delivering a meal to a sick friend,  we have always been encouraged to give to others. While we heard it often, most of us never questioned the phrase, “Sharing is caring.” That is, until we grew older.

    It happens to all of us at some point. We begin to question if our efforts are really worth it. We begin to calculate if we have enough resources to allocate to others. Eventually, the kid who valued the idea of sharing whenever possible begins to question if they should even share at all. I’m here to tell you that you are more influential than you think and that every act of giving you perform creates a butterfly effect that changes the world.

    CRSToday | Overcoming the Butterfly Effect in Refractive Cataract ...

    Giving your time or a donation to an organization creates a shock-wave. A small donation to an organization can help carry out a mission that inspires others to give as well. Giving your time can inspire others to join an organization or be the extra boost it needed to succeed. Helping spread a message can help educate someone that otherwise would never be exposed to it.

    You see, the simple act of giving is not so simple. Sir Isaac Newton's first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. As long as you are trying, as long as you are giving in some way, you are that external force. 

    You are the difference maker. 

    You don’t have to give a million-dollar donation to make a shock-wave. You can give your time to help build a playground for instance. A playground where someone may learn for the first time that “sharing is caring.”

    All nonprofits benefit from public support and donations, and most depend on private donations to serve their communities. While an individual taxpayer only receives a partial tax benefit for charitable donations, the community served by the charitable nonprofit receives the full value of every hour and dollar.


    Now more then ever your donations are critical to a nonprofits success.  NN uses contributions to help fund scholarships, workshops and to provide resources. 
    A gift of any size is deeply appreciated.


    Want more? Click here to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.  Each week you'll get a link to the most recent news, workshops and blog post. We promise to respect your time and will not flood your inbox. We only send one newsletter email each week and when any timely important announcements need to be made.


  • Thursday, July 16, 2020 12:41 PM | Tracey Wilson (Administrator)

    Regina Pinney
    Executive Director

    There is strong evidence to suggest that the worst isn’t over.  Many have tried to compare the pandemic with a natural disaster and utilize similar strategies to respond and recover. This pandemic could be compared with some of the most significant natural disasters in recent history, like Hurricane Katrina for example.  As with that major event, the actual hurricane wasn’t the scary part – it was what happened afterwards.   

    We are in the eye of this storm and we have opportunities to regroup, replenish and prepare for a long road ahead. 

    As we all struggle to fight the onslaught of challenges brought on by COVID-19, let us not bury our heads in the fear, but look up and look forward and prepare for the realities we are now facing.

    Let’s look at some sobering facts and begin to explore what we should be doing to prepare.

    Unemployment Rates

    • During our last recession in 2010, the national unemployment rate peaked at 9.5%. Experts are hopeful that our unemployment rate will get this low by December 2020.  In Michigan, right now, it’s at 19.9%. That means Michigan has the highest rate of unemployment in the country except for Nevada.
    • In this time of increased awareness of racial disparities, it is important to note that during our last recession, the unemployment rate for Black Americans was far higher, and peaked at 16% a full year after the unemployment rate peaked for White Americans. This disparity is maintained during normal times as well; the black unemployment rate remains 4.4 percentage points higher than white Americans. 
    • It’s estimated that Michigan has lost 1 million jobs permanently.
    • The federal stimulus payments of $600 per week are slated to end July 2020, and while the next stimulus might maintain some of these benefits, it won’t be at $600 per week.
    • Currently, MI unemployment lasts 26 weeks – so if you were laid off starting March 12th, your unemployment runs out in mid-September. 

    What does this mean for you?  It means that the nonprofit sector will have more people to take care of.  People will have to struggle to meet their basic needs and pay their rent. Foreclosures and evictions will increase.   Our food pantries will be busy.  Substance abuse and domestic violence will increase and so will child abuse cases.  Mental health needs will increase.  Now more than ever, you should be exploring and addressing any disparities to who and how your mission is delivered. 

    What can you do?  Stay informed about what is going on at the state and national level. Watch for updates from resources like the Michigan Nonprofit Association and the Michigan League for Public Policy.  Now is the time to be heard and use our collective voices. Know how every decision impacts you and the organizations that matter to those you serve.

