How to Overcome Leadership Conference FOMO

Team NLC News

At the Nonprofit Leadership Center, our annual Leadership Conference is like the Super Bowl of our year. It’s a powerful time to gather with 700 nonprofit leaders across the Tampa Bay region for a day of intentional learning, networking and growth. But the connections and development opportunities don’t start and stop here. This year, we’re taking the best of our conference and bringing it directly to you through new leadership classes hosted by our conference speakers.

If you missed your chance to register before the conference sold out, or you’ll be there but are stressing about not making it to every breakout session, we’re helping you overcome your FOMO (fear of missing out). These upcoming classes dig deeper into the content from our 2019 Leadership Conference, bringing you depth and detail to strengthen your focus and lead with purpose.

New Classes Led by NLC Leadership Conference Speakers

Changing Habits to Improve Your Productivity (June 4)
Explore how your personality, habits and routine affect your ability to get things done. Learn powerful insights for being more effective, productive and successful at work and in life.   

Optimize Your Optimism (June 25)
Learn how to harness the power of optimism to reframe obstacles as opportunities and make empowered choices to get to where you want to go. You’ll build self-leadership skills to take responsibility for your outcomes, set direction for your life and career, and better manage priorities.

Perfect Your Pitch (July 9)
Learn how to tie your story to your goals and use the power of persuasion to nail your pitch.

The Gift of Being Present (July 31)
Learn mindfulness tools and techniques to be present in awkward or tense situations and resilient in navigating them to grow personally and professionally.

Stop, Collaborate & Listen (August 29)
Hear from leaders at Feeding Tampa Bay, Trinity Café and Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County about the decision-making and step-by-step processes behind their mergers as case studies of collective impact and collaboration in the nonprofit sector.

Strenthen Your Core Values (September 5)
Deepen your self-awareness and isolate your core values to help you achieve your best life and bring your purpose, career and life into alignment.

Build Career Bridges (October 11)
Join local nonprofit executives who began their careers in the for-profit sector to explore the process for finding purpose and making a successful transition to the nonprofit sector.

Want to be the first to hear about new nonprofit trainings, classes and offerings at NLC? Sign up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter, chock-full of the latest events and resources, along with tips and tools to help you thrive personally and professionally. 

4 Nonprofit Moms Share Tips for Balancing Motherhood and Their Mission

Team NLC Stories, Tips

Lunches packed. Laundry folded. Gifts for the upcoming party wrapped. Homework checked. Dog walked. Bed made. Meals planned. Dinner in the oven. Tantrum calmed. Crisis averted. Hugs given. Advice shared. Out the door. Repeat.

Let’s face it — moms are super heroes. They do the little things every day that go unnoticed and the big things that leave a lasting impression on our lives. They know what to say when we’re hurting, they know how to bring the best out in each of us and they’re master jugglers of their lives (and sometimes ours, too). When you add to that list running a nonprofit to make our communities better, super hero status is officially off the charts.

This Mother’s Day, Team NLC is honoring all the amazing moms out there — including those no longer with us — who have made an indelible impact on our lives and communities. To celebrate, we’re sharing tips from four nonprofit moms for balancing the responsibilities of motherhood and moving a mission.

Local Moms Share Tips for Balancing Motherhood While Leading a Nonprofit

We recently asked a handful of local nonprofit CEOs and executive directors (who are also moms) these questions: How do you balance being a busy nonprofit leader and mom? What tips would you share with other moms out there who are juggling it all?

Here’s what they shared with us.

1. Tuesdi Dyer, CFRE, Executive Director, CFC International

“Juggling my role as a mom and the executive director of CFC International has a unique challenge, because my youngest son has the disease my nonprofit supports. It’s so easy to find myself working long hours or responding to a diagnosed family during dinner — not because I have to, but because I want to. Even though I feel like my organization is my extended family, my boys don’t see my job as anything more than a job. I avoid talking about work between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. That’s their time. I dedicate only a few morning hours a weekend to work, and then once my laptop closes, I shut off my job.

“As for my self-care needs, what a work in progress! Recently, I implemented a practice of every time thoughts of work enter my mind during my free time, I go for a run. This gives me dedicated time to myself and often forces me to think about issues objectively, rather than emotionally. Once my run is done, I find that the stress and concern of a work-related challenge fades away.”

2. Jessica Muroff, CEO, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida

“There is no balance. Roles ebb and flow. It’s all about managing priorities. Some weeks are very full focusing on our mission. Other weeks I may be focused on my family. You have to “be present.” The key is to be all in where you are — whether that’s at home, at work or in the community. If you try to do too many things at once, you aren’t being effective in the role you’re living in that moment. My recommendation is to clearly identify your priorities, deliberately plan for them every day and be present. I’m a better wife, mom and leader because of this.

