Last-Minute #GiveDayTampaBay Social Media Inspiration from Nonprofits #DoingItRight

Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications Stories

Give Day Tampa Bay is so close you can almost taste it, right? Or is that just a cold sweat? So much to do, so little time!!

Let’s all take a couple of deep breaths and gain some inspiration for our social media posts from a few nonprofits who are #doingitright.


So here, Alpha House is having a little fun with it and using a really cute image to grab your attention. Notice the image is directly related to their campaign (“honor your mom” is a nice tug at the heartstrings. Kudos!), and they’ve made excellent use of not only the #GiveDayTampaBay hashtag but also created their own hashtag for the campaign.


Community Food Pantry took full advantage of our Give Day Tampa Bay (GDTB) trainings, which were underwritten by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, by bringing the entire team to each one (Yep. We saw you there). Gold stars to these teacher’s pets for showcasing the No. 1 social media engagement tool: video. Nice call to action, too.


We can’t resist this two-fer because we LOVE the way The ARC Tampa Bay has used the GDTB logo in their photos and the clean way they included a (mini) story of impact, their logo, the event date, and the web address in one, strong visual element. We dig that #AchieveWithUs hashtag, too.


And this one from Quantum Leap Farm has us drooling (yes, we know it’s from last year’s campaign, but it’s still a #bestpractice, so we’re going to label it #FlashbackFriday). If you can get a celebrity to post your GDTB campaign on their feed, your reach could increase by a factor of 10. We’ll still call your attention to the very attractive infographic they created, and we’re willing to bet that they coached Chris on the content of the post. Make it easy for your friends and followers, no matter their star power: give them images and sample posts to make it quick and simple for them to support a cause they believe in.

Please check this out and pledge if you can! Quantum Leap Farm, Inc. HELPS OUR VETERANS! #GiveDayTampaBay starts at…

Posted by Chris Jericho on Monday, May 4, 2015


The Center for Great Apes gives us a super-simple checklist for a strong GDTB post:

Striking image, Give Day logo, your logo, hashtag, call to action, and link to the website. Voila!


Wondering how to get the word out about your GDTB campaign? Answered Prayers Cross can tell you: talk to everyone, everywhere. Got an event at your facility? Going off campus for a speaking engagement? Giving tours? Those folks are the proverbial captive audience. Come up with a compelling, short script about your GDTB campaign and how they can get involved. Deliver it often.

Such a wonderful turn out tonight! We're here telling everyone about Give Day! #givedaytampabay #blessed

Posted by Answered Prayers Project on Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Speaking of events, Mothers of Minors created a Facebook event to promote their GDTB campaign. So very easy for folks to share on your behalf and to “attend” to show their support.


Make it clear what your donor’s GDTB gift will do like the University Area CDC did with this fun photo and call to action. Who wouldn’t like the idea of giving a child a safe space to play? (Nice use of personal pronouns to address the donor, too.)


Here’s another great image from Animal Coalition of Tampa. Notice how many FUN images we’ve pointed out; they work, folks. Check out their use of hashtags, too. Judicious use of multiple hashtags puts your post in front of a broader audience with affinity for your cause.

Woohoo! It's #FunFriday What could me more fun than cuddling with a pot-bellied pig?! Pledge your support of ACT on…

Posted by Animal Coalition of Tampa on Friday, April 15, 2016


And it’s not too early to start thinking about how you’re going to thank your GDTB donors. This Center for Great Apes post is a good model: pick out an image, add a colored bar, your logo, and a placeholder for whatever your measure of success is, and you’ll be ready to fill in the blanks and post first thing on May 4th.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for all of your posts on May 3rd (and 4th) and can’t wait to celebrate #GiveDayTampaBay with you!

A BIG thank you goes out to everyone who donated yesterday for #GiveDayTampaBay! We were able to raise $13,675 for the apes!

