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.

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 this upcoming class from NLC:

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.

Get nonprofit leadership tips and tools delivered to your inbox by joining our VIP list. You’ll receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter, which also includes the latest nonprofit trainings, classes and events at NLC to help you thrive personally and professionally.

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. 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 — during 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 to 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 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

Get nonprofit leadership tips and tools delivered to your inbox by joining our VIP list. You’ll receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter, which also includes the latest nonprofit trainings, classes and events at NLC to help you thrive personally and professionally.

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 are hosting professional and leadership development classes in Pinellas County this year.

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 annual leadership conference, fall board and senior 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!

Your Nonprofit Guide to Retaining Staff


Ask any nonprofit leader what’s keeping them up at night, and chances are retaining staff is high on their list. Although 87 percent of employers say improving employee retention is a critical priority, more than three in four nonprofits (81%) lack a formal retention strategy. Creating a robust employee retention plan may seem daunting, but there are steps you can take today to ensure your most important asset — your people — feel valued and committed to your organization.

Your nonprofit guide for retaining staff

3 Tips for Retaining Staff

Author, speaker and NLC trainer Kathy McDonald has two decades of experience helping individuals and teams leverage their strengths for organizational success. Here are three of her recommendations for increasing employee satisfaction and retaining staff.

1. Get on board with onboarding
According to research by the Aberdeen group, 86 percent of employees decide to stay or leave a new organization within the first six months. New hires who go through a formal onboarding process are significantly more likely to stay with their organization for three or more years. But effective onboarding is more than just a welcome lunch on their first day. You need an intentional, informative and inspiring process that builds their knowledge and confidence. Here are some key questions to think through to make their first days first-rate:

  • How will you help new hires develop the industry knowledge they need to be successful?
  • What resources and role-playing opportunities will you provide to help new hires tell your story in a clear, concise and compelling way that connects with constituents and donors?
  • What short- and long-term expectations do you have for your new employees?
  • What are the peer relationships — both inside and outside your organization — that will be important? How can you help facilitate one-on-one conversations to build these connections and trust?
  • How will you reinforce organizational education and inspiration throughout the first year, so that learning doesn’t stop after the first few weeks on the job?

2. Equip new leaders to lead
Becoming a new manager is an exciting time in a person’s career advancement, but it can also bring anxiety and organizational risk. Gallup research shows that 70 percent of team member disengagement is driven by dissatisfaction with their manager. Nonprofit organizations must commit to helping new managers obtain the skills they need to supervise and motivate others. Our management classes help new managers transition into their important roles, building skills in delegating, motivating teams and managing projects across a team.

3. Avoid surprises
Clear communication is critical to ensure staff understand expectations, feel part of a team and can have positive and productive conversations to achieve success. This includes providing honest, constructive feedback to avoid underperformance and solve problems that may arise. It also includes enforcing deadlines and holding team members to a standard of quality, so everyone is aware of the expectations they’re working toward. If leaders avoid conversations because of potential conflict that may arise rather than building the skills to effectively deal with different points of view, they do so at the risk of their organization’s excellence and employees’ long-term growth and satisfaction.

Register for Upcoming Classes to Better Hire, Manage and Retain Your Staff

If being a more intentional leader and better retaining staff are part of your goals this year {Pssst: They should be for every nonprofit!], join NLC at these upcoming classes to grow and strengthen your management skills.

Hiring, Managing and Succession Planning for Nonprofit Leaders
We’ll explore some of the challenging conversations and situations that come with the responsibility of managing others, including how to provide constructive feedback in positive ways, the five levels of listening, creating a safe place for employee conversations and how to use an employee departure to reinvigorate your team.

Certificate in Nonprofit Management
Our nonprofit management program at the University of Tampa is a graduate-level educational opportunity to enhance the knowledge and skills of current and emerging nonprofit executives. It’s designed to train the next generation of nonprofit leaders to be strategic and efficient, sharpening both marketing and financial skills. It’s a partnership between NLC and the University of Tampa and is taught by Ph.D. faculty in partnership with leading nonprofit practitioners.

Get nonprofit leadership tips and tools delivered to your inbox by joining our VIP list. You’ll receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter, which also includes the latest nonprofit trainings, classes and events at NLC to help you thrive personally and professionally.

