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April 2017 Resource Directory Newsletter

Introducing our newsletter for Directory partners only!

Welcome to our first ever Resource Directory e-newsletter! Previously, we were producing one newsletter for both our directory partners and volunteer consultants in the Executive Service Corps. But now, we’re producing for you your very own newsletter!

Please provide us with feedback on what you would like to see in this publication. We will generally send it on a quarterly schedule, unless there is a strong need to share information more quickly. We welcome news from you that you would like to share with others in the consulting community; such as new areas of consultancy, upcoming trainings or speaking engagements, new colleagues on your teams, and so on. Send your thoughts to timt@501commons.org.

We would also welcome guest blogs on issues you see emerging in the sector, new national or local resources that you recommend to fellow service providers, or needs you see that are not being addressed in the sector that are outside of your scope of expertise.
We believe that, by working together, we can support the success of each of you and of our sector.

Make connections and more at the 6th annual Directory Networking Party

RSVP & sponsor this May 23 event

Celebrate all you bring to the sector and the success of our Information & Referral (I&R) Program at the 6th annual Directory Networking Party on Tuesday, May 23 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Panoramic Center in Pacific Tower (north Beacon Hill in Seattle).

This free, private event is your opportunity to meet fellow nonprofit specialists, enjoy delicious food and drinks from FareStart, and take in breathtaking views of Seattle and beyond. Make sure you bring your business cards because you could very well land a referral to a new client!

For additional exposure, become a sponsor! Join Beneficial State Bank, who is returning for a third straight year to support this celebration and the I&R Program. Email matt@501commons.org as soon as possible to learn about and enjoy the benefits.

Also, feel free to invite colleagues who may be interested in joining the Statewide Nonprofit Resource Directory. Today, 110 approved specialists can be found by nonprofits through our direct referrals and online searches (there were more than 3,700 visits to the consultants search page last year).

RSVP to the party here by May 21, 2017.

Refer your clients to the Five Elements Self-Assessment

Thanks to support from the Satterberg Foundation, 501 Commons has developed a new assessment tool – free for nonprofits – based on 58 standards that define the basic elements of nonprofit capacity. These standards were culled from the hundreds of standards we use in detailed assessments for each of our service areas.

The Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit Self-Assessment
can be completed by one person from the organization, but we encourage organizations to form a team and have a thorough discussion of the standards before entering their self-assessment results. The assessment provides a description of four achievement levels within standard. Organizations pick the one that best matches their current practices.

In addition to receiving the assessment results, they are given a list of recommendations that describe how to move their organizations from their current level to the next.

Please encourage the organizations you work with to complete this assessment. The results will give you immediate insight into the organization, including many issues that may be weakening their ability to make full use of the work you are doing with them. This will help you match your work with the organization’s current and projected capabilities, making your projects more successful.

On top of the self-assessment, we are offering Pathways, a program that provides one or two consultants who can help the organization evaluate their results and develop a plan to address their most pressing issues. If you would like to refer a client or nonprofit you know to Pathways, contact Jan Burrell at jan@501commons.org.

Know an experienced advocacy or social justice consultant?

There are growing numbers of conversations around the social sector about creating a more equitable society, and 501 Commons wants to connect experienced consultants and trainers with interested nonprofits.

Our involvement in the Stand for Your Mission campaign has also inspired us to take a proactive role in empowering nonprofit staff and board to become more strategic and vocal promoters of their missions. We’re offering a training workshop for boards on advocacy on May 23, leading a session on advocacy at next month’s Washington State Nonprofit Conference, and working on hosting a full-day session with the Alliance for Justice later this year.

Do you know a consultant or trainer who specializes in advocacy (e.g., strategic consulting, training, registered lobbyist) or social justice (e.g., cultural competency, equity, diversity, anti-racism) whom you would recommend? We’re seeking experienced consultants in these areas of expertise to apply to be in the Resource Directory.

Interested applicants must have at least three years of recent experience serving nonprofits in their listing categories. We also conduct reference checks and request at least five nonprofit references who can speak to their experience with the consultant (learn more about directory requirements here). Please pass this opportunity along to relevant consultants you know or email your recommendations to matt@501commons.org.

Put yourself in front of hundreds of nonprofit professionals

The Washington State Nonprofit Conference on Wednesday, May 17 will bring together 700+ nonprofit staff, executive directors, and board members at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.

This year’s conference will focus on self-care, building more equitable communities, and navigating through tumultuous times. Additionally, board advocacy and discussing how nonprofits can work with lawmakers to make sure public policy supports their missions will also feature prominently throughout the day.

This annual event is another opportunity to advertise your business. Learn more about becoming a sponsor and/or exhibitor. Read the sponsorship and exhibitor packet to see further benefits and click here to register your company.

Deadline to register is May 12, 2017, with May 1 being the last day you can request a cancellation and refund.

Regardless of whether you attend the conference (as a sponsor, exhibitor, or attendee), 501 Commons will be there, spreading the word about the Resource Directory and making referrals to specialists like you.

Sharing RFPs and solicitations

We share RFPs directed to us with relevant directory specialists. If you are involved in helping nonprofits prepare RFPs or less formal solicitation for services, please direct these to us, so we can distribute them for you or your client.

We also offer advice to nonprofits on choosing and working with consultants. This includes recommendations discouraging many organizations from using RFPs, especially for smaller projects. Please let us know if you have any suggestions to add to these recommendations.

We recently had one organization decide to just do outreach to firms found in the directory rather than issue and distribute an RFP broadly.
Over the last 18 months, we also completed a pilot program with the Satterberg Foundation that provided small grants for consultation projects to organizations on the condition that they work with us to identify a consultant, establish a contract, and evaluate the success of the engagement. While the organizations were free to choose the consultant, many relied on the Resource Directory for their pool of candidates. We were also able to coach organizations that had rarely – or never – worked with a consultant before.

Looking back…and forward

Last year, 501 Commons engaged in more than 600 contracted projects with nonprofits in 16 Washington counties and several other states. We were particularly happy to see growth in our HR Services and our Nonprofit Staff Climate Survey.

Website visits grew to 113,000 from across the U.S. and around the world. 850+ people attended forums and learning sessions. And, we responded to 450 Information and Referral inquiries, many of them resulting in connecting people with the consultants and other nonprofit specialists in the Resource Directory. Our staff – now 50 people – love that their jobs allow them to work with so many brilliant and committed "world changers," including our directory partners!

We work hard to fundraise each year, so we can provide many services free or on a discounted basis. We appreciate the support of our individual donors and more than two dozen corporate, government, and private funders. We also are grateful for the 500+ skilled professionals in our Executive Service Corps and VIP Manager Corps.

Last year, we picked up the board training series formerly sponsored by the United Way of King County, became the Encore Fellows Program sponsor in Washington and Idaho, and expanded our support for our Salesforce users by offering Salesforce Administration support, as well as new implementations. This year, we are doing more to help organizations become effective advocates and supporting the Generation to Generation Program, which is working to boost engagement between seniors and youth. We are expanding our training and consulting on effective advocacy. If you see other ways that 501 Commons can help the sector or fill a service gap, please let us know.