Posted by Center for Great Apes on Wednesday, May 6, 2015







The Most Overlooked Tool in Your Give Day Tampa Bay Kit

NLC trainer Louanne Saraga Walters Stories

Video is the best way to tell your nonprofit’s story. Think about it. What is America’s favorite pastime?  WATCHING TV!

And what is the second largest search engine in the world?  YouTube!

With that in mind, here are 3 quick tips for using YouTube to maximize your impact on Give Day Tampa Bay.

Blog Admin’s note: Team NLC always says, “if we teach it, we have do it.” So we’re sharing images from the NLC YouTube channel so you can see what another nonprofit has done–and might still need to do!

1. Use your channel to spotlight who you are as a nonprofit.

Your YouTube Channel has several fantastic areas where you can really tell the world (and potential new donors) who you are:

  • The Channel cover photo: It only takes a few minutes to update your channel’s cover photo, but that few minutes could be all you need to gain new donors.
  • Trailers for subscribers and new visitors: If you’re not using trailers now, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to greet people with your mission and message.
  • Playlists organized by your programs or testimonials: Playlists are like candy to folks watching your videos. When they see one they like, they want to watch others within that playlist. Organize your playlists with your viewers in mind and make it easy for them to get to know you.

Blog Admin’s note: Check. Check. Check. Feeling pretty good so far….

2. Use your video descriptions to tell your story.

A lot of YouTubers miss out on this simple but extremely effective area. Your video’s description should not only give a GOOD synopsis of the video (think about how your favorite TV show’s new episodes are teased) but also what your nonprofit does. Be sure to use keywords that tie into your mission or organization. Why?  Because YouTube is owned by Google. This means that Google searched your video description block to learn about the content and decide where to place it!  Maximize that area and make sure you link back to your website (and include your Give Day Tampa Bay link!!) for easy access.

Blog Admin’s note: Uh-oh. Looks like we’ve got some work to do here!


3. Use links and annotations to direct people to your Give Day Tampa Bay donation page.

Another opportunity often missed in YouTube videos is maximizing the real value of the share links and annotations YouTube has thoughtfully and creatively built into its platform. This may take a little planning, but with some forethought and experience, you’ll be happily rewarded with greater engagement and visits to your page!

And don’t forget to use #GiveDayTampaBay on each of your posts to ensure your nonprofit shows up in the online conversation on May 3, 2016.

Blog Admin’s note: Yes. Some work to do here, too. If only there was a class to help us… Oh, wait, Louanne wasn’t quite done: 

For even more best practices and tips, join us for YouTube 101 for Give Day Tampa Bay on April 13th

 **NEW** Bring your laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone for this hands-on “YouTube for Beginners” class with special emphasis on YouTube and videos for Give Day Tampa Bay campaigns, where you’ll learn the basic how-tos of using YouTube to promote your organization, its mission, and its impact through videos.

Over the course of 4 hours, Louanne Walters will lead you through all of the features of YouTube. Through examples and hands-on exercises, you will learn:

  • How to upload, edit and manage videos from your desk and from your smartphone or tablet
  • How to create keywords that work for each video AND your organization
  • How to use YouTube’s editing features to enhance your videos and promote your website
  • How to create a playlist and organize your videos for easy viewing
  • How to use videos and YouTube to make your Give Day Tampa Bay campaign successful


Louanne Saraga Walters is co-founder of My Video Voice Productions, a video production company specializing in helping nonprofits tell their stories. She and her wife, Sharon, co-founded The Philanthropy Show, an internet talk show, as a way to connect and inspire philanthropy around the world by educating, uplifting, and empowering the nonprofit sector and its supporters.

Jump Start Your Volunteer Engagement Efforts with Give Day Tampa Bay 2016

NLC trainer Liz Wooten Reschke Stories

The nonprofit sector runs on the power of volunteerism. The power of volunteerism depends on the level of volunteer engagement. And the power of volunteer engagement is driven by personal motivation.

Do you know what motivates your volunteers? When was the last time you asked them?

Give Day Tampa Bay 2016 is coming…. And it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit (or start!) this conversation with your volunteers.

