2019 Conference Workshops

With more than 30 highly-interactive workshops, the 2019 Virginia Volunteerism Conference is a can't miss event for nonprofit leaders! Workshops topics fall with our three focus areas: Capacity Building, Volunteer Management, and Personal/Professional Development. The following is list of workshops we've planned for you so far, but stay tuned for many more to be added soon. 

Capacity Building Track

Culture: What Makes for a Healthy Engaged Workplace
Elizabeth Scott, CEO, Brighter Strategies - BIO

Culture -- the shared values, beliefs, and norms that guide an organization -- is different in any context. There are, however, some common characteristics of any effective and engaged culture. Brighter Strategies in conjunction with Maryland Nonprofits conducted a nonprofit culture survey that highlighted both the culture we want and the culture we have. Join us to explore what makes up a highly engaged culture and leave with tools to proactively cultivate change within your organization.

The Context for Innovative Board Leadership
Elizabeth Scott, CEO, Brighter Strategies - BIO
High-performing boards are guided by a sound mission and a compelling vision. Within this context, agile boards identify strategies for moving forward. Without it, strategic plans become static and rob leadership of the flexibility needed to be innovative and responsive. This workshop is designed to help you re-frame your organization’s mission as the guidepost for leadership, decision-making, and discussion — and to ensure strategic momentum by leading with vision. Through the use of real-life best practice examples, we will discuss the differences and anticipated impact of operational, strategic, and generative boards. You will also learn the five key elements (and walk away with clear implementation next steps) shared by highly functional boards. 

What to Do When Your Board Members Refuse to Fundraise
Amy Nisenson, Consultant, Amy Nisenson & Associates, LLC - BIO
We all know that our boards play a critical role in fundraising. Unfortunately, some boards are resistant to actively engaging in fundraising efforts. This workshop will offer information and techniques to get your board to be more comfortable with fundraising. Topics covered included the role of the board in fundraising; the role of the staff in fundraising; techniques to get board members comfortable as ambassadors, advocates and askers.

Be the Steward in Stewardship: Why Saying "Thank You" Matters So Much to Your Donors
Laurie Rodgers, Independent Grant Writer - BIO

Saying "thank you" and showing your donors the impact of your work is one way to ensure they keep investing with you. With donor retention being a major national conversation currently, this timely workshop will remind you that taking care of your donors with authenticity and enthusiasm matters. This workshop will focus on many tools, techniques and great ideas to keep your donors engaged in your agency's work.

Cross Pollination: Turning Volunteers into Donors and Donors into Volunteers
Mary Maupi, Development Director, Safe Harbor - BIO

The lines between volunteers and donors are often very blurry. People who volunteer their time are shown to more likely financially support an organization. The question then is why is their such a separation between our donors and volunteers? This workshop will explore how to bring down those barriers so that your organization can show appreciation for what both groups bring to the table and engage with them to provide support in new ways. 

What’s Your Point? Portraying Evaluation Results to Decision-Makers
Trina Willard, Principal Consultant, Knowledge Advisory Group - BIO

The majority of organizations collect a vast amount of useful information. However, many of these organizations do not have a firm grasp on how to make the most of their data. In this session, you'll learn that you don't need a team of analysts to make your data work for you. Learn how to use program data more effectively so that you can highlight particular programs or areas of effectiveness, thereby leveraging additional support to sustain your programs. You'll learn how to deliver effective presentations to portray evaluation findings for pertinent audiences (e.g., potential funders, community partners, boards). Specific topics include thoughtful planning for the scope of your presentation, how to determine when you’ve gone off track, and basic principles of data visualization.

Nonprofit Message Makeover: How to Craft a Compelling Message that Connects with Your Audience and Supports Your Brand Goals
Jolinda Smithson, Business Development Director, Red Orange Studio - BIO

Is your non-profit sending the right message? The way you position your brand in the marketplace can make a significant difference in attracting donors, volunteers and your community. Thoughtfully crafted messages are strategic communications designed to resonate with your ideal audience and drive action. Through small group sessions, hands-on exercises and worksheets, group discussions and peer-to-peer brainstorming you will walk away with an audience profile, brand story and key messages.