“My other tip is to give yourself grace, understanding we are human and imperfect. Juggling isn’t easy. There are times a ball is going to drop. Don’t beat yourself up over one dropped ball. The best example we can set for our children is how we persevere when we make mistakes.

“Finally, I LOVE the bullet journal method. Google it or get lost in Pinterest for inspiration. It is one of my favorite tools for staying focused.”

3. Sherry Bagley, Co-Executive Director, Pathfinder Outdoor Education

4 Tips for Balancing Motherhood While Leading a Nonprofit

“Balancing everything is hard. I try to embrace the moments I have — those times when bedtime has passed but you are lying next to your kiddos giggling over the book you have read. Or when you are having an inspiring and exciting discussion about a new project with a staff member and the clock slowly creeps past 5 p.m. Those focused moments can be more important than the hour you spend in a staff meeting dreaming about being at your son’s field trip. And don’t forget to have fun! Laughter makes us all better people and moms.”

4. Emily H. Benham, FAHP, CFRE, CEO, Nonprofit Leadership Center

4 Tips for Balancing Motherhood While Leading a Nonprofit

“Don’t give up things that bring you joy. While priorities shift with motherhood and responsibilities that come with it, I find I’m my best self when I carve out time to do what makes me happy. Sometimes, my son will share in those activities with me, and sometimes I need to do them by myself. I return to my family from that time refreshed and ready for the next move.”

Find More Balance

Do you need extra help managing your time and finding the right balance in your life as a nonprofit leader? Join us for one of these upcoming classes at NLC to learn how to make juggling it all a little easier.

Changing Habits to Improve Your Productivity (June 4, 2019)
In this new, half-day class, explore how your personality, habits and routine affect your ability to get things done. Learn powerful insights for being more effective, productive and successful in work and in life.

Creating Balance for Nonprofit Leaders (July 24, 2019)
Striking the right balance between work and home life can be a challenge, but this engaging session will help improve your mental and physical well-being to be more efficient and productive. This new class will help you recognize the signs of an unbalanced life, identify employer resources for a balanced lifestyle, discover the most effective work methods for you, better manage stress and more.

Taking Good Care of Ourselves So We Can Take Better Care of Others (October 4, 2019)
In this engaging and interactive half-day session, learn strategies for introspection, how to better control and manage technology in your life, building relationships for positive results, understanding what makes us different, time management skills and more.


Be First to Know About New Classes and Resources

Get information about new NLC classes, job opportunities, resources and nonprofit training delivered to your inbox. Join our email list to receive our weekly e-newsletter, chock-full of valuable tips and tools to help you and your organization thrive. 

NEW 2019 Nonprofit Leadership Classes in Pinellas County

Team NLC News

We recently asked nonprofit leaders across Tampa Bay to tell us how the Nonprofit Leadership Center can better support and strengthen their work. The answer was clear: Offer more classes in Pinellas County.

“I’d like to see NLC take some of their courses into the community and do more in Pinellas.”

You shared your feedback, and we’ve listened. In addition to the 80 nonprofit trainings and leadership classes scheduled at our training facility this year, NLC has launched four professional development series across Pinellas County in the areas of board governance, marketing communications, leadership and fund development.

Please join us for one of our upcoming Pinellas County nonprofit trainings. Bookmark this page to be the first to learn about new classes as we add more information to this list throughout the year.

New 2019 Nonprofit Leadership Classes in Pinellas County

Board Governance Rock Star Certificate at Collaborative Labs (June)
This interactive series will prepare your organization with the fundamental governance concepts every nonprofit leader should understand and practice. In this six-hour program that takes place over two evenings, attendees will learn how to identify, recruit and train board members, establish board roles and responsibilities, forge strong board-staff partnerships, run successful meetings, engage board members in fundraising, ensure responsible financial oversight and reporting, and explore the latest governance models and trends.

Marketing & Communications at the Juvenile Welfare Board (August)
In this two-part interactive series, you’ll build fundamental marketing and communications skills to make your story stick in an ever-changing media landscape. You’ll leave with an understanding of how to create the right content for every social media channel, how to connect with and drive action among your audiences with your content and how to dazzle writers and reporters.

Nonprofit Leadership Development at Collaborative Labs (September)
This three-part class will help every nonprofit professional become a more effective leader by learning how to adapt their specific personality style to reduce conflict and maximize impact, cultivate optimism and accountability, and effectively manage conflict and change in the workplace.

Fund Development at Center for Health Equity (October)
More information on this 3-part series with Sara Leonard, CFRE, and Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE, will be shared soon. Keep checking back for dates and details.

