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

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

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

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

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

What Local Nonprofit Leaders Want from NLC

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

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

1. More options to attend classes in Pinellas County

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

2. Targeted support to develop emerging leaders

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

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

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

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

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

5. More meaningful and personalized communications from NLC

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

What Nonprofit Leaders Can Expect from NLC in 2019 and Beyond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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