My don’t-miss-sessions in the upcoming Colorado Nonprofit Association conference

by Janine Vanderburg

Friday is the last day for early registration for the Colorado Nonprofit Association conference, and this year, there are lots of great reasons to attend. Over two days of workshops on a variety of topics, as well as the once a year opportunity for all of us who work in the nonprofit space to get together and connect.

While there are lots of tried and true workshops on the menu this year, I always like to look at the what’s new and different. Even though there are times that I recount my early days in community organizing and think “I’ve been doing this forever”, the conference always provides the opportunity to learn more about what people are doing in the leading edge of the sector. On that note, some of the sessions I have on my shopping list this year are (in order of appearance at the conference):

  • The Path with a Heart Initiative—The Future of Colorado’s Nonprofit Workforce. This session covers a topic that I’m very passionate about, and I can’t wait to hear what Jeff Pryor and Alexandra Mitchell discovered in their survey. A terrific way to start the conference!
  • Strengthen Your Nonprofit through Public Policy and Voter Engagement. With Wall Street hedge fund managers claiming that they are civil rights activists, it’s time for those of us who work on Nonprofit Street instead of Wall Street to learn how to fight back. I think Mark Turner’s and Lindsey Hodel’s take on how nonprofits can legally engage in public policy work is critical for every nonprofit, and I hope this session is totally filled!
  • The next session, I’ll facilitating my own workshop on one of my favorite topics:  A Silver Mine, not a Silver Tsunami: How Boomers can help your nonprofit raise more money and do lots of other things as well. We’ll be covering how the baby boomer generation can be a resource boom to your nonprofit, and discuss how to work through intergenerational differences to make it all work.
  • Finally, I’m planning on ending the day in the Funder/Nonprofit Dialogue session. Like many of you, in these times I want to know: What are funders thinking? What are nonprofits thinking? And how do we work together? This topic is of such interest to our readers on Nonprofit Street that I’ll be tweeting and blogging from the session.

Ordinarily, I’d spend just one day at the conference (especially because I’ll just be returning from a Montreal vacation that Sunday and thinking there will be mounds of emails and calls). But a couple of the Tuesday sessions are so intriguing, (and because I’m facilitating another session on Tuesday) I’m headed back to get full benefit of the two days. Here are my Tuesday picks:

  • Managing Flexibly the Flexible Employee. Many JVA Consulting clients are challenged by this issue, and I’m hoping to learn a lot from Deborah Dale Brackney of Mountain States Employers Council. I’m really interested in hearing what Linda Boedeker, Dana Miller and Michele Barnes have to say at the same times, so I may bop into the beginning of their sessions and schedule coffee and lunch for a later time. We’re going to stay with the HR theme and Mountain States Employers Council for the next session on Coaching Managers to Success.
  • In the post-lunch session, I’m planning to stop in to see Kristy Judd and Metro Volunteers. JVA worked with Metro Volunteers in our capacity building initiative, so I have a pretty good sense of what their programs are, but Kristy always has such interesting and smart ideas, I love to learn from her.
  • I’ll end my conference involvement by facilitating a session on Finding “hidden” money in your organization: A beginner’s guide to social enterprise and pricing earned income opportunities. If you are tired of the traditional fundraising slog and want to learn more about an alternative approach, I’d love to see you there. And then maybe head over to happy hour together! If I wasn’t facilitating a session, I’d want to pop into Sarah Fischler’s Breaking the Starvation Cycle. Ever since I’ve read the article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, I’ve thought the topic would make a terrific workshop, and love that the very smart Sarah has taken it on.

There are a lot of great sessions this year, including many that I haven’t mentioned. This is just my list. Would love to hear from you what’s top on your list. If you haven’t picked yet, click here to register and to find the complete list of sessions.

Can’t wait to see you there!

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