Go Deeper On Your Learning

January 15, 2019 Nancy Bacon

I think a lot about a metaphor my education professor used to talk about learning: A learning program is like a fence. A strong fence has posts that go deep enough to reach solid, stabilizing ground. Its rails are wide enough to efficiently cover a lot of ground. (Too shallow or too wide and the fence falls down. Too deep or too short, and you run out of resources!) Likewise, a strong learning program goes deep on “mission critical” topics and broad across other topics so people get just what they need to take action. Washington Nonprofits’ learning program is […]


Starting a Nonprofit: New toolkit available!

June 6, 2018 Nancy Bacon

There are 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States. Washington typically sees 4,000 new nonprofits formed each year. How do we make sure people have what they need to think about the difference they want to make and the structure best suited to moving forward?  With support from the Office of the Secretary of State, Washington Nonprofits worked with 501 Commons and Wayfind to produce a new toolkit for people wanting to turn an idea into an organization. To download the free toolkit, visit Starting a Nonprofit on the Washington Nonprofit Institute. There’s also an interactive graphic to find what you need […]


Effective trainers: a key element to building a strong nonprofit sector

June 6, 2018 Nancy Bacon

“Thank you! These workshops gave me so much useful information, tangible information to use!” You need to know a lot to run a nonprofit organization. You need a well-honed set of skills and tools designed to help you take action. You need to know that every training you go to will be excellent and action-focused. In three sessions between April and May, 68 consultants and in-house trainers from both nonprofits and government agencies participated in the inaugural “Train the Trainer” series offered by Washington Nonprofits in partnership with Guila Muir and Tracy Flynn. They learned how to construct an effective workshop, […]


Introducing “Now What?”

March 14, 2018 Nancy Bacon

We nonprofit people face the ebb and flow of good and bad fortune. Our ability to achieve our mission is not always up to us. The stars align—or don’t – and things happen that we need to respond to. The Washington Nonprofits Learning team, in partnership with Three Choices Communications, has developed a new game designed to encourage conversations about risk and strategy. “Now What?” came out of conversations about the positive and negative things that can happen while starting a nonprofit. It evolved into a set of cards suitable for play at any stage of an organization. How do […]


What do you hope to achieve this year? Start there when thinking about what to learn.

January 17, 2018 Nancy Bacon

January is a time when we think about goals, aspirations, new initiatives, and strategy. We hope for success knowing that the busyness of the day-to-day will soon distract us from long term projects. January is also the time when we are asked to speak with groups around the state about the learning programs we have ready for nonprofit leaders. And we have many, from in-person workshops to webinars to on-demand options ranging from insurance to ethics. But what we have to teach is not the first question we ask at the start of a new year. We are focused on […]


The secret behind the toolkits

December 13, 2017 Nancy Bacon

Ever wonder what goes into developing Washington Nonprofits’ nationally (and internationally!) acclaimed toolkits? We are excited to be participating in Learning • Technology • Design, a virtual conference for people in the business of continuing education and professional development. The conference sets out to find new and better ways to engage learners and create lasting impact through the effective use of technology. Washington Nonprofits sees excellence in adult learning as a key element of nonprofit capacity building. Join us!


Imagining a New Way to Lead

October 11, 2017 Nancy Bacon

The New Network Leader coming to Spokane on October 26 Small nonprofits work hard to grow and expand their impact. Large organizations struggle to stay close to the people they are trying to serve. Both operate are on a pathway to growth in situations where resources are limited. What if there is a different way to create scalable, sustainable impact? What if we could step away from typical growth models and lead our organizations towards solutions that connect us more deeply to our peers, partners, and people who we are trying to serve? This is the conversation that we will […]

Resources for Nonprofits

A new tool to find relevant data for your organization

October 10, 2017 Laura Pierce

Do you wish you had better data about the community you serve? Not sure where to start? Headwaters Economics, a research consulting firm based in Montana, has developed some tools that aggregate federal data and make it available via free tools on their website. The Economic Profile System allows you to create a custom profile for your area with a wealth of information about demographics, local economics and land use. This information is continuously updated from federal sources including the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the Census. A second tool, Populations at […]


Planning for Action Will Help Your Board Members Forget to Be Forgetful

August 14, 2017 Nancy Bacon

You will remember about 58 percent of this after 20 minutes, 33 percent after a day. That’s according to one study, with other studies showing varying levels of forgetting after you learn new information. The “forgetting curve” plots memory against time with a deep concave decline as soon as information is shared. You will forget most of what you read here in little time at all. I think about forgetting as I deliver the “Boards in Gear” trainings across Washington State. Typically, 50 to 80 board leaders attend these trainings to learn the secret sauce to having an awesome board. […]


Architecture of Action: Connecting conferences with change

February 16, 2017 Nancy Bacon

Conferences fill ballrooms with people eager for inspiration, who then spill out into workshop rooms where they learn and connect with colleagues. That energy can be like a sugar rush – we reach a high state of excitement imagining how amazing things are going to be when we get home and reinvent. Or maybe that sugar rush-inducing excitement is really anxiety because we realize how far behind we seem to be. Conference season is upon us. The Central Washington Conference for the Greater Good (Yakima) is on April 19, Washington State Nonprofit Conference (Bellevue) on May 17, and the Nonprofit […]