The weight of it all can be oppressive. Being a leader, being responsible for anything or anyone right now is a job filled with angst and stress, worry and fears. It can be hard to breathe through the anxiety.
You are exhausted, burned out and ready for a break.
The projections indicate that you will not get relief anytime soon. The people you serve need you now.
The last several months most of us have just ducked our heads and focused on our feet – one foot in front of the other. Get through today. Get up tomorrow and do it again. But it's a new year.
You must find ways to reenergize and renew. You must focus on selfcare. And encourage your staff to do the same. Be that role model! Remember their strength is your strength.
Take a minute, take a breath, lift your head, and see the horizon. You just ran a marathon and are being asked to run another.
There is much to be thankful for – you have, in fact, survived this far. You are smarter now. You are stronger now.
You have responded to your clients and eased their pain. You have served your mission. You have done much with little. But you are going to be OK.
Get sleep. Take your PTO. Move – every day. Turn off the news. Get fresh air. Take extra Vitamin D. Drink lots of water. Call a friend and laugh. Cook your favorite meal. Read a book. Listen to music. Doodle – with color.
You are not alone. It is OK to be the person you are today. And ask for help.
Come learn more! We Zoom at Noon -
Join us at our new webinar, "Self-Care for Leaders" ~ Wednesday February 9th, 2022 at Noon!
*updated from Nov. 2020
Want even 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.
As we navigate the complexity of the The Great Resignation, organizations are increasingly asking of themselves if they are internally constructed to address the current needs of the organization and stay the course. However, it can be a daunting task to evaluate the current policies and structures as they exist while considering the potential for growth and retention of valuable employees. When taking stock of the policies and procedures contained within internal manuals and bylaws, the critical importance of questioning efficacy and culture spring to the forefront of Human Resource planning.
Come learn more.
Join Brett at his new workshop "Human Resources 101: 2022 and Beyond" ~ Thursday Jan. 27th at 10 AM!
Conflict of interest is a sneaky beast that rears its head in odd places.
January is one our favorite months at Nonprofit Network. It is the month that we get to update our Conflict of Interest Disclosure forms.... (wait! keep reading!)
This process allows us to map our sphere of influence, discuss where our connections intersect, and most importantly where these relationships might test our allegiance or loyalty. Our board, staff and volunteers take part in this process. This might surprise you and you might wonder, how does a relationship create a conflict of interest?
We speak to many people about issues of conflict. When we teach board basics – it’s one of the topics that get the most questions and conversation. It’s tricky, confusing and can catch us by surprise.
What makes the concept of conflict of interest so difficult is that the definition in the non-profit world is very different than in the for-profit world. In the for-profit world, conflict is identified by money – who has it and who wants it. In the non-profit world, conflict is defined by allegiance.
One of the legal duties of a board member is the Duty of Loyalty: The duty of loyalty is a standard of faithfulness; a board member must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. A Board of Trustees is supposed to be an independent group of thinkers representing the community served who pledges allegiance to the mission of the organization.
By definition, in the presence of a conflict of interest, loyalty and allegiance are challenged.
As a volunteer, it would be nearly impossible to eliminate all challenges to your loyalty and allegiance to the mission of an organization. Without being melodramatic, rarely could a board member be so devoted to a cause. The intent, then, must be to manage these conflicts – share the load with your other board members, work as a team and to help offset a situation where your allegiance is divided.
This is why it is critical to ensure that conflicts of interest between board members and staff are eliminated. Having co-workers, family members or best friends sit on a board together jeopardizes a board’s ability to govern. When boards say they can overcome the appearance of nepotism, self-serving or self-dealing they then need to spend an enormous amount of energy in proving they are successful – energy that should be spent on governance of resources.
Conflict takes away independent (or neutral) thinking – and independent thinking is the test of due diligence. Can we put the mission above self?
Boards must be deliberate about preventing conflict of interest to ensure they can maintain their duty of loyalty.
To review our Conflict of Interest Policy or our other policies click HERE
For an in-depth conversation about Conflict of Interest you can purchase our 1-hour webinar "Managing Conflicts of Interest within Your Organization". Click HERE for those details.
