Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Conversation with the WNC Nonprofit Pathways

It was Manteo to Murphy (well Nags Head to Ashville really ) this morning whe I had a very informative phone conversation with Kim McGuire, Executive Director of the Western NC Partners for Nonprofit Success. This group sponsors Duke training in the western part of the state. They also offer scholarships for the classes, as I hope we will be able to do.
The program has evolved in the 6 semesters it has been operating. They have developed their own set of instructors and courses with an emphasis on practical information with clear direction on how to apply it. They offer 2 or 3 courses focused on nonprofit fundamentals and fill their remaing slots with topics requested directly or through the Duke class evaluation forms. Since they serve the entire western part of the state they offer courses in several locations. Ms. McGuire explained that there was a lot of interest initially but the enthusiasm has dropped off a little as the initial surge of needs were met. They budget for 100 scholarships per semester but they are not all used.
The biggest take away for me was the process they use to develop their courses. They identify individuals with specific expertise and ask them to create a course outline. Kim then reviews the outline with the instructor to ensure the information is relevant and presented in a style that allows the students to use the new skills quickly and easily. They try to spread the work load around and include many different instructors, but they ask the same instructor to deliver the course again when needed but not more frequently than every 2 to 3 years. Sounds like a great model and one we can strive to develop. Perhaps we can use some of their course outlines to help structure our courses. They certainly seem to have a great model.
Thanks Kim McGuire, for helping us grow here at the other end of the state.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Letters of support

I am preparing the final draft of my grant proposal for the Outer Banks Community Foundation.  I would like to include letters of support from a cross section of the local nonprofit community.  I hope you will consider writing a letter of support for your signature or for the signature of your Board Chair or both.  The letter should support the request that the OBCF provide funding for scholarships for students enrolled in the local classes of Duke Nonprofit Management Certificate Program.  Possible elements for letter included:
  • The lack of affordable, accessible training for nonprofits on the Outer Banks
  • The specific subjects you feel will help your agency better meet its mission (Grant Writing, Volunteer Management, Program evaluation)
  • An example of how you might apply the training.
  • Your intention to participate in the training (or those involved with the agency)
  • How the scholarships might impact your decision to participate
  • How the scholarships might impact your agencies ability to train
Please let me know if you are willing to prepare a letter.  I will arrange to pick up the complete copy.  I would like to have the letters by Wed. May 7th.  Application deadline is the 9th so this will give me a couple of days to put the final pieces together.
Thanks in advance for your help.
PS. For information about the program please contact me or see

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
Peter Drucker

Friday, April 25, 2008

Advisory Committee meeting

Really good Advisory Committee meeting. We worked through the courses in the catalog and prioritized 5 topics from which I should be able to schedule 4 courses for the fall semester. Each participant got to award 4 priority stars. Here are the top 5 topics.
  • Marketing (4 stars)
  • Leadership (4 stars)
  • Executive and Board Relations (3 stars)
  • Grant Writing (3 stars)
  • Volunteers (3 stars)
All are great subjects with good instructors. My job now is to select and schedule the classes.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We have a name

The web site is now on the URL Hopefully this will be easier for people to remember and check in on.
Lots going on:
  • Advisory Committee meeting Fri. at 1 at Nags Head Woods. right now it looks like about 5 confirmed. If you are interested show up.
  • Good meeting with Barbara Bingham of the Community Foundation. She encouraged me to file a proposal for scholarships. I am polishing the draft and may post it shortly so others can comment.
  • Scheduled a call to the WNC Nonprofit Pathways Director. This group hosts courses and provides scholarships in the western part of the state. I should learn a lot more about their success on that call.
  • Spoke to Aaron McCall at TNC Nags Head Woods. He is checking with the Conservancy office in Durham to see if there are any issues with the use of their pavilion. He is encourageing.
Hope to see you on Fri.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Advisory Committee meeting scheduled

I have reserved the pavilion at The Nature Conservancy's offices at Nags Head Woods for 1pm this Friday, April 25. I have invited about 15 people to come or send a rep. I have 4 confirmed so far. Hopefully we will settle on 4 class for the fall schedule with 2 alternates and I will get some advice about dates. The meeting is open so if you want to come please feel free to do so. If need be bring a bag lunch. This will be very informal.
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, April 21, 2008

Proposal for the OBCF

I spent the weekend working on a proposal for the Outer Banks Community Foundation to provide financial support for nonprofit training on the Outer Banks. the bottom line is $4,000 would provide pay half the cost for 10 students in a total of 8 courses in Year 1. I have a meeting with Barbara Bingham tomorrow to discuss the idea and talk about how it might be implemented if the OBCF decided to allocate fund.
Barbara has been great. She help with a lot of history and pointed me to some good contacts that have moved the project forward.
The draft needs a bit more polishing before I publish it but I will share it when before I send it forward.

I also had a good conversation with a member of the COA staff. I expect this contact will help me clarify what role if any COA can play in bringing classes to the area.
Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back Home and Back to Work

After and excellent class on grant writing we headed back to Nags Head. The next couple of weeks will be critical in getting classes taught in the fall. The steps to pull together included
  • Form an advisory committee and select the classes we want hold in the fall.
  • Figure out the role of the Outer Banks Community Foundation regarding scholarships and stipends for instructors.
  • Make sure The Nature Conservancy pavilion is available.
  • Contact the instructors about the new location.

