The Leadership Institute is a year-long series of seminars led by experts in their competencies and enhanced with peer-facilitated discussion groups for new executive directors or those in the pipeline. Topics cover management, board governance, marketing, fundraising, operational excellence and much more. Graduates receive a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Fox Valley Technical College and NPLI. (Photo: 2018 graduating class)
By Sridevi Buddi, Strategic Mentor to IndUS Board, Interact Chair for Rotary District 6220
I enrolled in the Leadership Institute hoping to bring change to my nonprofit for the better, to align its mission in being proactive to the community needs, to establish good management practices, and to ensure strong leadership. The ability to sustain a nonprofit is as important as having the heart in the right place in order to serve well. I wanted to gain that ability!
I was initially hesitant to enroll since IndUS is an all-volunteer organization and I wondered how the information could be applied to our unique situation. After some thought, I decided to invest my time in it because financially it wasn’t too much of a burden to my nonprofit. The program cost is deeply discounted due to sponsorships from philanthropic organizations and a similar program elsewhere would be too expensive for the size of our nonprofit.
I was in the third cohort of the Leadership Institute and the program taught me the tools and techniques IndUS needed to run efficiently. Moreover, our cohort built strong friendships and learnt to collaborate with each other. The program has also helped me personally by enhancing my professional competency, career advancement, and confidence levels.
I used what I learned in the Leadership Institute to present my case to the IndUS board regarding the sustenance of the organization and action plan thereof. With the support of my board chair, the board, and the general body, we worked on the bylaws of IndUS. We restructured the organization to ease the stress on the President/Executive Director. We reconstituted and populated a motivated and energized board with working portfolios.
The relationships I built through the Leadership Institute helped IndUS to initiate many programs in collaboration with Appleton Public Library, Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, Building for Kids, and Paper Discovery Center to name a few, thereby increasing our outreach and increasing the variety of our educational programs.
Rhythms of the world is another successful synergetic collaboration we initiated between various similarly oriented nonprofits and the City of Appleton. It is the result of our expanded mission to extend support to other cultures in response to the need of mutual understanding and respect in the community so that all of us can co-exist in harmony.
IndUS is now doing more work with a fresh outlook and an invigorated team. I would like other nonprofits to be healthy as well and to achieve their goals so that we can together make a difference in the community.
The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative within the Community Foundation is a partnership of Fox Valley-area nonprofits, funders, educational institutions and businesses dedicated to providing resources needed by effective nonprofit boards and executive leaders. NPLI offers a wide range of leadership, management and technical skill-building programs, as well as peer learning circles, to the entire nonprofit sector in the Fox Valley.