Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,
I’m often asked why I’ve chosen to work within the nonprofit sector – my answer to this question varies slightly but the takeaway is always because I believe in the mission of the organization. I explain the good work that the sector does and my passion for the work – it’s an honest answer. I’ve recently realized that while this answer is accurate, it’s also incomplete.
I think I can speak for most of us that pre-pandemic, our lives looked very different. Our schedules were packed – in addition to work and family – our calendars were full. We were showing up to networking events, happy hours, fundraisers, galas, coffee meetings, work dinners, and more. Many of us were working more than 8 hours per day, going to work-related or work-adjacent events in our “free” time, managing personal obligations, and more. Nobody thought this type of schedule was sustainable, but nobody seemed to know how to break out of the cycle – the “extras” like networking or showing up for a fellow nonprofits event or attending all the galas that you get invited to were taking over your life, but this part of your work also mattered. I heard many people lament that they wanted a free evening or they needed a break from the work outside of work, but nobody seemed to know how to do that or think it was a real possibility. And then, March of 2020 rolled around and that decision was suddenly made for us all.
The pandemic (and all of the things the pandemic brought to light) has had many of us re-evaluating what is important, what is sustainable at work and outside of work, how we can (and should) set boundaries, and where our priorities (personally, professionally, societally) need to be adjusted. I believe that these changes are necessary and they’ve been a long time coming – none of the issues are new or surprising – but the last few years have done a great job of shining a big spotlight on them all. As we are all stepping back from feeling like we have to do everything, I’ve been feeling isolated and I’ve been hearing echoes of the same sentiment across nonprofit staff and volunteers. By not having the opportunity or showing up for these events – the happy hours, the art openings, the galas, the read-a-thons – we aren’t as connected to our colleagues and communities across the sector, which hasn’t felt good. On the flip side, I know that I cannot go back to every day starting at 7 a.m. and not ending until 11 p.m. because I’m so overscheduled. Creating the balance of priorities and setting boundaries seems to be incompatible with feeling like I’m missing the “extras” that clogged up my calendar for years.
This tug-of-war around wanting to create more space in my life outside of work but also feeling isolated in the sector without showing up in the same way, made me realize that I work within the non-profit sector because I care about communities. I care about the community I live in; I care about the communities that the nonprofits I’ve worked for (currently and in the past) serve, and I deeply care about the community of folks who work and volunteer at nonprofit organizations. It’s that last community, those who work and volunteer at nonprofits, that feel more absent from my life than they were before. All nonprofit employees are expert community builders – we engage with the communities we serve every day. For many of us, this is exhausting, hard, and emotional work. I think the work gets better and easier when we have a strong network of colleagues in the sector to share it with – it’s important to show up for each other and just like building community is essential what we do for our organizations every day – building community is just as essential for us to do for ourselves.
So, how do we build community amongst our colleagues across the sector without falling back into the overscheduled version of ourselves? The real (and uninspiring) answer is I don’t know. But, it’s something that the staff at NAO is trying to figure out. In the coming months, a big focus of ours is both bringing our incredible learning programs back to in-person sessions and finding a few of those to attend is a great start to reconnecting with each other face-to-face. As NAO’s Director of Membership, I am going to be exploring the balance and how to (re)build community and (re)connect with each other in ways that feel healthy and fulfilling. I hope you’ll consider joining NAO, in addition to the valuable benefits and resources our membership provides, a membership is one small step that you can take to participate and build the community we all need.
Director of Membership, Communications, and Advancement
If any organizations are interested in improving access to biking at their locations, or providing bikes or safety gear for community members, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has opened applications for "micro-grants", up to $5k for things like:
- Community Events (e.g. Sunday Streets, Open Streets events)
- Safety education and awareness activities and programs to inform pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists on ped/bike safety
- Maps (for pedestrians/bicyclists/transit)
- Signage for pedestrian or bicycle routes
- Bicycle helmets (tied to safety promotion)
- Bicycle parking (bike racks or lockers)
- Bicycle repair station (air pump, simple tools)
- Any other projects that increase equitable access to climate-friendly forms of transportation and make it easier for people to walk, bike, and roll, rideshare or take transit.
Grant applications will be judged based on how well they meet the needs of "historically excluded groups". This opportunity is not just for transportation organizations, but any nonprofit that can benefit from better access to more energy-efficient transportation. More info on the ODOT grant and application here.
NAO's Upcoming Learning and Convening Opportunities
NAO Workshops (In-person)
Investing in Change: Foundation Support for Lobbying and Other Advocacy
September 23, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. | Presenter: Quyen Tu, Bolder Advocacy at Alliance For Justice
Location: Northwest Health Foundation in Portland. Virtual option available.