Creating Community Through Content Marketing & Brand Ambassadors
Jolinda Smithson, Business Development Director, Red Orange Studio - BIO

Are you creating and sharing valuable content to increase your impact and create community? Nonprofits and their stories can only travel so far without dedicated content marketing. Consistent marketing helps gain new donors, volunteers, clients and raving fans. You can also create a sense of community through your content and with the right brand ambassador program that amplifies your content's reach into new sectors of the marketplace. 

Metrics That Tell Your Story
Bernadette Wright, Director of Research & Evaluation, Meaningful Evidence - BIO

You need data to make your case to funders -- and to plan and manage your programs. But too many organizations aren't collecting the right data. In this workshop, you'll learn how to create a "knowledge map" to tell your story and select key performance indicators to track your progress. 

Fundraising - If You Have to Ask You're Doing It Wrong
Allison Scholl, President, Acorn Group, LLC - BIO

Fundraising has to be one of the most hated functions in every non-profit. Board members aren't comfortable and the dynamics between the Executive Directors and Directors of Philanthropy can be wrought with tension. In this session, we'll debunk common fundraising myths and provide you with real-world tactics to help you raise the funds you need to make the world a better place.

Sharing Your Story with Donors - the Magic of Effective "Positioning"
Allison Scholl, President, Acorn Group, LLC - BIO

We are so proud of what we've accomplished we can't wait to share with our donors, right? We know they care, so why don't they read our eNews? Why is our new program the best kept secret, even among our most loyal supporters? It could be that you're not including them in your success as effectively as you might think you are! Learn to effectively share your story that will leave donors excited to write their next check!

Preparing for the Next Storm - Making Risk Management a Priority in Your Organization
Ted Bilich, Owner/CEO, Risk Alternatives, LLC - BIO

The nonprofit sector faces a “perfect storm” of risk – burgeoning demands from vulnerable populations while funds from government resources choke off. Nonprofits know they need to adopt risk management, but most don’t know how to begin, believe they can’t afford it, or rank risk management much lower than other competing priorities. As a result, nonprofits and the vulnerable populations they serve are unnecessarily exposed. In this workshop, Ted will provide an overview of how your nonprofit can begin using risk management principles today to make your nonprofit more agile in the face of uncertainty. Participants should come prepared to speak up and roll up their sleeves. You will be generating ideas to help the sector increase resilience and sustainability, and you will leave this workshop with practical tools to raise awareness in your organization and begin using risk management principles to improve performance.


Volunteer Management Track

Risky Business – A Serious Look at Volunteer Risks and What You Must Do About Them
Ted Bilich, Owner/CEO, Risk Alternatives, LLC - BIO

For-profit organizations would never dream of relying on volunteers to perform essential business services. And yet, nonprofits take part in this practice every single day. Considering the absence of rigorous training, hurdles in discipline and termination, and simple reliability -- how do nonprofits deal with the risks involved? Given the critical role volunteers provide in nonprofit operations, organizations need to implement effective policies and procedures to reduce threats. That’s where risk management comes in. In this high-energy, hands-on workshop, Ted Bilich, a nationally recognized leader on nonprofit risk management, will provide seasoned nonprofit leaders with tools for minimizing the chances for volunteer disasters and maximizing the chance of getting the most out of your volunteer efforts. You will leave this workshop with an arsenal of actionable ideas to protect and enhance your nonprofit’s volunteer operations. This advanced-level workshop is designed for seasoned nonprofit leaders (executive directors, CEOs, senior program personnel, volunteer coordinators).

Making the Most of College Student Volunteers
Amy-Leah Joaquim, Coordinator for Community Service, Old Dominion University - BIO

College students contribute their time and energy through volunteerism to their local communities statewide. Learn from staff in Old Dominion University’s Center for Service and Civic Engagement about what students are looking for in volunteer experiences and a generational approach to student volunteer recruitment and retention. Explore data on current college students, volunteer trends, and how to craft volunteer opportunities for your local college’s students. Discover new ways to communicate and market these opportunities to the current generation of students, as well as how to identify your local institution’s resources and ideal staff and offices for partnership. This presentation will assist in bridging the gap between community agencies and untapped student volunteers.