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.
May You Have A Very Happy New Year!
There isn’t a more appropriate blessing than this. If you are fortunate enough to say that you survived 2020 & 2021, I wish you a very, very Happy New Year.
It would be easy to want to erase these past couple years, but I hope we carry forward the many lessons learned. Let us not forget these things:
Empathy is necessary. These past years put on full display our enormous inequities. We can no longer ignore the inescapable realities of racial and economic injustice. We can’t un-see it.
Health is precious. Mental health is as important as physical health, and neither can be taken for granted, and both need to be protected. The strongest of us can be taken down by invisible factors. And the weak can surprise us with the capacity to recover quickly.
We are all connected. The Butterfly Effect is an awareness that small states of change result in large differences in a larger state. This continues to be a significant lesson for many of us. People we will never meet or know are impacted by our behavior and actions. Please wear a mask.
Resiliency is intentional. Research tells us that some children who have been impacted by trauma seem to bounce back better than others. Resilient children acknowledge their expectations of the future, change and adapt to new information. Those that don’t bounce back tend to be stuck in a reality that no longer exists.
Grief is powerful. The act of mourning can look like anger, can manifest into protests and activism. Experiencing these raw emotions, “sitting” with someone as they grieve, can move people to “do something”. Grief can be a powerful tool for change. (See resiliency.)
Grace is required but not perpetual. Change is constant. And it is ok to long for what you knew and what felt normal. People need time to adapt. But life is a journey. Moving forward is healthy. Evolution and progress are natural.
Celebrate everything. We yearn for ways to connect. We learned to celebrate differently. Continue to take advantage of opportunities to celebrate new traditions.
I can’t wait to see all of you in 2022. Be well. Be safe.
*updated from December 2020
Alyssa Turcsak, CNP
It is a tremendous honor to be joining this thoughtful and brilliant team at Nonprofit Network. I am enthusiastic about my newly created role as the Outreach Coordinator and Support Specialist. My primary goal is to serve as a bridge for nonprofit members (current and prospective) and the resources Nonprofit Network is able to offer as a way to support the impassioned work you do every single day in your cherished communities.
I was introduced to the nonprofit sector after a battle with childhood cancer. Having had the opportunity to be treated at a nonprofit children’s hospital, attend a nonprofit summer camp for children with life threatening illnesses, and to participate in a Make-A-Wish trip demonstrated to me that there are people in the world who have hearts that are much too large to be contained in their body. The kindness and empathy shown to me as a young child inspired my desire to be one of the people who transforms the world through love.
Holding a degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of Northern Iowa with a credential of Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) awarded by Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, I have been trained in 10 core competencies that support leaders in the social sector. While my previous experiences were centered in fundraising, my passion lies in building meaningful relationships and serving as a connector.
My immediate past role allowed me the opportunity to assist in building nonprofit structure, including completion of the application of the 501c3 1023 Form. It was in this capacity that I discovered the wealth of knowledge that Nonprofit Network offers. After signing up for their newsletter and attending workshops, I was delighted to see an opportunity to join this crew and to further the mission of strengthening nonprofit governance and management.
I’ll be focused on the areas of Adrian, Battle Creek, Hillsdale, Jackson, and Lansing but would love to meet with you no matter where you are. I truly value meeting you, where you are at. If you are considering becoming a member or want to understand how to better utilize your membership, I am your person! As I’m continuing to learn and dive into the many resources shared among the Nonprofit Network staff of expert consultants, I will also provide insight on how you might utilize their expertise to do a deeper dive into whatever your organization needs.
I can’t wait to meet more of you in the coming weeks. Please know I’m always up for getting together for a coffee or a meal. My metaphorical door is always open!
You can learn more about Alyssa HERE
November brings a sense of relief that we have made it through a second year of the pandemic, and I have far too high of hopes that 2022 will be less… Less stressful, less divided, less scary, less uncertain, and less restrictions.
With less of all the bad we make room for “more good”. Nonprofit Network has been actively utilizing 2021 to clear ample space for lots of more of the good in 2022.
