Engage with experts and peers in these interactive sessions during which you’ll explore and debate real world solutions. Learn more about the topics below and click on the photos to read about the presenters. (You can view a PDF version here.)
Building a Healthy, Effective Board (and What to do if You Don’t Have one)
This interactive, participatory session will help smaller not for profit organizations identify and brainstorm ways to engage new and current Board members to understand their roles and responsibilities as Trustees of The Mission. The session will explore topics such as what does healthy board do (and not do), the board’s fundraising role, setting realistic expectations for board members, and how to create the best working relationship between the board and the executive director. This 75 minutes Session will help you understand what a healthy, effective and productive board can and should be!
Building Together: Sharing Space & Staffing for Impact
More and more organizations are working across traditional organizational boundaries to share office space and administrative services collaboratively – why? – to stabilize operations, amplify missions and create collective impact. Join us to take a closer look at how these strategies really work, the unique features, governance structures, staffing and revenue models involved. This workshop will highlight findings from the first-ever evaluation of shared space conducted by The Nonprofit Centers Network. It will also discuss examples of best practices, including local examples of nonprofit centers and collaborative services for large and small organizations. Throughout the session, participants will participate in discussions and exercises to reflect on their own organizations and the potential to share resources.
Collaborating for Social Change
Our traditional methods of solving social problems are not working. Increasingly, communities, groups and organizations are finding ways to come together and develop new ways of overcoming shared challenges and achieving common goals.
Building productive partnerships can be fraught with obstacles. Under the best of circumstances cross-sector partnerships between public/government, business and civil society groups can be more effective than single-sector initiatives in addressing societal challenges and achieving impact. But these collaborations do not always come easily. Whether you are working with large-scale organizations or with local, community-led groups to coordinate solutions to persistent societal problems, there are some concrete ways to build effective partnerships with a shared vision, open communications, full stakeholder participation and trust.
Join representatives from Collective Impact, Collaborate Boston and the Inclusion Initiative for a discussion of innovative models and approaches to developing cross-sector collaborations, networks and partnerships for greater social impact.
Communicating Your Organization’s Mission Through Storytelling
What is your mission? Who are your strategic partners to help achieve it? What are you asking them to do? Communicating your organizational identity is about more than a catchy brand and sleek logo. America’s most iconic and memorable brands are ones that are communicated through stories. Stories shape the way we see the world. They influence our personal and professional identities and impact how we interact with other people. Storytelling is as much an art form as it is a skill – a skill that can be learned, honed, and perfected. This interactive workshop will help you identify your key audiences, apply the arch of storytelling to your organizational brand, and explore ways to use your brand story in every aspect of communicating. Most importantly, you will learn how to use the art of storytelling to reshape the way you and your stakeholders talk about your cause, your mission and the people you serve.
Creating Mutually Beneficial Nonprofit-Corporate Partnerships
This interactive session will discuss multiple ways for non-profits to partner with businesses to create mutual benefit. We will begin by defining “partnerships” and exploring the potential benefits to a non-profit and to a corporate partner. The session will also describe the process of building partnerships, and engage the group in discussion and participation over such questions as: How do you think about your intended goals? How to identify the right partners? What are the steps to creating the partnership? How to structure them so they achieve the desired impact? How to monitor/build the partnership over time? The session will bring in some real world examples of successful partnerships and identify the reasons for their success. Additionally, we will explore potential pitfalls/risks and how to avoid them. The session will be highly interactive, with opportunities for participants to discuss and develop their own ideas about potential partnerships and get feedback from the group and the facilitator.
Financial Sustainability: Myth or Reality?
Social impact bonds, social enterprises, pay for success, social financing, business models, etc. In this session we will explore the never ending request from funders for grantees to show they will be financially sustainable without them and the reality of just how hard that is. Participants will learn about and discuss the challenges of different approaches and together will consider a unified set of recommendations to turn myth into reality.
Making the Case for Change: Tools for Change Leadership
The rate of change in the nonprofit sector is accelerating. So how do nonprofit leaders lead change? Many argue that leading change has become the critical leadership skill. It is the skill to articulate a vision, garner stakeholder buy-in, and design an actionable path forward that enables organizations to transform. Organizations that develop this capability become future-ready. In this hands-on Idea Lab, participants will learn a framework and toolkit for leading change. Participants will analyze one key program or business in their organization, learning to make the case for change by:
- Distinguishing between different kinds of change initiatives;
- Clarifying key capabilities required to develop, sell and deliver their value proposition;
- Logic-testing their current system-of-roles;
- Identifying the current primary constraint—and thus the highest-return investment
Navigating an Outcomes-Based World; Considerations for Investment Readiness and Participation in Pay For Success
Pay for Success and the world of Social Impact Bonds is an emerging field of nonprofit finance, gaining a great deal of momentum and attention. As opportunities to connect to outcomes based payment structures grow, this Idea Lab will create the opportunity to reflect on how your organization might consider how to participate. NFF will do some context setting with the 2014 NFF State of the Sector Survey to provide awareness of the issues facing nonprofit organizations nationwide, as well as provide updates from the field in the world of pay for success financing. Using the framework of complete capital, NFF will facilitate a working session to think through the key elements and systems structures that support an organization’s ability to be ready for investment through a pay for success transaction, and ultimately, ability to make impact in their mission area. Complete capital encompasses:
- Intellectual Capital: Are we collecting data to measure the work we do and the outcomes we enable?
- Financial Capital: Do we have the financial stability to participate in outcomes-based funding opportunities/requirements? To continue to effectively deliver programs?
- Human Capital: Do we have the resources we need to effectively deliver and perhaps grow our programs?
- Social Capital: Are we prepared to partner with other providers in the community to amplify impact and to participate in multi-stakeholder opportunities?
NFF will also share real client case studies to help bring the material to life and allow participants to more fully engage.
Strategic Growth and Innovative Financing
When should we scale our organization? What type of organizational and financial restructuring would this require? How do we best access and leverage existing and available capital? Through a combination of presentation and facilitated discussion, participants in this idea lab will gain an understanding of what is required for an organization to scale, and leave with concrete fiscal and operational strategies for scaling successfully.
Why Impact Matters: Are We Really Helping, and How Do We Know?
Roca’s journey to becoming a high performing, effective nonprofit started many years ago when they began asking a critical question—“are we helping young people change their lives, and how do we know?” After realizing that, in spite of their dedication and hard work, Roca was not helping very high risk young people change behaviors to improve their lives to a significant degree, Roca took stock and rethought what they were doing. Simply creating a place for young people to belong or be engaged in activities wasn’t good enough. Rather, Roca realized it needed to be better at executing its mission to move the young people they served to meaningful outcomes. In order to help very high-risk young people change and learn new behaviors, Roca had to change.
Participants in this session will have the opportunity to hear about Roca’s journey and will engage in important conversations about how the organization developed a practice and culture of performance management and data in order to become more effective in supporting those they serve.