Video Marketing Tips for Nonprofits

Video Marketing Tips for Nonprofits: 7 Ways to Create Better Videos on Your Phone

Brick Creative Tips

Should your nonprofit be creating more video content? Regardless of your available resources, the answer is yes. Video generates 1,200% more shares on social media than text and image content combined (Wordstream), and conversion rates increase when video is included on website landing pages and in email. But how do you create videos that move your audiences to action, especially when you have little to no video budget or expertise? These seven video marketing tips for nonprofits will help you develop better videos on your iPhone or smartphone in a snap.

7 Tips to Create Better iPhone Videos

A whopping 85% of consumers want to see more video content from organizations (HubSpot). In an ideal world, you’d have a professional production team for every video you need. Luckily, most videos you make for social media don’t need to look like they belong on the big screen. Get started with these seven video marketing tips for nonprofits — your audience will thank you.

1. Vertical or horizontal? That is the question.

Before you begin shooting your video content, it’s essential to think about where you’ll post your finished piece. If you intend to share it on an Instagram Reel, then it’s best to shoot vertically. But, if you’re planning to post it on YouTube, Facebook or your website, you’ll want to shoot horizontally. Thinking about which way you should be holding your camera in advance will help ensure what you create best fits the size ratio of the platform you’ll be sharing to and provide the best experience for your audience.

2. Keep it quiet.

When filming people talking, shoot in a quiet space. If it’s possible, avoid capturing audio outdoors and find a private indoor space. You’d be surprised at how much a quiet shooting location will do for the overall quality of your video. Unnecessary voices or sounds like cars in the background, office chatter or even the wind can be distracting and take away from the message you’re trying to share.

3. Invest in accessories.

Many affordable accessories can make shooting content on your iPhone easier. From tripods and gimbals to external microphones and ring lights, there are tools that can help you create more professional videos that are on-brand on a shoestring budget.

4. Select an interesting background.

Always be aware of your subject’s surroundings. Choose a background that is interesting to look at but also not too busy. Avoid crowded areas and blank walls when possible and unnecessary distractions like trash cans, cars, messy offices, etc.

5. Never forget lighting.

If you’re shooting video content on an iPhone, you probably don’t have an elaborate lighting set up to go with it — that’s okay! When working without professional lighting equipment, it’s crucial to think about the lighting around you. Before you start shooting, test what the lighting will look like on your phone. You don’t want it to be too dark, but you also don’t want everything blown out. Natural lighting from a window is usually a safe bet. Avoid overhead fluorescent lighting when possible.

6. Set the mood.

Background music can go a long way, as long as the volume of your track doesn’t overpower any talking that may be happening in your video. The right track can help make your video more engaging and establish the overall mood. Sites like Musicbed and Premium Beat have many tracks you can purchase a license to use in your video. Purchasing a licensed track will avoid having your video flagged or removed on social media because of using copyrighted music.

7. Caption it.

Captions are critical to ensure your video is accessible for those who are hearing impaired and viewers watching in a public space where it isn’t possible to turn on audio. Veed is a helpful site that offers free and low-cost options for captioning.

Now that you’re armed with these video marketing tips for nonprofits get out there and shoot something! We can’t wait to see what you create!

READ NEXT: How to Create Breakthrough Communications on a Shoestring Budget

About Brick Creative

Brick Creative is a full-service, independent production company located in St. Petersburg, Florida. Founded by Frederick Marschall, Brick Creative focuses on creating visual content that inspires and incites action, encouraging their clients to push boundaries in the creative process. Brick Creative collaborates with businesses, brands, agencies and makers of all kinds to bring stories to life through film.


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Image of woman uploading her video

Get Featured at the 2021 Leadership Conference: Record & Upload Your Video

Team NLC News

What does it mean to lead bravely and act boldly? That’s the question we’ll be asking and answering next month at our 2021 Leadership Conference on October 13.

We want to feature YOU as an important part of the conversation! 

Upload Your Video by September 23 to Be Featured at NLC’s Leadership Conference  

We’re collecting videos, now through Thursday, September 23, to feature nonprofit leaders and community members as part of this year’s conference. In just two easy steps using your smartphone, you and your organization can be on the big screen at this unforgettable virtual event. 

The question we’re asking you to answer in your video in two sentences or less is this: What does leading bravely and acting boldly mean to you?

Step 1: Open Cinebody with Your Smartphone

We are using an app called Cinebody to gather and upload video content.

Visit THIS LINK for the fastest way to join the video project, depending on the type of phone you’re using.

If you have an iPhone, it will take you to the App Store to download the Cinebody app on your iOS device. 

  • Download the app. 
  • Open the app and create an account. 
  • Enter the join code to start recording: GSBSO.

If you have an Android, the above link will take you directly to the project online. Enter the code GSBSO to join.

Step 2: Record Your Videos

You’ll see a project on the app called Theme Defined. Click on the project.

Next, tap the camera icon at the top.

You’ll see the question reappear: In two sentences or less, answer this question: What does leading bravely and acting boldly mean to you?

Tap the screen to start.

