How to get the most out of your meetings

How did your last meeting go?

1.  Was it productive and on point?

2.  Or was it bogged down with side conversations, dominating personalities, arguing, people arriving late or leaving early, lack of respect, and off topic discussion?

Unless your organization is highly unusual, or you have been making a concerted effort in the area of productive meetings, I would guess that your meetings are more like the latter. Meetings are a necessary evil in the everyday workings of any organization. Everyone’s time is very valuable and meetings need to be run efficiently and respectfully. But, how do you make this happen without being the bad “guy”, the meeting czar?

Your team needs to agree on and adopt a set of meeting rules that work for your organization. If the team has buy-in to these rules, then you can always point to the rules (that may have even been posted in your meeting room) when things start to go awry and pull the meeting back on track. Over time, it will become natural to observe and play by these rules. You will then have more productive and less time consuming meetings, and as a result, a more organized, productive, and action oriented organization.

Below, are a set of rules that you may choose to adopt, or pick and choose what will work for you and your organization. Good luck and may all your future meetings be productive, respectful, on point, and on schedule.

15 Rules for the Nonprofit Boardroom (or for any meeting)

1. In this room, at this time, we are all equal. Each of us – regardless of position – will participate.

2. Each of us will behave according to the organization’s values.

3. Each of us is mindful of confidentiality and conflict of interest.

4. We are committed to group process, respect and candor.

5.  We will tap into the wisdom of the group, not focus on the opinions of individuals.

6.  We will question our own assumptions and those of our colleagues in order to think creatively. We will not get stuck on ‘what we’ve always done’ and ‘what we do today.’

7. We will listen to each other and suspend judgments.

8.  Our conversation is not about convincing each other but rather about listening to everything and everyone and then deciding what it all means.

9.  Each of us will be heard, but that doesn’t mean each of us will get what we want.

10. No single person(s) shall dominate.

11. It’s OK to disagree. When issues are important and people care, they argue. But once we decide, that’s it. Once decisions are made, each of us owns and supports the decisions.

12. Each of us will accept responsibility for speaking out. Silence is consent.

13. We agree to focus on the meeting agenda and work hard to keep on track.

14. We will not start over or repeat if someone is late, leaves early or is unable to attend.

15. We recognize that the job of a facilitator is hard.

These excellent rules come to you from Simone Joyaux, CFRE via Jean Block Consulting, Inc.

Blog post submitted by Alice Burkholder,

Community & Alumni Relations Coordinator, Harmony Foundation

EPNRC Board Member

Posted in Board Development, Boards and Governance, General Nonprofit Information | Leave a comment

2014 Recap and Thank You

The Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center thanks you for a great year!

What a year 2014 was for the Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center! 2014 marked many accomplishments for EPNRC, as well as many challenges and we have so much to be thankful for.  Funders, sponsors, businesses and organizations were instrumental in the successes of 2014. In addition, our community came out in droves to support all of our area nonprofits.

Collaboration was the name of the game for many of our programs. After months of hard work, the Mountain Strong for Nonprofits campaign; an online giving portal for nonprofits in the Estes Valley was officially launched in September during the one-year anniversary of the 2013 flood. This project allows people from all over the world to support nonprofits right here in the Estes Valley. To date there are 35 participating organizations in the campaign!

This year’s fundraising conference, We’ve Seen Fire and We’ve Seen Rain, was a joint venture in collaboration with the Community Resource Center and the Northern Colorado Nonprofit Resource Center.  Over one hundred participants were treated to a day of educational programming and funder networking at the beautiful Stanley Hotel.

We saw the largest turnout, 240 attendees, for the National Philanthropy Day celebration at the YMCA of the Rockies, along with the largest pool of nominees for the Philanthropist of the Year that we had seen since its inception. Sadly, we also said goodbye to one of our founders this year, Katie Speer, and we were able to recognize her by naming the Philanthropist of the Year award in her honor.

