June marks a special start for me — the beginning of the second year of Nonprofits TALK, the professional forum I lead monthly as a service to Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations. Granted, I’m always in reflection mode, looking at how to improve. With NPT, taking-stock progressed from thought to action when I began shifting NPT from a conversation to a hybrid that combines elements of training, workshop and collaborative problem-solving.
What I’ve learned and been celebrating with NPT’s first birthday is the beauty of letting go of an initial iteration to create another, one that’s more instructive — rest assured, it’s not a lecture — with more productive, reliable outcomes. Here’s how NPT has evolved, with details to encourage both new and return participants to put Nonprofits TALK on your monthly calendar.
As a trainer, I believe in structure. It helps people know where we’re going with a topic and focuses thinking, so we arrive together at realistic expectations and ideas. In redesigning and redefining Nonprofits TALK, I’ve developed a more organized format centered around a practical, relatable group activity. The purpose is to present both an effective activity and a model for how to guide it, for participants to take back to their organizations and use with their board, staff and volunteers.
I make it a priority to produce clear takeaways — what I call golden nuggets. Everybody is stretched in the nonprofit world. I want NPT to be an investment in time that pays off with time-saving insights and material.
Tapping Homegrown Wisdom
I’m also an advocate of collaboration among nonprofits. The Hudson Valley has many needs and realistically each organization can only do so much. Yet the combined experience and brainpower to be found within our organizations is considerable. Coming together to exchange advice on what works (and what doesn’t) is a kind of collaboration that NPT facilitates — a chance to learn and share on universal nonprofit needs.
My year with Nonprofits TALK has deepened my belief in the power of collaborative thinking by nonprofit professionals. There’s abundant homegrown, hands-on wisdom here in the Hudson Valley. We’re tapping it each month when NPT meets, in a setting where connections between individuals and their organizations naturally expand.
Knowing what to change and what to keep is a type of wisdom all its own. NPT began with, and still offers, a flexible approach to taking part. There’s a topic identified in advance from my work as a nonprofit consultant and solicited input. Participants are free to come — no strings attached, including no fee — based on topic appeal and their own schedule.
It’s another guiding principle of NPT that not everything is of interest to everyone. The intent of each session is to gather a group that’s truly motivated to attend. It creates a more dynamic experience for all.
So for NPT’s second year, consider this an open-ended invitation. Join us anytime or every month. I look forward to seeing — and hearing — you at Nonprofits TALK!