    State Budget

    • Michigan has a budget shortfall of more than $3 billion for this fiscal year, cuts that are necessary before October.  Another $3 billion needs to be cut from next year’s budget – and this does not account for the impact COVID-19 is having on state revenues, which are already down considerably. 
    • History may repeat itself – in 2010 during our last recession, there were many significant cuts made to programs.  Though not an exhaustive list, some of the effected programs include financial aid for higher education, K-12 school aid, and before and after school programs. Medical and Mental Health funding, such as Medicaid took a significant hit and there were reductions in mental health initiatives for older persons and substance abuse services. Residential facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness closed their doors

    What does this mean for you?  It means if nonprofits who rely on state or government contracts, could experience delayed payments or even the cancelling of contracts.  It means that some of the people we have been partnering with might not be able to hold up their end of the agreement. 

    What can you do?  Check your financial history. Go back to 2008-2012 and review what happened to your funding sources.  Were your payments delayed or were contracts decreased or cancelled?  One thing to remember is that COVID-19 has changed the rules of this game – our legislators are less likely to cut education funding because our schools need more, not less, to get our kids back in the classroom.  So that means things that were safe last time might not be this go-around. Make a contingency plan that will allow you to act quickly when the new budget details are revealed. 

    Social Distancing

    • Michigan is in Phase 4 of 6.  Phase 6 is no restrictions and life returns to whatever normal people might be comfortable with.  Right now, we are required to wear masks and social distance and being asked to maintain vigilance.
    • Large gatherings are still prohibited, and when they return will have new safety guidance and procedures.
    • With many employers choosing to keep their employees working from home, and many large gatherings cancelled for the rest of the year, we must wait and see if people will be willing to return to entertainment venues in early 2021. Even without state mandates, many surveys are showing that people will not be comfortable in a large gathering until a vaccine is found. 
    • COVID-19 will not be our last pandemic.
    • Some prominent and previously stable programs are making permanent - not temporary – decisions that will contribute to the devastation after the storm has ended and skies have cleared.  For example several universities are terminating some varsity athletic programs, impacting jobs, facility use and higher education income. These types of decisions are just the tip. (And not to be over looked, at some universities such as Ohio State, Florida State, and the University of Southern California, black men are more than 50 times as likely as white men to be on athletic scholarships. The disparity is shocking and the impacts of canceling these programs will be devastating and reduces access to education.)

    What does this mean for you?  It means that if a nonprofit has relied on large fundraising events, that income will not return this year.  Programs that rely on people gathering will be significantly impacted.

    What can you do?  Revisit your mission and remember that the programs you currently deliver are just one way you achieve your mission.  Now is the time to change your fundraising strategy – if you haven’t already – and develop a vibrant individual donor program. 

    Nonprofit Sector Health

    • A study released this month by the Johnson Center found that the larger the nonprofit by revenue, the less cash (or cash + savings) on hand — sometimes falling to dangerous levels. Small nonprofits ($10,000 to $499,999 in annual revenue), for instance, have a median of 2.8 to 8.6 months of cash on hand. But for larger nonprofits with $5 million or more in annual revenue, the median falls dramatically to 3+ weeks.  
    • The organizations with less than one month cash on hand employ roughly two-thirds of the sector’s employees.
    • Experts are estimating that more than 25% of the nonprofit sector will suffer a long term or permanent set back. 

    What does this mean for you?   Some of us will not survive.  And this will mean that our communities will rely on support provided by less organizations. Fewer support services will mean more individuals will struggle to navigate systems and receive services.    

    What can you do? Check on your neighbors, partners and friends.  Understand who might be in jeopardy. Become more efficient, and eliminate waste: time, energy and resources. Continue to develop contingency plans. Affirm your organizational and institutional values so you know what to protect.

    Finally…

    If you are an Executive Director, you need to gather your data and evaluate your risks.  Your board members need to meet, regularly, and you need to begin preparing them for hard decisions. You will need to help them make difficult cuts.  You need to ask for help. 

    If you are a board member, you need to check in with your Executive Director.  They are not OK.  The burden is enormous. They are managing the impacts to your clients, employees, the organization, the community and the threat to not only their livelihoods, but life’s passion and work.  

    For some organizations, drastic cuts and dissolution's are on the horizon.  They might see it – they might not. They can’t do this alone.

    We have upcoming workshops that will help you (see below). 

    Critical Conversations for Nonprofits Workshop Series:

    Executive Director Academy - August 2020 - April 2021

    As with any severe storm, the world will look different afterwards. We will emerge, changed and not quite the same, but stronger and smarter and understand how to be better equipped for the next one.

    Call us if you need help, we will brave the storm together.