Private and public foundations can play an important role in advocacy by engaging in advocacy themselves and funding their grantees to advocate on their issues. The workshop is designed for foundation staff and trustees. After this workshop, your foundation will have a clear understanding of the kinds of advocacy activities you can safely engage in and best practices for grantmaking to give your grantees the most flexibility under the law for their advocacy efforts. Not sure how to make the case for funding advocacy? Uncertain whether you can fund grantees that lobby? Wondering whether your public or private foundation can speak out on a particular issue? This training answers these questions and more! More details and registration information here.
Nonprofit Advocacy Training – Members Only
September 24, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Presenter: Quyen Tu, Bolder Advocacy at Alliance For Justice
Location: Old Town Recovery Center in Portland. Virtual option available.
This six-hour intensive in-person training is perfect for nonprofits interested in developing and elevating their advocacy program. The training is two workshops rolled into one that’s designed for both nonprofit board members and staff to participate together! You’ll learn about the lobbying and election year activities that nonprofits can engage in just in time for the 2022 General Election, 2023 state and federal legislative sessions. More details and registration information here.
Recession-Proofing Your Fundraising through Outstanding Stewardship
October 4, 11 – 12 p.m. | Presenter: Laurel McCombs, The Osborne Group
Retaining donors should always be an important goal for nonprofits, but in times of uncertainty it is an absolute necessity. A base of loyal donors helps sustain the organization and fuel your major gift pipeline, but most organizations are tapping into only a fraction of stewardship’s power. In this workshop, we’ll discuss retention, communication, and engagement strategies that weave stewardship into everything you do. You’ll walk away with an action plan, fresh doable ideas, and tons of inspiration and motivation to help you close out the year! More details and registration information here.
Board Bright: Governance Roles & Responsibilities
October 6, 3- 4:30 p.m. | Presenter: Jenn Clemo, NAO
In this 90-minute webinar, participants will learn about the fundamentals of nonprofit governance and gain an understanding of the board’s role in the management of the organization. This webinar is part of NAO’s Board Bright Series – a quarterly board training designed for emerging and seasoned board members alike, and anyone else looking for a governance refresh. Free to NAO members! More details and registration information here.
Growing a Culture of Care (3-Part Series)
October 11 – December 6, 12 – 1 p.m. | Presenter: Emily Squires, Reimagine Everything
How do we create, grow and strengthen an internal organizational culture of genuine care and support? This three-part series will ask you to reflect on and share your current organizational practices and experiences. Together, we will workshop practical skills including practices for group gatherings (October), deep listening (November), and Employee Resource Groups/affinity spaces (December). Participants will leave each session with practical tips to try and specific resources for ongoing learning and practice. More details and registration information here.
Effective Board Management for Meaningful Engagement
October 11, 13 and November 15, 2-4 p.m. | Presenter: Sarah Spangler, NAO
Board Service can be challenging to navigate! In this webinar, we will discuss the finer details of board management including: how to differentiate the role of staff versus board, tips for running effective meetings that move the work forward, and an exploration of how to have productive conversations amongst your various teams - especially when those conversations generate conflict. This webinar is part of NAO's Springboard Series - a cluster of trainings designed for rural nonprofits. Are you a rural nonprofit in one of the counties below? Register today!
Grant Writing: Keys to a Successful Foundation Proposal (4-Part Virtual Series)
October 18 – November 8, 9 – 10:30 a.m. | Facilitator: Hannah Cortez, The Dotted i
In this series, we will offer hands-on learning activities, peer networking, and expert knowledge on grant readiness, grant research, proposal writing, and grant management. In addition to in-class instruction, participants will have weekly homework to deepen learning and have direct access to course trainers for feedback and support. This is the perfect introduction to foundation proposal writing for small and rural nonprofits and those new to grant writing. More details and registration information here.
Time Management Hacks for the Harried Executive
October 19, 12 - 1 p.m. | Presenter: Kari Anderson, Incite! Consulting
Ever heard the adage "manage your time, or it will manage you"? Do you feel like you're on a never-stopping hamster wheel of perpetual Mondays? Kari Anderson, a former nonprofit executive, will share tips and tools that helped her move from survive to thrive in her 20+ year career in the sector. More details and registration information here.
Creating an Annual Fundraising Plan (That You Can Actually Stick To!)
October 25, 27 and November 29, 2 - 4 p.m. | Presenter: Sarah Spangler, NAO
When it comes to fundraising, it can feel like we're simultaneously overwhelmed with tasks, and yet, still not doing enough. In this session, we'll provide you with the tools to build an efficient, effective, and realistic annual fundraising calendar. Planning quarter by quarter, you'll be able to plan a year's worth of fundraising that features effective solicitation, heartfelt donor stewardship, and meaningful relationship development. This webinar is part of NAO's Springboard Series - a cluster of trainings designed for rural nonprofits.
Are you a rural nonprofit in one of the counties below? Register today!
