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Board Composition: Balanced, Engaged, Effective

At a recent New ED Network discussion centered on board composition and how to move from having ‘warm bodies’ or ‘social friends’ of current board members to purposefully composing a balanced, engaged, effective board.

First, board members must believe in the mission and work of the organization, serve the best interests of the organization and not personal agendas, and actively contribute their skills and funds to assure current and long-term sustainability. In addition, a balance of skills and demographic characteristics are essential in developing true capacity-building boards.

While different skills are needed at different stages of a nonprofit’s lifecycle (moving from hands-on in start-ups to policy making with little hands-on in maturity), the following skills need to be present on all boards.

  • Financial expertise / Investment experience
  • Fundraising experience
  • Legal expertise: knowledge of legal issues and requirements for nonprofits
  • Property and facility management and construction (depending on facilities and capital planning)
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Small business experience/ entrepreneurship
  • Personnel / HR practices
  • Nonprofit management; systems
  • Governance: policy development; roles and responsibilities of board; strategic thinking
  • *Program/service knowledge

Demographics should reflect the community you serve and/or want to serve. Take some time as a board and ED to determine the demographics needed to bring a balance of perspectives to the table when strategically governing the organization. Some demographic characteristics include: hands-on or policy focused; business/community leaders; racial/ethnic diversity; age, education, wealth diversity; English/foreign languages; educational levels; for-profit, nonprofit, faith-based; male/female/LGBT; community connections; personal networks. Boards should not be made up of people just because they ‘like’ each other; this is important (volunteer) governance work, not social engagement.

A grid can be made with these skills and desired balance of demographic characteristics across the top and names of current board members and their term ending dates down the side. *Program/service knowledge is helpful, especially in the early start-up stage; once established, the staff will be more important in this area than board members. Other skills may be needed depending on your particular situation.

Check all the skills and demographics each person brings to the board. Then, look for holes and recruit only people with the needed skills or demographic (hopefully contributing in both skills and demographics) profiles.

Give it a try. It’s quite revealing and powerful in helping you think strategically about recruiting new board members or replacing term-limited positions.

Finding people to fill specific positions can be challenging and will take outreach and active listening by the board members and executive director on an ongoing basis to gather names of potential recruits without ‘inviting’ them to join the board.

The process of formally recruiting is the role of the board nominating committee. Prior to the annual meeting and elections, they convene to assess the current grid and potential recruits that fit needed profiles, prioritize people to approach for each position, and develop a plan for who will do the asking of each person and in what order. The process includes sharing information about the mission and constituents, programs and services, board service requirements, and realistic expectations of time, activities, and financial contributions.

A proactive, systematic process and formal procedures for identifying, recruiting, and educating potential board members will help enlist people who will truly help advance your mission and secure the organization’s future.


A balanced, engaged, effective board.

Independent Sector and Council of Michigan Foundations Annual Conference

I was very fortunate to attend the National Independent Sector/Council of Michigan Foundations Annual Conference in Detroit earlier this month. It was inspiring to be among the 1,100 people from over 30 states who came together to share insights, build collaborative skills through interactive sessions, and delve into issues facing the nonprofit sector today.

Many of the themes of the three-day conference aligned with a plenary presentation made by Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector:

  • It’s past time to really work together across the ‘silos’ of business, government, and nonprofit; and
  • As individuals, organizations, and collaborations, we must think and act for the ‘big picture’ because, to survive and thrive, we must acknowledge our interdependence.

Below is a summary of her comments as published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

--Bobbe A. Luce, ONEplace @ kpl

Nonprofit Leaders Urged to Rethink Their Role in Society

Independent Sector

Expanding on a key theme of this year’s Independent Sector conference, Diana Aviv, the group’s president, called on nonprofit leaders at all organizations – regardless of size or mission – to take a broad view of their work and their responsibility to help make society better.

“We do not and cannot work in a vacuum,” she told participants at the gathering of charities and grant makers, which drew some about 1,100 attendees in all.

“If our employees and their families can’t afford medical care, it limits their productivity,” she said. “If our transportation infrastructure makes it hard to get to work, it affects people’s performance. If we don’t collectively attend to the harm inflicted on our environment, polluted air and climate change will ultimately damage everyone’s work. And if we don’t demand greater civility in Congress and in the public square, we diminish our ability to achieve our aims.”

