Workshop Topics

After more than 20 years of teaching and training, I know how to engage a group. These workshops are interactive and include a variety of exercises, games, and small group activities. (Warning: we might do role plays.) I rarely use PowerPoints, preferring to create opportunities for participants to work together, try out new skills, and learn from each other.

• Mobilize Your Board to Raise More Money
(also available as Getting Your Board to Raise Money: Plan B and Beyond)

• Creating (and Using) Your Fundraising Plan
• Beyond Bad Training: A Toolkit for Trainers, Teachers, and Facilitators
• What Every Board Member Should Know About Financial Management … And Probably Doesn’t
• Train Your Board to Ask!
• Being an Ambassador for Your Organization: Word-of-Mouth Marketing
• Give Up on Your Board! An All-Staff Approach to Major Gifts Fundraising
• The Nuts and Bolts of Fundraising (also available as Big Money for Small Groups)
• Building a Board that Works
• Creating a 12-Week Major Gifts Campaign
• Nonprofit Marketing on a Tight Budget
• Selling Social Change: Earned Income Strategies for Grassroots Groups
• Grassroots Grants
• Change Management
• Fundraising House Parties
• What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? Creating a Sustainable, Successful Organization
• Why Donors Give: Building the Case for Giving
• Leadership Skills for Social Change
• Building Peer-to-Peer Relationships with Funders
• Effective Meeting Facilitation
• Succession Planning: Leading by Giving Away Your Power
• Raising Money Through the Mail: What Works, What Doesn’t
• Building Your Group: How to Effectively Recruit and Manage Volunteers

 

Mobilize Your Board to Raise More Money
(also available as Getting Your Board to Raise Money: Plan B and Beyond)

If your board isn’t raising all the money it could — indeed, if your board isn’t raising any money at all — you’re not alone. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the reasons why, and outline strategies to turn things around. You’ll leave with several practical, specific ideas for increasing board involvement and effectiveness.

• Redefining fundraising: It’s not just asking for money
• Why people give: The psychology of fundraising
• Building a board fundraising menu
• The basics of face to face fundraising
• Helping board members take leadership and hold each other accountable

 

Creating (and Using) Your Fundraising Plan

Like anything else in life, fundraising works better if you have a plan — and even better if you follow it. In this workshop, we’ll discuss:

• Identifying the best mix of income for your organization
• Building an annual fundraising calendar
• Beyond dollars: Identifying other ways to benchmark your results
• Using your plan to educate your board, deflect random fundraising ideas, and stay on task

 

Beyond Bad Training: A Toolkit for Trainers, Teachers, and Facilitators

In nearly every workplace or organization — nonprofit, for-profit, government — somebody needs to train somebody. Learn basic skills to become a better facilitator and trainer, including:

• How to identify and avoid bad trainer behavior
• Designing exercises and activities that engage your learners
• Encouraging everyone to participate — and managing those who over-participate
• Building consensus and running effective meetings
• Tips and tricks from the trainer’s toolbox

Come prepared to participate. We’ll design and demonstrate training exercises in real time. Warning: PowerPoints will be confiscated at the door!

 

What Every Board Member Should Know About Financial Management … And Probably Doesn’t

With the possible exception of “How do I avoid fundraising?,” a board member’s most commonly unasked question is, “What do all these numbers mean – and what am I supposed to do with them?” This workshop is designed to help trustees get over their financial phobia — with clarity, humor, and few unexpected metaphors. We’ll discuss:

• Five things you should know about your nonprofit’s finances — without looking at a spreadsheet
• Creating a one-page financial dashboard to simplify board oversight
• Managing financial risks
• Understanding financial statements

 

Train Your Board to Ask!

Based on a new book, Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money, this workshop is designed to teach you how to teach others — especially board members — to increase their comfort and skill in fundraising. We’ll try out several exercises while learning a variety of tips and tricks that will make you a more effective facilitator, trainer, and fundraising coach.

• Reducing fundraising fear and discomfort
• Effective listening and storytelling with donors
• Making the ask
• Managing donor relationships more skillfully

 

Being an Ambassador for Your Organization: Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Even in the era of social media, the most effective marketing strategy is word of mouth. Regardless of your role – board, staff or volunteer – you can represent your organization more effectively and encourage positive buzz. Learn how to engage potential supporters, develop compelling messages, and deliver them effectively. We will discuss:

• Listening: The most valuable communications skill
• Shaping your message
• Pitching your organization one on one
• Public speaking without fear (well, with less fear)

 

Give Up on Your Board! An All-Staff Approach to Major Gifts Fundraising

Most development directors work heroically to get their board members engaged in face to face fundraising — with very mixed results. Yet we tend to forget about the other “human resource” available to us: the staff. Using successful case studies, we will discuss ways to engage employees in cultivating, asking, and thanking donors.

• How to define and create a “culture of fundraising” within your organization
• Identifying barriers and strategies to address them
• Training your colleagues how to ask
• Adapting the all-staff model to the specific needs and limitations of your group

 

The Nuts and Bolts of Fundraising

(also available as Big Money for Small Groups)

80% of charitable funds come from individual donors, not foundations or corporations. Learn to build a fundraising program that honors your mission, engages potential donors, and raises more money.

• Where money comes from: Building a diverse funding base
• The basic principles of fundraising
• Identifying prospective donors
• “The ask” — face to face solicitation
• Ranking the effectiveness of different fundraising strategies

 

Building a Board that Works

To be effective, nonprofits must recruit board members who support their ideals, represent the diversity of the community, and bring a wide range of skills. This workshop covers:

• How boards change as organizations grow and change
• Finding and filling the gaps on your board
• Creating and using a board “job description”
• Board orientation strategies
• Training and motivating your board to raise money

 

Creating a 12-Week Major Gifts Campaign

Mobilize your team, identify your prospects, and go out and ask. If you want to build a major donor program from scratch – or improve the one you’ve already got – this workshop walks you through planning, implementation and evaluation, step by step.