Thank you to the following generous partners for making our Pinellas County classes possible this year: Allegany Franciscan Ministries, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Pinellas Community Foundation and Wells Fargo.

Want to be the first to hear about new nonprofit trainings at NLC? Sign up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter, chock-full of the latest classes and resources, along with tips and tools to help you thrive personally and professionally. 

6 Secrets for Success at Leadership Conference

Team NLC News

Team NLC is counting down the days (19!) until our 9th annual Leadership Conference on May 22.

We’re thrilled to share that the conference has SOLD OUT for the fourth year in a row. (If you didn’t get a chance to register, please call us at 813-287-8779 to join the wait list. We accommodate requests on a first come, first served basis.)

This year’s conference will be an incredible day of personal and professional growth. We’ve developed eight new breakout sessions to hone your FOCUS and find your PURPOSE. And that’s before we introduce you to our Keynote Speaker Simon T. Bailey.

We’ll be communicating more detailed information as the big day nears, but today we’re sharing the top six things you (and your guests) need to know to maximize your experience at the 2019 Leadership Conference.

6. We’re in a new venue. This year’s Leadership Conference will take place at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Be sure to program 211 N. Tampa St. into your GPS ahead of time.

5. We’ve added two additional breakouts. We’ve tapped 13 local and regional experts to facilitate eight working breakout sessions. These aren’t lectures! You’ll learn proven techniques and create individual action plans to change the way you approach every facet of your personal and professional life. Share the link to our 2019 Leadership Conference page with your guests so you can each start thinking about which two (of the eight) breakout sessions you’ll attend. (Capacity in some breakout rooms is limited, so we recommend snagging your first choice space early and having a Plan B if it’s maxed out.)

4. This is more than a meeting; it’s a meet-up. You’re going to have the chance to network with hundreds of leaders and organizations. With a confirmed crowd of nearly 700, this is your best opportunity of the year to meet new peers and forge new connections. Wear your corporate name tag and bring business cards … LOTS of business cards. Take advantage of one-stop-shopping as you examine the varied products and services our exhibitors have to share.

3. Parking is on us. NLC is picking up the parking tab for everyone attending Leadership Conference. Parking will be easy and FREE in the Fort Brooke garage. We’ll provide detailed driving directions in pre-conference emails to all registrants. Simply pick up your parking voucher at registration. At the end of the conference, hand your voucher to the attendant, or insert it into the machine when you pull up to the garage exit in your car (no need to stop at the machines near the entrance doors as you’re walking back to your car).

2. Fortune favors the early birds. Doors open at 8 a.m., and we’ve packed the schedule with incredible personal and professional development opportunities at every turn. Breakouts begin at 9:15 and 10:30. The Keynote with Simon T. Bailey will start promptly at noon. For a more detailed timeline, see our 2019 Leadership Conference page.

1. Don’t rush off! After the Keynote, join us for our special networking reception and book signing with Simon. It’s also another chance to visit with our exhibitors and expand your circles by networking with new contacts. Besides, traffic will die down while you’re networking and rubbing elbows with a best-selling author.

Are you as excited as we are?!? Team NLC, our Board of Trustees and the planning committee can’t wait to host you at the Hilton Tampa Downtown on May 22.

If you’re already registered to attend, expect additional details via email during the next three weeks and on the 2019 Leadership Conference page. We’re also here to answer any questions at or 813-287-8779.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter so you’re among the first to know about the 2019 Leadership Conference and all the great content we’ll be sharing before, during and after the event.


Nonprofit Training: Why face-to-face learning is better than online learning

Team NLC Tips

I just don’t have the resources in my budget. I can’t afford to be away from the office that long. We have too much on our plate right now to fit anything else in. These are some of the common responses nonprofit leaders share when it comes to prioritizing professional development. But did you know that more than half of nonprofit managers say they don’t have the knowledge, experience and resources to be successful? While 96 percent of nonprofit leaders are interested in receiving leadership and managerial training, our sector spends less than a half of 1% on leadership development initiatives. With shrinking budgets and increasing responsibilities, how do you choose what kind of nonprofit training to invest in? Is face-to-face learning or online learning better?

To answer these questions, we must look beyond cost and convenience to long-term value and impact.

Is face-to-face learning or online learning better for nonprofit leaders?

In our technology-driven world, professionals are looking to online learning to minimize costs and maximize convenience. But the measure that matters most when it comes to professional learning is whether it changes how you perform in your professional role to solve real-world problems outside the learning environment.

The Nonprofit Leadership Center has made the strategic decision to deliver all our nonprofit training through face-to-face learning. From classroom and custom training to intimate cohort learning and group-sharing circles, we believe knowledge gained and shared collectively fosters leadership.

