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Latest news, alerts, and events.

Jan 15, 2021
Posted Under: Foraker News

In commemoration of Dr. King’s lifelong commitment to civil society and equity, may we each take time to lean into our role of making our country a safer and more equitable place for everyone. Dr. King reminded us that true democracy requires full participation – each of us doing our part to stand for equity and justice. The Foraker office will be closed on Monday as we reflect and commit again to our own role in creating and sustaining just and welcoming nonprofits that serve our communities.

 

Jan 14, 2021
Posted Under: Advocacy COVID

If you missed the National Council of Nonprofits webinar What’s in the New COVID Relief Law for Nonprofits? You can find a recording of the presentation, the slides, and additional resources on their website. As several of the presenters mentioned, Congress is debating additional COVID relief and federal agencies and departments – particularly the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department – are in the process of answering questions and implementing the law enacted at the end of 2020. You can help the nonprofit advocacy efforts to secure additional legislative solutions and helpful guidance by completing the brief form: Let us know how COVID-19 is affecting your nonprofit.

Jan 11, 2021
Posted Under: COVID

For those organizations that did not apply for COVID relief through the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a second round begins today.

Key provisions include:

  • Borrowers can set the covered period of their PPP loan to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their needs
  • Loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures
  • Eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations
  • Greater flexibility is provided for seasonal employees
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their first draw PPP loan amount
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a second draw PPP Loan.

A borrower is generally eligible for a second draw PPP loan if the borrower:

  • Previously received a first draw loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses
  • Has no more than 300 employees
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

More information is available from the SBA:

National Council of Nonprofits Nonprofit Town Hall – Wednesday, January 13

This webinar will provide additional information on the new law. Learn about provisions that will expire in just a few weeks and others that will last only a few months. Find out, too, which provisions will help your nonprofit, and what you need to do to take advantage of them. The webinar is free. Register here.

Stay tuned for an announcement for a Foraker webinar covering Alaska-based PPP information for nonprofits. As always, contact us if you have questions.

Jan 7, 2021
Posted Under: COVID       Tags: technology

Like many organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented us from in-person activities like meeting with colleagues, holding classes, consulting with clients, and conducting facilitations and planning sessions. So we turned to Zoom. We’ve learned some practices from our Zoom experience that have helped us better communicate and carry out our work in a virtual environment. We want to share them with you.

1.Create a welcoming space.

    • Encourage participants to have their names on the screen.
    • Keep cameras on, especially if you are the host or co-host.
    • Be clear on the timing of the session.
    • Make space for introductions or acknowledgment of everyone in the room. Options include: one person conducts a “roll call” by calling on each person to say “hello” and test their microphone, or by asking everyone to introduce themselves in the chat bar.
    • Offer a land acknowledgment sincerely and appropriately.
    • Make use of the closed-captioning function and other accessibility tools as appropriate. For public meetings, err on the side of necessity.

2. Set group agreements to reflect the organizational culture and group intent.

    • Be clear on ways to engage (voice, chat bar, etc.).
    • Let people know you are recording the session or ask for a participant to record as needed and appropriate. Remember that recording the session will only capture the main room not the breakout spaces and could lessen the trust in the room.
    • Set clear expectations for muting/unmuting with mute as the default unless the meeting is very small and everyone agrees that their space is quiet.

3. Lean into people’s home experience. Expect and welcome cats walking across the screen, children popping in to look into the camera, dogs that need a break, parents who need to offer a helping hand, etc. Working from home is a blessing and a challenge. The additional layer of any admonishment lacks compassion and is a sure way to end trust and engagement. Lean in. Say “hello” to little ones, ask about the pets, create impromptu breaks, etc. Everyone is doing the best they can. You, too.

4. Focus on engagement, not just content. This is true outside the Zoom room, too. “Be in service to the people, not the content” are facilitator words to live by.

    • You can engage your participants in many ways, from asking them to use their fingers to write in the chat bar, by typing open-ended questions into the chat bar, by posting instructions in the chat bar, by asking for responses with “reaction” emojis, or by calling on people to take a turn speaking.
    • Don’t leave people hanging by not addressing their comments in the chat bar – other people will see that you’ve avoided the question and lose trust.

5. Maximize the use of breakout rooms to get people talking to one another. You can easily randomize the breakout rooms with one click, but if you need specific people in specific rooms you’ll need another person with host privileges to set up the rooms while you are speaking. Having room names assigned to each person makes movement much easier.

    • Remember that on-screen instructions are not always seen in the breakout rooms so post instructions in the chat bar before moving everyone to rooms.
    • Establish a clear process for capturing the key learnings in each room. Assign a “recorder and a reporter” or make that the first task for each group. Use the chat bar, the whiteboard, verbal exchange, or an external online tool to capture the information.
    • Broadcast time limits for breakout sessions and let participants know at exactly what time everyone will return to the main session.
    • Allow plenty of time to set up breakout rooms.

6. Think through timing in advance. Everything takes longer than you may anticipate. Rehearse if you have many moving parts to your meeting.

    • Start and end on time – even better, end five minutes early to allow people to get to their next meeting.
    • Allow time for “entering” and “exiting” the breakout rooms. Remember that this can be “jolting” for people and time is needed for everyone to resettle. Make space for light conversation as everyone comes back to the full conversation.

7. Prepare yourself – big meetings or small sessions.

    • Set the meeting to make sure people enter the Zoom in mute. It helps you keep order and ensures no one is embarrassed or distracted by background noises upon entering the meeting.
    • If you have a large group, print out a list of participants ahead of time to track attendance, help with breakout rooms, keep track of participation, etc.
    • Send materials ahead of time AND again during the session as needed and appropriate.