    If your organization needs help with planning, feel free to reach out to us, it's what we do. As always, we’re here to help you make the world a better place. Call 517-796-4750 or email us today! We're happy to help!

    Click here for a PDF copy of this blog that you can print or email.

    Our ED Regina Pinney adds her thoughts and voice behind this week's blog; Facebook Link

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  • Thursday, June 25, 2020 3:05 PM | Tracey Wilson (Administrator)


    Regina Pinney
    Executive Director

    Being colorblind is the idea that ignoring or overlooking racial and ethnic differences promotes racial harmony. In some circles, it’s called color-evasive. In others, it is called a myth.

    But we can’t not see color. We are taught in school to sort by color. We are regularly asked our favorite color.  When we look at a new face the first thing we see is the color of their eyes and their appearance. In fact scientists say that the first thing we look at in a new person are all the ways we are similar. We talk about the color of our skin, we tan, color our hair, cheeks, eyelids and lips. We know what colors look good against our skin. We like colorful flowers. We use color to describe almost everything.  We use it to filter our shopping choices, to help other people find something. Movie directors use color to signify relationships. We toil over the color of paint.

    “Color plays a vitally important role in the world in which we live. Color can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions. It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure or suppress your appetite,” says a popular graphic design resource.

    In nature, we use our color to attract a mate, the more bold, and pretty the more likely it is we will attract our suitor. Color is all around us and beautifies our environment.

    But – let's ignore all of that when it comes to our black and brown people?

    Uros Petrovic - White peacock | White peacock is one of the … | Flickr

    Research shows that we don’t like to talk about the color of ones skin because it makes some of us uncomfortable.  These studies show when we teach colorblindness, we are teaching our children that we do not have to accept or acknowledge the impacts of racism. 

    For centuries, the color of one’s skin determined everything –where you could live, where you could go to school, if you could get a job, if you could be out past dark, who you could date and who you could marry. In fact, a study completed in 2006 found that realtors were still steering white buyers to white neighborhoods and black buyers to black neighborhoods.   

    When we pretend not to see, we can’t talk about our differences.  If we can’t talk about it, we then struggle to learn about or understand our differences. And we will continue to fear and make up stories in our heads (reinforce bias and stereotypes) about things we don’t understand instead of celebrate, embrace and be inclusive in our differences. 

    Color still matters.

    Why? We like differences in lots of other ways – we like different foods and music.  We like to share recipes. We like to know where people were born and where they grew up.  We like to know about people’s traditions and heritages.  We like to know it all – except how the color of someone's skin has impacted their life.

    Being color blind (I don't see color) allows some to ignore the significant effects of racism that occur every day. Multiple studies show that racism is causing significant health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. These equated constant racial macroaggressions produce the same trauma as experiencing violent crime.

    Imagine if our doctors don't notice our color, our health will suffer.  Race is incredibly important when it comes to diagnosing symptoms and preventative care.

    How is this relevant to the nonprofit sector?  When we don’t see color, we miss critical information that would help us attract, connect with and recruit donors, board members, and serve clients. Differences are important and allows us to customize how we work in order to be more effective and more impactful.

    Inclusive design strategies, like Human Centered Design, have been proven to produce better outcomes because we create programs based on the needs of our community and who we serve.

    Let’s replace color blindness with color appreciation. We all should be proud of who we are – what we look like. Let's embrace and enjoy our differences. Color makes us beautiful.

    Rainbow Peacocks


    If your organization needs help with diversity, equity, and inclusion, feel free to reach out to us, it's what we do. You can also visit our Diversity, Inclusion & Equity page for free tools and updates on upcoming events. But as always, we’re here to help you make the world a better, safer, and more equitable place. Call 517-796-4750 or email us today! We're happy to help!

    Want more? Click here to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.  Each week you'll get a link to the most recent news, workshops and blog post. We promise to respect your time and will not flood your inbox. We only send one newsletter email each week and when any timely important announcements need to be made.

  • Thursday, June 18, 2020 11:38 AM | Tracey Wilson (Administrator)


    Laura Fuller
    NN Capacity Builder

    All too often I hear from nonprofit leadership that they are afraid to speak out on what they see as political issues.  Generally, the fears fall into two categories.  First, they are afraid they will get their IRS tax status revoked for being ‘political’ and second, they are concerned about public perceptions of their organization being too political or partisan, possibly costing them donors.