Ms. Aviv urged nonprofit leaders “to attend to these larger issues long before they threaten our work.”
As an example of the consequences of not doing so, she cited the experiences of health and human-services groups that now must take on loans as state and local governments increasingly delay payments for services already provided.

“Except for a sliver of public-interest organizations, at no time did we step up and try to fix a system that we have known to be problematic for years,” she said. “Why was this the case? Because we have long believed that these larger issues were not our responsibility.”

She called on participants to go back to their organizations and have at least one board meeting within the next year to define a role for their groups beyond their specific issue or cause.

“My point is that excelling at your particular mission is key – but so too is attending to the wider societal issues of the world you inhabit,” she said. “Active engagement with these issues is part of the price we pay for this special place we, as a community, have been afforded by society.”

— Jennifer Moore


Independent Sector and Council of Michigan Foundations Annual Conference

Recover Michigan and Michigan NOW!

Recover Michigan and Michigan NOW! Programs Offer Capacity Building Opportunities to Small Nonprofits in Kalamazoo County and Across Michigan

NOTE: Attending an Orientation session for the programs is mandatory. ONEplace is hosting an orientation session on Friday, October 30, from 10 to noon in the Van Deusen Room of Kalamazoo Public Library, Central. Additional Orientation sessions will be held between October 26 and November 5 across the state. See the websites below for additional information or contact ONEplace at 553-7910.

Recover Michigan 

recover-michigan-logo-160.jpgRecover Michigan is a three phase program implemented by the Michigan Nonprofit Association and seven Management Support Organizations throughout the State of Michigan. During the eleven-month three-phase program, community and faith based nonprofit organizations will position themselves to strengthen their effectiveness to address the broad economic recovery issues present in their communities.

Services Offered at No-Fee

Trainings, Consulting, and Grant Opportunities (sub awards) in the areas of:

  • Program Development
  • Evaluation
  • Leadership Development
  • Collaboration and Community Engagement
  • Organizational Development

Who Can Apply?

Incorporated community and faith based Michigan nonprofit organizations with a budget less than $500,000, and specializing in assisting low-income individuals in the following areas are welcome to apply:

  • secure and retain employment
  • earn higher wages
  • obtain better quality jobs
  • gain greater access to state and federal benefits, and tax credits

Recover Michigan is a federally funded under the authority of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 – Strengthening Communities Fund (SCF).

Michigan NOW! 

michigan-now-logo-160.jpgMichigan NOW! is a three phase program implemented by the Michigan Nonprofit Association and five Management Support Organizations throughout the State of Michigan. During the eleven-month three-phase program, community and faith based nonprofit organizations will position themselves to strengthen their effectiveness to address the broad social issues present in their communities.

Services Offered at No-Fee

Trainings, Consulting, and Grant Opportunities (sub awards) in the areas of:

  • Program Development
  • Revenue Development
  • Leadership Development
  • Collaboration and Community Engagement
  • Organizational Development

Who Can Apply?

Incorporated, Michigan nonprofit organizations, with a budget less than $500,000, and specialize in assisting the following populations are welcome to apply:

  • at-risk youth
  • the homeless
  • seniors/elders in need
  • welfare to work transitions
  • those in need of intensive rehabilitation
  • couples who choose marriage
  • prisoner reentry initiatives
  • children of incarcerated individuals

Michigan NOW! is a federally funded under the authority of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Community Services, Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Program (CCF).


Recover Michigan and Michigan NOW! Programs

Can Social Media Really Support Your Mission?

Is your nonprofit using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to your organization, mission, programs, and services? To reach out to your target audiences: clients, donors, volunteers, potential employees? Do you advocate for your cause using social media tools?

Or, are you still wondering what the return on investment may really be? How much staff time it will consume? If it’s the best use of your limited resources? And, what would you ‘say,’ anyway?

Case Foundation has scheduled online ‘chats with experts’ that may help. You can write in your specific questions as well as learn from questions others submit. The Ask the Guru sessions are part of their Gear up for Giving series (the schedule is located on their website).

Do you use social media in your nonprofit? If so, what and how do you put it to work for you? How do you communicate? How much time does it take to keep it active and interactive? These questions came up in a recent ONEplace Roundtable of PR and Marketing. Write back and share your experiences.


Gear Up For Giving

Belarus Colleagues Visit ONEplace

During a three-week stay in Kalamazoo in July, a Colleagues International delegation from Belarus studied nonprofit management in the United States.

