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‘Spooky’ things nonprofit leaders should watch out for

It’s almost Halloween! While nonprofit leaders won’t be facing werewolves and witches, there are a few spooky things they face:

The Invisible Line Item: The professional development line item seems to don an invisibility cloak too often, and it’s scary when nonprofit organizations don’t invest in themselves. Professional development has been shown to enhance job satisfaction, build knowledge and skills, and strengthen professional networks. It can even help with staff retention!

Eradicating this scary “monster” happens by planning in advance and dedicating budget dollars to reap the benefits of professional development. NPLI’s board and staff trainings meet the unique needs of nonprofits and because of our generous donors, we’re able to offer training at a cost that helps nonprofits stretch their professional development dollars.

   Network for Good users at a monthly user group session. Photo at top: Leadership Institute graduating class of 2022-23

One of our programs, the Leadership Institute — a year-long series of educational modules on critical leadership, management, technical and governance topics — is accepting applications now. The application deadline is Jan. 26, 2024.

“If you are considering sending someone in your organization to NPLI’s Leadership Institute, do it,” said Michael Hall, executive director of Impact Wisconsin and a 2023 alum of the Leadership Institute. “The return on investment is priceless and immeasurable. NPLI gives us the tools to function in our leadership roles confidently and competently.”

Graveyards of Data: Organizing donor data, tracking grant reporting and creating newsletters can leave nonprofit leaders feeling like they need a shovel to dig out from the mounds of information. NPLI’s Jumpstart program helps nonprofits manage their data and become better fundraisers. Jumpstarters receive 1:1 personalized fundraising coaching, use of an all-in-one donor management and communication software package, and access to local monthly user group sessions.

YouthGo Jumpstart users shared, “Jumpstart has given us new ideas, resources and support to try to do things differently. We benefited from this experience and have learned a lot. We increased our revenues 24% during the program.”

Applications for the 2024 Jumpstart program are due by Jan. 31 and can be found here.

Financial Frights: Allocating expenses, creating internal controls, and following accounting standards and procedures can feel like a nightmare. Nonprofit leaders don’t need to be accountants, but they do need to be financial leaders, so we offer an eight-week Financial Leadership program to chase those frightening images away.

Watch Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Jamie Lafreniere, a Financial Leadership alum, share how the program impacted her organization here:

If you, or a nonprofit you support, is haunted by these spooky things, rest assured we’re here to help with resources and educational opportunities so you can vanquish those scary things for good.

Annette Look, NPLI Program and Communications Manager

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.

We support  NPLI with a grant from the Community Vision Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, one among many community partners supporting NPLI. Click here to learn more.

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