The app will prompt you to turn your phone horizontally in landscape mode before you’re allowed to begin. Be sure to reverse your camera so you are in selfie mode using the circular arrow button to the right of the red button. When you’re ready, tap the red button to start, and tap it again when you’re done to stop recording.

THAT’S IT! Your video will be uploaded to our team. Feel free to record more than one video! Don’t worry about any ‘failed’ attempts, you can upload as many videos as you want.

The deadline to submit your video is Thursday, September 23, 2021.    

There’s Still Time to Register to Lead Bravely & Act Boldly

Not yet registered for this year’s Leadership Conference or want to invite other colleagues and peers to join you? There’s still time to register. See the latest agenda and register now.


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Woman at Computer Contemplating Fraudulent Activity

Why Employees Commit Fraud & Tips for Internal Fraud Prevention

Nancy Ridenour, CPA, NLC Board Chair Tips

Research has shown that U.S. adults tell an average of one to two lies per day. With COVID-19 and our expanding reliance on a digital workplace, fraud is on the rise and expected to continue. Fraud is more than making up a white lie to get out of an after-hours work event; it is the intention to deceive. It can be anything from misleading or untruthful financial reporting to the embezzlement of donor dollars. So how do you protect your nonprofit organization from increasing internal fraud? There are three things you need to know now:

  • Why employees commit fraud
  • How to spot signs of internal fraud
  • Best practices for internal fraud prevention

Why Employees Commit Fraud

Research from renowned criminologist, Donald Cressey, revealed that individuals tend to commit fraud when a combination of three factors are present: 1) pressure, 2) opportunity and 3) rationalization. Together, this dangerous trifecta is known as the Fraud Triangle.

Image of the Fraud Triangle: Three factors involved in all internal fraud

Whether motivated internally to please a CEO and meet board expectations or brought on by external factors like personal financial troubles or serious life changes, all fraud begins with someone feeling an actual or perceived pressure. A recent survey from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that the largest increase in observed fraud at the end of 2020 was financial statement fraud, likely due to organizations feeling pressure to “cook the books” as revenue has declined or been affected by the pandemic.

Opportunity is identifying an action that you believe would benefit you personally, professionally or organizationally that could be done without getting caught. People who are dissatisfied with their jobs are more likely to commit fraud. This is the only part of the fraud triangle leaders or organizations can control by implementing adequate internal fraud controls (more on that in a minute). 

Finally, people who commit fraud convince themselves that it is OK to do so, aka rationalization. They tell themselves that their reasons for committing fraud warrant the action or that it “isn’t that big of a deal,” or “I’ll pay it back next week.”

13 Warning Signs of Internal Fraud

Many leaders are shocked when they learn one of their employees is committing fraud. Here are some common signs of internal fraud you should be aware of so you can spot them right away.

  1. Incomplete or undetailed bookkeeping/accounting records
  2. Missing or altered documentation in financial reports
  3. Excessive/unexplained journal entries
  4. Sloppy records or out-of-balance accounts
  5. Employee provides copies of invoices rather than original documents
  6. Unexplained adjustments to accounts receivable of accounts payable
  7. Large unexplained inventory shortages
  8. Frequent cash shortages/overages
  9. Employee provides unreasonable explanations when questioned
  10. Personal employee financial problems
  11. Employees living beyond their means
  12. Staff working excessive, unexplained overtime
  13. Customer/vendor insisting on working with only one employee

Best Practices for Internal Fraud Prevention

The most important deterrent to fraud is putting internal controls in place. Here are a few best practices for internal fraud prevention at your nonprofit.

1. Separate important roles.

In its simplest form, effective internal fraud controls require separating tasks associated with authorizing financial decisions, recording financial activity and managing assets. Separating these critical roles prevents one person from having too much control over any one part of the process and creates a system of natural checks and balances.

For small organizations with limited employees, hire a certified public accountant designated as a certified fraud examiner (CFE) to conduct an independent review of detailed or select transactions and bank reconciliations. You can also consider utilizing your board treasurer to act as an independent reviewer. (Not sure what that means? You need this.)

2. Ask questions.

The most significant deterrent to fraud is making people aware that someone is watching by asking questions. Be curious and don’t assume everything is working correctly.

3. Don’t allow yourself to “not know.”

One of the common things we hear when investigating fraud cases is nonprofit executive directors, CEOs and/or board members saying they didn’t know what they were looking at or didn’t understand the details of bank reconciliations and accounting basics. Board members and senior leaders have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure business transactions are legal and assets are protected.

To better understand your organization’s financials and protect its assets, take a specialized training class or certificate program specific to nonprofit financial management, like the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Certificate in Nonprofit Financial Management.

Here are some other things you should be doing to avoid fraud (and surprises):

  1. Review invoices
  2. Review employee’s reimbursements
  3. Review payroll reports
  4. Limit accountant authority
  5. Review significant contributions for donor restrictions
  6. Analyze donor-restricted contributions
  7. Reconcile the donor database to the general ledger
  8. Review monthly bank statements outside of the accounting department
  9. Create a month-end close checklist
  10. Review financial statements

By understanding why employees commit fraud, knowing the common signs of internal fraud and implementing best practices for internal fraud prevention, you can take critical steps to protect your nonprofit and secure a successful future for your organization.