Functional Forecasting: Taking Control of Cash Flow
November 8, 10 and December 13, 2 - 4 p.m. | Jenn Clemo, NAO
Many organizations find themselves at the mercy of their finances, instead of the other way around. In this 2-hour webinar, participants will do a deep dive to explore how cash flows in and out of an organization. Through hands-on activities, templates, and break-out conversations, we'll build the skills and confidence that nonprofit leaders need to better manage precious financial resources. This webinar is part of NAO's Springboard Series - a cluster of trainings designed for rural nonprofits.
Are you a rural nonprofit in one of the counties below? Register today!
Board Bright: Finance Fundamentals
November 15, 3-4:30 p.m. | Presenter: Jenn Clemo, NAO
Join us for an overview of basic financial principles including board member responsibilities, understanding restrictions, reviewing your statements for key financial indicators, and internal controls. Please note that this webinar provides fundamentals-level overview that is most appropriate for new board members, emerging nonprofit leaders, or those looking for a refresh of the basics. Free to NAO members! More details and registration information here.
Hope is not a Strategy - Defining What's MOST Important in Your Work
November 16, 12 - 1 p.m. | Presenter: Kari Anderson, Incite! Consulting
Are you great with a task list, but struggle making decisions about the work that will most impact your mission? Is the word "yes" a perpetual staple in your vocabulary, when you should be saying "no" more often in order to achieve your goals? Kari Anderson, a former nonprofit executive, will share how she cuts through the clutter to ensure the most important work is done, and will share resources for you to use in your daily work. More details and registration information here.
Making Board Service Palatable
December 7, 12 - 1 p.m. | Presenter: Kari Anderson, Incite! Consulting
As a generation of board members exit their volunteer roles, it's time to get serious about rethinking board service. There are scores of young professionals who have the skills and energy that your nonprofit needs. Are you creating an inviting space for them at your board table? Kari Anderson, a former nonprofit executive, will share critical insight, ideas, and perspectives from those "under the age of 50" to make your board roles both doable and exciting. More details and registration here.
Board Bright: Engaging Your Board in Fundraising
December 15, 3-4:30 p.m. | Presenter: Jenn Clemo, NAO
A well-prepared and passionate board is essential to successful fundraising. This 90-minute addition to the Board Bright series will provide strategies for setting your board up for fundraising success. Learn how to create fundraising expectations from the get-go, increase your board's understanding of the organization's revenue needs, find ways for everyone to play a role, and build board ambassadors for your cause. Free to NAO members! More details and registration here.
NAO’s Virtual Nonprofit Cohorts
Good Ground: A Natural Way to Normalize Wellness in Work Culture (8-Part Session)
October 17 – December 12, 12 – 1:15 p.m. | Facilitator: Erica Briggs, NAO
The resilience of nonprofit organizations is being tested, challenging us to overcome and recover from extreme disruption and change. As individuals, we now live and work in a present-day that can feel unsafe and uncertain. This can create feelings of dread and anxiety, making it difficult to make strategic decisions about the future. Mental and emotional burdens can seep into the cultural foundation of an organization, sowing burnout, “quiet quitting,” and difficulty hiring new staff. How do we find a new normal when the ground keeps shifting? How do we honor the wellness of people in our organization and still get the work done? We cultivate good ground in which to grow as an organization in a complex world, and as complicated humans creating the culture in our organizations. More details and registration information here.
Building Systems that Streamline, Strengthen and Scale Our Work (5-Part Session)
November 3 – December 8, 2 – 3:15 p.m. | Facilitator: Sarah Spangler, NAO
From fundraising to program management, to volunteer coordination, and beyond – all of our work is powered by systems. But what is the difference between a system that propels us forward and one that bogs us down? Join Sarah Spangler, Nonprofit Education Specialist at NAO, as we take a close look at the unique processes currently in place in each of our organizations. With the help of peer-to-peer discussions, guided exercises, and other tips and tricks, you will learn how to take inventory of your systems, determine which ones can and should be improved, evaluate the performance of your systems on an ongoing basis, and understand how to strategically scale them through periods of growth or change. More details and registration information here.
NAO Regional Networks (In-person)
We’re excited welcome back NAO’s in-person regional networks! Join us for a session in Bend, Corvallis, Medford, Portland or Springfield. All events below are Member Pass eligible. Registration is still required using your personalized Member Pass discount code. Save over $200 by purchasing a Member Pass before October 31, 2022.
Managing Financials with an Operational Mindset
September 28, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Presenter: Megan Fries, Frenzy to Freedom
Location: Deschutes Children's Foundation, Bend
We generally start or lead a non-profit because we are passionate about a cause and want to make a difference, not because we love to wear ALL the hats. Financial management is one of the key areas to gauge success, create plans for growth, and demonstrate our effectiveness as an organization. Truly an area we can all use some support. This session on Managing Financials with an Operational Mindset walks us through financial aspects that will strengthen the operations of your organization. More details and registration information here.