    Let us start with a discussion about what lobbying is and what it isn’t.  The IRS defines lobbying narrowly.  There are two kinds of lobbying, direct and grassroots.  Direct Lobbying is direct contact with elected officials or their staff to try and enact specific legislation.  Grassroots Lobbying is attempting to sway public opinion on legislation.  The IRS also recognizes that some lobbying by a 501c3 is permissible, so long as it isn’t a major part of its work.  For example, when I worked for Cornell, once a year I made a trip to Albany to request a budget increase in the state budget for education.  That was the only lobbying I did, and thus, it was not a major part of my work.

    Advocacy, however, is something ALL nonprofits should be doing, especially now.

    Advocacy includes a broad range of activities focused on the changes you want to see made without saying ‘vote for this bill.’  You can present your research, you can write papers, you can show evidence, arrange a protest or march, and schedule time to meet with your elected representatives all without it being lobbying.  You can also share all the reasons you support specific legislation, and so long as you don’t ask them to vote a certain way, it isn’t lobbying, it is education.

    Members of nonprofit leadership are some of the best people to advocate on behalf of the issues facing our communities.  We work in the trenches and see the problems facing our communities first hand.  Frequently, we’re the first people responding to those needs.  We serve the people who all too often don’t have the political capital or frankly the time to advocate to politicians. But when their voices are heard they can be particularly powerful. We all know how difficult it is for those working multiple hourly jobs to meet their basic needs already.  Finding a way to bring people along with you for an advocacy trip, though, can not only help to break down stereotypes, it can also open everyone’s eyes to the need to engage with our elected officials.

    Plan. Create. Engage. Action. Momentum

    Here are some things you can do to make an advocacy campaign as effective as possible:

    • Write a one page document that highlights the problem and the solution you would like to see enacted.  Infographics are perfect for this.  Officials are busy, and they won’t read something too wordy or long.
    • Set up your appointment two weeks out, then call back a week out to confirm, and then the day before.  Officials’ schedules are constantly changing.  You want to confirm your appointment to make sure of who you will be meeting (official or staff) and that a committee meeting didn’t get scheduled in the interim.
    • Be respectful of their staff.  Their staff have their attention.  If you impress the staff, you will be presented in the best possible light.  Don’t be disappointed if you meet with staff instead of the official.  Instead, send a follow up communication to the staff member, and build that relationship.
    • In politics, relationships and reputation are everything.  The more you interact with staff, the more seriously they’ll take you.
    • Do your research.  Know what their hot button issues are.  Know what they care about, what committees they serve on, what they did in their life before political office.  They more you tailor your message to them, the more effective you will be.
    • Don’t give up.  Our missions are often life or death for their constituents.  Make sure you can speak to that clearly!

    A lot of times, people are nervous about meeting with their elected representatives.  The more you do it, the more you come to understand that they are people, too.  Many of them got into politics because of a desire to make the world a better place for the people they represent.  Assume good intentions and don’t ever give up.  Together, we can all make the world a better place.

    If your organization needs help call (517-796-4750) or email us Info@Nonprofnetwork.org today for an appointment, we'd be happy to discuss a plan with you.

    Want more? Click here to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.  Each week you'll get a link to the most recent news, workshops and blog post. We promise to respect your time and will not flood your inbox. We only send one newsletter email each week and when any timely important announcements need to be made.


  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020 4:08 PM | Regina Pinney (Administrator)


    Regina Pinney
    Executive Director

    Regina@nonprofnetwork.org

    One of the habits of highly effective people, according to Stephen Covey, is to begin with the end in mind. It is also one of the habits of highly effective organizations. Many would contend that the “end” of a nonprofit organization is accomplishing their mission and achieving their vision.

    It doesn’t matter what word you use: end, outcome, and intention, the concept is clear – know where you want to be and then work to arrive there. Notice beginning with the end is circular, not linear. Building a culture of planning within your organization will make you better for a multitude of reasons.  

    Here are the three strongest ones:

    1. You will be more adaptive.

    Knowing where you want to be, or what you want to be, is grounded in the ability to plan and predict. The power of a plan is not the plan, but rather in the planning – the power is in the middle. Highly effective organizations are not just working their missions or working towards the ends, they are working the middle. They are always in a state of planning – succession planning, board development planning, recruitment planning, financial planning, program planning. They continually identify where they are, where they want to go, and how they get there. This comprehensive approach allows organizations to avoid static conditions and adapt in real-time to maximize their effectiveness.