Avoid Internal Fraud by Getting Your Certificate in Financial Management

The Nonprofit Leadership Center offers a Certificate in Nonprofit Financial Management to provide nonprofit leaders with the basic skills and knowledge needed to establish and maintain strong financial management of your organization. With a focus on best practices, courses will strengthen your ability to make sound decisions that affect your nonprofit’s programs and operations. They will demystify financial jargon and teach you about financial record-keeping. Course material uses easily understood and relevant case examples as well as engaging, interactive explanations for financial terminology, assumptions and concepts.

The next Certificate in Financial Management starts November 10!

Register Now

About Nancy Ridenour

Image of Nancy Ridenour, NLC Board Chair

Nancy Ridenour, CPA, has extensive experience in auditing, forensic accounting and fraud investigations, including more than 25 years in public accounting as a shareholder with PDR CPAs + Advisors. Here, she focused on nonprofit organizations, senior housing and health care. Nancy transitioned to the nonprofit sector in May 2019, joining Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties as chief strategy officer. Nancy is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is a Certified Fraud Examiner and member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

As a nonprofit board governance veteran, Nancy serves as a board member and is currently board chair for the Nonprofit Leadership Center, where she also volunteers her time as a trainer and facilitator. She is currently active on the boards of Advocare Trust, The Catholic Foundation and Pinellas County Health Facilities Authority. Nancy also serves as chair of the BayCare Audit Committee and on the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay audit committee. Nancy is a founding board member of Random Acts of Flowers Tampa Bay and is proud to be an honorary board member.


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Navigating Vaccines and Other Workplace Issues Image

Navigating Vaccines and Other COVID-19 Issues in the Workplace

Charlie Imbergamo | Director of Strategic Programs Resources

As businesses and organizations grapple with the future of doing business, leaders face a host of new issues: Can and should you mandate vaccines? How do you determine who has been vaccinated? What safety precautions should you take when not all employees are vaccinated, or when your employees must interact with unvaccinated individuals?

In this free one-hour webinar, you’ll learn the best practices for navigating vaccines and other emerging workplace issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic at your nonprofit.

After watching this video, you’ll better understand:

  • Whether and how to implement mandatory and voluntary vaccination programs
  • How to handle information regarding employees’ vaccination status
  • How to determine what COVID-19 safety precautions should remain in place to minimize the spread and reduce your organizational risk

Please note that this presentation was recorded on Sept. 1, 2021. Guidance on COVID-19 protocols and policy changes frequently, so please check the CDC, EEOC, OSHA, and HR Defense/Akerman websites for current guidance.

WATCH NEXT: SEE ALL FREE WEBINARS

About the Presenter

Photo of Karen Buesing

Karen M. Buesing is a partner at Akerman LLP, Tampa, with more than 35 years of experience counseling and representing management in workplace law matters. Karen is one of only about 200 lawyers who are Board Certified by The Florida Bar as specialists in labor and employment law. Her expertise includes representing employers in discrimination/harassment matters, hiring/firing/disciplinary matters, leave and accommodation matters, wage and hour matters, non-compete and trade secret litigation, whistleblower and retaliation claims, and all aspects of employment counseling and training. She currently works extensively with employers in navigating return to work issues as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ NEXT: Managing Uncertainty Amid Crisis


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Data security for nonprofits in the workplace image

Data Security for Nonprofits in a Remote Workplace

Charlie Imbergamo | Director of Strategic Programs Resources

About 80% of employees worked remotely during the pandemic, up from 30% before COVID-19. Nonprofits now face new pressures as hybrid work models and remote work environments are becoming the norm. This video explores the issues nonprofits face with remote and hybrid workplace models and offers tangible steps you can take to mitigate those risks.

During this video, you will:

  • Recognize risks related to remote access applications and security of devices and home networks
  • Identify best practices for how to continue key nonprofit processes in a remote/hybrid environment
  • Review policies to update regularly, including continuity of business, disaster recovery and incident response policies

DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION handout.

SEE ANSWERS to all questions asked in the presentation.

WATCH NEXT: SEE ALL FREE WEBINARS

About the Presenter

A cybersecurity professional advising clients on the identification and mitigation of cybersecurity risks, Kadian Douglas, CPA, CISA, is passionate about supporting and advising clients as well as mentoring others. Kadian is one of CliftonLarsonAllen’s (CLA) IT & cybersecurity leaders and has expertise in a wide range of industries, including nonprofits.

Kadian provides services to clients, including but not limited to: information security assessments, IT governance assessments, enterprisewide and IT risk assessments, compliance audit services, IT general and application controls and data privacy, such as GDPR/CCPA gap assessments. She has authored and presented various webinars and seminars on a variety of topics, including vendor management, risk assessments, information security frameworks, policies and procedures, IT auditing, and IT governance. She also chairs CLA’s Young Executive Team and is a member of CLA’s Business Security Advisory Group.