Here are three reasons you should consider participating in Give Day Tampa Bay (GDTB) as part of your year-round volunteer engagement strategy:

GDTB gives you a reason to strategically assess your volunteer base. So many of us get bogged down into the day-to-day details and operations of our mission work. Chances are our volunteers are a crucial part of this work, but many of us aren’t thinking about how else we can engage our volunteers… and perhaps more importantly, how they want to be engaged with us. GDTB empowers us with some very specific questions to ask: what can we do to promote this event, and how do you want to help?

GDTB can create a sense of urgency and rally their support. Giving events are, YES, a great way to raise awareness and funds for your nonprofit’s mission work. But they also provide you with a unique opportunity–a tangible, extraordinary effort to mobilize and empower your volunteer base…. And to recruit others to your mission! They provide you with a specific day/campaign/event to ask for insight and assistance from those who know you best and have the greatest interest in seeing your mission succeed. They also allow you to spread the word about your agency to your supporters’ spheres of influence: Chances are these “friends of friends” might have a personal connection to your mission; they just might not have “met” your agency yet. GDTB is your chance for a quick introduction with tangible results!

GDTB allows you to celebrate your success together. Whether this is your first GDTB campaign or your third year of success, everyone has the opportunity to celebrate your giving success. That’s the great part about making goals; it gives you something to strive for, and if you don’t hit those goals, it gives you a reason to evaluate why not and strive for the next time. Give Day Tampa Bay gives you a common effort to help meet your mission, and—equally as important—it gives you a chance to share your mission and your efforts to achieve it with the masses.

Give Day Tampa Bay 2016 is an agency-wide effort, to be sure. Its success requires that all levels of stakeholders are involved. Start the conversation with your volunteers today… and see where the Give Day ahead takes you!

Don’t forget that participating nonprofits registered with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay are eligible to receive free GDTB training from the Nonprofit Leadership Center! Register your nonprofit today!

**FREE GDTB training generously underwritten by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay**

NLC trainer Liz Wooten Reschke has served in a variety of capacities including volunteer, staff, board member and consultant for a number of nonprofit agencies in the Tampa Bay and Key West communities, state of Florida, and the United States. As President of Connectivity Community Consulting, she works collaboratively with clients to create strategic solutions that address a variety of areas including: nonprofit capacity and community building, organizational development, philanthropic advising, training & workshop facilitation, and coaching & mentoring.

5 Must-Have Social Media Tools for #GiveDayTampaBay

NLC trainer Louanne Saraga Walters Stories

Give Day Tampa Bay (aka May 3, 2016) is exciting and fun and…BUSY! To help you plan and execute a successful 24-hour online giving campaign, check out these five social media tools. You may find you’ll want to use them year-round!! (Click on the tool name to visit the website.)


I’ve long been a Hootsuite fan to schedule post to multiple social media accounts, but for free access, Buffer is becoming a top choice. It took me less than three minutes to create an account and set up my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles for free. If you manage multiple Facebook pages or a Pinterest profile, you can upgrade to Awesome (the plan’s name) at 50% off for Nonprofits – or $5/month.

In addition to being nonprofit friendly, Buffer offers cool features like running a scan to see the optimal times to post to your different social media platforms; tracks how many people click on links within your tweets and posts; and has a handy extension you can add to your browser to easily “Bufferize” a page and share it with your social media networks.

(Blog administrator’s note: NLC uses Buffer, too, as you can see below. We agree that it’s easy to set up and use for scheduling across multiple accounts and pages. The Power Scheduler can sometimes freeze—resulting in lost time/work—but we still give it 2 thumbs up.)



If having an assistant dedicated to pulling social media content specific to your cause sounds good to you, you’re going to LOVE Feedly. You can stay on top of key issue trends, hashtags, posts, and much more with this very versatile tool, and it’s fabulous for curating content!

I set up a search for #nonprofit and found more than a dozen great social media sites to follow for news in the nonprofit sector.