How to Apply for a Grant: Your Guide to Winning Proposals

Team NLC Fundraising, Tips

Grant writing that leads to grant winning requires more than a technically correct and polished proposal. In today’s increasingly competitive and ever-evolving nonprofit sector, organizations must connect emotionally with potential funders to open their hearts and wallets. Are you wondering how to apply for a grant that will stand out from other applicants?

How to Apply for a Grant

How to Apply for a Grant and Get It

NLC trainer Julé Colvin has more than 30 years of professional experience helping nonprofits raise millions of dollars through better grant writing strategies and skills. She is facilitating two Grant Writing Certificate courses at NLC in April and October. Here are a few of her top tips to master the art and science of grant writing.

  1. UNDERSTAND YOUR FUNDER: Study your potential funder and find out what makes them tick. This is more than scanning a LinkedIn profile — think of it as studying a potential date on a relationship site. Consider other work they’re funding and how it aligns with their vision. Be sure you’re speaking their language. The more you know about your potential funder’s motivations and expectations, the more intentional you can be with your proposal and approach.
  2. TELL A STORY: There’s no denying the fact that people love stories. We learn through stories. We connect through stories. Think about your proposal as a story you’re telling, not just a series of professionally polished answers and information.
  3. ELEVATE WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM: Remember that funders are social investors. They want to improve lives and communities, but they also care about their bottom line. Be sure your funder can see that you’re a powerful partner who will bring them a return on their investment while reducing risk. Be clear and concrete about how your organization will help them reach their philanthropic and business goals.
  4. CATCH THEIR EYE: Add visual interest to your proposal to make it memorable. Include adequate white space, break up text with bullets and include images that reinforce your story. Grant writing is marketing — and it says a lot about your organization and its ability to deliver. Presentation does matter.

Get Your Certificate in Grant Writing

If you’re new to grant writing and want to learn how to apply for a grant with excellence, join NLC and facilitator Julé Colvin to earn your Grant Writing Certificate. Through this interactive, four-class series, you’ll learn how to succeed in today’s competitive grant writing environment.

Specifically, you will …

  • Understand how to apply for a grant and create successful proposals
  • Learn how to write a grant narrative and articulate measurable and reliable outcomes
  • Get hands-on experience to develop budgets and identify funding resources
  • Be prepared for what to do after receiving a grant award
  • Receive individualized feedback from local grant professionals
  • Meet others in our nonprofit community who you can network and problem-solve with
  • Invest in your professional development to position yourself for long-term success as a nonprofit leader

Register now for our October Grant Writing Certificate

Attendees must complete all four sessions and assignments and pass section tests to receive their certificate.

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. 

Celebrating Our Female Leaders

Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications News, Stories

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Team NLC is thrilled to introduce you to four outstanding women leaders who will be bringing you inspiration and practical action steps to increase your focus and lead with purpose during our breakout sessions at the 2019 Leadership Conference on May 22nd.

We have a deep and diverse talent pool for speakers and trainers, and we’re proud to bring you the very best of the best—the superheroes! 

Join us for 8 transformative breakout sessions facilitated by these lead-by-example women:

Mandy Cloninger, Executive Director of Trinity Cafe, will be part of a panel exploring COLLECTIVE IMPACT and COLLABORATION in the nonprofit sector. She’ll walk you through the important relationships and the business case that drove the Trinity Cafe-Feeding Tampa Bay merger, increasing the capacity and impact of each.

Jessica Muroff, CEO of Girls Scouts of West Central Florida and NLC Board Chair, will bring her unique perspective on PURPOSE and TRANSITION to a panel exploring how three high-performing nonprofit leaders made the leap for the for-profit sector.

Margarita Sarmiento, ever-popular NLC trainer and nonprofit consultant, is back by popular demand! Join her for a working session that will transform your TIME MANAGEMENT skills and teach you how to AVOID OVERCOMMITMENT.

Ellen Nastir, also a wildly popular and repeat breakout facilitator, is an NLC trainer and executive coach. She’ll help you increase your SELF-AWARENESS and isolate your CORE VALUES, bringing clarity and focus to your path in life and at work.

And we’re still planning additional breakout topics, so expect to see even more incredible women take the stage on our biggest day of the year!

For additional information about the day, please visit our Conference web page, which we’ll update regularly with details about the breakout sessions and the keynote.

Individual early-bird tickets are available only through March 15th. So reserve your seat now or reserve a table to make sure you don’t miss a minute of this life-changing event!