READ NEXT: 4 Critical HR Policies for Nonprofits


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Question: What is the best career advice you've ever received?

Best Career Advice for Nonprofit Leaders

Team NLC Tips

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? That’s the question we recently asked our community of nonprofit and business leaders. Whether you’re a new professional just starting out or a seasoned pro, you’ll benefit from this career advice that nonprofit leaders say helped them throughout their journey.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Talk less and listen more.

Joanne S.

Career success is not just about working hard; it’s also about building relationships. Make time for people.

Jennifer H.

Effective nonprofit leadership is about relationships, relationships and more relationships!

Hector R.

You don’t need to know all the answers. You just need to be willing to find them.

Jennifer L.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Indeed, it is a sign of strength.

Dan D.

Expect the best from the person to whom you delegate. And when you delegate, make sure the other person has what they need to do the job.

Mary H.

If you don’t ask for financial donations directly and clearly, someone else will. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Deborah C.

You have the power and ability to do whatever you want to do to achieve your goals and dreams.

Darlene L.

Leadership is about relationships and humility. Never be “above” doing a task. Hire people more qualified than you, and focus on empowering people, not managing people.

Shana C.

I am human. I will make mistakes. Own up to it proactively and come with thoughts on how to fix it or deal with it, why it may have happened and a plan to not repeat it. Be open to responses to this.

Sue S.

Be renowned for the service you provide and the respect you have for all.

Joseph C.

The least you accept will be the standard. If you want better, demand better — in work and in life.

Dawn S.

Take your work seriously, but never yourself.

Loretta H.B.

Don’t forget to have fun.

Amisha H.

Always bring your authentic self to every room you enter, because the authentic you is the gift that will help and represent others who have no voice.

Faith P.

Never stop learning.

Mary H.

Work hard and be nice to people.

Todd S.

Every day is an interview!

Mona D.

Never say you can’t help a client with something. Always say you will find out how to help. It gives the client hope that their problem is not being dismissed.

Tonya D.

You can only be one person, in every circumstance, personally and professionally, be genuine.

Rafael S.

Don’t be afraid to be great.

Chris J.

READ NEXT: 5 Secrets for Nonprofit Career Success


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Image of man providing customer service

Yes, Nonprofits Have Customers: How to Prioritize Mission-Driven Customer Service

Margarita Sarmiento, founder, ITK Consultants Tips

We’ve all been there. A sales associate starts explaining their return policy before you’ve even had a chance to speak. A service provider begins promoting the latest product without knowing what you need. Or a medical professional makes assumptions about your health before asking you how you feel.

Customer service is about four simple words: How can I help?

As nonprofit professionals, excellent customer service is the lifeblood of any organization. Whether you are working with internal customers (colleagues and partners who depend on you for information or resources) or external customers (your constituents/clients, donors, corporate and community partners, and volunteers), how you treat your customers directly impacts your ability to achieve goals and sustain success.

While your mission statement tells the community why you exist, how you act and communicate tells the community who you really are. Mission-driven customer service is understanding your mission and doing all you can to serve your community. It’s not just asking how you can help; it’s authentically acting on it.

Let’s explore the actions that nonprofit organizations take when they prioritize mission-driven customer service.

4 Traits of Nonprofits That Prioritize Mission-Driven Customer Service

1. Works continuously to create a climate of customer service
As an organization, you intentionally define what customer service looks like, both internally and externally. Then, you set behavioral expectations to uphold the defined culture, including performance goals and reviews.

2. Makes employees aware of the importance of customer service
Through onboarding, training and ongoing coaching, you support your team members in providing excellent customer service. That includes prioritizing clear, concise and timely feedback.

3. Listens to feedback from those they serve — past and present
Leading with a service mindset starts by understanding what your customers — from donors and constituents/clients to coworkers — need. A mission-driven customer service environment encourages and allows for following up with current customers, asking questions or interviewing them to understand their perspectives and needs. It also means creating systems to track and check in on past donors, volunteers or partners to improve and build on your work.

4. Hires with customer service in mind
Seek candidates who have a track record of prioritizing customers’ needs first and clearly articulate your expectation of having a customer service mindset throughout the hiring process.

Enhance Your Mission-Driven Customer Service

Join us on August 26 to learn how to better approach relationship-building through mission-driven customer service. In this four-hour interactive virtual class led by Margarita Sarmiento, you’ll build the necessary skills to enhance constituent relationships and communicate for impact, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Specifically, you will:

  • Learn the benefits of excellent customer service
  • Understand how the service you provide reflects on your organization’s mission
  • Identify who your customers are — internally and externally
  • Develop techniques for responding to specific customer behaviors
  • Learn how to diffuse angry and abusive customers
  • Learn to turn problems into opportunities for customer satisfaction
Register Now

READ NEXT: 4 Ways to Improve Team Communication

READ NEXT: How to Break Bad Habits at Work


Margarita Sarmiento, founder of ITK Consultants, has more than 25 years of management, training and facilitation experience in professional development, team building, leadership, organizational planning, board development, cross-cultural communication and diversity. She has worked in corporate management and training with Progressive Companies, Busch Entertainment Corporation and the National Conference for Community & Justice — Tampa Bay. She’s also an active trainer and facilitator for NLC.