The Art of Managing Up (and Down) for Volunteer Managers
Susan Sanow, Special Projects Manager, Volunteer Fairfax - BIO

Whether or not you are officially the boss of anyone or even if you have the word “manager” in the title, chances are that as the leader of volunteers at an organization, you are managing people, projects or both! At this workshop, we’ll consider your roles as a leader to your volunteers and your other voices needed in the management of the entire organization. We will talk about determining what volunteers really want and what your boss really wants… and how to adjust your work practices whether managing up or down.

Showing Volunteer Impact
Susan Sanow, Special Projects Manager, Volunteer Fairfax - BIO

As a volunteer manager, you make a difference. Your volunteers make a difference, too. Why don’t people notice this? Improving how we communicate our volunteer impact can make a difference to your volunteers (in quantity and quality), impact your organization and increase your job satisfaction. This workshop will talk about data: what you have, what your need and what others can provide (for free) to support your volunteer impact. We will address the wide variety of audiences important to volunteer managers -- whether the audiences know it or not. And we will help you prepare your next elevator speech to talk about your organization’s volunteer impact. This is a great workshop whether new to the field or those who feel like they already know it all, but no one else does.

Strengthening Volunteer Relationships Through Storytelling
Sue Kindred, SK Consulting - BIO

Story brings us together. It solidifies our place in the world, helps identify a common purpose, and provides meaning to our work of creating social change. When we infuse our work with meaningful and effective storytelling, we then shift our perspective from simply raising funds for our organization, to helping all of our stakeholders, particularly volunteers and Board members, tap into their own goals for giving back to their communities. This shift in thinking is necessary if we seek to create true social change and tap into a philanthropic spirit of generosity and compassion – even more so when we are seeking the commitment of time and energy from our volunteers. We often think about our relationships – both donor and volunteer – from a unilateral perspective. Our organization needs something – usually money or volunteer support. And, we tend to see these individuals as people who can provide the money or time to help us meet our mission. While that’s true on some level, it’s also important that we see these contributor relationships as symbiotic. We must see them as a way to help our organizational champions get their own needs met while helping us meet ours. We can truly grow our impact in our communities by using compelling and effective stories to strengthen these crucial and valuable relationships.

Best Practices of Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers for Mentoring Programs
Betsy Bilharz, Director of Training and Program Quality, Virginia Mentoring Partnership - BIO

Does your mentoring or youth-service program struggle to recruit volunteers to work with youth? Once these volunteers commit, does your program struggle to retain them? These are common challenges for mentoring and youth-service programs. In this workshop, participants will explore the research-based practices for recruiting and retaining volunteers that are shown to result in more impactful and sustainable relationships with the young people they serve. Learn what motivates the public to volunteer as mentors, tips for describing your program, and strategies to target the right fit for a sustained volunteer commitment over time. Review examples of recruitment plans and develop your own by brainstorming successful strategies that can be applied to your program. Once volunteers are recruited, explore research-based strategies to retain them. Learn and anticipate the most common reasons for leaving a youth service program early, and brainstorm strategies to help mentors feel supported in their relationships. Participants will leave with a handbook of resources and templates surrounding mentor recruitment and support that can be customized and applied.

Serving Vulnerable Populations: What Social Workers Can Teach Volunteer Managers (and Vice Versa)
Alison Jones-Nasser, Volunteer Engagement Manager, Greater Richmond ARC - BIO

Thanks to decades of research, volunteer engagement professionals have a formal set of best practices that guides our work regardless of the type of organization or cause affiliation. But when our organizations serve client populations designated as “vulnerable,” it’s important that we exceed certain standards and give additional emphasis to others. By doing this, we earn the trust of our social work colleagues, enhance operational integrity, and communicate the message that our efforts directly support the delicate work of human services. This workshop will identify ways in which volunteer managers and social workers can work together to make sure that our vulnerable clients receive the best services and the most sensitive support from both paid and unpaid team members. Participants participate in group discussions to compare specific onboarding and training practices and identify gaps that can be rectified for different types of vulnerable populations.