What issues does your nonprofit cover? Homelessness? Hunger? Environmental concerns? Tell Feedly what you’re interested in, and it will “automagically” find the most relevant posts for you. That’s heaven when you need quality content! Feedly also integrates with Buffer.



This app is both a tool and a toy. I could play for hours creating awesome graphics to share to my social media sites! Using a technique the app calls “Remixing,” you can easily grab a photo/graphic from thousands of choices, change the color, text layout, size, etc. and create fabulous, eye-catching posts.

This app is perfect for those written testimonials or must-be-tweeted quotes you’ll hear at 3am during Give Day! You can upload photos from your phone, select from thousands within the app, or use your camera to take a new photo. The color palette, fonts, and size can all be changed to fit your remix. Post to any social media site that you have as an app on your phone, directly from within Adobe Post.

You may want to set a timer for this one, though. You might get sucked in just like I did! (Enjoy the photo of our new rescue pup, Reno!)



If you want to jazz up your posts with visually stimulating graphics, this free download from HubSpot can go a long, long way.

30 square and 30 rectangular backgrounds come in a variety of color combinations. The fact that these are based in PowerPoint means the learning curve is shallow and you don’t have to be a Photoshop expert.



Chances are, your nonprofit will see a spike in Facebook and Instagram posts – all in favor of your organization – in the days leading up to and during the Give Day Tampa Bay 24-hour cycle. So don’t let that go to waste!

My Social Book is a fun and affordable way to capture those posts in a colorful book. Prices start at just $14.90 for 25 pages. Imagine your Executive Director or Development Director being able to take this book with them on donor meetings, your Board members being able to talk about your Give Day success, success stories about clients, and how awesome your volunteers are!


Plan now to capture the moment and stretch the energy that fuels the 24 hours of Give Day Tampa Bay!

Don’t forget that participating nonprofits registered with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay are eligible to receive free GDTB training from the Nonprofit Leadership Center! Register your nonprofit today!

Guest blogger Louanne has developed 3 webinars and an in-person class to help you create a complete, ready to execute social media plan for Give Day Tampa Bay. The webinars are available on-demand—anytime any member of your team wants them. Be sure to complete the webinars and homework before the in-person class with Louanne on April 6th to get the most from this time of peer exchange and expert review.

**2016 GDTB training generously underwritten by  
Community Foundation of Tampa Bay**

Louanne Saraga Walters is co-founder of My Video Voice Productions, a video production company specializing in helping nonprofits tell their stories. She and her wife, Sharon, co-founded The Philanthropy Show, an internet talk show, as a way to connect and inspire philanthropy around the world by educating, uplifting, and empowering the nonprofit sector and its supporters.

Creating Your Plan for Give Day Tampa Bay 2016

NLC Trainer Sara Leonard Stories



As I created the content for the Give Day Tampa Bay training resources on strategy and planning, a few sayings came to mind:


We’ve heard them before—and probably believe them on some level—but because we are so busy, we often don’t act on them.

I’m writing to warn you: don’t skip the planning for Give Day Tampa Bay.

Here are 6 steps to get your plan together:

  1. Make time to plan. For this event, you don’t need to set aside a full day for a planning session. Just block off two hours on your calendar to create your plan. Do what it takes to minimize the distractions. Close the door or even leave the office, if that helps.
  2. Use a simple format. This is not a long-term strategic plan for the future of your organization. This is a plan for a 24-hour giving event. Don’t overdo it. I recommend a simple format that spells out “Who will do what by when.” (One of my strategy webinars will walk you through this—and provide a handy template that we’ll refine in the in-person class on March 11th. So be sure to register for the webinars and my class as soon as you receive the Training Page link form the Community Foundation.)
  3. Ask for help. You should be recruiting others to help execute your Give Day plan so be sure to include them in the making of your plan. (Both the social media and volunteer webinars and class can help you with this!) Ask a few people to help you think through your ideas. You’ll be amazed at the value of the creative process.
  4. Gather the resources you’ll need. You are not in this alone. There are valuable resources available to you from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and Give Local America. And don’t forget about the handy templates and resources you’ll receive by taking advantage of the Give Day Tampa Bay training from the NLC. (It’s worth repeating: be sure to register for the webinars and classes as soon as you receive the Training Page link from the Community Foundation.)
  5. Remember that one size does not fit all. Your nonprofit is unique, so your plan will be unique. Be sure you aren’t duplicating someone else’s effort and calling that your plan. Your plan should account for the unique and wonderful personality of your organization.
  6. Write and share. If your plan is all in your head (and I know you’ve done that because I have, too), it won’t actually do you any good. Take a few minutes to write it down. Then share it widely with everyone who should be involved in executing the plan. Be open to their feedback and make adjustments as necessary.

