2017 Conference Workshops & Materials

Capacity Building Track

Elevating Your Board’s Fundraising Role
Amy Nisenson, Amy Nisenson Consulting - Biography

Is it time to raise the bar when it comes to your board and its fundraising efforts? This session will provide participants with an overview of board member fundraising responsibilities, how to collaborate with staff in the process, and practical ways to participate in organizational fundraising in a meaningful way. Participants will engage in role playing activities to explore some common fundraising scenarios and walk away with ideas and suggestions of ways to engage boards of directors and elevate their fundraising role.

Is Strategic Planning a Dinosaur or Unicorn?
Sarah Milston, Founder, The Spark Mill - Biography

Come learn about the role strategic planning plays in a nonprofit organization and why it is essential. Review some best practices about the role of board, staff, and stakeholders and how best to engage them. Participants will review the trifecta of strategic planning magic - gathering of data, group processing and dreaming and landing a plan with solid implementation tools.

The Annual Fund: Put the FUN Back in Fundraising
Laurie J. Rogers, Independent Grant Writer - Biography

The annual fund serves to establish a base of individual donors that can involve, inform, and create connections with others to your organization. It secures a steady flow of income for programs and services, and provides a launching point for further fundraising efforts beyond this baseline.  Participants will learn what contributes to a successful annual fund strategy, understand the critical concept of donor retention, analyze their annual fund efforts, and leave with a list of 20 Questions to ask donors to start creating connections.

Creating a Data-Informed Culture:
Bridging Data, Experience, and Progress to Demonstrate Impact
Lorie Coker, Founder, Table 5 Consulting - Biography

This session will cover the meaning of data-informed culture and how to create a measurement strategy to help participants demonstrate and articulate their program’s impact.  Participants will have the opportunity to practice mapping out elements of their measurement strategy - including establishing indicators and accountability for each phase of the process.   This will be a combination of theory and practical application.

Leading a Highly Effective Team
Sarah Harvey, Program Specialist, Virginia Department of Social Services - Biography

A great deal of work is accomplished using teams. This course is designed for employees who want to improve how a team is functioning. Discussed are the characteristics of effective teams, the stages of team development and team member roles. Participants will understand the four phases of team development, define and support team roles and outcomes, and learn how to improve overall team performance.

Tricks to Writing a Solid Grant Proposal
Jacqueline Rearick, Grant Writer and Evaluator, The RLI Group - Biography

This session will help participants develop a solid grant proposal narrative by focusing on the needs section or problem statement of a grant application. Working through the "problem" participants will design grant models which address the significance, causes, methods and outcomes desired by funders. Interactive discussion and group feedback will be used to inform success.

Designing Discussions that Lead to Deep Learning
Tammy Hobson, Director of Education and Programs, Avail - Biography

Learning just doesn’t happen. There are a variety of impactful strategies that allow for the social construction of learning to take place within a group – whether it’s your volunteers, staff, board or constituents. Participants will actively explore how to teach content or provide impactful training to others through the use of “handpicked” protocols, intentional prompting/questioning techniques, and informal assessments.

Strong Board/Staff Relationships = Strong Organizations
Amy Nisenson, Amy Nisenson Consulting - Biography

Strong partnerships between an organization’s staff and its board are an important factor in the success of an organization.  This session will provide participants with best practices on creating a good working board-staff relationship. Participants will engage in active discussion to determine ways to ensure collaborative relationships and work in small groups to brainstorm about ways to improve board and staff relationships. Fostering this positive atmosphere among boards and staff will ultimately lead to a more definitive organizational direction, smoother operations, and more effective and impactful programs.

Succession Management Ideas & Resources
Vanessa Di Leo, Talent Developer, Virginia Department of Social Services - Biography

Many organizations neglect to protect themselves and plan for the future by creating a succession management program. Without a plan in place, you are putting your organization and the community you serve at risk. Join this session and explore the purpose and step-by-step process of a dynamic succession management program. Participants will gain helpful tools and resources to launch succession planning within their organization.

Understanding the Impact of Trauma and Building a Resilient Community
Melissa McGinn, Prevention Coordinator, Greater Richmond SCAN - Biography

session will provide participants the opportunity to view the award winning documentary "Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope.”   Participants will engage in a facilitated discussion regarding what are we currently doing and what can/should be doing to address the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences.

Finding Common Ground: What if you are Both Right
Chris Bennett, Associate Facilitator, The Spark Mill - Biography

Even though conflict is a normal part of any group, handling differing opinions and outlooks can take a special skill set. This workshop explores the concept that some organizational challenges are not problems to solve but tensions to manage. A combination of small group work and interactive conversations will give participants tools to manage organizational challenges to find win-win solutions.

Donor Strategies to Move It On Up!
Dani Hottle, Fund Development and Marketing Director, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg -

Your base of current donors is your greatest financial resources. This session will provide participants with ideas on how to move donors to new giving levels in amounts and/or frequency. Participants will be given tools to use at their organizations. Various formats will be discussed including stewardships, special events, and calls for community action opportunities.

