Monday, June 14, 2010

CompassPoint NonProfit Forum Highlights

Earlier this month, I attended as PRESS the Compass Point Nonprofit Forum at the Mountain View Computer Museum, and had a great time at the various sessions, along with a lively crowd of 200 other participants. The program (click this link for audio downloads and copies of presentations) covered key aspects of nonprofit issues and action items for today: fundraising, decision-making, grassroots organizing and lobbying, and having a powerful and enactable mission statement.

Thanks so much to Nelson Layag, project director, for "hosting me," much appreciated.
(For more info, see,

On Legislative Issues: Erica Wood, vice-president of community leadership, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, emphasized the importance of grassroots organizing and keeping on top of legislative issues.
"Lobbying and advocacy not only have a place in your organization, but they are often the only key to getting to the root of the problem." 

See a video excerpt of Erica here.

Hema Sareen Mohan, District Director and Press Representative - State Senator Joe Simitian, encouraged attendees to attend local events such as town hall meetings, farmer's markets and block parties, and to advocate on behalf of their clients. 
"Legislators are often away from their constituents and in Sacramento most of the week, so it's really important to connect with them when there is a forum or event."

Watch a video excerpt of Hema here.

On Mission Statements: Jara Dean-Coffey, jdcPartnerships, spoke about how more then ever, nonprofits have to justify their mission and their results to philanthropic and goverment organizations.  She discussed "logic models" and systems for determining whether your programs and structures are working. 

 On Decision-Making:  Jeanne Bell, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, focused on key challenges of decision-making in organizations. Who makes the decisions? How are they communicated?
 "Leaders are responsible for timely decision-making and execution." "We're supposed to hire slow and fire fast, but we often don't do that." 

Watch Robert Weiner video here.

On Fundraising:  The presenters were Sharon Svensson, Dolores Garay, Dolores Garay Consulting; and Robert L. Weiner, Strategic Technology Advisors to Nonprofit and Educational Institutions. The panel highlighted the importance of hiring a dedicated Director of Development in these tough times, and that for someone with good experience, an expected salary level was about 80K.  Social media still has a ways to go in fundraising efforts, but in the end it's still reliant on mainstay marketing and solicitation tools. For example, speakers emphasized the importance of retaining donors, and thanking them often. When did you last thank your donors?
"Many successful fundraising efforts focus on a specific day or event, and focus their marketing that way. Social media is still used as a tool for building community, but we're all still figuring it out." 

A collaborative event of:

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