In 2014, EPNRC served approximately 530 individuals through 30 educational programs, responded to 353 individual requests for assistance, with 12 of those being extended one-on-one meetings. Another large collaboration, months in the works, is the Estes Valley Legacy Program; a planned giving collaborative designed to provide planned gift education for the community. This innovative, groundbreaking program was launched last Thursday at the elegant Della Terra Mountain Chateau.  And finally, with 13 founding businesses, EPNRC will launch the Community Give Back Program in early 2015.

We would not have been able to accomplish any of these things without the support of so many. We would like to send a special thanks to all of those organizations who supported us with grant funding this year: The Town of Estes Park, Estes Park Rotary Club Foundation, the Community Thrift Shop, Krumme Family Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado.

We would also like to thank the Estes Valley Library for their support of our programs and providing meeting space for our workshops and Lunch and Learn programs, as well as countless resources. Thank you to the Estes Park News and the Estes Park Trail Gazette who supported our programs by spreading the word throughout the community and giving us a platform. Thank you to the founding members of the Estes Valley Legacy program, which will have a lasting impact on the nonprofits of our community for many years to come. Thank you to the founding businesses in the Community Give Back program as well as all our business partners over the past year. Thank you to all of the nonprofits we work with for allowing us to be a part of your mission to help so many.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to our donors! Your support of our organization means so much. We wouldn’t be able to help so many without you! When you support us, you are also supporting all of the nonprofits in the Estes Valley and those who depend on their services! We thank each and every one of you and we look forward to what 2015 has in store!

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Preparing for Success with Mountain Strong for Nonprofits

For those unable to attend today’s workshop “Preparing for Success with Mountain Strong for Nonprofits,” you can download a complete set of the Workshop Handouts.  It was certainly exciting to have a majority of the participating nonprofits attend!

Here is a quick recap of the most important things you can do to help ensure your organization’s success with Mountain Strong for Nonprofits (MS4NP):

Workshop key to success 1Now is the time to recruit your innermost circle of supporters to:

  • Help with donor matching funds
  • Engage  with communications
  • Kick off giving so you have results to report right away
  • Switch out their Facebook profile image for the “I AM MS4NP” graphic
  • Share your messages, images and stories with their social network

Workshop key to success 2

Lead by example so you can share the experience you had and the reaction you received when you did what you are asking your supporters to do. It will make them feel more comfortable doing it themselves.



Workshop key to success 3

Find a tangible and relate-able way to show a donation’s impact – a “mission product.” To give donors a reason to give at a certain level. It is much more engaging and will encourage larger gifts.

Consider your own reaction to a generic statement like “How much would you like to donate? $5, $10, $20.” Versus “How would you like to make an impact? You can plant a tree for $5. You can provide a meal and warm bed for a homeless senior for $10. You can send a cancer patient to one day of camp for $350.”

Workshop key to success 4

Besides making things tangible, consider including your goal and/or a deadline in your call-to-action. Incorporating a goal gives people something get behind and a deadline provides urgency. Both will help get people to act. (If you have a matching gift with a deadline, it can be especially effective.)


Workshop key to success 5

Use the tools and resources we’ll provide in the MS4NP toolkit! We are trying to make it as easy as possible for you with sample newsletter/email copy, key messages, graphics and social media ideas. (We will email a link to the toolkit as soon as it is available to all participating nonprofits. You will then also be able to access it on our Toolkit page.)

Workshop key to success 6

To make it even easier on yourself, “Like” and “Get Notifications” from our Facebook page. We’ll keep you up to date with new resources as they are developed and help you keep the momentum going.

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Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center offers donated computers for adoption