Here are three reasons face-to-face learning is better than online learning when it comes to nonprofit training:

1. Relationships deepen results.
Nonprofit success is built on strong relationships — with board members, donors, constituents and funders. We are stronger when we can access a network of colleagues to support us in making decisions, implementing new programs or shifting strategic direction. These relationships are built by spending time together, by learning together and by sharing common experiences.

Research conducted at Florida International University on learning delivery preferences found participants placed importance on social environments, groups and peers along with networking and intimacy of connectivity as key elements of relationships in learning. Additionally, our Pinellas County Nonprofit Assessment completed in May 2018 with the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg found that the most critical issue concerning nonprofit leaders outside of funding was relationships/networks.

While it’s not impossible to connect with someone digitally, the magic happens when people are face-to-face in the same space.

2. Information isn’t a substitute for experience.
Tackling our communities’ biggest issues requires collaboration, conversation and creativity. There are many ways to solve the same problem, and none of us have all the answers when it comes to raising money, increasing awareness, reaching new audiences, working with board members, pitching funders and creating organizational culture. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to learning. Being able to talk with others who have gone through similar experiences and learn what did and didn’t work provides rich context and counsel that online learning alone can’t always provide. The ability to ask deeper questions, seek feedback from others and pressure-test ideas is something best done through human interaction and group dialogue.

3. Practice enhances performance.
Through face-to-face nonprofit training — especially multi-part sessions — participants can test what they learn through real-time engagement. From group role-playing to developing plans and deliverables for experts and peers to assess and discuss, face-to-face learning allows leaders to apply principles and strategies to real situations in real-time, gaining constructive feedback, guidance and ideas for enhancement.

Join an Upcoming Nonprofit Training Opportunity at NLC

Nonprofit Board Governance Rock Star Certificate Series (June)
Learn everything you need to know about recruiting, retaining and operating a successful board of directors — great for both nonprofit staff and board members to attend together.

The Fundamentals of Successful Change Management Series (July)
Learn how to effectively implement organizational change that produces real outcomes.

Nonprofit Marketing & Communications Series (August)
Master the latest strategies to communicate through traditional and social media to tell your story for increased relevance and results.

Collective Impact & Collaboration (August)
Hear from leaders at Feeding Tampa Bay, Trinity Café and Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County about the decision-making and step-by-step processes behind their mergers as case studies of collective impact and collaboration in the nonprofit sector.


Be First to Know About New Classes and Resources

Get information about new NLC classes, job opportunities, resources and nonprofit training delivered to your inbox. Join our email list to receive our weekly e-newsletter, chock-full of valuable tips and tools to help you and your organization thrive.

Sources: 1) Nonprofit Standards, A Benchmarking Study: BDO (2018), 2) ProInspire Managing for Success Study (2014), 3) Sanders, Tammy S., “A Value-Driven Exploration of Online & In-Person Learning for Professionals (2016). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3053

3 Ways to Learn from Your Fundraising Mistakes

Team NLC Tips

Inspiring donors to invest in your mission is an art and a science. Our work as fundraisers requires us to cultivate relationships and demonstrate our impact while staying ahead of giving trends and providing an exceptional year-round experience. With all the responsibilities fundraisers have in a changing donor landscape, you’re bound to make a mistake or two along the way. But when you approach fundraising mistakes as learning adventures, you’ll be more likely to take risks and uncover new opportunities.

3 ways to learn from your fundraising mistakes

Here are three tips from NLC trainer and fundraising consultant Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE of Sara Leonard Group for turning your fundraising mistakes into new opportunities to increase long-term revenue and results.

How to Turn Your Fundraising Mistakes into Future Wins

1. See shortfalls as opportunities to optimize.

Rather than viewing fundraising mistakes as failures, think of them as adventures — powerful opportunities to learn something new that you can apply to future efforts. Take a realistic look at what you did in the planning and execution stages. Identify strategies that are accepted as the way you do things in your organization but might not actually be the right or best way to do them. By creating a culture where you have the freedom to fail from time-to-time but apply learnings to enhance your efforts moving forward, you’re sure to better engage donors and raise dollars.

2. Use research to set realistic goals.

In fundraising, we often set our goals high, which can lead to unrealistic expectations from CEOs and board members. The best way to chart a winning plan is to use research to set achievable objectives. Sometimes, the best research (and the only kind your budget may allow) is calling a colleague who has implemented a similar strategy to ask what their results were and what they learned. Other times, it’s conducting your own prospect research or hiring a research partner to help you unlock your organization’s potential. Be intentional about setting achievable fundraising goals, and use data and insights to establish them.

