I had been so excited for June 1 – I was waiting anxiously as we prepped all of the materials, wrote out the curriculum for the day, and prepped our talking points. On Wednesday, I met with Dr. Palmer to discuss the schedule. Together, we reviewed each of the topics and determined who was going to discuss what part during the Institute on Friday.
We settled on:
8:30 -9:00: Introductions and Expectations
9:00 – 10:00: What is a nonprofit?
10:15 – 11:00: How do you manage your nonprofit? Capacity versus Capacity
Building topic introduced.
11:00 – 12:15: Capacity Building Assessment
1:00 – 2:00: Leadership versus Management
2:00 – 3:00: Board of Directors at Work
3:00 – 4:00: Volunteer Recruitment and Management
On Thursday, we worked on preparing all of the materials. Both Dr. Palmer and I agree that hard copy handouts, as well as electronic materials, are the best way to disseminate materials in this type of environment. By Friday morning, we were ready to go! I arrived at High Point University around 7:30 and it felt great to be back on my old stomping-grounds! We would be hosting our session in the Webb Conference Center.
At 8:30, our 17 participants arrived. They were eager to get started and despite being nonprofit professionals already, they all knew that they would learn a lot of information that would help them grow in their career. Throughout the day we included a lot of group activities to help stimulate conversation and facilitate networking. By lunchtime, it was clear that people were breaking out of their shells and interacting with other participants. I was most excited about facilitating our Capacity Building Assessment because this was something that I had become very familiar with during my undergraduate degree, and re-familiarized myself with it during my MPA Research & Analysis courses. As we were walking through the assessment with the participant members, it was rewarding to feel confident in this tool and to have the ability to answer any questions that were thrown our way.
After lunch, I focused on inputting all of the capacity assessment data into a spreadsheet. This data will determine how we focus the rest of the sessions. I’m almost done analyzing the information, I’ll be sure to share more of that next week.
Right before the end of the day, we were able to talk about Volunteer Recruitment and Management. I was looking forward to this conversation because I had some tools for participants to take home. I have done some volunteer management and was excited to share some tips & tricks that I had found useful in the past.
By the end of the day, it was clear that everyone was a little overwhelmed. We had shared a lot of great information, but like I said…it was a lot of information. Right before concluding for the day, Dr. Palmer asked people to share what their main takeaway was from today’s session. One of our participants raised his hand and said that he appreciated taking the Capacity Assessment because it helped him realize some gaps in his organization and while that was a little unsettling for him, he recognized that you’ve got to start somewhere and that this Institute will help strengthen his skills and his organization.