Empowering Your Team to Lead with Emotional Intelligence
October 12, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Presenter: Chris Cook, Capiche Communications
Location: ACCESS Olsrud Family Nutrition Center, Medford
Is your organization ready to enhance its performance, boost productivity, and skyrocket creativity? This hands-on workshop will explain and demonstrate the essential tools and framework to develop relationship systems intelligence and lead an intelligent team. Participants will acquire and practice leadership tools to harness your team’s collective potential to create a “we” vs. “me” mentality. More details and registration information here.
Engaging Your Board in Fundraising: A Mission-based Approach
October 18, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Presenter: Grady Goodall, OSU's College of Liberal Arts
Location: Alvord-Taylor, Springfield
Effective fundraising is a team sport, and it can be frustrating to feel like too much of your team is still on the bench. Board members can be some of our most powerful ambassadors, storytellers, and fundraisers - and yet many feel underprepared to fully participate in the fundraising process. In this session, we'll cover strategies to help staff engage board members in fundraising activities so that everyone shares the workload - and the success. More details and registration information here.
Nonprofit Advocacy: Why Nonprofits and Why Now?
October 20, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Presenter: Phillip Kennedy-Wong, NAO
Location: Corvallis Community Center, Corvallis
Communities are going through unprecedented change. Oregon is making important decisions in the coming months about state leadership at all levels. Nonprofits have the right to educate civic leaders on the role our organizations play in our communities to help them make most informed public policy decisions. Join us for an informative discussion on the importance of nonprofit advocacy during a time of social upheaval and unpredictable political challenges.
More details and registration information here.
Board Governance Plans: What Are They and How Do They Help
October 26, 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. | Presenters: Jen and Tim Rusk, Rusk Coaching & Consulting
Location: Deschutes Children's Foundation, Bend
This session focuses on exploring the benefits of a Board Governance Plan that clearly communicates the expectations, responsibilities, and protocols for all those involved in the governance function of a nonprofit. A Board Governance Plan is an opportunity for board members to define their culture, agree on how they will work together, set up how they will measure success, establish an orientation process, and calendar the work they need to do over the course of a year. More details and registration information here.
Trauma-Informed Care: Next Steps
November 2, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Presenter: Reba Smith, M.S., Consultant
Location: ACCESS Olsrud Family Nutrition Center, Medford
Resilience is becoming the new buzzword for how to navigate our stress-filled lives. But, what does resilience in action look like? In this session, you will: learn practical, simple ways to promote resilience and trauma-informed care; explore the main areas in your organization that can be targeted for improvement; examine the influence individuals have in shifting your culture; and gain skills to support yourself, staff and clients. More details and registration information here.
Guided by our Values: Value-driven Leadership and Intentional Workplace Culture
November 3, 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. | Presenter: Chris Wallace Caldwell, MA, Catalysis LLC
Location: Ecotrust, Portland
As nonprofit leaders we often talk about being value-driven. And we often (but not always) have a set of organizational values. But how do we use and lean into our values to help us make decisions, work through dilemmas, and create the workplace culture we truly want? What would it look like if we set out to create a workplace culture that helps us all feel a sense of belonging to bring our best work? This is becoming even more critical as our workspaces respond to changes brought on by the pandemic, reckonings with systemic racism and social inequities, and shifts in how we approach work life balance. This workshop is for leaders who want to operationalize what it means to be "value-driven" and who are ready to create an intentional approach to workplace culture. More details and registration here.
Optimizing the Board & Executive Director Relationship
December 6, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Presenter: Jenn Clemo, NAO
Location: Alvord-Taylor, Springfield
The board/executive director relationship is among the most critical for an organization to be successful. This relationship is not effortless, but the reward is a results-driven partnership that is productive, enjoyable, and consistently in support of the organization’s mission. This session, participants will examine board/executive director roles and the division of labor between governing and managing. Participants will also learn about essential elements of a good board/executive director relationship as well as optimal elements of a great, high-performing leadership team. More details and registration information here.
Making Time for Reflection, Especially When It Feels Impossible
December 14, 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. | Presenter: Amy Varga, President, The Varga Group
Location: Ecotrust, Portland
When it comes to leadership, there’s a paradox: if you want to have greater impact – faster – you have to slow down enough to reflect on where you’re going, what you’re doing, and how you’re showing up as a leader. In this highly interactive and engaging workshop, you will explore why reflection is essential to effective leadership; how you can harness the power of reflection for yourself and your team; and how to make time for reflection when it feels impossible to pack one more thing in. More details and registration here.
Thank you to the following FUNDERS and SPONSORS who are supporting NAO’s online events and communications during these challenging times. Their support is vital in helping NAO to bring much-needed resources and information to Oregon’s nonprofits – thank you.
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