Thursday, April 16, 2009

Town Meetings in the Countryside

Traveling our two-lane highways throughout South Central and Southwest Minnesota, Amy Jo Lennartson, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) regional coordinator, engaged nonprofit leaders in discussion and networking events during March and April. Pictured here is the Marshall gathering on April 15 at Bremer Bank. A group also met in Redwood Falls earlier in the day; and in Pipestone at the end of the day. Groups also convened on other dates in Appleton, Benson, Montevideo, Luverne, Worthington, Slayton, New Ulm and other communities on the tour.

No Powerpoints, lectures or anything resembling workshop or training agendas here. Instead, a refreshing blend of acknowledgements on how challenging indeed these times are, along with examples of what's thriving and how, plus good ideas on framing organizations' return-on-investment messages.

"There is a way for every nonprofit to communicate their organization's economic impact, and thereby convince communities and decision makers that they matter," Lennartson says. "Even if you have little or no staff, are not hiring employees or have no significant physical assets, you are contributing to the local economy. Figure out what those ways are. For example, organizing and offering arts events that bring consumers into downtown is economic impact. Purchasing supplies, utilities and services from local vendors is also economic impact; all in addition to central mission activities." For more information and reviews of the nonprofit sector's influence, check out MCN's Nonprofit Economy Report, published annually.

Via the town meetings, MCN is gathering information on local/regional issues, acquainting and reacquainting countryside nonprofit leaders with the state nonprofit council's resources, and soliciting interest in forming a southern MN nonprofit advocates network and nonprofit needs network. Stay in touch with the effort by tapping into MCN through AmyJo Lennartson: 507-469-2217.

Posted by Lois Schmidt, NRS, Willmar

No comments: