In 2016, Nonprofits Assistance Fund offered the High-Performing Nonprofits Learning Series in Grand Rapids, MN. This series of five integrated workshops was designed to provide nonprofit leaders with the tools to guide their organizations to success through executive and board leadership, program design, diversity, operational and management excellence, sustainability and collaboration. 

High performance organizations are ones with “the ability to deliver – over a prolonged period of time – meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable results for the people or causes the organization is in existence to serve.” (Definition from The Performance Imperative – Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community)

Each session was free and took place from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at the Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids. Networking and ample time for discussion were built into every session. You could attend any of these interactive and engaging sessions on their own or attend all five in the series. You will also have the opportunity to apply what you have learned in between sessions to test out the tools and resources at your organization.

Executive and Board Leadership: Thursday, January 21, 2016

“Doing the right things or doing things right,” says Peter Drucker, is the difference between a leader and a manager. What if you need to do both, to the best of your capacity – simultaneously? For her keynote, Dr. Jeanne Bailey will help us dig into the four bedrock pillars of  leadership that will offer fuel for your leadership fire, and then Jeanne and Tony Wagner will delve deeper into the topics of organizational and board leadership in the two breakout sessions.

Program Design and Embracing Diversity: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
To help your organization perform at its highest level and effectively serve the full diversity of communities requires self-awareness, a respectful curiosity and the ability to shift and adapt to meet community needs. Explore tools and skills of building intercultural organization where everyone matters. 

Operational and Management Excellence: Wednesday, April 27, 2016
High-performing nonprofits achieve excellence in three interdependent areas: Community impact, finance, and workforce. The focus for this session is building and maintaining a high-performing workforce. While many elements go into a high-performing workforce, this learning session will emphasize three key areas: the keynote presentation focuses on generational differences, followed by concurrent breakout sessions on succession planning and volunteer engagement. Presenters are Dr. Rob Routhieaux from Hamline University and Cheryl Skafte, Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Duluth 

Collaboration: Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Most people see collaborations and networks as critical in making meaningful changes within a community. While working on a project as an individual organization may be more straightforward and sometimes take less time than collaborations, most agree that individual work is not as successful or enduring as collaborative work. And according to The Performance Imperative, high-performance collaborations require high-performance organizations at their core. 

Financial Health and Sustainability: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In your organization, you wear many hats, and one of those hats is that of financial leader. We will explore financial roles and responsibilities for your organization, communication of financial information, and providing the leadership needed to keep your organization financially healthy. The Performance Imperative challenges us to take charge of our organization's financial destiny in order to become a high-performing organizations. Breakout sessions will then dive deeper into understanding cash flow and using dashboards to present financial information to board and staff.


2014 - 2015:

In Fall of 2014 and Spring of 2015, Nonprofits Assistance Fund offered the Nonprofit Sustainability Learning Series in Grand Rapids, MN. This series of four integral and integrated workshops was designed to provide nonprofit leaders with the tools to keep their nonprofits sustainable at the financial, programmatic and organizational levels.


Financial Sustainability, September 17, 2014

There is more than one way for a nonprofit to be financially sustainable. For some, growth is the best way to go. For others, finding focus might be a better option. What path to sustainability are you on? Join us at this session to learn about four different paths to sustainability. Then, dive deeper into one of two revenue archetypes: Individuals Supporters or Earned Income.

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Programmatic Sustainability, November 12, 2014

The best way to keep our organizations sustainable is to do good work. That means keeping our programs relevant and responsive to the communities we serve. This session will begin with a discussion about determining program effectiveness and an introduction to the Mission Money Matrix, a tool to help leaders analyze and act upon decisions related to their programs. Participants can then choose to learn how to get a deeper understanding of true program costs or look into strategies to improve their program evaluation.

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Organizational Sustainability, January 14, 2015

More often than not, an organization’s sustainability hinges upon the leadership at the board level. What is the role of the board in keeping a nonprofit on the path towards sustainability? Join us at this session to learn more about board roles and leadership. Then, stay for more discussions on board recruiting and the importance of the Board Chair – Executive Director relationship.

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Sustaining Sustainability, March 18, 2015

Once your organization has tackled financial, programmatic, and organizational sustainability, staying on track becomes key. You need to not only think of what your organization needs now, but what will be required of your organization in the future. We’ll start this session by talking about how to weave strategy into your organization’s culture. Then, we’ll discuss two important trends facing the future of nonprofits: diversity, equity, and inclusion, and mentoring.

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