Do you want to leverage your unique strengths as a leader and learn how to apply them more fully for better results? Are you looking for more work-life balance? We invite you to apply to the Catalyst for Nonprofit Excellence program. The program will start on September 13. Applications are due July 9.
As organizations reopen their offices, many questions have come up about how to safely resume on-site operations. Foraker recently gathered some experts who shared insights and resources on how to communicate with employees about vaccinations and what to consider when developing in-person programming. You can view the webinar here. More resources are available on the COVID page of our website under the heading Returning to the Workplace. If you have additional questions or insights to share with us, please let us know.
Thanks to the advocacy of the National Council of Nonprofits and its state association members, including Foraker, recently released guidance confirms that nonprofits will have access to American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. This includes funds coming directly from the federal government, as well as dollars flowing into state, local, and tribal governments.
To help organizations interested in applying for funds, we are pleased to announce a new website that describes ARPA and highlights points of access for nonprofits. Foraker is proud to be a partner in this effort, along with other Alaska organizations listed on the website. We especially thank the Alaska Municipal League for developing and hosting the site.
We encourage you to visit the site – share it with others – and help us update it if you have information to contribute. You can see specific programs for nonprofits here – and a link to send us your comments or questions.
For additional information, you may also view a webinar we held this week that answers many questions about ARPA that are specific to nonprofits.
We did it! The largest gathering ever of nonprofit board, staff, volunteers, donors, and allies came together online over three days. At the Foraker Leadership Summit last month, we dreamed, we imagined, we explored, we asked questions. Sometimes we had answers, but most importantly we found new energy, new connections, and new ideas. For some, it was a time to blow apart assumptions and come to a reckoning of our new reality, and for others, it was a time of healing. In every room, there was deep learning – the kind that was so intense it felt like it was happening in person.
We heard hundreds of people say to us some version of: “I have been to a lot of things online but the summit was a wholly different experience.” One participant captured it all: ”Every session was thoughtfully planned, and the content was amazing. It was all set up for engagement, expansion, learning, and taking a deep dive into topics. All of the presenters brought their “A” game. I loved the virtual part, the best summit ever! Thank you for being a community resource, a forward thinker in providing engagement opportunities for all those who attended. We are all better for having attended the 2021 Leadership Summit.”
This is all we hoped for and more. From our first Leadership Summit in 2008, to now, we have prided ourselves on making it “not just like any other conference.” There are many ingredients making that true for us and for those who experience it. Because we are often asked for tips about online facilitation, and because so many of you are, or will continue, or might start doing more online even as you return to in-person experiences, I want to share a few tips you may consider in your planning.
Six Preparation Tips that Helped Us and Could Help You
The tip: Be relentless in coming back to the question of the audience in every decision to create a better experience for everyone.
The tip: Room size, length of time, group instructions, learning styles, acknowledging language, culture, and other styles all play into your decisions. Remembering that no one size fits all is essential. So in a large gathering, create many different options to get to a similar definition of success. The more you know your audience, the more you can get this right for them and you.
The tip: Ensure that those you highlight will bring the experience you are after and also that the messenger is the right person to truly engage your audience. One additional note on this tip: If you have historically only sought leaders of color as speakers and experts because you want to do a session on diversity or equity, then think again. A truly more equitable space will be one where diversity and equity are at the center of every conversation and the people you pick to talk about the issues you want to raise reflect the diversity of the field(s). There are times and places for conversations about how to move your organization to a more welcoming and diverse place, but you know you are closer to living it when that is not the only time you see a person of color as your expert. Our hope in some small way is that every session explored how we show up with less bias. We didn’t get it right every time, and likely you won’t either – but that won’t stop us, and we hope it won’t stop you from exploring what it can look like in your work.
The tip: In an online environment, the small details in maximizing the technology for a smooth experience matter – lean in.
The tip: On the platform and in the sessions, design experiences where you can literally feel the energy emitting from people in the room.
I was reminded to always show up with my ABCs. Accountable – Believable – Credible. Let me share a few thoughts on this rich topic. To bring your accountable, believable, and credible self to a conversation – any conversation – means first owning the experience with its privilege and opportunities and with its challenges and complexity. It means standing on my own feet, breathing deeply into the moment, and finding my own self before launching into a topic. Believability is rooted in a mutual agreement – I believe in you and you believe me. For that to be true, I have to know my audience and my content. I also must speak not just from my head, but from my heart. What I know from this work is that these moments are about shared feelings not shared content. It is important to know your topic and important to not stray into information you are not prepared to speak on. But again, it is also about whether the intended audience thinks you are the right messenger at the right time. This last part is rarely taught but for me is so incredibly important, especially when we continue to acknowledge that too often the power and privilege of holding the microphone is not extended to more voices who have the content and desire to deliver it.
The tip: Get grounded in your ABCs and engage more people who have that ground, too.
Five Lessons We Learned in Planning and Managing the Event
Our question: How can we use budget planning and implementation to create more equity in each space?
Our question: How can we be better prepared with some “what if” scenarios so the moderators can handle the chat if it is creating less belonging space or worse.
Our questions: How can we create more space for participation from people off-camera? How can we work to intentionally create a sense of belonging for people we can’t see, not just the people on screen?
Our question: In this case, we have learned that we still have more questions than answers about what the future holds. To that end, if you have not filled out our event survey, please do. Your answers help us ask the right next set of questions.
Our question: How can the event feel like a part of a journey, not just a destination?
Likely most of you are either planning an online program or are participating in one. Either way, good lessons are out there about how we organize, how we show up for ourselves and each other, and how we make the best of each experience. The summit created space for us to learn new ideas about placing equity at the center of our collective work, about money and humans, about evaluation and process, about leadership and burnout, about volunteerism and philanthropy, about transitions and sticking with it through the challenges and the victories. It really was inspiring for us, and we hope for you, too. We are still learning, and for that we are grateful. I hope our tips for planning and our lessons learned will inspire your next effort.
As a reminder, if you registered you can access and listen to the recorded sessions until July 31 (which, by the way, requires less broadband).
If you were with us – thank you. If not – let’s connect. There is more we can all do together.
Certificate in Nonprofit Management applications are now open! Enhance your management skills and explore new techniques to effectively lead your organization. Once again, this year, we are offering the program virtually. Successful Certificate participants are committed to a career in Alaska’s nonprofit sector. The courses are designed to immediately apply what you learn in class to your workplace. Those who are currently in leadership roles and who have the ability to influence positive change within the organization will find the program most valuable. Applications are due June 14. Apply today!