Side-by-side photos of professional development training formats

Survey Reveals Majority of Nonprofit Leaders Ready to Attend In-Person Professional Development in Fall 2021

Team NLC News

Now that many Americans are getting vaccinated, the Nonprofit Leadership Center (NLC) wanted to know how nonprofit leaders feel about participating in professional development training events in our post-pandemic environment. During May and June 2021, we invited NLC class participants from the past two years and active nonprofit CEOs to share their preferences and comfort level with in-person and virtual classes. Here’s what the survey revealed and what the Nonprofit Leadership Center plans to do next to support nonprofit leaders.

Survey Findings

  • The majority of respondents (82%) say they will be comfortable attending in-person professional development training by fall 2021. Only 8% said they are not comfortable with in-person classes and don’t know when they will be.
  • The majority of respondents (63%) say they prefer both in-person and virtual training formats and plan to participate in both. 18% said they prefer in-person over virtual, while 16% said they prefer virtual over in-person.
  • Overwhelmingly, nonprofit leaders say the most significant benefit to in-person professional development is networking and connecting with others in a more personal and collaborative way. They also cite the ability to focus better and stay engaged without distractions.

“In-person training offers the possibility for more engaging interactions with others and professional relationships that will continue after the event.”

“There is less temptation for distractions and an ability to focus on the training content.”

  • When it comes to attending virtual training events, respondents said the most significant benefits are convenience, accessibility and safety.

“Virtual events allows for flexibility in scheduling. Even on a busy day, I can fit in a two-hour virtual presentation because it doesn’t require a commute.”

“Lack of geographic limitation permits diverse participation and access to speakers and experts beyond local.”

“I am normally very shy to express my ideas in person. Virtual classes help me speak up, and the small breakout groups let me get to know participants.”

  • Of the 200 respondents who said they would attend an in-person training class during 2021, they expect measures to be in place to ensure their safety:
    • 61% expect tables/chairs to be arranged for social distancing
    • 50% expect a limited number of participants
    • One in 3 reported wanting masks to be required for all participants, while 15% would expect trainers to wear masks
  • Three in 4 respondents are comfortable participating in groups of at least 25 people. About 24% say they have no concerns with class size and are comfortable being in groups of 50 or more.
  • Of the 68% of respondents who cited at least one barrier to attending an in-person class before the end of 2021, cost (33%), the commute (31%) and job duties/time (30%) are what would most likely hold respondents back from participating in face-to-face training events. Other barriers noted in open-ended responses were a surge in COVID-19 cases and the uncertainty around who has or hasn’t been vaccinated.
  • When it comes to the training topics nonprofit leaders say they need now, the top five in priority order are:
    1. Diversity, equity and inclusion
    2. Improving/strengthening organizational culture
    3. How to lead more effectively
    4. Fundraising/fundraising innovation
    5. Demonstrating impact
  • When asked what they need most to succeed, leaders shared the following:
    • Self-care/balancing work and personal life
    • Communicating impact
    • Tools to combat pandemic fatigue; latest updates on COVID-19 guidelines and best practices
    • Strengthening culture and teams — team building and how to be a strong team
    • Managing remote workers
  • Respondents said the best time of day to participate in both in-person and virtual classes is the morning (8:30 a.m. to noon). However, 30% say they don’t have a preference when it comes to virtual training events and can participate anytime.

Implications & Next Steps

Based on these survey findings and to continue meeting nonprofit leaders where they are, the Nonprofit Leadership Center will take the following actions during 2021:

1. Test select in-person classroom training beginning in Q4, with socially distanced seating following current CDC guidelines, with up to 18 participants.

Available classes include:

2. Continue offering virtual events for select classes and certificate programs to support increased access to professional development for nonprofit leaders.

3. Offer increased training opportunities in the top areas identified by nonprofit leaders, including diversity, equity and inclusion; organizational culture; effective leadership; fundraising innovation; and demonstrating impact. NLC recently launched the Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship program as one way to improve DEI within nonprofit organizations and our communities while equipping and elevating more professionals of color to serve on nonprofit boards.

4. Publish more articles, downloadable resources and digital content in the areas that are of most interest to nonprofit leaders.

About the Survey

This online survey was fielded between May 27 and June 10, 2021. It was sent to nonprofit professionals who had taken a professional development class through the Nonprofit Leadership Center during the past two years and to nonprofit CEOs actively engaged with NLC. Questions explored the comfort level and preferences associated with in-person and virtual professional development training classes. There were 261 survey responses, with 220 fully completed surveys. Of all respondents, 92% live in the Tampa Bay area, with 58% in Hillsborough, 37% in Pinellas and 5% in Pasco or Polk Counties. Nearly half of respondents (44%) identified as human service organizations, followed by education and health care.