If I can get all that done by May 1, I can focus on fixing dates with the instructors for the specific classes. Fund raising will have to wait until the selection and scheduling is complete.
I have an appointment with Barbara Bingham of the OBCF next Tues. that should clarify the OBCF role or at least give me some direction. I need a formal or near formal proposal to distribute at that meeting. Guess I will use my new grant writing skills.

If you are interested in serving on the advisory committee please contact me using the email form on the OBX Learn website. I hope to get the group together on Thurs or Fri. possibly around a bag lunch. If you need a listing of the possible courses you can explore the Duke program's site by topic or download the spring brochure.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Deadlines

Wow, I had a chance to chat with Nancy Love, Director of the Duke Program today. The deadline for getting courses in the fall catalog is May 16. This means it is time to ramp up the program.
If you are interested in serving on an advisory committee email me from the contact form or comment on this post and I will get in touch. We need to get started picking classes.
You can find the catalog at the Duke program course and curriculum site.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My last two classes

I am off to Durham today for two courses over the next two days.. This will complete my requirements for the certificate. I am taking
Becoming an Effective Leader in the Nonprofit Sector ncyt
Grantwriting 101
I am particularly excited about the leadership class. I have been involved in a lot of projects and organizations. I find the principles of leadership remain the same, Vision, planning, inclusion and inspiration. Curious to see how this class views leadership.
Grantwriting is a fundamental nonprofit skill. I have been doing some reading about the process and have written some simple grants aps but I am ready to learn from an expert.

I will let you know what I learn.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Face Book Page

I created a Face Book Page of OBX Learn. It needs a photo but I am not sure what it should be a photo of.
Any suggestions.
Oh, if you are on Face Book you can become a fan.

Beta Testing

I am ready to start beta testing on the OBX Learn website. The next step is to email some of the people I have talked to about the project and get their feedback on the site.
I know it needs some graphics and a little splash of color.
I have tested it with
  • Firefox (my main browser, highly recommended)
  • IE
  • Opera
  • Safari (for Windows)
It seems to work well with all the browsers.
This exercise has been as much about building web skills and learning to implement new ways of spreading the word, as it has been about nonprofit training. I view it as a training exercise. I am sure there will be revisions.
My heartfelt thanks to the beta testers. I appreciate you help and support.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nonprofit LInks

  • How to Start a Nonprofit. From the NC Center for Nonprofits a basic guide on the basics of creating a nonprofit corporation. Great document.
  • Guidestar - This site provides a variety of support services for nonprofits. The newsletter is an excellent source of information and services. You can regsiter for web site access for free, most services require a membership fee.+
  • Foundation Center - The best source on the web for research about nonprofits and funders. Registration is free but full services require a membership fee. They offer a wide variety of courses about writing proposals.

Duke Instructor Links

  • Naomi Takeuchi - 1000 Cranes Business Consulting. Naomi teaches classes in Strategic Planning and writing business plans. She also has an interest and substantial expertise in Social Enterprise development. We met when I took her Business Plan course. Naomi also works with the NC Association of Community Development Corp. She facilitate The Outer Banks CDC retreat this spring.
  • Dave Rendall -Rendall and Assoc. Dave's two blogs Freak Factor and The Four Factors of Effective Leadership are excellent sources for personal development ides. Freek stresses the importance of capitalizing on your unique strengths. While "Four focuses on the key elements of leadership Influence, Integrity, Inspiration, Improvement. Dave teaches Social Enterprise and fundraising techniques. I took a course on fund raising and it led me to this post at my personal blog. Dave has several books and training DVDs available.
  • Tom Gaffney is a Senior Account Manager at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro. He has 18 years of professional development experience working with individual donors, corporations, foundations and government entities. I took a course in major gift fundraising from Tom. It helped me find a better framework for approaching potential donors about supporting my nonprofit projects.

Training Links

  • The Duke Nonprofit Management Certificate Program - This site contains all the inforation about Duke nonprofit training program including requirements, courses and scholarships. You can search the course catalog or download the catalog in pdf format.
  • Tidewater Community College - Academy for Nonprofit Excellence. This program offers one and two day training in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Costs are similar to the Duke program though the offerings are not as extensive. Some of the same instructors teach at both programs.
  • NC Center for Nonprofits - This group provides a vast amount of support to nonprofits in all of North Carolina's 100 counties. They offer some training classes, an annual conference and periodic web based seminars (webinars). Participation is generally limited to member agencies.
  • The Foundation Center Gain Knowledge This groups provides access to an enormous about of information. They sell bookds and offer tranning as well. Register for free to explore

Who, What When Where and Why

It is a website for people interested in providing training for nonprofit leaders on the Outer Banks of North Carolina
Bob Muller is responsible for this page and is working with Duke.
The current goal is to host 4-6 classes in the fall of 2008A
No location has been settled on but the leading options are in Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills
Surveys of nonprofit leaders indicate there is a need for increased training. The Duke Nonprofit Management Certicate Program is one of the leading progras of its type in the state.