Moving the computers to prepare for adoptionEstes Park Nonprofit Resource Center (EPNRC) has computers available for “adoption” to area nonprofits thanks to a recent donation from the Town of Estes Park. There are a total of eleven computers available, seven Dell Precision Workstation T3400 and four Dell Precision Workstation T7400. Initially the project began with 26 computers available but fifteen have already been adopted out through word of mouth. The cost to adopt a computer is $75 and includes two flat-screen monitors, mouse and keyboard.
Alan Fraundorf, the Town of Estes Park’s Information Technology Manager says “we were thrilled to find a good use of the Town’s used equipment with local nonprofits through EPNRC.” He continued “for everyone involved, this was a much better option than sending them to the recycle center.” Alan contacted EPNRC Director Jill Lancaster to see if there was an interest in using the computers last fall. The project was put on hold until April due to the flood. Alan also handcrafted decorative stands for displays that did not have stands.
Lee Lasson, a board member of EPNRC has been the coordinator of the project. Volunteers from the Estes Park Computer Users Group (EPICUG), EPNRC and the Rotary Club of Estes Park worked together to remove Windows XP from the donated machines and install a new operating system along with Microsoft Office. Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Estes Park helped move the computers to temporary storage donated by Wheeler Management in the Stanley Village. YMCA of the Rockies loaned the project SATA Drive Duplicators for cloning the system’s hard drives. Lee Lasson, Jim Webb and Joe Calvin of EPICUG organized and updated the computers, then paired and tested the displays to get the systems ready for adoption. The computers are now located at the Duck Central Office, space donated by Wheeler Management.
The board members of EPNRC would like to thank the Town of Estes Park, Alan Fraundorf, EPICUG, the Rotary Club of Estes Park, Wheeler Management, YMCA of the Rockies, Baja Broadband, board member Lee Lasson and Director Jill Lancaster for helping to make this program possible.
If you are an Estes area nonprofit and interested in adopting a computer, please contact Jill Lancaster at For more information on EPNRC please visit

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Mountain Strong for Nonprofits Workshop Tonight!

Join us to learn about how you can benefit from the Mountain Strong for Nonprofits collaborative AND how you can easily produce a short video that powerfully tells your nonprofit’s story.

Mountain Strong for Nonprofits Workshop

6:30-8:30 pm
Estes Valley Library, Hondius Room


Use video to ignite audiences     Making Video Work for You    

– What makes effective video and tv campaigns

– How and why messaging works

– How the tools used by big companies can be effectively used by nonprofits

       Nonprofit Video How-To       

– How to create a video for your nonprofit at little or no cost

– Tools to create a video to use on the Mountain Strong for Nonprofits website

– How to check out the Mountain Strong video camera

– Get your effective video checklist

– Discuss free and inexpensive ways to get your video seen

Use video to tell your story
Join the Mountain Strong for Nonprofits Fundraising Collaborative          Join the Collaborative!         

– Why we are doing this and how it got started

– How nonprofits will benefit by becoming a Mountain Strong member

– What makes your nonprofit eligible to participate

– How we will reach people outside of our community, visitors and part-time residents

– What you need to do to get your nonprofit signed up

– What it will take to be successful

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Mountain Strong for Nonprofits

Mountain Strong for Nonprofits

The Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center (EPNRC) has announced Mountain Strong for Nonprofits. This new online marketing collaborative is designed to raise seriously needed funding for the local nonprofit community. The program will assist in rebuilding efforts following last year’s flood and will help increase capacity for nonprofit organizations that serve Colorado residents most affected by the flooding.

The campaign’s goals are to raise awareness through video, online advertising and PSA’s, and to provide sustainable tools to be used by member organizations for additional marketing / capacity building campaigns in the future.

Mountain Strong for Nonprofits is a grant-funded collaboration among EPNRC, Stage 2 Studios and Neanderthal Marketing. The primary access point for this campaign will be a new dynamic, video-centric website where individual member organizations will be profiled along with donation links for each organization. Each member organization will receive training on how to best communicate their need through available media, and they will be assisted in the creation of a video that highlights their program.

“It’s going to really impact nonprofits in the community, many of which lost thousands in funding during last year’s flood or were compelled to increase their services due to the disaster,” said Jill Lancaster, Director of EPNRC. “Several local organizations had to cancel their annual fundraising events and at least one nonprofit had to close their doors due to lack of funding.”

These marketing tools will be hosted on a new Mountain Strong for Nonprofits website. The website, to launch in September of 2014, will be marketed nationwide through free media distributed PSA’s, online advertisements, social media and in news coverage of the anniversary of the flood. Membership in the Mountain Strong for Nonprofits program is free of charge for all participating organizations for one year. (Optional paypal donate links will be available for an additional cost).