3. Look beyond the green.

There’s a common saying that every day isn’t good, but there is good in every day. The same goes for fundraising. Even if we fall short of our goals, we learn valuable lessons and often achieve wins in other ways. Be sure to evaluate your success beyond dollars raised. For example, look for achievements in areas such as reaching new donors, renewing lapsed donors or deepening engagement with current donors. While the final dollar amount is important, it’s not the only indicator of success.

Avoid Common Fundraising Mistakes with These Upcoming Classes

Ready to take your fundraising to the next level? Check out these upcoming classes at NLC to sharpen your fundraising skills.

Make Your Case for Support (May 31 & June 7)
Learn how to tell your organization’s story in a way that will compel donors to support your mission.

Raising Major Gifts (June 28)
Learn how to identify, cultivate and solicit major gifts for your organization, including creating donor cultivation plans and recognition strategies.

Components of Successful Fund Development (September 13)
Explore how to best use an array of fundraising techniques to increase support for your organization regardless of your budget size.

Want more nonprofit resources delivered to your inbox? Sign up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter, chock-full of valuable tips and tools to help you and your organization thrive. 

Self-Care Tips for Nonprofit Leaders

Guest post by NLC trainer Ellen Nastir Stories

Picture this: After a full day sitting at your computer, you’re finally putting the finishing touches on a major presentation when — BAM! — your machine makes a whirring noise and the screen goes dark. All your effort has been wiped out, and you wonder what to do next.

We’ve all experienced similar moments of dread. We rely on our computers and must back up files and maintain security updates to ensure their top performance.

The same is true for our own well-being. Incorporating safeguards to care for our heart, mind, body and soul is as important as implementing a computer back-up system. Just as computers have mechanisms in place to protect against crashing, we need our own protective shield as humans.

Daily Practices for Better Self-Care

Self-care is making it a priority to nurture and care for ourselves. It’s important to have daily practices we can rely on to help protect us when life becomes unruly. But how can you best be there for your organization, your employees, the individuals you serve and your own family if you aren’t taking care of yourself?

Let’s compare our self-care to that of the derailed computer system we mentioned earlier:

  • Too many windows open
  • Multi-tasking; saying yes to additional projects when you wish you’d said no
  • Battery drain
  • Energy drained; fatigue sets in and feeling lethargic
  • Shut down
  • Overwhelmed and flat emotions; lack of joy
  • Memory issues
  • Forgetfulness, loss of concentration
  • Slow down or screen freeze
  • Stress and anxiety; depression, sleeplessness, loss of boundaries
  • Susceptible to viruses
  • Mild to severe physical illnesses; loss of interest in people, work and formerly pleasurable experiences
  • Reboot and recharge
  • Exercise, present-focused, engaging in fun and meaningful activities – both solo and with others

Taking a proactive role to implement better habits and routines is the first step to better self-care for nonprofit leaders. Make a written list of the things that feed and renew your energy to keep you grounded when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Refer to it when life is spinning to guide your thinking and ideas.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What helps you remain calm and focused?
  • What has worked in the past for you to relieve tension?
  • What is one activity you’ve thought about doing but never find the time to do?

To be more intentional about your self-care, download the 4 Quadrant Checklist for Self-Care. Start by committing to one activity in 2 of the 4 areas — Emotional, Mental, Physical and Spiritual. Be consistent while determining which self-care activities suit you best. When you feel ready, adopt another in one of the remaining areas. Then, add from the last quadrant. There’s no time limit or pressure to do this a specific way. It’s all up to you.

Self-care is important to be your best, feel your best, and, yes, give your best. You are worth every moment.

Meet Ellen in May

NLC trainer Ellen Nastir, M.Ed., PCC, BCC, CPCC, is a Certified Professional co-active Coach with advanced training in Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching, Tension and Change Management, Appreciation at Work, and most currently obtaining certification in Positive Psychology for the Workplace. She received her coach training and certification from The Coaches Training Institute, the first ever to be recognized by The International Coach Federation.

As you begin to make self-care a higher personal priority with Ellen’s tips and checklist, join us at the 2019 NLC Leadership Conference to hear Ellen’s advice for discovering your intrinsic motivations and how “your why” can bring all areas of your life into alignment and focus. In her breakout session Strengthen Your Core (Values), she’ll share strategies and tools to help you increase your self-awareness and isolate your core values, bringing clarity and focus to your life and work.


More Opportunities to Achieve Balance for Nonprofit Leaders

Interested in more professional development opportunities to achieve greater balance as a nonprofit leader and in life? Check out these upcoming classes from NLC:

Creating Balance for Nonprofit Leaders (July 24, 2019)
Striking the right balance between work and home life can be a challenge, but this engaging session will help improve your mental and physical well-being to be more efficient and productive. This new class will help you recognize the signs of an unbalanced life, identify employer resources for a balanced lifestyle, discover the most effective work methods for you, better manage stress and more.