    2. You will be more resilient.

    Organizations in crisis often don’t see the connection between their lack of planning and their constant state of chaos. Being, or becoming, an organization with a culture of planning is a privilege. It means that an organization has protected the time necessary to plan, that resources are available to be planful, and that they have accommodated the brain-space required to think about their work beyond today. If an organization that is in a constant state of chaos (high board-turnover, high staff-turnover, financial stress, the real or perceived notion that there is no time to do or think about doing anything differently) does not intentionally build a culture that allows them to be planners, then they will always be unable to plan, predict, and identify cause and effect. But organizations that consider planning as nonnegotiable will see the chaos decrease – even in uncertain times.  Planning makes an organization resilient despite the circumstances.


    3. You will be more sustainable.

    When we enter this constant state of planning, we then enter a state of being that allows us to pivot and move in new directions when necessary. We must acknowledge that change is constant and necessary. Once we embrace that reality, we can protect the space necessary to respond to that change thoughtfully so that we can continue serving our mission. Planning allows us to act in spite of uncertainty. Planning allows us to be comfortable in not being able to plan for every possible situation and outcome. This ability to be prepared, aware, and responsive is what leads to sustainability. 

    Be careful what you say after the phrase, “I am...” because your brain will manifest the words and you will become what you say you are. The beginning and the end are always connected. 

    Does your organization need help building and nurturing a culture of planning? Reach out to have a conversation with us.  And in the meanwhile, let your brain get to work manifesting this


    I am adaptive. I am resilient. I am sustainable. I am a planner.


    (blog updated from May 2017)

    Want more? Click here to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.  Each week you'll get a link to the most recent news, workshops and blog post. We promise to respect your time and will not flood your inbox. We only send one newsletter email each week and when any timely important announcements need to be made. 


  • Wednesday, June 03, 2020 9:39 AM | Regina Pinney (Administrator)


    Regina Pinney
    Executive Director

    Should you jump in or stay in the bleachers?
    (updated from 4.5.17)

    I want to talk about how, when, and why the leadership of your nonprofit may choose to advocate in this contentious political climate.

    As an executive director myself, I have been thinking long and hard about how to lead and represent the organization I serve when it comes to navigating advocacy and taking stances on legislative and social issues. 

    During a strategic planning session last summer, Nonprofit Network's board had determined that in order to be sustainable, we must be relevant. Therefore, we actively seek to join tables where the conversation is about helping people, organizations, and communities to think differently about their infrastructure—to think differently about their systems and their processes. If we are that good—good enough to be invited to those tables—we will be a sustainable organization.

    Our ultimate goal is to influence community solutions through our programming and services using best practices and research.

    Your organization might have a similar goal, to influence the decisions of your clients and your community using your mission.

    Last summer, this goal had felt pretty safe. Yes, it is a big, hairy, audacious goal, but safe enough. Recent events at local, state, and national levels have caused our board to revisit this word: influence. We recently checked in with each other and asked “Did we really mean it – and if we did, what now?”

    Our official diversity and inclusion statement reads as follows:
    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.

    But in today’s divided and often cruel political climate, the work around diversity can create division, inclusion can create exclusion, and seeking equity for all somehow means someone else loses. Tensions are high, to say the least.

    Nonprofit Network strongly believes in the practice of having policies and procedures in place before you need them. So if we know that if we are going to be relevant and influence community solutions, we first need to make some decisions about when, why, and how we decide to speak up.

    We drafted a series of questions to guide that decision and I am sharing it with you here. Share this with your board and staff so you can discuss how to customize it to fit within your organization.

    1)   Is there a need?

    • What is the scope and size of the issue? 
    • Are we advocating for those that cannot speak for themselves?
    • Are we speaking for those whose voices are not being heard?
    • Are we speaking for those that can’t “afford” to speak up?
    If the answer to the above is yes, then proceed to the next question.

    2)   Is it appropriate and relevant to the organization?

    • Does the topic fit our mission and values?
    • Is it appropriate for us to add our voice?
    • Are we opposing? Supporting? Educating?
    If the answer to the above is yes, then proceed to the next question.

    3)   What are the risks?

    • Can the organization be hurt by taking a public stance? 
    • If we can be hurt, can we sustain the risk?
    • Is any potential risk direct or indirect? (would we know if a donor stopped giving because we added our voice?)
    If the risks are minimal or can be sustained, then proceed to the next question.