Explore Upcoming Training Classes

The Nonprofit Leadership Center offers nearly 100 professional development training classes and certificate programs for nonprofit leaders each year. Explore our event calendar and register for an upcoming class.

WATCH NEXT: 2020 State of the Nonprofit Sector Report from NLC CEO Emily H. Benham


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Image featuring the 2021 Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellows

23 Leaders Selected for New Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship

Team NLC News

National research shows 84% of nonprofit board members are white, with 1 in 4 nonprofits lacking representation from any professionals of color on their boards (BoardSource, 2017). To address this disparity and foster more inclusive and equitable communities, the Nonprofit Leadership Center recently launched our new Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship. The program is designed to strengthen the board governance knowledge and skills of participating fellows while equipping local nonprofit organizations to be genuinely ready to welcome these new members onto their boards. 

“In working with hundreds of nonprofit leaders each year to provide board governance training, we consistently hear from nonprofit CEOs that they struggle with how to identify and recruit professionals of color to serve on their boards, with many admitting they don’t know where to start. Our new Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship is an important first step to help create more diverse, equitable and inclusive nonprofit organizations that are better prepared to serve and strengthen our communities.”

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

Today, we are thrilled to announce the 23 professionals of color who have been selected to participate in this inaugural fellowship after a competitive application process. Fellows will take part in six interactive virtual training sessions to learn how to serve as effective nonprofit board members. They will receive mentorship between sessions by other professionals of color who are experienced board members.

READ NEXT: Nonprofit Resources to Support Racial Equity

Meet the 2021 Fellows

As the first-ever Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship kicks off today, get to know the 23 outstanding professionals of color in the program. Learn a little bit about their perspectives on leadership and the lived experiences that motivate them. 

Image featuring the 2021 Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellows

1. Junior Ambeau, Associate, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

“Every action I take can have a broader impact on my community, including how people of color are perceived.”

2. Roxanne Bartley, CEO & Founder, Bartley Ventures, LLC

“By engaging expert stakeholders to provide diversity of thought and experience, brave and bold leaders create a wonderfully dynamic and inclusive environment, where failing fast and forward is our modus operandi.”

3. Maria Carrizosa, Medicare Community Event Manager, Florida Blue

“The racial imbalance within nonprofit boards is an opportunity to bring new, innovative ideas from other cultures and backgrounds to create a more holistic and broad perspective when addressing issues. I am excited to be part of that change.” 

4. Chiquita Clark, Engineering Design Associate — Outage Auditor, Duke Energy

“Being a professional of color has impacted my perspective on being a community leader by allowing me to meet and create opportunities for other people of color, to help identify disparities that may exist in community organizations, and build a legacy that others may follow.”

5. Paula Dang, Associate Director of Community Donations, Metropolitan Ministries

“As a Vietnamese and Asian American woman, life was challenging growing up because I was forced to conform to societal and cultural norms that came with many limitations. At a young age, I decided to take charge of my life and not be who everyone else labeled me to be. I immersed myself in growing my communications and professional skills. As I developed and grew in my career, I became a servant leader dedicated to using my skills, time and voice to fight for more opportunities, causes and equity for everyone. Today, I want to use my experiences to develop and empower others so everyone around me can have a better tomorrow.”

6. Treva Davis, Project Manager at Planned Systems International

“There are many minority women in our community who have a wealth of talent and resources to contribute to the nonprofit sector if given the tools. I would like to use what I learn from this fellowship to assist other African American women in serving on nonprofit boards and leading nonprofits while ensuring we have sustainable health equity in our community.”

7. Emily Diaz, Assistant Vice President, Citi

“Growing up, I saw almost no Hispanic women of color in positions of leadership. Today, I am often the only woman — let alone a Hispanic woman of color — in many business meetings. To change that reality, we must increase our presence as community leaders. As a young professional Hispanic woman of color, it is my duty and privilege to continue learning and using my knowledge to be the leader who can inspire young girls of diverse backgrounds while advancing the success of women and children who have been historically underserved.”

8. Huey Dunomes, Senior Director of Community-Based Programs, Metropolitan Ministries

“Being a professional of color has always made me proud. It has also made me question why there aren’t more like me. Becoming a part of this fellowship program allows me to set an example for the next generation of leaders and enact transformational change.”

9. Deonte Echols, Consumer and Small Business Market Leader, Bank of America

“It is still shocking to some young people to see a young Black man like myself representing my organization. I want to show them what’s possible and that they can do it in their own lives if they believe and work hard for it. I hope to add my voice to ensure diversity and inclusion continue to grow within major companies and that we unify in our efforts to make a difference across many communities and organizations.”

10. Demmeri Gallon, Community Relations Manager; VP, Bank of America

“Diversity of thought and experience is important for any group or organization to succeed. In many leadership circles I’ve been part of, there are very few people of color leading these groups, and even fewer who identify as Black. That can lead to feeling like we don’t have a voice or seat at the table. On the flip side, I’ve also seen how leaders who don’t reflect my background advocate and champion for me, while ensuring my voice can be heard. As an emerging leader, it is my responsibility to now use my voice and skills to uplift those around me who may feel silenced.”