The group of community and nonprofit leaders, and a journalist, visited a wide variety of nonprofits in West Michigan—the list is long and thorough: arts, education, human services, government…and ONEplace @ kpl.

They came to ONEplace to learn how we train nonprofit managers and staff in the skills they need to start, develop, and sustain nonprofit. They asked many probing questions and studied the answers closely.

Once their questions were satisfied, they talked about the nonprofit sector in Belarus. It was clear their nonprofit sector is young and growing, and they are determined to help develop it into a vibrant sector in their communities.

The conversation took place through an interpreter which made the exchange even more interesting and deliberate than had it been in one language.

We were pleased to host our Belarus Colleagues, seen here in ONEplace.

Belarus Colleagues at ONEplace


Colleagues International

Why Attendance Matters: Nonprofit Governance in a World of Busy Board Members

Several people (Executive Directors and Board members) have contacted ONEplace recently asking how to increase consistent attendance and follow though with their nonprofit’s Board members.

On many (maybe ‘most’) boards, a core of people participate in every board meeting/action, every assigned committee, and contribute time, talents, and money to additional activities that support the organization. Many (most) boards also have members who, while ‘supportive,’ are sporadic in both their attendance and follow-through, leaving the active core to carry out the governance responsibilities on behalf of the entire board and the constituents of the nonprofit.

Why People Don’t Build the Attendance Commitment Into Their Schedule

Board members may be less than 100% committed to attending meetings for a number of reasons. Let’s look at a few.

They don’t know it’s expected.

  • Are there board attendance policies? Bylaws specifying attendance? If so, were they clearly outlined during recruitment and orientations? 
  • Is it their ‘experience’ that attendance isn’t taken seriously by other board members, especially the chair?
  • Is there a provision for ‘unexcused’ versus ‘excused’ (the member is still missing) absences?
  • Are there any consequences for missing meetings? Have they ever been enforced?

They are ‘too busy’ to make every meeting.

  • Everyone is busy, over-busy. Sometimes balancing work, volunteer activities, and family responsibilities is difficult (they may think, ‘impossible’) for everyone.
  • The time of meetings doesn’t work in their schedule well. Has the board defined a mutually agreeable time for everyone and planned for a year at a time?
  • They are ‘volunteering’ and this organization/board is not as high a priority as ‘conflicting’ events.

They don’t find the meetings motivating.

  • Meetings are ‘boring’ or ‘rubber stamp’ sessions for committee and staff reports.
  • Meetings are dominated by a few members and their input isn’t sought or valued.
  • The connection between their role and the organization’s mission and outcomes for constituents isn’t clear, emotionally or intellectually.

What To Do

BoardSource recently sent an announcement on a new book (which is on order for ONEplace) with the lead-in: Board Meeting Attendance Is Not Optional, So Meet Smarter.

The book, titled Meeting and Exceeding Expectations, A Guide to Successful Nonprofit Board Meetings, encourages meetings that are “inspiring, productive, and efficient”:

  • Establish a ‘consensus agenda’ board meeting format in which reports are sent out ahead of meetings and approved as a bundle, and meetings are only focused on in-depth mission-driven policy or issue discussions and action items.
  • Elect a ‘devil’s advocate of the day’ to take a contrary stance on the issues under discussion in order to keep thinking fresh and discussions productive.
  • Elect a ‘devil’s inquisitor of the day’ to ask difficult questions; to keep all arguments on the table and non-personal. Better governance emerges from open, challenging discussions.
  • Clarify legal and ethical responsibilities each board member committed to when s/he agreed to serve.

In addition, invite board members who miss even a couple meetings (for any reason)  to evaluate their ability to keep the commitment to actively serve on the board, and let them know it is ‘okay’ to resign. Lives change, schedules change, interests change: it's okay to give up your board seat for your own good, and the good of the organization.

Board members who aren’t in attendance aren’t available to provide input from their unique perspectives and expertise; aren’t available to vote on issues; aren’t available to learn from the other board members and staff. They are missing and missed.

Here are some additional resources and ideas to help strengthen attendance at board meetings and, therefore, governance of nonprofits, even in a world of busy board members.

Resource in ONEplace:

On the web:


Meeting, and Exceeding Expectations: A Guide to Successful Nonprofit Board Meetings, Second Edition by Outi Flynn

Michigan Nonprofit Day

On Tuesday, September 22, representatives of Michigan’s nonprofit organizations will gather in Lansing for the annual Michigan Nonprofit Day. This is the one day each year that nonprofits and our state legislative representatives (individually and collectively) focus on the nonprofit sector. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss.