Taking Good Care of Ourselves So We Can Take Better Care of Others (October 4, 2019)
In this engaging and interactive half-day session, learn strategies for introspection, how to better control and manage technology in your life, building relationships for positive results, understanding what makes us different, time management skills and more.

Five Creative Volunteer Recognition Ideas

Team NLC Leadership

Every April, we celebrate National Volunteer Week — a time to recognize the power of volunteers and their profound impact on advancing important social issues, improving our communities and changing our world (April 7-13, 2019). But a successful volunteer management plan requires more than one week of gratitude. Nonprofit leaders and organizations must make volunteers feel valued 365 days a year. Use these volunteer recognition ideas to jump-start your creativity in showing volunteer appreciation — this National Volunteer Week and year-round.

Creative Volunteer Recognition Ideas from NLC

Five Volunteer Recognition Ideas

  1. SEND A DIFFERENT KIND OF THANK-YOU MESSAGE: While hand-written notes are nice, nothing beats true gratitude from the individuals and families your volunteers help you serve. Capture a 30 or 60-second video message (smart phone works great) from one of your constituents thanking the volunteer by name and sharing how their support has personally impacted them. Send it in an email with a note on behalf of your organization.
  2. TELL THEIR EMPLOYER: If your volunteer is using their skills and talents to help advance your mission, consider sending an email or letter to their employer sharing how their expertise is improving your community.
  3. MAKE THEIR VALUE VIRAL: Recognize your volunteers with a short story on your social media channels that their friends and family can share to brag on their loved one. Being recognized by peers means a lot and is an easy and inexpensive way to make your volunteers feel special.
  4. REPLACE THE PLAQUE WITH A PERSONAL KEEPSAKE: No one needs or wants another plaque or paper certificate to stuff in a drawer, attic box or (gasp) the trash. Instead, consider giving your volunteers something special to display in their home or office, like a piece of art created by one of the individuals you serve (e.g., framed drawing or painting). This is especially meaningful when it comes from a child, person with disabilities, etc. A personal message on the back adds even more meaning.
  5. DO SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE: Although it’s wonderful to have an occasion like National Volunteer Week, it’s most special when you receive a thank-you out of the blue. Surprise your volunteer during a time when they aren’t expecting it with a $10 gift card with a note, flowers or another modest gesture of gratitude.

Get Your Certificate in Volunteer Management

In addition to developing creative volunteer recognition ideas and finding ways to show appreciation throughout the year, earn your Certificate in Volunteer Management from NLC. Through our interactive, three-class series led by NLC Trainer Tuesdi Dyer, you’ll master best practices for relevant and successful volunteer management.

Specifically, you will learn how to …

  • Plan your volunteer program
  • Recruit and place volunteers
  • Orient and train volunteers
  • Supervise volunteers effectively
  • Evaluate your volunteer program

Register now for our April 2019 Certificate in Volunteer Management

Register now for our September 2019 Certificate in Volunteer Management

Attendees must complete all program sessions and assignments and pass section tests with an 80 percent or better score to receive their certificate.

“Thank you so much for offering this Volunteer Management Certificate program. The concepts and ideas that were presented will allow us to improve our well-established volunteer program. I’m very excited about working with my Volunteer Advisory Council to improve our impact and awareness.”

Yvonne Marrone, Guardian ad Litem Program

What Tampa Bay Nonprofit Leaders Say They Need to Succeed (and How NLC is Responding)

Emily H. Benham, FAHP, CFRE, NLC CEO News

Walt Disney once said that his iconic brand has continued to move forward, open new doors and try new things because its leaders are curious. At the Nonprofit Leadership Center, we’re relentlessly curious. We care deeply about what nonprofit leaders need and want — where they’re struggling and where their success can uplift others. We’re hungry to explore new ideas and strategically respond in ways that help our community overcome challenges and improve lives.

As donor expectations, philanthropic giving opportunities and technology continue to evolve, Team NLC and the resources we offer must evolve too. Earlier this year, we partnered with Jesica D’Avanza at Round Square to assist us in evaluating our current nonprofit landscape, better understanding the motivations and barriers experienced by local nonprofit leaders and assessing how we communicate to deepen engagement with the individuals and organizations we serve.

As part of this process, Jesica interviewed 10 local nonprofit leaders to capture their needs and challenges as well as their perceptions of NLC’s communications and offerings. Interviews took place in January 2019 with professionals across Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, spanning issues, budgets and involvement — from no participation with NLC to highly engaged. These organizations included 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, All Children’s Hospital Foundation, CASA, Champions for Children, Cristo Rey High School, Metropolitan Ministries, Pinellas-Pasco Heart Gallery, ReDefiners, St. Petersburg Free Clinic and the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA.