Personal/Professional Development Track

Pressing "Pause" on Unconscious Bias
Anne Gibbons, Outreach Programs Coordinator, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities - BIO
None of us are free from unconscious or implicit bias in our personal and professional lives. However, once we become aware and awake to our biases we can be more intentional in addressing and correcting them in order to become more effective and positively productive. This workshop will review current research on unconscious bias and offer interactive exercises and reflective activities in order to move from awareness to action.

If You Could You Would! Self-Care, Stress, Burnout, and Other Occupational Hazards
Heather Peck Dziewulski, Partner/Director of Clinical Development, The Resilience Network LLC - BIO

Workers in the helping professions are often faced with situations of violence, sadness, injustice and heavy workloads on an ongoing basis. How do workers combat these negative influences to stay healthy, energetic and effective in their jobs? How can managers identify stress and burnout in their staff and how can they positively impact outcomes for their organizations? Compassion fatigue is real and comes in many forms. The ability to identify what issues impact you the most and your tendencies under stress are the first steps to ensure long lasting well-being. This workshop will focus on teaching participants how to identify their internal warning signs that signal an adjustment to their situation is needed and how to work with staff to reduce stress and burnout. 

How to See in the Dark: Leadership When the Path is Unclear
Amanda Noell Stanley, CEO, DePaul Community Resources - BIO

Have you ever been faced with a difficult decision at a time when the stakes were high and you had limited information? Of course you have: In the work of human services, this is our every day reality. Parents, case workers, agency leaders and collaborative teams are faced with critical decisions that affect the trajectory of precious lives - and many times we lack the information we need. In those moments, leadership can be scary and can feel lonely. This workshop will focus on how you can use the tools you already have to help you 'see in the dark' to make the best decisions you can for those you serve. We'll use adaptive leadership models and play with metaphors from the animal kingdom to help us explore the art of finding and showing the way. Participants will leave with tools (read: very cool handouts) that they can immediately employ in their work.

Building Bridges: Leveraging Your Uniqueness
Mercedes N Kirkland-Doyle, Managing Member, Mercedes Naomi D&I Consulting - BIO

We are better together. The ability to establish effective relationships is critical when leading people to add value to the lives of others. This session will provide an out-of-the-box approach for leaders by fostering real-time dialogue, address current barriers and identify S.M.A.R.T. goals along with best practices that result in resolutions and success. Leaders will experience hands on exercises, role-playing and a mini-project. This workshop will leave participants with an energized, excited, reignited motivation to focus on their well-being!  

Kindred & Lacey: Story Detectives - Helping your Nonprofit Uncover your Nonprofit's Most Impactful Stories!
Sue Kindred, SK Consulting - BIO

Sue Kindred and Amy Lacey are two powerful voices in helping nonprofits tell better stories that will ultimately turn into increased recognition and funding. They have come together in this hands-on, interactive workshop to share the basics of effective storytelling and how to get your nonprofit’s stories noticed in the ever-changing and sometimes overwhelming world of social media. Attendees will learn what makes an effective story and where to find the stories that best showcase their work. Learning who should be telling the story coupled with when and how to promote it will allow nonprofits to utilize all aspects of storytelling to transform their messaging and impact. 

Time Management – Nonprofit Leaders
Chris Bennett, Consultant/ Facilitator, The Spark Mill - BIO

Time management is crucial for nonprofit leaders! In this class participants will engage two different of time management methodologies. Then, we’ll look at several different strategies and tools to help participants with time management. Lastly, participants will use all they have learned to design a time-management system that that will work for them.  

Light’s Camera Action!! Presenting Yourself and Your Organization
Jane Stein, President, JPS Consulting - BIO

Believe it or not, speaking in public does not have to be scary! How you speak and present yourself in public reflects upon your agency. This serious but humorous session is guaranteed to have every participant ready, willing and very able to go out and talk in public to groups large and small. So this workshop has been designed for those of you who speak before groups or make presentations on behalf of your organization -- in other words everyone!  BIO  

Managing Performance, Inspiring Excellence
Vanessa DiLeo, Child Care Program Consultant, Virginia Department of Social of Services - BIO

Join us to explore collaborative performance planning and how to manage your team to success. Learn how to develop and communicate measurable expectations, gain valuable techniques related to coaching and feedback, and develop performance evaluations that are valuable to employees and the organization.