Nonprofit Toolkit

Today’s post is a guest post from Connie Laffin.  Connie is a first-year MPA student studying Nonprofit Management.  She is from Kenosha, Wisconsin and earned her undergraduate degree in Consumer Affairs and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison.  She is currently the Social Networking Chair for SPEA’s Nonprofit Management Association.   

The Nonprofit Management Association provides students with the opportunity to share ideas and supplement their education through workshops, seminars, and presentations, and by organizing visits to local nonprofit organizations and other relevant facilities. In these pursuits, we highlight nonprofit issues and the challenges that students will face as future nonprofit managers. The NMA advocates on behalf of its members to enhance the quality of education for all nonprofit students.

On November 4, the Nonprofit Alliance of Monroe County and Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) hosted the Nonprofit Toolkit, a one-day symposium comprised of lectures and activities from SPEA professors and distinguished alumni with a wide array of fund development expertise.  More than 50 students and community members attended this one-day symposium and were able to learn about such topics as fundraising feasibility, special events, capital campaigns, and philanthropy psychology.

Matt vandenBerg, Director of Development at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, started the day off with a presentation on “Feasibility Analysis.”  He emphasized the importance of feasibility studies and their ability to test financial objectives; identify and cultivate major leaders and donors; and assess perceptions of your organization.  Following this presentation, Charlotte Walker, Director of Development and Communications at Pets Alive, illustrated how nonprofits can make special events pay off and described some unique ideas that can help your event stand out.

After a delicious lunch, Erika Albert, Director of Development at the Monroe County YMCA, offered a presentation on “Successful Capital Campaigns in Tough Economic Times.”  She stressed the importance of understanding the different “faces of philanthropy” before beginning to steward donors.  In the midst of these presentations, Beth Gazley, Associate Professor at SPEA, facilitated an activity that had students and community members working together in small groups to discuss how fundraisers could collaborate to benefit the communities we serve.

Finishing out the day, Jen Shang, Assistant Professor at SPEA, and Alvin Lyons, Visiting Lecturer at SPEA, presented on “Philanthropic Psychology” and “What is the Future of Fundraising?”, respectively.  Jen Shang highlighted the importance of understanding the different identities that donors possess and Alvin Lyons helped illustrate the common mistakes fundraisers make and how to avoid them.

The Nonprofit Toolkit was an incredibly successful event and the response from both students and community members has been incredibly positive.  The Nonprofit Management Association looks forward to continuing to collaborate with Nonprofit Alliance of Monroe County and Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) to provide opportunities like this for students and community members in the future.

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