What Local Nonprofit Leaders Want from NLC

While we were pleased to hear that much of what we offer is helping local nonprofit leaders strengthen their organizations and impact, we also identified important opportunities to improve our resources and impact.

Here’s what Tampa Bay-area nonprofit leaders told us they’d like to see more of from NLC:

1. More options to attend classes in Pinellas County

“I’d like to see NLC take some of their courses into the community and do more in Pinellas.”

2. Targeted support to develop emerging leaders

“There’s a great need in this community to focus on emerging leaders. As a nonprofit CEO, there was no preparation for me coming up through the ranks for how to be a supervisor and leader.”

3. Even more assistance enhancing talent development, organizational culture and related HR responsibilities

“One of the areas we always need support in is interpersonal skills, such as team dynamics and crucial conversations.”

4. Additional networking opportunities that promote collective problem-solving, organizational growth and breaking down silos

“I’d like more networking opportunities. NLC workshops, especially if cohort-based where you’re going through the journey with the same people, create an environment for collaboration and problem-solving that goes way beyond networking.”

5. More meaningful and personalized communications from NLC

“I’d like more targeted content from NLC — something they think would be of interest to me.”

What Nonprofit Leaders Can Expect from NLC in 2019 and Beyond

In response to continued feedback from our nonprofit community, NLC regularly evaluates our strategies and support to better develop and connect the leaders we serve.

Here’s what you can expect from us in 2019 and beyond:

1. MORE CLASSES IN PINELLAS: In addition to the 80 classes we’re offering at our training center throughout 2019, we will host 10 professional and leadership development classes in Pinellas County this year. Stay tuned for the class schedule and more details next month.

2. NEW SERIES FOR EMERGING LEADERS: In response to requests for help developing emerging leaders, we’re launching our Fast Forward Leadership Series this year that blends classroom training, custom coaching and small-group collaboration to grow your future leaders. Through four-half day sessions, we’ll equip rising nonprofit stars with everything they need to succeed — from leadership fundamentals, leading through change and emotional intelligence to decision-making and problem-solving, creating a positive work culture and interpersonal communication. To learn more, email John Loblack at

3. EXPANDED HR CLASSES AND CONTENT: Human resources and organizational culture top the list of issues our nonprofit leaders want to improve. In 2019 and beyond, we’re offering even more classes and content than we already do to address these areas. Here are a few of our upcoming culture and HR-related classes. Be sure to subscribe to our email list and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to be the first to see our latest resources and articles.

4. CONTINUED WAYS TO TAKE NETWORKING TO THE NEXT LEVEL: Our upcoming leadership conference, CEO Circles and cohort learning programs are invaluable ways to not only get to know other nonprofit leaders, but to work together to overcome obstacles, advance innovation and increase our collective impact. This year, we will continue to strengthen and expand these kinds of offerings.

For instance, thanks to the generosity of JPMorgan Chase & Co., we just launched our second Nonprofit Sustainability Cohort — a six-month program for 10 area nonprofits. Through this intimate, interactive and immersive initiative, participants will collaborate to strategically strengthen their community impact and financial health — so everyone wins.

5. ENHANCED COMMUNICATIONS: Our nonprofit community is diverse in every way, which means a one-size-fits-all approach to communicating with you doesn’t work. This year, with the help from our partners at Round Square, you’ll see …

  • More targeted content based on what you’ve told us you need most
  • More customized communications based on your level of experience and engagement
  • A fresh look and feel to our digital communications that emphasizes our shared commitment to developing and connecting each other to strengthen organizations and our communities

From St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, Clearwater to Brandon and everywhere in between, we are humbled to be part of the Tampa Bay nonprofit community. We welcome your ongoing feedback and suggestions at and look forward to continuing to support and serve you as you make an enduring impact across the region we call home.

Announcing Classes in Pinellas & ALL 8 Leadership Conference Breakouts

Jen Dodd News, Stories

Team NLC isn’t content to rest on our laurels; what happened in 2018 was pretty awesome but it’s also….so 2018.

We’ve been working on some top-secret projects for a while, and today we can share news–about two of them.

First up: we’re thrilled to announce that we’re going to be putting on 10 classes IN PINELLAS COUNTY this year! We’ve served Pinellas nonprofits and leaders in many ways and locations throughout our 20+ year history, and 2019 is the year we get back on the road to produce classes not only in our Training Center on Westshore Blvd. but also just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from your Pinellas office.