Estes Park area nonprofits interested in participating or learning more about this great opportunity can attend a workshop Tuesday, May 20 at 6:30PM in the Hondius Room at the Estes Park Library. Register at:


This program was funded by a Community Foundation of Northern Colorado grant.


Posted in Flood Recovery, Fundraising, Marketing | Leave a comment

Book Review: New Voices at the Table: Welcoming the Next Generation of Board Leaders

417_NewVoicesa-theTableNew Voices at the Table:  Welcoming the Next Generation of Board Leaders was recently purchased and made available at the Estes Valley Library.  Rather than a book, it is a 51 page “toolkit” that informs nonprofit boards about recruiting the next generation of leaders.  Potential board members, ages 18 to 40, actually are a key component in solving pressing issues for the nonprofits. Information answers questions related to who the new board members might be, how they will function, where they will be found, how they will affect the board, and what orientation they will need.  As your nonprofit board goes through the process of recruiting the next generation of board members, consider using the guidance from this toolkit.  The information is divided into three major sections.

Part 1 is “Motivation and Values,” which highlights the challenges of facing the nonprofits and the skills the new board members can bring.  The tools in this first section include generational trends and their potential  contribution to your organization, the impact of building a generationally reverse board, benefits that the new board members can offer your board, and the leadership of the next generation.

Part 2 focuses on “Recruitment Channels and Challenges” by expanding your recruitment channels in several ways.  The tools in this second section include identifying the skills for your board, developing a board matrix and a worksheet, the use of technology, and strategies for engaging new generation leaders.

Finally, Part 3 expresses “Culture and Orientation” through a list of skills for new board members, a guide to mentoring relationships, and case studies for potential pitfalls.  The tools in this third portion specify the skills for outreach for younger board members, mentorship, as well as “youth movement” and “out of tune” case studies.    The end of the toolkit actually lists several book titles and resources to assist in your future nonprofit advances.

Although this book is brief and focused, it does provide an emphasis on the next generation of nonprofit board leaders that can continue to assist your goals.  Head to the Estes Valley Library and you will find the book in the Nonprofit book area listed at Nonfiction 658.4 NEW.

Image Credit: BoardSource

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5 Ways to Boost Engagement on Facebook

Facebook has an entire guide designed to help nonprofits make the most of Facebook pages to tell cause-related stories and build deep, lasting connections with supporters. Here are their tips for boosting engagement:

  1. Post succinct content
  2. Post photos and videos
  3. Post regularly
  4. Try a “fill in the blank” or “caption this photo” post
  5. Be timely

Download the entire guide.

Interested in getting even more up-to-date expert advice on using Facebook for your nonprofit? Attend next week’s workshop:

Who “Likes” You: Telling Your Story Through Facebook

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Short Form Video – High Impact at a Low Cost?

Have you thought video would be too expensive for your nonprofit to use?

Beth Kanter shares a quick tip with See3 Communications about how you can produce a short form video with your smart phone.

short form video can have a large impact with your audience

You can find more advice in How to Make a Video for Non-Profits from What Took You So Long. Although it is tailored to bigger productions produced in international locations, there are a few points that easily apply to our small local nonprofits:

  • Capture honest moments
  • Share positive stories
  • Keep the message simple

Have you given video a try? Share a link to your work below or send it to  We’d love to feature it on our site and social media!


Photo Credit: still from “shorter is better – Beth Kanter” video by See3 Communications


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Does Your Board Have Fun with Fundraising?

Are your board members eager to help with fundraising? If not, maybe they don’t understand that Fundraising is not just asking for money.

In this week’s video from Movie Mondays for Fundraising Professionals, Janet Boguch from Non-Profit Works shares how she’s able to get board members to be engaged and have fun in the fundraising process.

The mind-shift for boards starts with explaining that fundraising is built on a whole set of strategies and activities (listed below) that are carried out continually to bring resources to the organization. There is a lot more for board members to get involved with than just “the ask.”

The 6 Rs of Relationship Building

  1. Research
  2. Romance
  3. Request
  4. Recognize
  5. Retain
  6. Renew (or upgrade)

Find out more details about the 6 R relationship cycle in the video Getting Board Members to Have Fun with Fundraising.

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