11. LaTora Heath, Research Analyst, Vistra Communications

“A good leader is always learning and does not allow fear to guide their path, even when effecting change might be the unpopular opinion. Doing the right thing is not always easy, and change can indeed be intimidating. However, as one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson goes, ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.’ This is the type of leader I strive to be.”

12. Kieva Kazek, Director of Insurance Sales and Service, USAA

“Being a professional of color has awakened my perspective on barriers that many people of color face, both directly and indirectly. It has motivated me to do the work to inspire change.”

13. Sheena Lofton-Huggins, Executive Director, Pasco Agents for Change

“There have been times I have not been able to access resources that would benefit the students and families my company serves. Through this fellowship, I hope to gain more experience serving and volunteering in the nonprofit sector.”

14. Reneé Long, Legislative Aid, City of St. Petersburg

Being a professional of color has impacted my perspective as a community leader by stressing values of inclusivity. A recent equity profile report of Pinellas County based on 2016 data estimated that without racial gaps in income, the county would be $3.6 billion stronger (Policy Link, 2019). The report notes that the county’s success and prosperity will rely on dismantling unjust barriers. As a community leader, it is vital to be aware and work to break down these barriers.”

15. Stephany Musino, Vice President, Relationship Manager, PNC Bank

“Without having people of color with a voice at the table, there are important needs that could be overlooked. I believe there is much more nonprofits could accomplish by including more professionals of color on their boards. I hope to gain an understanding of how I can prepare myself to be a successful board member and provide different insight as a Latin female.”

16. Esteban Orte, Lead Engineer, Duke Energy

“There is a need for more diverse representation in our professional environment at all levels. My experience has sparked my interest in helping create change for younger generations.”

17. Kiana Romeo, Government Affairs Manager, SHI International Corporation

“Inclusive representation positions nonprofit boards to engage the voices of the community stakeholders we seek to empower. Harnessing the power of diversity of thought and lived experience leads to a deeper understanding of the issues communities are facing and leads to stronger decisions and more effective outcomes.”

18. Julie Sills Molock, Chief Development Officer, EdFarm and The Propel Center

“Being a professional of color has enabled me to share a unique perspective and represent my community to others who may not be as familiar with the strengths and opportunities in these communities. I hope to contribute thought leadership in the areas of digital engagement, marketing, major giving strategies and donor retention for partner nonprofits.”

19. Gerald Thomas, Sales Manager — West Region, Florida Blue

“In some of my experiences, even though I worked incredibly hard for opportunities, I sometimes felt that others thought my presence was not legitimate. I’ve found myself having to prove why I was selected or ‘win over’ teams or clients with my industry knowledge and work ethic. This opportunity will allow people of color to further develop the necessary skills and knowledge to provide their guidance and diverse perspective that is often missing from important organizational decisions and situations.”

20. Jessica Vega-Eugene, Strategic Communications Specialist, Vistra Communications 

“Women of color like me often stand at the intersection of multiple barriers, experiencing the combined effects of racial, gender, ethnic and other forms of bias while navigating systems and institutional structures in which entrenched disparities remain the status quo. As a professional of color impacted every day by racial disparity, I must help reimagine a new way to support everyone. That is the only way a community leader can forge ahead, inspire others and shift perspectives to make way for change.”

21. Reginald Wallace, Development Manager, DeBartolo Development, LLC

“Leadership and bravery go hand in hand. I believe we all have the ability to lead bravely and take bold action for important goals that are worth pursuing.”

22. Andrea Williams, Communications Research Fellow, Diversity Action Alliance

“Leading bravely and acting boldly to me means standing in the gap for those who are oppressed. To utilize your platform, position and voice for change. Being a catalyst or an advocate is not for the faint of heart. Walking in bravery does not mean you don’t have fear; it means that fear has not been granted permission to stop your stance.”

23. Taylor Williams, Financial Center Manager, Officer, Fifth Third Bank

“I feel I have a duty to redefine the view of what it means to be a leader. As a professional of color, I’ve learned there are mounds of competitive advantages that come with diverse perspectives. A leader’s objective should be to allow this to continuously pour over and completely cultivate a community, bringing empowerment to the people.”

READ NEXT: Leaders Who Authentically Embrace Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Believe These 8 Things

Powered by Partnership

The Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship is possible thanks to the collective support and unwavering commitment of Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Bank of America, Citi, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, United Way Suncoast and Vistra Communications.

Learn More About the Fellowship

Diversity among board members is crucial to ensuring nonprofit organizations have the broad perspectives necessary to be more effective, understand those they serve, meet strategic goals, and engage meaningful donors. The Advancing Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards Fellowship will:

  • Advance racial and ethnic diversity, equity and inclusion on nonprofit boards throughout Tampa Bay
  • Deepen the board governance knowledge and skills of professionals of color
  • Equip select nonprofits to genuinely welcome participating board fellows and ensure their organizations are ready and committed to fostering more inclusive and equitable boards and cultures

Learn more about the program and how your organization can get involved.