    4)   How will we influence?

    • Programming, curriculum, best practices
    • Education
    • Leadership (modeling best practices, setting an example)
    • Getting involved
    • Blogging, using our social media
    • Contributing resources
    • Advocacy – taking a position and influencing those with power to take a direction
    • Ask our members/stakeholders/donors, staff, board and volunteers to act

    You might see Nonprofit Network jumping in the conversations that affect the nonprofit ecosystem. Know that when you see us at the table and hear our voice, we have run the decision through the questions above. These four questions will allow us to act with intention and proceed with a full understanding of our role and the potential results of our decision to influence.

    Remember! Advocacy is not political activity. 501(c)3 nonprofits cannot endorse political candidates or contribute to political campaigns. This rule is part of the Johnson Amendment, and it helps nonprofits maintain their integrity as nonpartisan entities. You can however, support legislative bills, mileages, and advocate for your mission.  

    Want to share this with your organization and build your own decision tree?  Email Info@nonprofnetwork.org to let us know and we'll send you an electronic copy of the four questions to share with your stakeholders. No strings attached...


    Want more? Click here to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.  Each week you'll get a link to the most recent news, workshops and blog post. We promise to respect your time and will not flood your inbox. We only send one newsletter email each week and when any timely important announcements need to be made.

  • Thursday, May 28, 2020 3:26 PM | Tracey Wilson (Administrator)


    Laura Fuller
    NN Capacity Builder

    Growing up in graduate student housing on the Wayne State Campus in the 1980's, I was blessed.  I know a lot of people don't think growing up in downtown Detroit in the 80's would be a blessing, but you'd be wrong, it really was.  I had friends from around the world.  Rusbeh, a boy from Iran, shared stories of a land so different that it felt like a fairy tale.  Greta, a girl from Germany, taught me to roller-skate.  And Abdul, a teenager from Detroit, taught me that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, but that race is still relevant.  It was true then, and it is certainly true now.

    In the wake of yet another murder of an innocent black man, it’s more relevant than ever.

    Nonprofits exist to change the world.  Maybe we have different missions and we do it in different ways, but we all are here because of a vision for a better future. Part of that vision NEEDS to be Equity.  For race, gender, socio-economic, religious, abilities and disabilities.  When Nonprofit Network presents on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, one of the exercises we do is to examine peoples’ various identities and share how that has impacted their lives.  We need to stop pretending that peoples’ lived experiences are not shaped by the color of their skin.

    So what can your organization do?  Because it is not enough to pay lip service to the idea of equity without actually DOING something about it.  Here are some ideas:

    • Have your team, volunteers, board members, and partners learn about their own Implicit Biases.  They can take a free quiz here.  Then follow up with a group conversation about how those biases effect their work and some strategies to be aware of their impact on those you serve.
    • Revisit your organizational mission, vision, values, and policies and specifically look at ways that they might limit inclusion and equity. 
    • Is a commitment to diversity included in the way volunteers, board members, and staff are selected and on boarded? Are all voices welcome at the table?
    • Does your organization expect its partners to uphold its values of diversity and inclusion? 
    • Are your organizational values shared on your website and on your social media sites so that someone interested in your organization can see if your values match theirs?
    • Is your organization effective at reaching out to diverse groups?
    • Take the time to ponder how your own multiple identities show up in the work you do and interact with others.
    • Discuss how inequities in the community or unequal access to resources in the community impact your mission.

    I recognize that this is a heavy topic, even for those of us who are skin-privileged.  But I dream of a world where my friends don’t have to teach their children not to put their hands in their pockets because it might be a death sentence if the wrong person feels threatened.

    If your organization needs help with diversity, equity, and inclusion, feel free to reach out.  You can visit our Diversity, Inclusion & Equity page for free tools and updates on upcoming events. As always, we’re here to help you make the world a better, safer, more equitable place. 


    Want more? Click here to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.  Each week you'll get a link to the most recent news, workshops and blog post. We promise to respect your time and will not flood your inbox. We only send one newsletter email each week and when any timely important announcements need to be made.


  • Thursday, May 21, 2020 1:25 PM | Tracey Wilson (Administrator)


    Tracey Wilson
    Program Coordinator


    Virtual Workshops vs Webinars
    (what’s the difference and how to prepare?)


    In order to answer that question I'll have you first review the definitions below...

    Definitions:
    > What is a webinar?
     Short for web-based seminar, a webinar is a brief presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the web using video conferencing software. 