Give Day Tampa Bay is a wonderful opportunity for your organization to be a part of something momentous. But don’t expect success without effort. Take some time now to create a plan for your organization’s efforts to raise funds on May 3, 2016.

Don’t forget that participating nonprofits registered with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay are eligible to receive free GDTB training from the Nonprofit Leadership Center! Register your nonprofit today!

**FREE GDTB training generously underwritten by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay**

Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE, is a fundraising and board governance consultant. She created the Fund Development Academy at the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay, where she is still an instructor.

Her firm, the Sara Leonard Group, delivers excellent professional guidance, education and facilitation to those responsible for fund development – fundraising professionals, CEOs, CFOs, board members, and other nonprofit staff.

6 Reasons to Get Excited About Our Fund Development Leadership Certificate

Sara Leonard News, Stories

  1. Immediate impact – you can put the info to use in your fundraising efforts immediately. Nonprofit Leadership Center classes emphasize practical applications and tools so you’ll be able to put good ideas to use right away

“[We received] good insight and tips for how to move forward, realizing that the course of action that we were on was indeed the right path, and with the focused tweaking we will now be that much more successful!”

– Erin Welch, Director of Development, St. John Neumann Catholic High School

  1. Affordable – Nonprofit Leadership Center is supported by generous funders to keep our courses affordable so your training budget (or your own wallet if the budget is gone) will love you
  2. A la carte – registration is per training so you can make it work with all of the other things on your calendar
  3. Valued colleagues – you’ll have a chance to meet and interact with great local colleagues who can be a resource for you long after the programs are complete

“How wonderful it is to become better at what you do and make new friends through the Nonprofit Leadership Center.” – Rick Wachstein, Volunteer Chair, CAIR Flight

  1. Web site does the tracking – Nonprofit Leadership Center’s website will keep track of what you have taken (when you are logged in) so when it’s time to apply for the certificate, you’ll be ready
  2. CFRE credits – the Nonprofit Leadership Center is a CFRE approved provider so if you are pursuing (or even just considering) your CFRE certification, all of these hours will count


Here We Come to Save the (Give) Day (TampaBay)!

Sara Leonard, Fund Development Academy Director Stories

You’ve heard about Give Day Tampa Bay, but you’re not sure what to do about it? Never fear! This blog is here to save the day! (If you can name the superhero above, tell us in the comments!!)

We’ve compiled our favorite online resources to help you create a campaign to maximize the power of Give Day Tampa Bay for your nonprofit organization.

Give Day Tampa Bay is a 24-hour online giving challenge led by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the Florida Next Foundation. A midnight-to-midnight event, #GiveDayTampaBay showcases our local nonprofits and makes giving easy.  Whether a first-time donor or a long-time supporter, all it takes is a couple of clicks on donor’s smartphone, tablet, or computer.

The first step for nonprofits is to register your organization to participate.

After you register, use these resources to create a plan and get started:

Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good
HOW TO: Tap Into the Power of Cause Awareness Days
After hearing Heather in Tampa last year at our Development Conference, I know she gets it. She’s got great ideas that are backed up by years of experience and well-researched data. If Heather says it, we should be doing it.

Give Local America Resources
Nonprofit Toolkit
I especially like the “Social Media Toolkit” and “Sample Messaging for Nonprofits.” Both are easy to download and start using immediately.