What to Read When Life is Just No Fun

Jennifer Dodd Stories

As part of our work to educate and empower nonprofits, we actively search out new and helpful resources to share with you. And today we want to introduce you to (or maybe remind you of) one of our favorite writers and thinkers: Jon Acuff.

Jon has written three booksQuitter, Start, and Do Over. He is a passionate advocate of doing work that you love, and he writes and speaks about remaking your life so that Monday becomes a great day, not a drag. Jon creates and shares thought-provoking material in a light-hearted manner; the subtitle(s) of Start tell you all you need to know: “Punch Fear in the Face. Escape Average. Do Work that Matters.”

Jon spoke at our 2013 AND 2015 Leadership Conferences and is, without a doubt, the most popular speaker in that conference’s history! Why?

What he writes and teaches about really hits home for nonprofit professionals. We get into the nonprofit sector because we’re passionate about creating positive change in our community, right? But sometimes we’re so not so great at creating positive change in our own lives. Jon can help you there; he offers new ways of thinking about things and actions you can take to recharge your passion.

So when life is just no fun, here are three of Jon’s blog posts that we think you’ll like:

Your Very Special Invitation…

Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications Stories

Team NLC is already busily working behind the scenes on many aspects of our 9th annual Leadership Conference on May 22nd.

Thanks to Key Partner C3 Media we can now unveil our snazzy new 2019 Leadership Conference theme logo:

Don’t you love it??

And one of the most fun things we’ve done to date is chat with our Keynote Speaker, Simon T. Bailey, about the content for his keynote presentation.

He’s got such wonderful energy, positivity, and inspirational content to share! In fact, we asked him to put together a little video to give you a taste of the day, and he was absolutely game!

So we’re thrilled to share with you a very special invitation from our 2019 Leadership Conference Keynote Speaker, Simon T. Bailey!

Learn even more about the day, which will be filled with 8 incredible working breakout sessions, a book signing with Simon, and all the networking you can handle, and register your team for a table of 10 or get your early-bird-priced individual tickets now!

A-Z Practices for a Better You

Ellen Nastir Stories

Are you being bombarded?  Everywhere I turn all the talk is (still) about setting goals and intentions for this new year. There are fabulous articles, videos and audios available at the click of a button or a turn of a page describing in detail how and why this is beneficial.I’m not repeating that here.

I’ve simply compiled a short list of simple practices you may choose to incorporate in your day-to-day life. They will offer huge results over time. Simply look them over, select one you’d like to improve upon or even begin…and get going!  They are short, direct and to the point.

Appreciate more.

Be kind – to yourself and others.

Compliment generously.

Dream….daydream…bring it into your life if only for 5 minutes a day.

Encourage and empathize with others when a soft shoulder is needed.  Be there.

Have more FUN!  Jot down a list of activities you used to enjoy as a child and mark your calendar to incorporate these in your weekly/monthly/yearly plans.

Practice GRATITUDE…write down 3 things each day that you are grateful for.

Help out more, even when it’s not “your job”.

Use “I” statements more to help communicate your thoughts.

Judge less.

Keep a tad more organized; it makes life much easier!

Laugh often – Listen more.

Move forward, even one baby step at a time.

Notice the little things around you, sights, smells, feelings. Get off auto-pilot.

Open your mind before having it automatically close to new and different ideas or experiences.

Practice one new habit each month that will improve your relationships, both at work & at     home.  See how it may enhance your overall life!

Quit one destructive habit.

Reflect on the good.

Share a smile.

Try again-especially when you are ready to throw in the towel!

Upbeat people are certainly more fun, inspiring and uplifting than their negative   counterparts.   Be sure to have those positive people in your life to lift you up and enjoy being around.

Celebrate one VICTORY each day, no matter how small!

Well-being means your whole being…taking care of yourself in many aspects so you can be  there for others both at work and at home. It’s not selfish to nourish & respect yourself.

Use an imaginary red “X” to cross out any negative self talk you find yourself thinking.

Refrain from starting sentences with the word “You” followed by never or always.

Zzzz – Sleep more – go to bed 15 minutes earlier and see what you notice after just a few days.

I hope a few of these clicked for you and you have one in mind to begin right away!  I’d love to hear which resonated with you, so feel free to comment on this post or send me an email.

NLC trainer Ellen Nastir is a certified professional coach with advanced training in Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching and Positive Psychology.  The goal is to shift the perspective. Just as a twist of the kaleidoscope completely changes your view, so do the tools that Innovative Team Solutions brings to your work environment.  Learn more at