8. If the group is more than ten people, ideally you have two people running the show – one to advance slides and monitor the waiting room and chat bar while the other focuses on speaking and facilitating.

9. If this is a board meeting, in addition to all the other items on this list, establish a means for the CEO and board chair to communicate about the timing and tone of the meeting (text, private message, etc.).

    • Create an agenda with timings so the chair can assess the progress of the meeting and adjust as needed. We don’t recommend sending the timed version to everyone because it can stifle important conversation and cause unnecessary anxiety for others. Provide start, end, and break times to everyone.
    • As often as possible, ask for unanimous consent or the “thumbs up” emoji, which is then verbally recorded by a single person, thus saving participants from muting and unmuting.
    • Check out our resources page for agenda and minutes templates.
    • Check out our classes or facilitations on effective board meetings.

10. Remember that translating in-person experiences to online is not just changing platforms. It requires a new process, expectations, and practice. Enjoy!

We are happy to help with facilitation in the virtual environment. Big meetings or small, please let us know how we can support your goals.

Jan 7, 2021
Posted Under: President's letter

It is strange to start a new year with equal desires to take a nap and forge ahead, but that does seem to be the place that 2020 has left many of us. Our bodies and brains, mostly overwhelmed with the totality of what 2020 brought into our daily lives, have left us eager to move on and dig deep for the energy to do so. 2020 was so much of everything to everyone, but differently. It was sorrow and pain as much as it was learning and adapting, and as much as it was loneliness and connection. It was both a collective experience and one that could only be felt very personally. It was universal and it was targeted. Maybe this is true about every year, but the very utterance of the year 2020 to a friend, colleague, or stranger conjures immediate reflection – generally followed by a choice expletive.

As we usher in 2021 with a loud call of hope for a vaccine available to everyone, along with a much-deserved nap to relieve too much stress and navigation, I invite us to muster our energy to move with deep intention….onward.

When I shared with a friend that “my word intention” for 2021 was onward, she nodded in agreement and then described it better than I had done. She said, “onward is the act of digging deep and moving quietly, steadily, and even slowly down the path.” I marinated in this idea as it reminded me of a countless number of long hikes in the mountains with a favorite seven-year-old – fully game to get “there” but also happy to stop and throw rocks in the stream while staying ever mindful of the pocketful of snacks that would power us through to the finish. It also reminded me of pretty much every long race I had ever run with thousands of runners and streets lined with spectators knowing that the training to get to that moment was complete – what was left was the mental exercise needed to make the difference between stepping off the course or seeing it through. You likely have your own visual of what digging deeply, quietly, and steadily conjures up. For me, these reminders leave me ready to face 2021 exhilarated, uplifted, and yes, a little exhausted by all that still lies ahead.

More so, I am reminded from these examples and by what I see you all doing in your nonprofits, that there are bigger reasons to keep moving onward; that the journey itself is more important than the destination. So how we get there – by doing it together – by taking notice of each other – by sharing snacks – by keeping each other steady – that is what matters.

Maybe that was the gift of 2020, that in all of its hardships and all of its requirements to adapt and learn and shift, we got more connected to the journey itself. Maybe 2020 was the year to put everything into perspective. Maybe what “hindsight is 2020” really means is that all of that learning is what reflects on everything else moving forward.

Reflections from 2020 included watching as organizations and leaders threw out old assumptions, shifted into gear on things they thought would take years, which really took only weeks. We heard about plans modified over and over to meet people exactly where they were and in the way they needed it. We watched some groups close and others double down. We watched eyes open and minds open and hoped so deeply that we would collectively never unsee all that we can now see. Our hindsight is that if 2020 was the year we met volatility with vision, uncertainty with understanding, complexity with clarity, and ambiguity with agility, then by those very actions we are in a new place on the trail. Yes, the journey to get us here has been a challenge, but we are here now – and onward we go.

If you need to pause and reset at this point in the journey, I encourage you to do it – rushing fast is rarely the right answer. Resetting can be as simple as reflecting with your team on some generative topics: What did we learn? Where did we grow? Where did we get stuck? What surprised us? And what comforted us? Sure, we can ask these questions of ourselves, but more than that I encourage you to ask them of mission and the people that are making your mission happen. The answers will likely be different from just your own answer. It is in those collective answers that lay all we need to keep moving onward through 2021.

When you and the team are ready, I invite us all to gather our resolved determination, reminders of all that we learned, and a good dose of hope and support, and then turn our gaze to what lies ahead. With our eyes focused on the possibilities of what comes next and our feet firmly planted in the reality that we are not done with the ravages of this pandemic on those we love and those whom we will never meet, we move forward together.

Onward in 2021 will ask of us not just to reflect on ourselves and each other, and not just to move and respond, but it will ask us for our collective voice as a sector. If 2020 was the year you put your head down and just made it through the day, then 2021 is the year to lift up your eyes and realize that we have to collectively stand for our sector’s missions and causes together. We must navigate state and local budget battles and federal changes. Moving onward into 2021 will be tough for everyone but again in radically different ways. Our new skills of working from behind our computers will have to carry over into our advocacy work and our temptations of working alone will have to give way to knowing that only together will we emerge stronger.

Onward in 2021 might be bold and loud and certainly it will be steady and consistent. It will still require adapting our programs, shifting our business models, and caring for one another. But just as much, this year our actions, our choices, and our voices are all needed to move onward together.

Let’s commit to standing up with each other, encouraging each other, learning with each other, and reminding ourselves that with all of 2020’s hindsight we are better prepared to do the work our communities, people, and planet need us to do.

Onward.