• Clarify the case
• Set a goal and build a gift chart
• Recruit and train askers
• Identify, assign, and engage prospects
• Create systems to track results and hold each other accountable

 

Nonprofit Marketing on a Tight Budget

Want more attention for your work? Ignored by the news media? This workshop is designed to help organizations improve marketing success without spending a lot of money.

• Crafting a compelling message
• Who’s your audience? Market segmentation
• Preparing a marketing plan
• Creating effective materials
• Thinking like a journalist: How to work with the news media

 

Selling Social Change: Earned Income Strategies for Grassroots Groups

Thousand of nonprofits across North America are developing and selling goods, services and publications that support and extend their missions. In doing so, they are discovering new strategies for educating their communities, activating their constituents, and expanding their budgets. In this workshop we’ll discuss:

• The pros and cons of earned income strategies
• Case studies: Grassroots groups with successful sales programs
• How to think (and behave) like a nonprofit entrepreneur
• Testing your earned income ideas

 

Grassroots Grants

Get that grant! Learn the keys to winning grants, including:

• How grants fit into a complete fundraising strategy
• Designing fundable projects
• Grants research: How to find the money
• Developing relationships with funders
• Building your proposal, piece by piece

 

Change Management

Nonprofit leadership is all about designing and creating change, both within and beyond your organization. In this session, we’ll cover:

• Identifying the change management skills you need today and in the future
• Understanding different types of change; choosing the model that best fits your circumstances
• Leadership skills and tools for change management
• Creating change at different levels: personal, interpersonal, and within groups

 

Fundraising House Parties

A fundraising house party combines the intimacy of a major donor “ask” with the excitement of a benefit event — and unlike a major event, you can organize one in six weeks. We’ll discuss:

• Identifying a host committee and developing an invitation list
• Preparing your party planning calendar
• Different strategies for using house parties to ask for gifts
• Twenty ways to engage board members in creating the event

 

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? Creating a Sustainable, Successful Organization

More and more, your donors, funders, and peers are asking tough questions:

• What are the hallmarks of a successful organization?
• What benchmarks do you use to measure success — and how do you measure up?
• How can you look beyond the next grant cycle (or funding crisis) and design a sustainable nonprofit that grows, adapts, and thrives in a changing world?

In this workshop, we will develop answers that address your specific needs and circumstances.

 

Why Donors Give: Building the Case for Funding

Why should potential donors support your work? Until you can answer this question clearly, concisely, and persuasively, your fundraising will flounder. In this fast-paced workshop, designed for leadership teams of staff and board, you’ll outline a compelling case statement that answers essential questions:

• Why do you exist?
• What are your goals?
• How will you realize those goals?
• What’s your history and track record?
• Who’s involved with your organization?
• How much will it cost to do the work?

 

Leadership Skills for Social Change

Nonprofit leadership requires a wide range of qualities, including clarity of purpose, flexibility, stamina, and the ability to inspire others to do their best work. In this workshop we will discuss:

• Vision and purpose: What’s your true work?
• Leadership styles
• How leadership needs change throughout the lives of organizations
• Hiring and supervising staff
• Leadership for the long haul: Time management and self-care

 

 

Building Peer-to-Peer Relationships with Funders

If you’ve ever written a proposal, mailed it to a stranger, and crossed your fingers, this workshop is for you. Less than 20% of grant proposals get funded; more and more, funding decisions are based on relationships, not just words on paper. We’ll discuss:

• Using the telephone to cultivate grants officers
• Arranging face-to-face meetings
• Improving your odds by differentiating your work
• Developing long-term relationships for renewal grants

 

Effective Meeting Facilitation

Are you tired of aimless meetings that don’t generate energy, commitment, or clear next steps? Learn how to make your meetings more productive, inclusive, and fun.

• Why meetings fail
• The key to effective meetings: Make decisions!
• Building a great agenda
• Robert’s Rules vs. consensus: What’s right for you?
• How to fix a broken meeting

 

Succession Planning: Leading by Giving Away Your Power

How long will it take to for your organization to meet its mission, declare victory, and go out of business? Some nonprofits can envision success in a decade or two; others will continue for centuries. Will you be around for the victory party? If you’re not training the next generation of leaders, who will carry on? In this workshop, we’ll discuss:

• How organizations grow and change over time – and how leadership needs change as nonprofits grow
• Why “just doing it yourself” is seldom the best choice
• Tangible tips for training and empowering others to lead

 

Raising Money Through the Mail: What Works, What Doesn’t

Most grassroots organizations have neither the budget nor the infrastructure for a traditional mass mailing program – but they can still raise money effectively without spending a lot. You’ll learn:

• Key components of an effective letter
• Letter clinic: Critique of participant work
• Mailing strategy options: Renewals, appeals, monthly giving, etc.
• Finding major donors by mail

 

Building Your Group: How to Effectively Recruit and Manage Volunteers

Community organizations need three kinds of resources to grow and succeed: time, money, and the leadership to use both wisely. In this workshop, we’ll discuss how to find new volunteers and develop them into a team of committed leaders. Topics include:

• Identifying and filling the holes in your leadership team
• Member and volunteer recruitment
• Motivating and managing volunteers (and easing out the ineffective ones)
• Top tips for effective volunteer-based groups

 

On request, I also facilitate board retreats and planning meetings.

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