Strengthening Organizations

Running a neighborhood or small non-profit organization requires similar skills to running a business. To be successful, members must be knowledgeable in different facets of organizational management.  The Strengthening Organizations Series provides an opportunity for members to develop skills necessary to manage a civic organization. The series' topics include board development, program planning, budgeting, fund development, and marketing. These workshops are taught as a series and are a part of Capacity College Core courses.



Knowing Your Board Responsibilities: Board Development
Now that your organization has board members, they need to know what their responsibilities are, particularly if some are new to board member services. This workshop provides a basic foundation for new board members and board members who can use a bit of additional information. While it may provide some prestige for some individuals to list the boards on which they serve, no one should have the misconception that serving on a board is a task to be taken lightly. As students will learn, serving as a board member is truly exercise in responsible, servant leadership, and one that is highly rewarding when done effectively.     

Blight 101: Community Mapping & Property Research
Working with blight in a neighborhood is never an easy matter, particularly when it feels as if there is no course of action that one can take to deal with it. The truth is, there is a course of action, and all it takes is learning the basics of how the governmental blight identification and eradication system works, and putting a team of neighbors together to develop a plan that follows an action-oriented strategy. This first class (of a series of three) will introduce the basics of how to map out the blighted properties in your neighborhood, and how to research the available public information provided by local government on properties.  

We're All in It Together: Collaboration and Inclusionary Practices
Collaboration is the new buzz word in the world of non-profit management. Whether it’s around funders’ desires to concentrate resources, service providers attempts at not duplicating services or organizing groups wanting to pool their numbers around a particular campaign – the push for greater collaboration is all around us.  Unfortunately however, organizations in their efforts to meet this new collaboration standard often get caught up in the hype without taking the time to develop standards for how they will partner with other groups. Sometimes the challenges of collaboration arise a bit closer to home as groups struggle with developing practices for how they will engage internally with their members and constituents.  In this session, participants will learn clear guidelines for how to build strong collaborations and more inclusive organizations.   By establishing transparent processes and clear expectations, organizations can remove much of the conflict and stress of collaborating with stakeholders and partners.  
Thursday, September 25th, 6 - 8 p.m.

Financial Oversight for the Board of Directors
This course instructs neighborhood association and small non profit board members in the basics of organizational financing, from fundamentals of non profit finance to reading and writing financial reports.
Saturday, September 27th, 9 - 11 p.m.

Stepping Up to the Plate: Implementing Your Neighborhood Plan
Neighborhood plans are ideal ways of capturing a community’s vision, particularly if a broad base of stakeholders is involved.  Unfortunately, so often great plans are left to sit on the shelf as community members and city officials battle over who should take ownership and of it and ultimately be responsible for its execution.  In the meantime, the momentum around comprehensive neighborhood change is lost and a community is left with very few benefits from a very well conceived idea.   In this workshop, participants will learn how to leverage existing partnerships as well as develop new ones in order to move their neighborhood plan towards full execution.

Making Sense of the Dollars and Cents: Budgeting and Fundraising
Though often discussed distinct from one another, budgeting and fundraising represent two sides of the same coin.  A budget, loosely defined is a financial document which is used to project future income as well as expenses.  Fundraising is the primary means by which charitable groups secure the resources to operate.  Together they constitute the financial foundation of any well run non-profit organization.  In this module, you will learn how to better manage your organization’s financial situation through focused budgeting and fundraising strategies which reflect your mission and effectively support your work.

Show Me the Money: Getting and Keeping Grants
Despite the field’s recent focus on the role of grant writing in securing much needed resources, experienced groups understand that a successful grants campaign is about more than submitting a great proposal.  From finding the grant that is a right fit for the organization to building relationships with potential funders, this course will show you how your organization can engage the grants process in a way that is effective and sustainable.

Telling Your Story: Media, Marketing and Publicity
From 24-hour cable news cycles to personal blogs and social media sites, the role of media in everyday life is continually being redefined.   With this evolution comes new opportunities for non-profits.  No longer are community groups reliant on the 30-second radio spot or the rare 1-minute “good news” tv report; with the advent of modern technology, groups can drive their own media. But, in order to do so effectively,  they must understand how to navigate the diverse landscape that is media today.  In this session, participants will learn how to develop an effective communications strategy that fits the needs of the organization and reaches intended audiences.

Building Power for Change: Lobbying and Advocacy
Nonprofit and community-based organizations are greatly impacted by the policy decisions made by local and state legislatures.  Take for instance statutes relating to things like code enforcement, student teacher ratios or even juvenile sentencing.  However, despite this fact, there is often the sense that because the rules are made in the halls of power, there is very little that can be done. Even those groups that dare challenge the system around tough issues find that they lack the knowledge, skills and overall capacity to engage the process in an effective way.   Add to this concerns relating to 501(c)3 tax status, and you’ll find that most community based organizations really struggle with building strong advocacy campaigns.   In this course, participants will learn how to develop strategic grassroots advocacy campaigns that are legally viable for 501(c)3 organizations and rooted in a clear understanding of how grassroots advocates play a real role in the legislative process.   By creating a road map to understanding the components of a successful advocacy campaign, participants will be able to then understand how and when to use their resources to achieve solid legislative victories.


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