A bi-weekly update from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.                                        


Leading Today, Transforming Tomorrow

Yesterday, more than 600 nonprofit and business leaders from across Massachusetts gathered at Leading Today, Transforming Tomorrow, MNN's annual conference. This year's conference acknowledged  that now is the time for nonprofits to integrate innovative practices that will help us seize the opportunities of a rapidly changing nonprofit sector.


Attendees were energized and inspired by the conference's morning session. Then theyy gained new skills in workshops led by expert presenters and debated and applied real world solutions in interactive Idea Labs. They found resources to help them be more efficient and effective at the 50 exhibitor tables. And they connected with peers from down the street and across the region.


Yesterday's conference was a wonderful showcase of the intelligence, passion, and commitment that exists in our sector. You can read some of the highlights from the day below.


Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Celebrated for Effect on Nonprofit Sector & Local Community

From the heartfelt stories of appreciation and two booming standing ovations from the crowd, the impact of Beth Smith, Executive Director of the Hyams Foundation, on the nonprofit sector rang loud and clear during yesterday's presentation of MNN's Lifetime Achievement Award.


Ellen Bass, Director, Boston Capacity Tank at the Black Ministerial Alliance, one of the nonprofit leaders who presented Beth with the award, lauded Beth's commitment to diversity and her thoughtful and effective leadership. She also credited Beth with helping her grow personally and professionally: "When was the last time you were able to say 'this foundation not only supported my organization, they helped me be a better person.'"


Nam Pham, Executive Director of VietAID, who was also on stage to present the award, spoke of the Beth's longstanding commitment to Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, noting that when everyone else thought that the Fields Corner neighborhood was a "lost cause," Beth and the Hyams Foundation rose to the challenge.




Stories of Innovation and Change 

MNN's annual conference kicked-off with tales of social innovation from four impressive and inspiring leaders who used stories and examples to reveal innovative ways to invest in and utilize technology, financial resources, infrastructure, and leadership management. Their inspiring words of wisdom set the tone for the conference's full day of learning, sharing and connecting. Here are just some of our favorite take-aways:


Keep Moving

Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter led the session and set the tone for the day with an inspiring address filled with her personal mantras for social innovation. Professor Kanter reminded the audience of nonprofit leaders the importance of working together and taking deliberate action. She insisted that "to get more successes, you need more failures," and encouraged everyone to always keep moving: "Just do it, learn from it, and fix it later." Professor Kanter urged the nonprofit community to "act bigger than you are... It's not swaggering, it's not bravado, it's not arrogance; it's a vision that is much bigger that what's in place today."


Don't Live in the Past

Third Sector Capital CEO and Co-Founder George Overholser tracked the progress of innovation through history and shared new funding concepts for nonprofits. Overholser joked that if music advanced at the same rate as government funding we'd all still be listening to Meatloaf on eight-tracks. Instead of government's "fund-what-used-to-work" system, Overholser proposed the "Pay for Success" model and "Social Innovation Financing" - ideas that empower nonprofit work and are quickly gaining traction.


Empower the Masses with Technology

John Werner, Head of Innovation & New Ventures at the MIT Media Lab, discussed how his project TEDxBeaconStreet, a version of TEDx, came to be and what other nonprofits can learn from its model. Werner emphasized the need to harness technology-especially video- to create and share lifelong learning, cross-generational storytelling, and collaboration."


Collaboration Over Competition

Tiffany Cooper Gueye, CEO of BELL, shared a story of the interaction that showed her the importance of nonprofits working together: After announcing BELL's plans to expand to a new region, Cooper Gueye was confronted by other nonprofits: "Why are you coming here? Why would you compete with us for already limited resources in our area?" After the unfriendly welcome, BELL decided to collaborate with the local YMCA and now runs a very successful program ( you can view a video of the collaboration). BELL's CEO urged the crowd to focus on the benefits of collaboration within the nonprofit sector, rather than forcing competition that depletes resources and distracts from the mission.


MNN's Rick Jakious closed the morning session by asking storytellers what advice they would offer to small nonprofits trying to make a difference. John Werner urged nonprofit leaders to get all stakeholders involved in the process of innovation and to remember to have fun with the work. This advice, along with all the stories shared, reminded us all that the nonprofit sector, even as it wrestles with new ideas and challenges, has the opportunity to benefit from a sense of joy and purpose.


The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network holds regional meetings across the state in order to share, and solicit, input and ideas with leaders in the state's nonprofit sector. The meetings are an opportunity for local nonprofit leaders to gain tools and techniques as well as network and discuss issues facing the sector in their region.

Election Day is Tuesday!
Tuesday, November 4 is election day and MNN encourages all Massachusetts residents to cast their vote. Here are some resources to help you and your constituents:
-Ballot questions are an important and highly debated component of the election but can be confusing. Here's an explanation of the questions. 
-Don't wind up in the wrong place! Find your polling place here.
-Learn where the candidates stand on issues impacting the nonprofit sector in MNN's gubernatorial questionnaire.


Community Organizer, Boston Cyclists Union

Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Brockton

Director of Development and Planning, Community Action Agency of Somerville

Associate Vice President, Health Resources in Action

Grant Writer, Coalition for a Better Acre 

Senior Associate, Center for Social Innovation
Director of Major Gift, Horizons for Homeless Children

Development Director, Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School

Executive Director, Public Conversations Director

Marketing Manager, The Boston Foundation

Administrative Coordinator, Massachusetts Service Alliance

Associate Vice President, Health Resources in Action, Inc.

Community Organizer, Boston Cyclists Union

Executive Director, Lowell Telecommunications Corporation

Chief Operating Officer, Center for Human Development

Manager of Foundation Relations, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Program Officer, Massachusetts Service Alliance

Executive Director, Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets 


Grant & Award Opportunities

Boston Foundation, Due November 25

Trainings & Events 
*Discounts for MNN members

Check out the MNN Community Trainings & Events page for more events!

Fall 2014 Mediation Training, East Cambridge, October 30 - November 7
*2014 Election AnalysisHolyoke, October 31

Support Staff and Strengthen You Small Nonprofit, Southeast MA, Nov. 6

*Effective Supervision, Boston, November 6

*Quickbooks Made Easy Seminar, Boston, November 6 (email membership@massnonprofitnet.org for MNN member discount code)

Rocking the Boat Without Falling Out: Creating Positive Change at Work, Boston, Nov. 6

Boston Facilitators Roundtable for Nonprofit Executives, Boston, November 7 (Email jen.stine@saroga.org for more info)

Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod, Hyannis, November 12

Boston University INML Seminar for Board Leaders, Boston, November 13, 20, December 4

*Outcomes Management: An Introduction, Metrowest, November 18

Board Duties and Management Responsibilities, Boston, November 19

The Fix: Film and Panel Discussion , November 19

Outcomes Management: An Introduction, Northampton, November 20

Executive/Senior Management Two-day Leadership Retreat, Lenox, December 4 & 5

Outcomes Management: An Introduction, Boston, December 9

Check out MNN's online Professional Directory for companies throughout MA. 


New & Returning Affiliates
*Discounts for MNN members


A dynamic and experienced team of insurance professionals dedicated to delivering quality services to their clients. Their goal is to help clients effectively manage risk through insured solutions, self-insured solutions, or a combination of both.
A strategic partner with a proven record of helping nonprofit professionals chart direction and facilitate change; analyze and address staffing, funding, and board challenges; strengthen leadership, management, and strategic skills; improve working relationships; and more.
An easy to use and affordable web-based Donor Management system that allows you to manage and communicate with donors and record and analyze donations. Advanced features allow you to set up campaigns, assign and track tasks, manage prospects, and more. *20% off quarterly and annual subscription rates

Senior level accounting and financial management services on an as-needed basis. They have experience with a variety of accounting and financial software and their work includes, financial forecasting, audit preparation, cash flow management.
A law firm that advises and represents nonprofits in all areas of law with an emphasis on labor, employment, and employee benefits as well as matters regarding dealings with state, municipal, and governmental entities. 
A commercial Bank that specializes in lending to nonprofit organizations.
A small, progressive, full-service law firm that offers legal advice, counsel, advocacy and full representation for non-profit corporations. They represent clients in a variety of matters including non-profit formation and incorporation, contract drafting and negotiation, workplace policies, liability protection, purchasing and leasing of real estate, technology concerns and more. *20% discount
Helps nonprofits and municipalities raise more money to provide important services to the community. Specialties include: grant proposal writing; grant research; direct mail appeals; strategic planning; development strategies; and proposal-writing workshops.
Consults with nonprofits to make the most of digital resources and help tell great stories about their work and impact. From website builds to development of new digital tools , or social media campaigns, RTF manages all the details to insure each project is not merely completed but completed to satisfaction.
A full service printing and marketing company providing everything under one roof: offset and screen printing, promotional and trade show products, design and mailing service. *Free delivery in MA
IT support and service packages tailored specifically to nonprofits' needs. With extensive experience partnering with local organizations, they provide nonprofit organizations with complete IT support and cloud services, and serve as a 24/7/365 IT help desk. 
The global leader in providing part-time CFO services to small- and medium-size enterprises. A part-time CFO can provide large enterprise experience, at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO.*10% discount on standard day rates

New & Returning Nonprofit Members
MNN's work is made possible by The Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation & State Street Foundation.
If you'd like to share a story or have a job, grant or other information that is important to Massachusetts nonprofits, contact llynch@massnonprofitnet.org .