    > What is a virtual workshop?
      Remote workshops are online meetings led by someone who teaches a new skill or technique to a group of participants using digital platforms and tools. The participants may either be in the same room or in separate physical spaces, but the person who leads the session is usually located elsewhere.

    Online Workshops are how NN is helping you stay impactful and connected in the time of physical distancing. 

    NN Webinars: We offer what we like to call “Live Webinars”. These fast-paced and interactive presentations will cover the chosen topic quickly, in 45 minutes to an hour. Webinars are typically a trending topic, recorded and are easily saved and watched again and again. You can find previously recorded webinars in our Online Store.

    NN Virtual WorkshopsWorkshops provide opportunities to facilitate and teach new skills, techniques and strategies to a group of participants. This requires the participants to work, think, process, create and plan. And now, in this time of Covid-19, Nonprofit Network is offering our workshops virtually using digital platforms and tools. 

    These Virtual Workshops replicate our in-person facilitation style, are engaging and requires participant dialogue. We use breakout rooms and have you participate with the facilitator via chat and and in small group conversations. You’ll also be able to ask questions and provide and receive feedback. Virtual workshops last from 2-4 hours and are best experienced when you share your camera, are in a quiet space where you don't have to be on "mute and can focus your attention on the topic. 


    For both our Webinars and our Virtual Workshops they are presented by one or more of our facilitators or in collaboration with a guest presenter. We use platforms like "Zoom" or Go To Meeting" which sometimes may require an application download. We provide you a web link, password and a copy of the presentation and any hand-outs ahead of time via email. This allows you to print the materials if you prefer, and also review them beforehand.

    It is best and most convenient to participate with a Computer, notebook, or tablet but you can also join by phone. If joining by phone, you can either load the digital “App” on your cell phone, which will allow you to see cameras and fully utilize the tools available or, while not optimum for you, you can also simply dial-in with the provided phone number. You'll announce yourself to the facilitator, listen in and be able to participate in the workshop.

    I hope you have found this helpful and all your questions have been answered, but if not I'm just an email away and happy to help! 
    Tracey@NonprofNetwork.org

    How to join a Zoom meeting, click HERE
    How to join a GoToMeeting, click HERE

    Additional Resources for Working Remotely are on our COVID-19 webpage

    Want more? Click here to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.  Each week you'll get a link to the most recent news, workshops and blog post. We promise to respect your time and will not flood your inbox. We only send one newsletter email each week and when any timely important announcements need to be made.

  • Thursday, May 14, 2020 6:46 PM | Tracey Wilson (Administrator)


    Regina Pinney
    Executive Director @ NN



    As our Stay at Home Order winds down, we have some decisions to make. 

    The pandemic has emphasized (didn’t reveal – we knew they were there all along) disparities, inequities and discrepancies.  Need proof? Review the articles cited below;

    We are hearing that we won’t return to normal. I am totally OK with that and am excited that we have an opportunity to work toward a new, improved better normal.  And I want all of us to really focus on what we choose to be our new normal. 

    In an article entitled "For a More Equitable America, Understand Race and Racism as Actions We Do and Can Undo", the authors say this: "Americans have an opportunity to recognize and understand race in ways they never have before, ways that will help us transform and rebuild American society to be stronger and fairer to all."

    As we re-create and fix our broken systems, every nonprofit must begin and/or strengthen the ways we are addressing social inequities, and this work must become part of our mission and be included in everything we do.

    This will be hard work and will require us to fully address our own biases and how biases are baked into our systems.

    The article asks us to reflect on some very difficult questions:

    • Have I accepted racial inequality in the issues I work on or among the social change efforts that I am involved in?
    • Do people recognize racial disparities in the space I work in?
    • How are disparities being explained, and why are some explanations favored in place of others? In what ways are the organizations, institutions, or systems that I participate in set up to create advantages for people in some groups relative to others?
    • What role have I or my organization played in maintaining these unequal institutions or systems? What can I do to change them? 
    • How am I part of the problem, and how can I be part of the solution?

    Nonprofit Network can help and provide everything from equity assessments of your policies, strategic plans around systems, tools, workshops and samples.  Reach out to us and we can get you started. 

    Want more? Click here to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.  Each week you'll get a link to the most recent news, workshops and blog post. We promise to respect your time and will not flood your inbox. We only send one newsletter email each week and then when any important announcements need to be made.


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