A great friend sent me a very short and concise blog by Seth Godin. The blog, titled Pushing, pulling and Leading, reads:
Tug boats don’t usually tug. They push.
That’s because pushing is more mechanically efficient than pulling. When we pull, there’s tension and slack in the ropes, and the attachment between the puller and the pushed keeps changing…
I began to reflect that the pandemic has been tugging at us, creating tension and slack. And our attachment to the pandemic keeps changing, creating more tension and even more slack.
I like the idea of pushing as mechanically efficient. And we at Nonprofit Network have been pushing to make good change, good room and good energy.
We spent much of the last two years asking ourselves, our board, staff, members and partners good questions:
Some of the answers were obvious, some were hard, but all pointed toward growth.
Our board made a commitment that we would seek and request all available dollars and strategically invest in the success of our members. We provided almost all of our workshops in 2021 at no cost, invested in resources and research to ensure access to all of our services and will add evaluation and learning management tools in the first quarter of 2022. We continue to examine our own systems, dismantling barriers and building relationships with communities all over.
One of the most significant investments we made was to grow our team, investing in highly skilled, diverse experts to help people with the increasingly complex issues that nonprofits face today and will continue to face in 2022 and 2023.
We’ve added four new consultants, and I invite you to get to know them better. You can read their bios and reach out to schedule a virtual coffee by emailing them today click here. We have been introducing them weekly and I guarantee you, as amazing as their bios sound, they are even more incredible when you meet them and they'd love to hear from you. We will also welcome our 5th new staff member, Alyssa, on November 29th. Alyssa will focus her efforts on outreach, ensuring that nonprofits not only know what resources and services are available to them, but then connecting nonprofits to these resources. She will be a tugboat, pushing nonprofits to the resources, staff and tools they need.
2022 will be a good year.
You can email or learn more about all our staff HERE
We are so excited to present you with our latest new members of Nonprofit Network's staff—Anne Williams! With extensive experience in organizational management, board development, communication and consulting, Anne brings her unique perspective to offer nonprofits seeking to make change and build capacity. We'll let Anne introduce herself here.
My commitment, passion and immersion with nonprofits come from a deep knowing that my mission in life is to use my expertise and experience to make a positive difference in my community, state and beyond. I understood from a very early age that everyone is different, with different needs, needing different support, and embraced differences and the understanding. An early life experience which shaped that understanding was my younger brother (2 years younger), born mentally and physically handicapped. I as his big sister tried to make sure that he got to school, that other kids did not bully him or beat him up, and as an adult to help him achieve his dreams and his purpose in life. Nonprofits have played an important role in providing support and opportunities for him.
Once aware of the nonprofit sector, I volunteered with many organizations and joined or was asked to join many boards locally, in the state, and nationally. I invested extensive time, talents and monetary resources with organizations, all with important missions and their story to share with others. I was honored to be able to walk with those organizations and be part of the mission, contributing in any and all ways possible, as I was able to. It did not matter size of budget, lifecycle stage, or if the organization was struggling, surviving, or thriving. I share my expertise, experience in board development and governance, strategic planning, organizational assessments, executive coaching, facilitation, training, and building relationships. I shared freely, walking with others in each organization and those served in the community, a deep knowing that I was living my mission and vision.
Then for over 20 years, I consulted with nonprofits so I could be part of an even wider number of organizations and had opportunities throughout the United States in all sectors. My commitment, passion and expertise grew; sharing additional experience and expertise including data analytics and evaluation for impact, strategic and innovative thinking, evaluating and redefining processes, performance management and excellence, and leadership development. I also had opportunities to be interim ED for a few nonprofit organizations.
And then the pandemic! This past 20 months has been life changing – personally and professionally with reflection, re-evaluation, and change. The pandemic impacted everyone, every organization, and those that each organization serves. During the pandemic and especially after a loved one passed away in my arms, my deep desire and passion for using my experience and expertise increased even more. Joining Nonprofit Network, an unbelievable team working cohesively and synergistically together has provided me an even greater opportunity to strengthen nonprofit governance and management, transforming the world with the values of diversity and inclusion, integrity, respect, and continuous learning.