Highlights of the day include:

  • Morning Breakfast Plenary with co-chairs of the Michigan Legislative Nonprofit Caucus
  • Keynote address by Robert Egger, Founder and President of the DC Central Kitchen and author of Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding For All
  • One-on-one meetings with House and Senate members
  • Lunch with Legislators
  • Mini breakout sessions on making sure everyone is counted in the Census, basics of lobbying and advocacy, grassroots mobilization and media advocacy in a digital world
  • VIP Tour of the State Capitol

Never met with a senator or representative? Two webinars will be held for registrants prior to Nonprofit Day to help prepare you for productive meetings, either individually or in groups.

Information and registration


Michigan Nonprofit Day

Are You Covered? Another Important Audit for Nonprofits

Just as important―and some would say more important―as a fund development audit, is a risk management audit.

Nonprofits are governed by many of the same laws and liabilities as for-profit businesses, and some additional ones related to tax-exempt status and charitable donations. Whether newly-formed or operating for years, many nonprofits neglect the business side of their organizations because they “don't know what they don't know” or are concentrating so hard on doing their mission-driven work. Especially vulnerable are long-time all-volunteer organizations.

If your organization hasn't conducted a risk assessment or audit in the past year, or ever, now is the time, before a crisis occurs. Like a fund development audit, it starts with an evaluation of your organization’s governance decisions, policies, and insurance coverage to determine which ones are working for you or against you or missing all together.

Nonprofit Roundtable

On July 15, Dan Willson of Lighthouse Agency will lead our Roundtable discussion on the risk management side of operating a nonprofit and answer your liability exposure and coverage questions. He will provide a checklist of items to review for a variety of situations so you can start an audit immediately.

Date, Location

Additional Resources

Additional resources are available at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center website which, this summer, is focusing on employment law issues for nonprofits. A big question being covered is: Are summer interns considered employees under state and federal laws? Visit for the answer.


Nonprofit Roundtable

How Does Your Development Plan Measure Up?

ONEplace recently hosted a webinar on evaluating your fund development plan. The speaker, Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE, encouraged participants to measure the philanthropic culture and practices of their organizations on a regular basis and to conduct a formal development audit before starting any new or significantly different funding strategy.

Our economic environment has changed considerably and, many predict, permanently. This calls for “new or significantly different funding strategies” for every nonprofit going forward. Before trying new ideas or stopping current activities, take a close look at your overall development plan through an audit. Don't think you have a development plan? Whether written, or not, what you are doing to bring money into your NP, is your current “plan.”

What is involved in a development audit?

  • A comprehensive examination of past and current fund raising activities: annual fund to capital campaigns, special events, personal solicitations, planned giving programs, newsletter asks, memorials... everything.
  • An assessment of their value to the organization in terms of amount of money raised, and “human resources” (staff, board, volunteers) and technology (software, hardware, training), needed to raise the money-the return on investment
  • A review of policies and procedures related to fund raising
  • A review of external factors affecting your fund raising abilities
  • Recommendations for increasing effectiveness in all of these areas

What a development audit is not.

  • A “blame game,” rather it is a tool for improving your development program and strategically meet your fund raising goals through the best use of human assets and technologies

Who conducts a development audit?

Start with internal assessment using some of the tools available at Capital Venture or Society for Nonprofit Organizations or Association for Fundraising Professionals. Lysakowski the recommends utilizing an independent, third party who can talk with all of your audiences (internally and externally) in a neutral, confidential manner, summarize their candid input, and make recommendations for improvement.

Whether starting a new fiscal year with fresh hopes, gearing up for “regular” fall fund raising activities, or facing a financial crisis, investing some time, and perhaps money, in a development audit will pay off.

Taking an impartial look at what you've been doing, and the outcomes being realized, will help your organization plan and execute fundraising initiatives more strategically.

Workshops and Webinars

Workshops and webinars focusing on concepts and skills for building fund development capacities are being offered by ONEplace, the Nonprofit Alliance in Battle Creek, and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in Grand Rapids. Check Workshops and Event schedules regularly for current and new offerings.