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Man covering his ears trying to silence his inner judge

How to Silence Your Inner Judge: 4 Ways to Stop Negative Self-Talk

Ellen Nastir, M.Ed., PCC, BCC, CPCC Tips

Being the last person picked for team sports as a child was an excruciating experience. I still remember the anxiety waiting to hear my name called, watching my friends go to the right or left to join a team as I remained rooted in place. Never good enough. Never chosen. Unwanted.

In the small crevices of my young brain, the “Judge” inside my head was born. It grew louder and louder, telling me how uncoordinated I was, how I’d strike out if I got up to bat, and how the other kids would laugh at me no matter what. My inner voice became a series of negative statements on repeat. Over time, they became beliefs. These fears kept me from practicing or doing anything to succeed in the sports arena.

Although I discovered in first grade that my eyesight was poor and I needed glasses to correct my vision, the Judge had already taken over my life, damaging my self-confidence for years to come.

Facing Our Inner Judge

We all have a Judge within us. Sometimes this inner talker is merely a whisper; other times, its larger-than-life stature envelops our whole being. Typically, our Judges are happiest when they’re convincing us to believe old messages that are no longer true — if they ever were — or tempting us to replay the “wouldas, couldas and shouldas” of life. Our Judge is the force that wakes us up at 3 a.m. with anxiety, encourages us to make assumptions about or compare ourselves to others, and blame — oh, how our Judge loves it when we try to blame others for our challenges.

Negative self-talk and inner Judges don’t just affect our personal lives; they can wreak havoc on our mental state at work and in our career as well. Comparing ourselves to those around us makes us feel smaller instead of competent and deserving.

READ NEXT: 4 Ways to Strengthen Your Mental Fitness

If you’ve ever felt threatened when someone new is hired or felt secretly fearful that they will outshine or outperform you, that’s your Judge taking over, as much as we hate to acknowledge it. So let’s look at how we can banish our Judge and saboteurs to embrace our inner wisdom.

4 Tips to Quiet Your Inner Judge

1. Just breathe.

It may sound simple, but you must first calm your mind before you can combat your inner Judge. Pause. Take a breath — deep breaths. Calming your nervous system will prevent you from making quick, knee-jerk reactions that you could later regret.

2. Be ready with a response.

Have a few phrases prepared for difficult moments when negative self-talk is likely to creep in. Practice in front of the mirror, saying them out loud, repeatedly. That helps them roll off your tongue more easily when speaking. For example, you might say the following in response to difficult situations:

  • That’s interesting. Let me get back to you on that.
  • I need to check on a few things and will let you know.
  • I’m not sure that’s the best solution. Let’s talk again later today.  

3. Recognize and name your Judge when it appears.

Here are a few things you can say to it:

  • Hey, Judge, you are not needed here. I am perfectly capable of handling this conflict on my own.
  • Oh, there’s my Judge again telling me I should take the easy way out and not apply for this position.
  • Wow. I can’t believe how many times my Judge shows up in a day. It’s time I take control and kick it out of my life! I’ll start now.

4. Empty your mind with movement.

Find a repetitive motion you associate with calming yourself down to remove negative thoughts when they arise. That could be rubbing two fingers or the palms of your hands slowly together, rubbing your fingertips on your leg or arm slowly in an up/down motion or rubbing your index finger gently near your ear. The goal is to stop thinking cognitively and concentrate only on the movement you choose, emptying your mind. Be sure to breathe deeply while doing this.

These are just a few simple techniques to associate a movement with your breath. You can use your breath alone, as long as you can hold your concentration. The important thing to remember is to focus all your attention on the movement — to really feel it and clear your mind. That allows your inner wisdom the space to shine forward and place distance between you and your Judge.

You control how much power your inner Judge has. By minimizing your Judge and distancing it from your life, you’ll gain greater positive control over your thoughts, actions, beliefs and life.

READ NEXT: When It’s Not Good to Be a Great Storyteller How to Reject the Negative Stories in Your Head


Leave Your Inner Judge at Home at the 2021 Leadership Conference

Join us at our 11th Annual Leadership Conference to learn how to lead bravely and act boldly. With world-renowned keynote speakers and inspiring breakout sessions, you’re sure to walk away with new tips and tools to help strengthen your organization and communities. Learn more and register now!

Register Now

About Ellen Nastir

Working hand-in-hand with nonprofits and small businesses, Ellen Nastir, M.Ed., PCC, BCC, CPCC, helps clients create more positive, appreciative and cohesive work environments. Her company, Innovative Team Solutions, works to develop employees’ people-skills to complement their technical skills and abilities. With more than 14 years of experience in training, development and entrepreneurial sales, Ellen brings a unique perspective to resolving challenges and maximizing the potential of any team. She is a certified professional co-active coach, PeopleMap trainer, virtual trainer from the International Institute for Virtual Facilitation and is certified in Positive Psychology, Change and Tension Management and Conflict Dynamics. Finding the opportunity during quarantine, Ellen is most recently obtaining certification in Positive Intelligence. 


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