The Center for Nonprofit Excellence is offering workshops for area nonprofits to “increase their capacity.”
Established by an initiative funded through the Culpeper Wellness Foundation and the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, the workshops focus on subjects that were developed through a survey distributed through the Culpeper Wellness Foundation.
“It’s a way of putting an investment back into the nonprofits, to strengthen the operation of the organization,” Cindy Colson, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Charlottesville said.
All workshops will be held at the Daniel Technology Center. To register, please email Jenn Sweigart, PATH Resource Center Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The series of workshops will run through June. The next workshops will be held April 11 from 9 to 11 a.m. on grant writing proposal development and on April 20 on measuring impact.
The grant writing proposal workshop will focus on composing a letter of intent, developing components of a grant proposal, writing SMART objectives, summarizing the methodology for implementing your project and preparing an acceptable budget.
The April 20 workshop on Measuring Impact will provides the information needed to communicate impact to donors. A solid approach to evaluation should articulate why you are doing what you do, what you do to achieve your mission, and how your work results in measurable change for your constituents.
Colson said the Culpeper Wellness Foundation conducted a survey to find out what key topics nonprofits wanted to discuss. The number one response was grant writing and grant proposal writing, closely followed how to measure and discuss impact on the community.
“A lot of that is where to look for grants,” Colson said. “How do you determine if a potential proposal is aligned with your organization’s mission. Many nonprofits have a limited amount of time they can devote, we want to make sure we’re helping them screen properly for grant opportunities.”
Colson said the strategy behind the workshops is providing nonprofits with the tools that they need and helping them understand what goes into obtaining a grant.
“We talk a lot about building the relationship with the grantor,” Colson said. “A lot of times they have a grant administrator you can get in touch with to ask questions about the grant. Anything to do to assure alignment and have a clear understanding of what the grantor is looking for, to make sure we’re using the best use of our time.”
In terms of measuring impact, Colson said it’s not just important to know what the community needs and expects, but also to determine how nonprofits can work together.
She cited an example of organizations that both address substance abuse, though they may address it in different ways. Connecting the nonprofits and finding how they can work together can be critical to managing time and resources.
“What we’re hoping it will do is it will help them optimize what they’re currently doing,” Colson said. “They’ll have a better understanding of what the strategy looks like and to understand there’s not a one size fits all.”
The workshops are timed to help prepare nonprofits to help maximize visibility during Give Local Piedmont, scheduled for May 1.
Other workshops planned include volunteer management on May 16 and strategic framework on June 20.
Finding volunteers to help serve the community goes back to having a solid volunteer job description, Colson said.
“They need to be clear what they’re needing volunteers for,” Colson said. “I always talk about the what, before they get to the who. When they know what they need, they know how to recruit the person that they need.”
Colson said that finding a volunteer means identifying what a volunteer is needed to do, and recognizing that volunteers can do multiple tasks including making calls and writing thank you notes.
The Center for Nonprofit Excellence operates and manages the PATH Resource Center in Warrenton and has had a presence in Charlottesville for 10 years.