Workshops, Webinars, Peer-Learning


United We Serve Initiative Launched by President Obama

On June 22, President Obama launched United We Serve, calling on all Americans to help in our nation's recovery by volunteering in our communities this summer. The initiative runs for 81 days, until the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11 and is being coordinated by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“This summer, I’m calling on all of you to make volunteerism and community service part of your daily life and the life of the nation,” said President Obama. “And when I say ‘all,’ I mean everyone—young and old, from every background, all across the country. We need individuals, community organizations, corporations, foundations, and our government to be part of this effort.

“The challenges we face are unprecedented in their size and scope, and we cannot rely on quick fixes or easy answers to put us on the road to recovery,” said President Obama. “Economic recovery is as much about what you're doing in your communities as what we're doing in Washington – and it's going to take all of us, working together.”

By visiting and entering your zip code you can find local opportunities, post organizational projects, and get ideas for creating projects.

Kalamazoo has always had a high level of volunteerism. This initiative in these critical time urges each of us to reach out wider and deeper. Are you involved in new or bigger volunteer projects this summer?

Let us know by submitting a comment. And, thanks for volunteering.


President Barack Obama signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

Small Charities: Smart Strategies

For small nonprofit organizations, efficiencies are an ongoing necessity. In these especially challenging financial times, taking a look at every new possibility to stretch limited resources is even more critical.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently held an online ‘live discussion’ on this issue with several consultants who work with small nonprofits. They shared these strategies:

  • Always remember, it’s about the people served, not the organization, its staff, or board members. The mission has to be at the center of your strategies.
  • Nothing is ‘off the table.’
  • Think outside the grants/foundation box!
  • Leadership (ED and board) and staff need to work together to seek and initiate practical, new approaches in all areas of the organization. Leadership at all levels is key…embrace it from everyone.
  • Find creative new streams of revenue: low/no cost events; collaborate with other NPs on an event to bring in funds and extend your friends circles; barter services; combine ‘back room’ functions; seek corporate sponsors.
  • Keep morale up through lean times and job cuts. Remind everyone that ‘this too will pass’; give people a little more autonomy to do creative projects; help them stay connected with your mission and passion about the work and people served.
  • Keep perspective: Recognize there will always be more needs than you can fulfill.
  • Continue or join membership in state and regional associations.
  • Reach new and younger audiences with social media IF you have great news that people will want to ‘talk’ about you to their ‘friends.’

What strategies are working for you, personally, and for your organization?  Please share them so we can all benefit from a wealth of creative ideas.

You can read the entire conversation at 


ONEplace Resources

Fueling Efficient Nonprofits—Bold Actions Needed Now!

During the Michigan Nonprofit Association SuperConference (May 4-6), major speakers and workshop leaders focused on the challenges and opportunities inherent in our current economic environment.

Every one of the people I listened to – from Juan Williams and Bill Strickland to Patricia Martin and Barry Demp – talked about the need to “critically assess current realities” and “seize the moment” to act with bold ideas and actions.

They talked about assessing social, educational, employment, and political trends, now, compared to the trends when the last major economic downturns occurred…and ask, “How far have we come—or not come” in making the world a better place for every person. And, “How can we NOT lose this opportunity” to make significant improvements our organizations and help people become more self-sufficient at the same time?

Juan Williams told a long story based on [the ghost of] Martin Luther King, Jr. stopping by the conference, today,—40+ years after his death—and viewing current media, topics of conversation, race relations, employment, etc. “He” was stunned: from rap language and hip-hop dress to what is seen on TV sitcoms, to the lack of progress on poverty and illiteracy rates. It was a very powerful scenario that continues to resonate.

They also challenged us to seize the opportunity to take new, bold approaches; collaborate, merge, and develop new organizational models that are more efficient and cost effective while maintaining mission-based work. Consider how many more people could be served if one building housed and administered several nonprofits as a collaborative; where people good at programs and service delivery didn’t have to worry about administration and people good at the business-side of nonprofit organizations could do what they do best. Building on strengths and specialties.

Change is often hard. Change can also be exhilarating. Nonprofits are often “not so good” at change that demands creative restructuring: realizing the people needed for today and tomorrow aren’t the ones currently onboard; or, realizing others are doing the same things we are…and better; or, listening to new voices from outside whose ideas could improve a program or the entire organization because, “we’ve always done it this way and by ourselves.”

The MNA SuperConference is over for this year. I hope the messages shared here resonate with you as you work through whatever challenges your nonprofit is facing, today. What bold, new thinking can you bring to the table and act upon that will make your mission-driven work stronger for the days and years ahead. Don’t be afraid to be great!

“Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.” ~ Fernando Flores


Michigan Nonprofit SuperConference

From Blank Page to Compelling Story…

...Yes, you can do it! Have you ever sat down to write a grant proposal, marketing piece, or fundraising letter, and found yourself staring at a blank sheet of paper or computer screen?

You know you have to ‘hook’ the reader with a compelling story…but how? When the needs of your clients are getting greater every day, what do you say? When you’re faced with a fund deficit and staff stretched to their limits, what do you say and how do you say it without sounding desperate?

Stories. Simple, identifiable stories. Take a story writing approach:  the hero (your agency), and your characters (the people you serve), your actions (programs/services), and the tensions between them (not enough capacity to serve all who need your services).

Start writing. It won’t be the final version, but start writing your story. Then, edit until it is concise, engaging, and compelling.
Not comfortable yet, then don’t miss “Telling Your Nonprofit’s Story: Men and Women Against White Space” on Tuesday, May 19, when professional writer Bill Truesdell will tell you ‘the rest of the story’ about writing your stories.


Telling Your Nonprofit’s Story

May is Leave a Legacy Month

Gov. Granholm has proclamed May as Leave A Legacy month in Michigan. As you read her statement, consider what your legacy will be.

Executive Office      
Jennifer M. Granholm

Certificate of Proclamation

On behalf of the citizens of Michigan, I, Governor Jennifer M.
Granholm, do hereby proclaim May 2009, as Leave a Legacy Month

Whereas, Michigan residents have traditionally demonstrated their generosity, even in the face of difficult economic times, through their annual support of charitable causes; and
Whereas, Surveys indicate very few of the 42 percent of Michigan residents who have even executed a will have included a bequest to charity; and

Whereas, All adults should have a will, the starting point of an effective estate plan regardless of family wealth or circumstances; and

Whereas, The Partnership for Philanthropic Planning believes that the American people make few bequests in their wills simply because they have not been asked to consider doing so; and

Whereas, Nonprofit organizations provide effective and essential services in all areas of our lives — religion, education, health care, research, the arts and social services for the poor and disadvantaged; and

Whereas, Charitable giving through bequests in a will provides each of us the opportunity to support and perpetuate for future generations those values and ideals most important to us and our families that we cherished during our lifetimes; and

Whereas, Many Michigan nonprofit organizations, allied professionals and community leaders are engaged in the LEAVE A LEGACY® public awareness effort that aims to “Make a Difference in the Lives that Follow” by encouraging estate gifts which will continue the work of non-profit organizations in serving and sustaining the quality of life that makes our state and its communities good places to live, work and raise families; and now therefore be it,

Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, Governor of the State of Michigan, do hereby proclaim May 2009, as LEAVE A LEGACY Month. I encourage all citizens to recognize the value of leaving a legacy through wills as vital support of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in the very important work they do.


Economic Stimulus and the Nonprofit Sector

With all the buzz about economic stimulus monies flowing into the state, have you been wondering how - or if - your nonprofit could benefit? The following websites will connect you with federal and state programs and potential opportunities.

The stimulus initiative is huge and the information on these sites changes daily, as more specific programs and opportunities are finalized. Please note: grants being made available through the stimulus have very different rules, regulations, and deadlines than general, ongoing federal and state grants, so read the “fine print” carefully.


State of Michigan's stimulus information

Value of Volunteer Time

Volunteers are more valuable to your nonprofit than ever before—literally and figuratively. The Independent Sector has updated their estimated dollar value of volunteer time to an average of $20.25 per hour for 2008 ($19.29 for Michigan).

Keep track of volunteer hours and multiply them by $19.29 to learn the value of volunteer labor to your organization. Include the value as part of in-kind contributions in your budget. And, consider what it would cost your NP in real dollars should you need to purchase the services and expertise your volunteers currently provide.


Value of Volunteer Time

Essential Events

Two ‘must attend’ events for staff and board members responsible for nonprofit financial management and fund development will be offered during the next couple of weeks at ONEplace: Step-By-Step: Through The New 990 on Thursday, April 16, from 1 to 4 pm; and, Creating Sustainable Funding for Your Mission on Wednesday, April 22, from 2 to 4 pm. Both will be in the Van Deusen Room at KPL Central and both require preregistration.