We’re partnering with local funders who will invite Pinellas nonprofits to attend 4 series of classes in Nonprofit Marketing & Communications, Board Governance, Leadership, and Fund Development. We’ll be excited to host you in venues like Collaborative Labs and the Juvenile Welfare Board, with more locations to come.

We’re pleased to bring you some of our most popular and highly rated trainers, too; think Sara Leonard, Alyce Lee Stansbury, Dr. John Loblack, Ellen Nastir, Heather Grzelka, and Bryn Warner!

The series will kick off this summer, so they’re not yet open for registration here on our site, but they will be soon! Expect more details in days to come.

These classes are made possible with generous funding from:

With additional support from Community Foundation of Tampa Bay & Wells Fargo.

And our second piece of news (for this week, anyway): is that all 8 of our Leadership Conference breakout sessions are now locked in!

We’re so excited to be working with so many Tampa Bay experts to bring you a broad range of personal and professional development insights and inspirations!

You can even more detail on our dedicated Leadership Conference page–and we shared a few of the fabulous female leaders you can expect to learn from at Conference in our International Women’s Day post–but here are a few teasers to get you started!

PANEL: Thomas Mantz and Mandy Cloninger will share the decision-making and step-by-step processes behind the Trinity Cafe-Feeding Tampa Bay merger as a case study of COLLECTIVE IMPACT and COLLABORATION in the nonprofit sector. Moderated by Breakout Room Sponsor Brian Butler of Vistra Communications.

PANEL: We’ve gathered 3 top, local nonprofit executives who began their careers in the for-profit sector to explore their processes for finding
PURPOSE and making a successful TRANSITION. Join Jessica Muroff, CEO of Girls Scouts of West Central Florida and NLC Board Chair; Gordon Gillette, EO Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County; and Wendy Johnson, Executive Director of the American Cancer Society, Southeast Region, for a fascinating discussion moderated by Breakout Room Sponsor Brian Butler of Vistra Communications.

We’re thrilled to invite NLC/UT Certificate of Nonprofit Management Graduate and consultant Tammy Charles to participate in her first-ever Leadership Conference breakout session! Tammy will help you to explore the essential elements of the perfect PITCH, clear ways to tie your story to your goals, both personal and organizational, and how to harness the power of PERSUASION.

Back by popular demand is NLC trainer and consultant Ellen Nastir. In her breakout session, you’ll discover your intrinsic motivations and how knowing your why can bring all areas of your life into alignment and focus. With strategies and tools in hand, you’ll increase your SELF-AWARENESS and isolate your CORE VALUES, bringing clarity and focus to your path in life and at work.

Also a repeat facilitator, NLC Director of Strategic Solutions Dr. John Loblack will help you build SELF-LEADERSHIP skills around taking responsibility for our outcomes, setting direction for your life and career, and managing priorities. He’ll also show you how to harness the power of OPTIMISM to reframe obstacles as opportunities and make meaningful, empowered choices to get to where you want to go.

Florida Blue’s Director of Health Programs Gay Poe will lead you through the 4 types of energy you have at your disposal and teach you how to maximize each–and deal with energy dips or imbalances–to reach your full potential. Because ENERGY MANAGEMENT is crucial to not only your daily activities but also your long-term goals. Wherever you choose to focus your energy–on that crucial project at work, your new-found hobby, or going back to school–you’ll have new tools and habits that will improve your PERFORMANCE and outcomes.

Studies tell us that during an average workday a person can an average of 2 hours a day (10 hours per week!) to interruptions. NLC trainer and consultant Margarita Sarmiento rejoins us again this year to show you how identifying your most common interruptions and developing personalized TIME MANAGEMENT strategies, you can regain control of your day. Take further control of your schedule and crave out important time for yourself by learning easy ways to avoid OVERCOMMITMENT. Whether it’s your teammates, your boss, your kids, or your friends, learn how to decline obligations gracefully and clearly. 

Many successful leaders report that the worst times in their lives were the most impactful and share that only once they opened themselves to life’s lessons were they able to reframe their leadership style and definition of success to get to the top of their game.  Back by popular demand, Rick Bennett of Florida Blue will share mindfulness tools and techniques for BEING PRESENT in awkward or tense situations and being RESILIENT in navigating through them to personal and professional growth.

Hard to choose? You bet! Which is why we’ve also already locked these folks in for full, half-day classes so you can go even more in-depth on this critical leadership topics. Be sure to watch our Training Calendar for the full, half-day follow-on classes we host in our Training Center as we progress through 2019! (Or sign up for our weekly e-newsletter and have upcoming classes, events, and news delivered directly to your in box.)

Registration is still open for Leadership Conference, though individual seats are extremely limited. Don’t miss out; grab yours today. (Tables of 10 are also available.)

Thank you to our 2019 Leadership Conference Sponsors!