The Knight Foundation
Giving Day Playbook 
This playbook provides Check lists and samples for each stage from planning to follow-up. I especially like the planning checklists but that’s just my planning neediness showing through.

Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay
10 Ways Board Members Can Get Involved in Give Day Tampa Bay
Your board can be a powerful force but you will have to mobilize them. These suggestions are from our own blog.

Converting Crowd Funding Donors 
The hope for every organization is to convert Give Day donors to ongoing donors. The only way to make that hope reality is with a plan.

The Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay is proud to be the Training Partner for Give Day Tampa Bay 2015. Because of the leadership of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the Florida Next Foundation, Tampa Bay is on track to break records this year!

IMAGE: courtesy of ABC

10 Ways Board Members Can Get Involved in Give Day Tampa Bay

Sara Leonard, Fund Development Academy Director Stories

Give Day Tampa Bay is a 24-hour online giving challenge led by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the Florida Next Foundation.

The midnight-to-midnight event showcases our local nonprofits and makes giving easy. Whether you’re a first-time donor or a longtime supporter, all it takes is a couple of clicks on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Give Day Tampa Bay also draws attention to the pressing needs of our community and offers resources and training that nonprofits can use year-round to promote their work and engage their supporters.

Nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes will be participating in Give Day Tampa Bay on May 5th, 2015. To be successful, organizations will need to leverage the connections of their donors, employees, volunteers, and board members. If you serve on a nonprofit board and aren’t sure how to get involved, we’ve got 10 ideas to get you started.

  1. Mark your calendar and make a gift to your organization online on May 5, Give Day Tampa Bay. You can get started early by making a pledge right now. You’ll get a reminder to make your gift on May 5.
  2. After you make your gift, be sure to celebrate it on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  3. Look for ways to get your company involved in Give Day Tampa Bay like hosting a Give Day lunch for employees or offering to make a corporate matching gift.
  4. Make sure your board service is listed on your LinkedIn profile. This one is true for everyday.
  5. Go to your organization’s Facebook page and “like” it, then “share” it. Then do the same on LinkedIn.
  6. Use your Twitter account to acknowledge the good work of your organization (don’t forget to include #GiveDayTampaBay.) Ask your organization if they have a photo you can share, too.
  7. Ask your organization’s staff how you can help them get ready. Maybe they need help with the technology, web design, or other parts of their Give Day Tampa Bay efforts.
  8. Fund a matching gift challenge to your friends, family, or employees for gifts made to your organization on Give Day.
  9. Organize an event like a lunch or happy hour for your friends and family on Give Day Tampa Bay. Give Day runs from midnight to midnight, so there are plenty of opportunities to be creative.
  10. Collect and share photos and stories of the impact your organization is making on your community.

We are Here…to Pump You Up (for Give Day Tampa Bay on May 5th)

Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications Stories

Do you want your nonprofit organization to be part of something BIG?

Here’s your chance: The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the Florida Next Foundation are leading a 24-hour online giving challenge in May: Give Day Tampa Bay is a midnight-to-midnight event showcasing local nonprofits. Giving is easy for first-time donors and long-time supporters!

The inaugural event in 2014 raised more than $1 million for Tampa Bay nonprofits. The national Give Local America movement created the largest single-day charitable crowdfunding event ever (get the skinny and the tally from Kimbia)!

The Nonprofit Leadership Center is pleased to join the movement again as the training partner. We are ready to provide tools, tips, and resources to help you get the most from your efforts, and, beginning in February, we’ll deliver three FREE training classes dedicated to preparing your team to conduct a successful Give Day Tampa Bay campaign (see the dates below).

Nonprofit organizations must be registered to participate in the campaign and to attend the classes, so that’s Step 1. Register here.

Step 2: Assemble your Give Day Tampa Bay team. You’ll need representatives from leadership, fundraising, marketing, and accounting. You’ll also want to identify and involve volunteers and Board members.

