Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nonprofit Seminar Brings Organizations Together

The January Nonprofit Seminar held at the Brainerd Bremer Bank welcomed staff from the following organizations: Aitkin County CARE, Central Campus of MN Teen Challenge, Central Lakes College Foundation, Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation Women’s Fund, Crisis Line and Referral Service, Crosslake Community School, Good Samaritan Society, Lakes Area Interfaith Caregivers, Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project, Initiative Foundation, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, Salem West, United Way, ANGELS and Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity.

The day began with the session “Successful Board Governance for your Nonprofit” presented by Paul Masiarchin of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. This workshop offered nonprofit boards and staff an opportunity to review the basic obligations of each role. Topics addressed were the role of nonprofit boards, board and staff responsibilities, places where tasks intersect and some practical ways to meet these obligations. Additionally, it provided a review of MCN's Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence, which provides specific guidelines for individual organizations to evaluate and improve their management. Participants received a copy of Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence.

The next session “Engaging the Board in Financial Leadership” was presented by Michael Anderson, Training Program Manager and Loan Officer of the Nonprofits Assistance Fund.

He discussed understanding key financial reports, the important factors in analyzing the reports, and how to align and balance the mission and programmatic work with the financial plans of an organization. Also covered were the essential reports for the board’s review and analysis and tips on how to effectively frame strategic financial management conversations.

The final session “Governing in the New Era,” was presented by Kathy Grochow, Nonprofit Resource Specialist of the St. Cloud Bremer Charter. This session presented strategies to help organizations think more strategically while presenting generative thinking concepts and how nonprofits can incorporate governance as leadership.

The following discussion topics emerged as the seminar progressed:
Reflect on your nonprofit’s current roles-Do they align with how they should?
Do you have job descriptions for board members?
Pick one of the ten principles from the Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence that you’d like your nonprofit to focus on in 2012.
Are all board members aware of which forms must be legally filed on an annual basis?
Do you annually evaluate your board? If not, why not. Is so, how?
Do all board members have an understanding of the financials of your nonprofit?
What are the levels of financial engagement of each board member?
Are things going according to your financial plans?
Has your board discussed the budget process?
How often does your organization participate in strategic planning?
In two words, describe what your nonprofit is passionate about.
Formulate a “silent start” question for next board meeting.
Articulate one goal that your nonprofit has set for 2012.
Which other organizations/individuals could you partner with to achieve your goals?
How is demand for your programs changing as a result of the troubled economy?

Amy Wyant, NRS, Brainerd

Amy Wyant, Paul Masiarchin, Kathy Grochow and Michael Anderson.


Discussing ideas

Sharing best practices

No comments: