Valley Creates Organizational Effectiveness Training Series


The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) will be offering a training series for small arts and creativity nonprofit organizations serving the Pioneer Valley. Interested organizations must apply to participate.  CFWM will select up to 10 organizations based on factors including organizational readiness and the ability to use the trainings to propel their organization to a new level of ability.


Training Series Content and Details

The CFWM’s ValleyCreates organizational effectiveness training series will offer six sessions of training series for arts and creativity nonprofits.  The day-long trainings will be held at the Massachusetts Green High Speed Computing Center at 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke. Sessions will run from November 2018 to April 2019, beginning at 9:00am and ending by 3:00pm. The sessions will focus on the following topics (descriptions at bottom of page). Participants are expected to attend all six sessions.

  1. Arts & Creativity in Changing Times: Innovation, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Nov. 14, 2018
  2. Branding and Marketing: For Articulating Public Value – Dec. 12, 2018 and Jan. 9, 2019 (PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A TWO-PART WORKSHOP)
  3. Financial Management –  Feb. 13, 2019POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER – new date March 13, 2019
  4. Fundraising: Earned Revenue Strategies and Individual Cultivation – April 10, 2019
  5. Board Development and Governance – May 8, 2019 (originally set as snow date)

Other Benefits to Participation:

  • Mentoring: All participating organizations will have four free hours of mentoring with either UMass Arts Extension staff or with one of the workshop leaders to further explore topics/issues raised in the training series.
  • Mini-Grant Opportunity: At the end of the training series, all participating organizations that have fulfilled the attendance requirement will be eligible to apply for a non-competitive mini-grant of up to $3,000. The mini-grant is intended to support activities identified during the training series that would help organizations advance the effectiveness of their organization. Mini-grants will be approved based on the merits of the application.
  • Attendance Stipend: All organizations, once they complete their successful participation, will be able to receive a $500 stipend to offset some of the costs of attending the workshops during the workday. CFWM recognizes this is particularly important for volunteer-led organizations and board members.


Expectations of Participating Organizations

Participating organizations will be expected to bring two individuals to each of the six training sessions; one staff and one board member. The staff person should be a person who is able to influence the direction of the organization and can support implementation of the mission, ideally an Executive Director (or equivalent staff leader). One or more (depending upon availability) board or advisory group members will represent the governing body of the organization. If the organization has an Artistic Director, that person is encouraged to participate as well.

The individuals identified in an organization’s application are expected to attend all sessions (one or more board members may take turns participating).  Depending upon space availability other organizational staff or key volunteers may attend sessions that pertain to their area of responsibility (e.g. having a development person attend the fundraising training). More information about this opportunity will be conveyed after organizations are selected for participation in the training.

Each organization will be expected to respond to a pre-training survey to help better understand each organization’s needs, and a post-training survey to assess the learning and benefit of the training series. Participants will be asked to take part in other evaluation activities set by CFWM.


Workshop Descriptions

Arts & Creativity in Changing Times: Innovation, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Nov. 14, 2018
Across the nation arts organizations are addressing changing times and changing demographics. This session will discuss relevant and innovative programming to expand audiences and support, as well as address the inequities that can hold institutions back from meeting their full potential and fully serve their constituents and communities. All sessions will include hands on work, breakout sessions, exercises, and discussion. Session leaders: Kent Alexander and Dee Boyle-Clapp.

Branding and Marketing: For Articulating Public Value – Dec. 12, 2018 and Jan. 9, 2019 (PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A TWO-PART WORKSHOP) 
Nothing communicates impact like a clear brand. Your brand is not a logo. It is a promise you make to the people you serve. It is a clear statement of how you help. Your brand invites your audience to understand, know, remember, refer, and choose you, and then choose you again. This workshop is intended to help prepare your organization to better communicate its impact.  Session leader: Mitch Anthony.

Financial Management – Feb. 13, 2019
While arts nonprofit organizations excel at programming, too often the staff and board struggle to understand the opportunities that building their own sustainable practices can provide. This session will discuss how to use budget planning and monitoring to guide current decisions as well as strategize for long-term needs such as saving for capital improvements, planning for contingencies, and building ample cash to be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Session leader: Christopher Janke

Fundraising: Earned Revenue Strategies and Individual Cultivation – March 13, 2019
Nonprofit arts organizations rely upon a mix of income streams to pay the bills, but changing times and increased competition, continual donor “churn” or turnover, and increasing competition for grants means that every organization can benefit from ideas to increase both earned income, and support from individual donors. This session will introduce best practices in fundraising, and use exercises to help the institution define, plan, and prioritize tapping new opportunities. Session leader: Terre Vandale

Board Development and Governance – April 10, 2019
The strongest nonprofit organizations are led by inspired boards that provide clear guidance, remain committed to mission, plan for the future, and understand their roles and responsibilities. This session will address the work board members should strive to accomplish, clarify the unique relationship between the Board and the Executive Director, tackle individual giving and the need for board preparation and training, avoiding burnout through good leadership, and how to build a board that is genuinely diverse and inclusive. Session leader: Lisa Barnwell Williams