Standing Beside Alaska's Non-Profits

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We are thrilled to have Thaler Pekar with us again for a one-day workshop on story sharing. Those of you who attended our 2012 Leadership Summit gave Thaler high marks for her presentation. During this workshop -- Every Leader Must Share Stories: Developing Your Narrative Intelligence -- Thaler will go beyond the skills and perspectives she shared at the summit and will work with participants on increasing their ability to share stories.

Thaler calls story sharing an “essential skill” for nonprofit leaders because it inspires and moves audiences to take the action you wish them to take. Smart leaders also know that by asking for stories, they can institutionalize core values, share organizational culture, surface and transfer knowledge, and glean otherwise unobtainable insight.

Many leaders, however, are confounded by how and when to share and ask for stories. In this fast-paced, highly interactive program, Thaler takes you deep into understanding what a story really is, and why it matters to your donors, volunteers, staff, and board. You will learn how to find, develop, and share your stories so as to deepen engagement with existing partners and attract new ones. When leaders know what a story is, and how to both share and elicit stories, they communicate at a high advantage.

You’ll leave this workshop able to:

  1. Experience how stories invite conversation and engagement
  2. Fully develop at least one persuasive story, and practice making your donors heroes
  3. Develop your narrative intelligence and leadership.

Thaler’s workshop will be Thursday, October 23, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Anchorage Marriott Hotel. We will allow a break for lunch on your own.


  • Early bird Partner rate until October 3: $95
  • Partner rate Oct 4-Oct 22: $135
  • Standard rate: $200
  • Day of registration Partner rate: $150
  • Day of registration standard rate: $250

You may register by clicking here. Please share this invitation with others you believe will want to attend this workshop.

Posted in Training.    

We have a full schedule of classes resuming this month. Visit our class calendar to see what is available and then register for a class that will fit your needs.

GoToMeeting teleconferences and video conferences must be paid in advance of the class. If we don't have at least seven people registered for a class three working days before it's to be held, we have to cancel it.

If you are interested in a class that is not currently scheduled, please contact Vicki Lewis at and she will be pleased to help you. If you have questions, you may contact us by email,, or by phone at 907-743-1200.

Posted in President's letter.    

According to a long-term study on nonprofit executive retention, the role of the chief professional officer in nonprofits is becoming less and less attractive. While most executives report that the parts of their job that focus on mission-related activities remains very fulfilling, the rest of their duties are less than satisfactory. An alarming number of executives report that they plan to quit their jobs in less than three years. During a period when a leadership deficit is inevitable because Baby Boom executives are reaching retirement age, efforts to identify how to better support nonprofit leadership should be an emphasis for boards and funders. Read more of Dennis's thoughts here.

Are you looking for an inspiring and knowledge-packed day to increase your skills in securing major gifts? The Washington Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals invites Alaska board members, CEOs, and development officers to attend its annual symposium on October 10 in Seattle.

Top fundraisers from around the country will share their insights on successful major gift strategies. Take your questions to Seattle and come back with renewed enthusiasm for ways to support your organization’s mission.

Click here for more information on sessions and speakers.

The Nonprofit Finance Fund, in collaboration with the National Council of Nonprofits, has released findings from its 2014 State of the Sector Survey. The fund concluded that "the economic recovery is leaving behind many nonprofits and communities in need," and found that:

  • 80% of respondents reported an increase in demand for services, the 6th straight year of increased demand.
  • 56% were unable to meet demand in 2013—the highest reported in the survey’s history.
  • Only 11% expect 2014 to be easier than 2013 for the people they serve.

We urge you to view the full report. We also hope you will read the perspective of the Council on the findings. 

By the way, 93 Alaska organizations participated in the survey. Thanks to everyone who took time to contribute the Alaska perspective to this important piece of research.

The Foraker Group Salary & Benefits Survey© for 2014 is now available. One-third of our Partners participated, and overall participation was sustained over 2012.

Survey results include:

  • Spreadsheets – aggregate and break-out – for salaries
  • Graphs and tables for benefits
  • Comparisons to previous survey results
  • Major trends in benefits
  • Changes in health care costs and compensation

Benefit graphs are shown in aggregate for 2014. Benefit tables also provide additional detail and a second way to review the range of practices among our nonprofits.

If your organization participated in the survey, please contact us at 907-743-1200 to purchase the results at the discounted rate.  If you were not able to participate, click here to purchase your copy.

Posted in Foraker News.    

Rasmuson Foundation, EmcArts, the Foraker Group, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts are pleased to launch a new program for and with Alaska’s arts and cultural organizations, New Pathways | Alaska

There is a new section on our website that highlights information about the program, the approach and rationale for this work, a description of the program’s structure, and the application form.  This program is provided at no financial cost to selected participants – it only requires time and commitment from the leadership of your organization.

If you have any questions about New Pathways | Alaska, please do not hesitate to contact Jonella Larson White at the Foraker Group, at or 907-743-1200.

We want to call your attention to scholarship opportunities for a special event coming to Seattle this November – the 2014 Independent Sector National Conference, November 16-18, at the Sheraton Seattle.

This conference is the premiere networking event in the charitable sector, bringing together grantmakers and nonprofits of all sizes. It will be packed with sessions on everything from the next generation of evaluation to crafting your organization’s stories to a first look at what the 2016 election means for our sector.

It will also feature plenaries from major thought leaders, debates on new trends with issue experts, networking events, and a special reception at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Independent Sector is making available scholarships to attend the conference, which are designed especially for small and medium-sized nonprofits. You can find more information about the scholarship program, along with the application, on the website.

We encourage you to consider attending this conference. It’s close to home and you could be eligible for a scholarship that would help cut your costs.

Board work continues to evolve. Thirty years ago board norms were different. Boards met monthly. They used a strong executive committee that met between board meetings to manage the executive director's actions – EDs made few decisions without the board's permission. Only on rare occasions did the board or executive committee meet by phone. There were no faxes – board packets were sent by mail.

Communications has drastically changed, and Dennis has some thoughts on just that. Read more here.

This year we are partnering with Independent Sector, the leadership network for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations, to bring its 2014 National Conference to Seattle on November 16-18. The conference will feature programs highlighting the sector’s biggest names, alongside breakout sessions focused on the most complex questions of the day. With pre-conference sessions targeted to emerging leaders and policy pros, and a full conference roster of cutting-edge content for professionals and executives, the IS conference will arm leaders with the knowledge and connections they need to work toward the greater good in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, across the country and around the world.

On-line registration is now open. Foraker Partners are entitled to receive a discounted registration rate. To learn more, visit the conference website or contact Liz Culkin at  You can view registration rates, a tentative schedule, and see more about this year’s and past conferences.

When registering, please use the following code to receive your Partner discount:

  • PartnerFG for the main conference
  • NGENFG for the NGEN Pre-conference
  • PPAIFG for the Public Policy Pre-conference

Hope to see you there.

Dennis McMillian
President, The Foraker Group

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