Step 3: Add our classes to your calendar and decide which member(s) of your Give Day Tampa Bay team will attend each seminar. You’ll receive the link to sign up for the classes when you complete the registration.

Step 4: Come to class armed with ideas and questions. Get ready to learn best practices and hear what worked and what was a “#GiveDayTampaBay #fail.” Walk out with actionable ideas and next steps.

Step 5: Raise awareness, funds, and friends with Give Day Tampa Bay 2015 on May 5th!

Looking Back with Thanks & Ahead with Resolution

Team NLC Stories

As 2014 draws to a close, the team here at the Nonprofit Leadership Center wanted to share our gratitude and our hopes with you! We are grateful for our partnership with Tampa Bay nonprofits throughout the past year, and we hope to continue to be a part of your successes in 2015. Please let us know how we can help you to learn the skills to run your business better. We are eager to hear from you what training you need in the new year.

The 2015 training year is a new beginning for the NLC; we’ve built the classes in the early part of the Spring semester around a theme of Refresh, with the goal of helping our Tampa Bay nonprofit professionals refresh their personal and professional skill sets. And we’re looking forward to introducing you to new trainers and new classes in January.

In the meantime, we thought we’d also share the resolutions we’ve each made around our own individual and organizational development:  

Much of my job requires attention to detail (the accounting piece) as well as a huge need to be organized (customer service and everything else!) Both of these skills are important enough to me and to my position at work to continually strive for excellence. Although these are things I think I do quite well, I also know that there is always room for improvement. So my resolutions for 2015 are to continually explore methods to improve how I can best support my organization through accurate and thorough management reports, and to research procedures that will improve my ability to be able to best respond to customer needs and requests.   –Lorraine

In making the jump to a new job this year, I have been excited to immerse myself in the learning culture of the NLC. We don’t just offer learning for other people; we have an active learning culture ourselves, including an allowance for training both here in our own classes and through other trainers. I’ve missed out on some classes I really would’ve liked to participate in this year because I told myself I was too busy learning my new job. So one of my resolutions for the new year is take advantage of every training opportunity that will help me work smarter, not harder in 2015. (I also want to explore Evernote because my current notebook and Post-It system isn’t an efficient or effective way for me to capture, store, and access information! Has anyone seen that green post-it with my notes on the UT Nonprofit Management Certificate?)  –Jennifer

This year I resolve to put the big rocks first. In his classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey lists habit No. 3 as “Put First Things First.” In a great demonstration to illustrate this point, he used large rocks to show the most important things, pebbles to show less important, and sand to show the small but distracting things. I’ll cut to the punchline: if you put the sand in first, there’s no room for the big rocks. My resolution for 2015 is to put the big rocks first. To accomplish this, I must purposefully differentiate the “big rocks” from the “sand.” This applies to my professional role at the Nonprofit Leadership Center, my personal roles of wife and mother, and my volunteer activities with New Tampa YoungLife and the AFP Suncoast Chapter. (Want to see a humorous depiction  of the big rocks demonstration? Click here for a video on the Franklin Covey YouTube channel)  –Sara

My resolution for 2015: To dwell in possibility. Emily Dickinson’s poem begins, “I dwell in possibility/a fairer house than prose/More numerous of windows/Superior – for doors.” While I do not pretend to be a scholar of poetry by any means, a number of Emily Dickinson’s poem resonate with me.  In this one she envisions a wide open space with many portals, unencumbered by obstacles and filled with opportunity. As we all contemplate our pathways ahead in 2015, this is a timely message. Too often as a leader I feel the need to know the answer, have the solution, to keep order. This poem reminds me that it can be better sometimes to hold back, take time and live in the space where all things are possible, and, by doing so, be able to examine the many dimensions of different ideas, alternate approaches, and infinite opportunities. That’s a space in which we can be creative and truly learn. Please join me!  “Of chambers as the cedars/impregnable of eye/And for an everlasting roof/The gambrels of the sky.”  –Emily

Wishing you and your team a very happy–and successful–New Year!