LA PLATA, Md. – The Nonprofit Institute at CSM invites representatives from local nonprofits to register for its 12th annual conference, which will take place virtually May 5 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The theme of the conference is “What’s Next: Strategy and Adaptability,” with sessions geared toward helping nonprofits to move forward in a post-pandemic world. Registration opens today.
“Nonprofits have had tremendous struggles during the pandemic, but there have been some amazing silver linings that forever changed their work,” said Nonprofit Institute Senior Consultant Cara Fogarty. “Many people are asking, what do we do now, how do we strategize for the future? How do we adapt? This year’s conference is about looking toward and planning the future in a new way.”
The conference will feature more than one dozen breakout focused on topics of fundraising, leadership and management, marketing and communications, governance, and operations. Fogarty said that sessions are designed so that everyone from a volunteer to an executive can leave with concrete steps that they can put into practice immediately.
A few popular sessions from previous conferences will return. Patty Stine, executive director of Pure Play Every Day, will again present “New Kid on the Nonprofit Block,” focused on the challenges of starting a nonprofit business – including discussions about the common mistakes made, and potential solutions for correcting or preventing them.
“Participating in the Nonprofit Institute conference has provided my young organization with vast resources for growth and sustainability,” said Stine.
New sessions have also been created based on feedback from attendees following previous conferences and classes. For example, a session on “Advocacy vs. Lobbying by Nonprofits,” which will be led by Director of Public Policy for Maryland Nonprofits Henry Bogdan, is based on questions that the Nonprofit Institute has received about distinguishing between lobbying that is limited by the tax code, and other permissible activities that can advance their causes in shaping public policy and attitudes. Bogdan’s session will offer attendees an exploration of advocacy, the role of lobbying, and the limitations and requirements for charitable nonprofits as they attempt to influence public policy and legislation.
The keynote address will be given by CEO of the United Way of Southern Maryland Mel Brennan. He is leading an organization that has gone through its own pandemic-era changes. Late last year, the United Way of Calvert County, United Way of Charles County, and United Way of St. Mary’s County merged to create the United Way of Southern Maryland.
“Coming together in ways like the Nonprofit Institute Conference matter because sometimes massive societal impacts like a global pandemic can have us disoriented and spinning,” said Brennan. “Taking a moment to connect with like-minded folks doing similar work can be a powerful synergistic force for renewal and growth. My hope is that when I’m done talking, attendees are left with authentic and actionable tools with which they can both adapt to an emergent new normal and form strategies that maximize singular and collective work on behalf of the most vulnerable.”
Fogarty said that the organizers are also building some time into the conference for more casual interactions among attendees. Although the conference is virtual, there will be time devoted to socializing and mindfulness. Planners also intend to designate a location where attendees can meet for in-person discussion and networking after the conference closes, noting that while the pandemic has created an environment of unprecedented collaboration between nonprofits, it has been more than two years since the community gathered in person.
“Being able to dive into these topics amongst others who face the same challenges as a nonprofit is invaluable,” said Lyndee Waldbauer, marketing and communications coordinator for the Arc Southern Maryland.
The Nonprofit Institute at CSM is the premier source of professional development and capacity-building for the diverse array of nonprofits serving the Southern Maryland region. Registration for the conference opens April 5, and the fee to attend is $65.