May I walk with you, your nonprofit, and board and provide guidance and support to challenge you to push past what may have been done before the pandemic and explore different approaches of thinking and operating? Allow me to facilitate and help you reflect on the lessons learned before the crisis and throughout the crisis and reimagine some or all aspects of your organization. How may I be of service that your nonprofit not only survived the storm but grows, changes, and transforms to a sustainable and vital nonprofit organization?
You can email or learn more about Anne and our other staff HERE
We are so excited to present you with one of the newest members of Nonprofit Network's staff— Brett Heflin! With extensive experience in nonprofit governance, organizational management, board development and so much more, Brett will bring his diverse perspective to nonprofits seeking to make change and build capacity. We'll let Brett introduce himself.
This past month has been one of the most energizing and empowering of the decade. As most of us have, I found myself questioning the direction to follow toward the future. Here in Michigan, I have worked at several levels of oversight in community development from a non-profit perspective and beyond. I have served in roles from the individual classroom to the Board of Directors and into executive leadership at a large education management company, churches, federal program boards, private and community service organizations.
After working with Michigan non-profits and assisting their development, fundraising, strategic planning, and implementation through my own company, I have developed a unique set of skills and broad experiences. The education sector was my home for the roles and responsibilities of classroom teacher, curriculum developer, Assistant Principal, Principal, and District Director before becoming an independent Educational Consultant. In the following decade, my efforts have been in the areas of organizational growth, strategic partnerships, and board governance. Using the background in operations, scheduling, data research, and creative educational development to assist nonprofit organizations as they do their amazing work for others has been very fulfilling.
And then a global pandemic showed me that doing work for the greater good in my own small circle was simply not enough. Daily, throughout the developing responses to catastrophe, I witnessed the strength and bravery of those willing to shoulder the burdens of others with no thought of personal reward. Their heroic actions prompted me to seek other examples of regular people using their gifts for the betterment of others and the promotion of the greater good. I found these examples quite consistently in the world of nonprofits. My realization emerged that by helping these incredible organizations, I could help far more people succeed at many more graceful and empowering efforts than with my own two hands at work could accomplish.
Finding this team at Nonprofit Network was a blessing. Being asked to join it is a tremendous gift and answer to prayer. My constant goal is to provide perspectives, insight, and strategic guidance toward organizational development and the programming that will build community support. With extensive independent experience as a grant writer, researcher, director, and training program developer in staff, contract, and fully-remote roles, my new endeavor with Nonprofit Network could not find a better foundation than with my new colleagues. I am very honored to be surrounded by such a powerful collection of thought-leaders and their skill and experience is only outshined by the tremendous care with which they exercise their craft. It is my sincere hope that each reader of this message will take advantage of the opportunity to work with the fine people that I am privileged to join. If you knew the degree to which they care, the thought and expertise brought to each initiative and decision, and the potential they see in your organizations and in each of you, there would not be a moment of hesitation in seeking their collaboration. We are truly stronger together.
You can contact us and learn more about Brett and our other staff HERE
We are so excited to present you with one of the newest members of Nonprofit Network's staff— Chris Smith! With extensive experience in nonprofit, public, faith based and senior management, Chris brings his unique perspective to offer nonprofits seeking to make change and build capacity. So we'll let Chris introduce himself.
As part of the new cohort of Capacity Building Consultants I am pleased to be a member of the growing Nonprofit Network team. I believe that each member of the Nonprofit Network team brings a unique and complementary set of skills to the table, which can be leveraged to improve the performance of nonprofit organizations. I have personally served in several roles in the nonprofit, local government, academic and philanthropic sectors for over 30 years.
I served as a chief operating officer for two different local government organizations; served as a grant maker at a large foundation; served on several public boards; serve on the faculty of two universities, and I am currently the board chair for a nonprofit organization based in Grand Rapids.
In addition, I’ve served as a paid consultant to nonprofits and churches for nearly 20 years. I’ve designed community programs and services, prepared grant proposals, prepared strategic and operational plans, and I have served as a coach for nonprofit and public sector senior managers. In each of these roles, I try to draw upon my purposefully diverse array of career experiences to tackle nonprofit and community problems.