Facts, Fiction and Challenges of Integrating Refugees in our Communities
Seyoum Berhe, Virginia State Refugee Coordinator - Biography

Learn about the history of immigration in the U.S. in order to better understand the dynamics and shifts related to decision making about immigrants and refugees today. Understand how you can facilitate the full integration of newcomers into your communities.

Volunteer Management Track

Take Your Volunteer Engagement Up a Notch
Katherine H. Campbell, Skye Consulting
Katie Goulson, YMCA of Greater Richmond
Isabel Eljaiek, Tricycle
Diane Reale, Goochland Family Service and Free Clinic

Ready to move volunteer engagement to the next level in your organization?  Looking for a few ideas to increase staff commitment to excellence and make your work even more effective?  Join this session where a panel of your peers from a variety of nonprofits will share specific actions they’ve recently taken in their organizations.  Learn about some leading-edge practices in volunteer management, and leave with some practical powerful strategies you can implement back home. Participants will understand at least 3 actions they can take to increase the quality and impact of volunteer engagement.

Don't Say 'No' to Pro Bono: Using Corporate Volunteers to Your Advantage
Jamie Seagraves, Capital One
Antonio Vaughan, Capital One
Jeffrey Cooke, Capital One
Hannah Pace, Capital One

Skilled volunteers can be a real lifesaver to your organization.  Participants will learn how to successfully engage and mobilize corporate volunteers for pro bono or skills based needs and understand the many benefits from corporate volunteer interest.

Exploring Opportunities to Engage New Volunteers
Mary Foley, Executive Director, Volunteer Prince William - Biography

This session will focus on recruiting “Boomers”, youth, persons with disabilities and court-ordered volunteers by sharing best practices and program models. Participants will be able to use suggested best practices to support their own volunteer program.

Developing Corporate Volunteer Partnerships
Tara Richardson, Volunteer Program Coordinator, Dominion
Krista Boucher, Community Engagement Assistant, CARITAS
Lee Householder, CEO, Project Homes

Dominion, CARITAS and Project Homes will collaborate to tell the story of layered partnerships to benefit community members. The session will focus on innovative ideas to fully utilize resources beyond grant funding -- from corporate philanthropy making a maximum impact on the community to creating on-going supporters through volunteer engagement projects.  Participants will learn how to how to make a bigger impact with less planning and think way beyond corporate sponsorship's.

Steps to a Successful Collaboration . . . While Still Protecting Your Organization's Interests
Kate Meechan, Executive Director, VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads
Marion Brunken, Executive Director, Volunteer Alexandria

This session will look at the steps to creating a successful collaboration and how to advocate for your organization to get maximum benefit out of the alliance.  Make sure collaboration is in the best interest of YOUR organization.  Notice we didn’t say PARTNER?  Find out why!

Group Hug While Singing Koumbayah (Or Leveraging Your Position to Build a Culture of Collaboration)
Alison Jones-Nassar, Consultant - Biography

The research is clear. If you want to engage volunteers in roles that are impactful and strategically aligned, you can't - and shouldn't - do it alone. This workshop will explore how you as volunteer engagement professionals can enlist the support and collaboration of your non-VEP colleagues to create service opportunities that are truly responsive to the needs of your clients, organization, and community.

What? So What? Now What?  Effective Processes to Improve your Programs
Veronica Laughman, Volunteer Program Manager, Community Residences - Biography

Participants will gain a working knowledge of the Action-Reflection-Action Model and the APIE (Assessment, Planning, Intervention, Evaluation) process to plan, implement and evaluate volunteer programs.  A planning tool for use in future project development will be distributed.  Suggestions for integrating these processes into your organizational hierarchy will also be discussed.

Beyond the 3 R's - Volunteer Management with a Twist
LaToya Hyler, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager, Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads - Biography

Volunteers are the backbone of many nonprofits yet managing them can be one of the most challenging aspects of nonprofit life. The key to a successful volunteer program is being creative in the execution of three R’s – recruiting, retaining and recognizing volunteers. If you are starting a new volunteer program or refreshing an existing one this session is not to be missed – come explore a new approach to volunteer management.  Learn and share fresh ideas for volunteer engagement, recognition, appreciation, and overall community development.  This session is intended for any nonprofit worker who engages with volunteers.

Engaging and Mobilizing Higher Education Students
Rachel Covington, Assistant Director of Community Engagement, Averett University
Alexis Ehrhardt, Executive Director, Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness, Averett University

This session will provide participants with a model for Love Danville, Averett University's Higher Education Council. Love Danville seeks to cultivate leaders in an open environment where students can express and exchange ideas with community leaders. Love Danville members are the voice for higher education students across the city, and thus have taken a step outside the university to engage in community leadership.  This model can be replicated in other communities – come find out how.