The new 990 requires additional information aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in your financial management, relationships, and mission-focused activities and outcomes…items that will make the form more time-consuming to prepare and more helpful to donors and other funders. Come and learn what is expected with this year’s filings.

Sustainable Funding for Your Mission focuses on building a stable funding base through an individual-donor focused plan. A balance of funding sources is critical to NP stability. Too much emphasis is generally given to grants. Learn how to change that balance to individual donors for greater security over the long-term.


ONEplace Workshops & Events

Social Networking Survey

Is social networking a part of your organizational strategy? For what? For whom? ONEplace is a members of nTen, the nonprofit technology network which offers resources, webinars, and access to other technology-oriented services to nonprofits.

They would like your feedback about social networking and your organization through this anonymous survey. It will only take five minutes and will advise future training and support for social media use to advance your nonprofit organization.


Nonprofit Social Networking Survey

ONEplace eNews

It’s another exciting day in the first month of ONEplace. Our eNews is launching! This brief, monthly newsletter will help keep you up to the minute with new workshop and event offerings; alerts on topics affecting the nonprofit sector; technical assistance topics; new books and resources; and highlight a different nonprofit organization each time.

A sample eNews is being sent to our nonprofit mailing list. You can sign up for your own copy here on our website. Please check it out and give us your feedback about items and topics you’d like to see included.


ONEplace eNews

First Day of Spring

It’s the first day of Spring—one of my favorite transition days of the year. As a gardener, it marks the start of the new season of growing.

“Growing” is already happening at ONEplace! Since our launch a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had workshops with maximum numbers of people attending and had to stop registration on one for next week, already! We added a new date for the same topic in late April and already have five people signed up. This is exciting growth, and we’ve just begun.

Please check our website calendar regularly for new events and workshops—and register early!


Flowers (photo by Bobbe A. Luce)

Opening week at ONEplace

Opening week at ONEplace has been a grand! Our launch event on March 3 found over 160 enthusiastic people gathered in the Van Deusen Room at Central Library to learn about our new support services and programs for nonprofits in Kalamazoo County. The energy was palpable!

Our speakers—Ann RohrbaughRick HugheyDave Gardiner, and Kyle Caldwell—joined me in sharing the value of centers like ours at all times—and, especially in difficult economic times. Building infrastructures and capacities in and across nonprofits will “float everyone’s boat” and create a stronger community for all.

Thanks to everyone who came to the event or asked about it afterward, thanks to the Kalamazoo Gazette for featuring ONEplace on the front page, and WMUK for their interview. We’re off and running…and we welcome your participation.



ONEplace Opening

Building Systems, Service Models, and Programs

Since joining KPL on October 1, 2008 to build a concept into a center for nonprofit organizations (NPO) in Kalamazoo County, I’ve been doing a lot of asking, listening, planning, and building…building systems, service models, and programs. And, a distinctive brand so you’ll remember us and look for our resourcesservices, and programs.

This has been a “group” effort. I’ve been working with many wonderful and helpful people—talented colleagues here at KPL, community advisors and supporters, nonprofit support center directors, consultants, graphics experts, and others offering their help and expertise. Thank you, every one!

In addition, I’ve worked with several patrons who’ve come to KPL for help—mostly people working in all-volunteer nonprofits—not knowing a center for nonprofits was in the making. They’ve left with new perspectives, resources, and recommendations to help improve their organizations. Having worked mostly with staffed NPs, I appreciate learning more about the needs of all-volunteer NPs from them.

As I write this, we’re approaching the day to “open to the public”—what a thrill this is! March 3, 2009 is here!

There will always be a lot to do as ONEplace evolves to meet the changing needs of individuals and organizations in the nonprofit sector. I’m looking forward to working with many people and organizations as we venture beyond this exciting March 3 milestone


About ONEplace


Welcome to ONEplace @ kpl

The word ONE—besides being easy to remember—stands for Opportunities for Nonprofit Excellence, which is why the center exists—to foster excellence and increase mission-driven capacities in our local nonprofit organizations and across the sector.

ONEplace @ kpl is a real place—a physical center located within Kalamazoo Public Library, Central. It’s a dynamic center specifically designed to serve nonprofits, with access to computer terminals for research, a conference area for small group meetings, and staff specialized in nonprofit management and leadership. ONEplace @ kpl houses a current, expanding collection of circulating and reference materials covering subjects essential to nonprofit success.