The aspect that I enjoy most about my work is the opportunity to engage in highly intellectually stimulating work which allows me to expand my professional gifts of research, analysis, strategy, critical thinking, and problem-solving. I enjoy being part of a team and helping to solve complex problems—particularly those that if resolved will result in a stronger community.
In Paulo Freire’s seminal book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire argues that teachers and professors should not see students as empty vessels into which educators (as the presumed source of knowledge) infuse information in a one-directional interface. In academia, this often manifests as the “sage on a stage” lecture-heavy style of delivering course content. While this method can be self-satisfying for the lecturer, it is often disengaging and ineffective for students. Instead, educators should strive to create a learning environment which encourages students to be active collaborators in their own acquisition of knowledge.
I view nonprofit consulting in the same manner. My role as a consultant is not to have all the answers to the test. In fact, it is often not necessary for me to possess deep expertise in the nonprofit organization’s area of service delivery.
My job as a consultant is to serve as a dispassionate facilitator who may have somewhat of a clearer head and unclouded vision simply because I am not as emotionally attached to the problem at hand. My role is to come prepared with the appropriate analytic tools and to ask the probing questions which may reveal the core problem(s). Once the core issues are revealed, the nonprofit staff (who themselves are the experts) often have the solutions, and only need facilitation in terms of structuring an effective course of action that can address the presenting problem.
I look forward to collaborating with Nonprofit Network’s clients in problem-solving, strategic planning, and building the capacity of your organization to better serve the community.
You can learn more about Chris and our other staff HERE
We are so excited to present you with one of the newest members of Nonprofit Network's staff—Stormy Trotter! With extensive experience in organizational management, board development, communication and consulting, Stormy brings her unique perspective to offer nonprofits seeking to make change and build capacity. We'll let Stormy introduce herself.
Stormy Trotter, PhD.
As the first of four new Capacity Building Consultants with Nonprofit Network, I am excited to start off the with my introductory blog post. It’s a great way for me to share more about my professional experience, as well as provide insight into my perspective on “helping nonprofits succeed.”
First off, I consider myself to be a well-rounded nonprofit enthusiast. I have served mission-oriented organizations in various capacities, from volunteer to Board of Director and many roles in between. The early part of my career was spent in fundraising, event planning, grant writing, marketing, and donor relations. While raising funds and promoting organizations is often a challenging part of nonprofit management, it’s rewarding to feel as though you are directly contributing to the success of the organization.
The time spent creating and building relationships, as well as advocating for services, was really the catalyst for me to take a deeper dive into the nonprofit sector. Not only did I want to help spread messaging and bring in dollars for programs and operations, I wanted to help make a bigger impact overall; to work in purposeful ways to achieve goals. This realization allowed me to branch out and become immersive in strategic planning, board development, community relations/collaborative partnerships etc. As time progressed and my involvement broadened, becoming a consultant was a natural fit. It is this career seat that allows me to work with various nonprofits in multiple ways.
Every nonprofit organization (NPO) is unique with its own characteristics and culture, which means a cookie cutter approach isn’t the most effective way to reach goals and objectives. As an educator and communication specialist, my mission is to help organizations find their voice and use it to propel their mission. Each organization has its own story, its own cause and its own driving force to make a difference. However, too many times, NPO leaders are understaffed, have difficulty transitioning from "for profit" to "nonprofit", struggle with underperforming boards or are just plain burnt out. As a consultant, it is my objective to help reignite the passion in those organizations, or to keep a torch lit as a new leader steps into a role for the first time.
Whatever season, or life cycle a NPO is in, there are ways to be successful and I am driven to help with that accomplishment. I have a wealth of professional and academic experience, but more than that, I have the ability to view situations from a humanizing perspective. I understand the investment and commitment it takes to move NPOs forward, and I look forward to taking the journey with all of you!
You can learn more about Stormy and our other staff HERE
Website collaboration with Courtland Consulting | Sitemap | Staff Login