Professionalizing Your Volunteer Program and Managing Volunteer Expectations: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Matthew Peterson, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Winchester-Frederick County - Biography

Learn creative and applicable ideas and techniques for how to either build – or improve – a volunteer program by professionalizing your policies and practices.  Manage volunteer expectations to help ensure successful program outcomes, volunteer satisfaction, and overall volunteer retention and ambassadorship of your organization. The speaker will use real-world examples and concepts that highlight both success stories and failures.

Reaching the Next Step: Creating and Funding Your Volunteer Development Strategy
Jessica Turley, Director of Fund Development for Big Brothers Big Sisters - Biography

Explore volunteer development as an agency-wide strategic initiative. Participants will learn how to structure a volunteer development strategy, advocate for support from the Board of Directors, and secure diversified funding. This session will take a "big picture" approach to the benefits and tangible results of a robust volunteer development strategy.

Personal/Professional Development Track

How NOT to Be Boring:  Using Creative and Fun Facilitation Tactics
Sarah Milston, Founder, The Spark Mill - Biography

Need to gather information from stakeholders and want to make sure people show up and have a good time while you get your job done? Come learn fun activities to use to facilitate focus groups and sessions. You’ll learn how to engage your community through focus groups, charrettes, and listening sessions.

Recognizing Excellence (Not Talent) in Your Organization
Chris Bennett, Associate Facilitator, The Spark Mill - Biography

Excellence is doing small things well consistently over time.  This session challenges conventional wisdom on the necessity of talent in order to have excellence.  Participants will get a framework for developing excellence in their organization.  The group will engage in interactive discussion along with group activities to provide a road map and develop tools to develop a habit of excellence in themselves, their staffs and their volunteers.

Foundations of Facilitating Discussions:  Leading from Any Chair
Martha A. Walker, PhD, Community Viability Specialists, Virginia Cooperative Extension - Biography

Bringing people together is a vital part of your organization’s success. This session will allow participants to work on skill development in group facilitation. Participants will learn ways to bring people together with purpose, move groups into productive teams, build shared expectations and visions, and establish strategic partnerships. Individuals will leave the session better prepared to facilitate discussions in their community, including acquiring at least three different tools for brainstorming and narrowing ideas.

The Culturally Competent Professional
Steve Hixon, Youth Program Consultant - Biography

In today’s diverse society, to be most effective, service providers must be able to recognize various elements and aspects of culture, and how these impact on the individuals and groups they serve. This interactive and participatory workshop engages participants to integrate cultural knowledge, skills, and abilities into their work with youth and adults, and to become more culturally competent, thus enhancing the overall quality of services provided.

The Power of Positivity: Maslow was Definitely On To Something
Donna M. Proctor, Executive Director, Free Clinic of Franklin County - Biography

Do you ever find yourself focusing on what's wrong with your life? Do you tend to think the glass is half empty - rather than seeing what you really have going for you and counting your blessings? This workshop will lift you up out of that downward spiral of negativity, help you see how far you've come, and re-focus on the positive - what's going right in your life. Using familiar theories, contemporary music, and activities, this session will motivate you to practice positivity every day. Participants will understand the basics of personality type and temperament theory

Team Communication Styles: Roadmap to Success
Sarah Harvey, Program Specialist, Virginia Department of Social Services - Biography

Effective communication with a variety of audiences is a critical skill for employees who want to advance professionally. Participants will examine four DiSC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness) communication styles to identify their own preferred style and understand the impact of communication on interpersonal interactions in the workplace.

Who Am I, Really? Understanding Yourself (and Others)
Donna M. Proctor, Executive Director, Free Clinic of Franklin County - Biography

Have you ever felt completely different from those around you or totally out of place in your environment? Have you ever wondered why it seems so easy to communicate with some people and so difficult with others? This very brief introduction to personality type and temperament will help you identify and understand the inborn personality preferences that make people different from one another and why all are valuable. It will give you insight into your own innate preferences and help you appreciate others for their differences.

Creating You as a Brand
Susan Long-Molnar, Managing Communications - Biography

All of us have a personal brand in our organizations. We don’t always realize just how much we are the “face” of the organization as we relate internally and externally. This session provides a new way of looking at ourselves within our roles so that we can project to others who we are, our skills, experience, and much more. With two goals in mind, developing your own brand and secondly, realizing the impact of your brand on your organization, you will experience an interactive session with these objectives:

  • Understand how your brand develops organically

  • Learn the key elements which impact your brand

  • Identify areas of strength and weakness with tips for strategically developing your brand

  • Develop key communications skills for building your brand

  • Learn techniques for projecting your brand as a positive connection to your organization

“Managing” Your Boss with Effective Communications
Susan Long-Molnar, Managing Communications - Biography

A responsibility of an employee which is often overlooked is to “manage” your boss. Say what? Yes, all communications is two-way and since 90% of any issue relates to communications, star employees need to understand techniques to build this important relationship. This session will be useful to both employees who want to learn more about how to “manage” their boss and for those professionals in management who believe this is important for developing an engaged team.