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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

Unlocking Potential: Building Strong Nonprofits

In the ever-evolving landscape of nonprofit organizations, effective communication, trauma-informed facilitation, staff supervision, and volunteer management stand as pillars for success. We want to highlight some of our series trainings by providing practical tips and strategies to empower leaders and professionals within the nonprofit sector. From bridging generational communication gaps to mastering the art of trauma-informed facilitation, each training offers invaluable guidance for navigating the complexities of organizational dynamics. 

Culture plays a pivotal role in determining the long-term success of any nonprofit organization. Issues like turnover, inefficiency, and stakeholder dissatisfaction can rapidly undermine mission fulfillment, catching leadership off guard. Recognizing and addressing these threats to organizational viability is crucial for preserving talent and staying on course. By enhancing conflict resolution skills and fostering a deeper understanding of intergenerational dynamics, you will gain valuable tools for maintaining a cohesive and effective workplace environment.


1. Encourage Open Dialogue: Create a culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas openly. Find out how employees like to communicate and process information. Ask employees what they believe creates transparency for open dialogue. 

2. Utilize Multiple Communication Channels: Recognize that different generations may prefer different communication channels. Offer a variety of options such as email, phone calls, instant messaging, and face-to-face meetings to accommodate diverse preferences.

3. Provide Training and Development: Offer communication training programs that address generational differences and equip employees with the skills needed to navigate diverse communication styles effectively.

Interested in learning more? Register here for this new 2-part series training on how to bridge generation communication gaps. This workshop hones in on the impact of generational gaps within leadership, emphasizing the need to bridge these divides. 

What is a facilitator?

A facilitator guides a group through an experience whether it be a board leadership retreat, staff meeting, volunteer training, leadership program, cohort based experience, job corps training program, new staff orientation, or a community dialogue. The goal of the facilitator is to serve both the group as a whole and the individuals of the group. Facilitators serve both the group and the individuals through framing, engaging activities, reflection, and guiding dialogue.


Think about your next facilitated experience, what are your organization’s goals as it relates to the facilitated experience, participants goals and the goals of the group? How do they align and intersect? How are goals framed before participants arrive? 

What is Trauma Informed Facilitation

Trauma-informed facilitation, a form of facilitation that recognizes the impact of trauma on learning, growth, and healing, is especially crucial in various professional and community settings. Nonprofit professionals may find themselves in situations, conversations, trainings, or workshops that require them to be trauma-informed without having a background in trauma-informed care. 

Reflection: how do you frame and guide the participants before they show up, as they enter the space or login to the live online meeting? How do you think about the unique identities of the personal in the space you are facilitating? Do you know the participants identities?

What is Trauma Informed Facilitation

Trauma-informed facilitation is a method to guide groups through an experience. Nonprofit leaders often lead, facilitate and manage a wide range of experiences from listening sessions, leadership programs, orientations, trainings, workshops, dialogues, training, meetings, volunteer programs, museum tours and more. Trauma informed facilitators recognize the impact of trauma on learning, growth, and healing and in group settings. The recognition of trauma helps facilitators plan for participants' needs realizing that adapting to the group or participants may be required at any moment.

Reflection: What type of experiences do you facilitate at your organization or in your community when you need to think about the sensitivity of the topic? The care of the participants? The needs of the group and individual?

Interested in learning more? Check out our upcoming 2-part series training on Trauma-Informed Facilitation. This workshop will cover how to use trauma informed facilitation practices to plan, create and design. Using trauma-informed principles of facilitation, participants will cover the structure and format of facilitated experience, review how to create an agenda, design a facilitated experience, and how to handle disclosures, disruptions, and other facilitation challenges.

Effective staff management is essential to completing work and employee satisfaction and retention. Managing staff isn’t easy with employees that work hybrid or virtual, off site at programs or are transitioning back to the office. Whether you are new to the role or are a supervisor with extensive knowledge, our new working world requires supervisors to communicate regularly and have clarity around expectations, tasks and job performance. As a supervisor, there is a balance between micromanaging and believing in the skills of your employees for why you hired them in their roles.

Tips on staff supervision: 

1. Goal Setting: Setting goals is motivating for employees and helps with task completion. To help employees set goals, establish a timeline for when a goal should be achieved. Perhaps the timeline is connected to an upcoming gala, fundraising campaign, the launch of a new program or end of a fiscal year.

2. Delegate Effectively: Delegate tasks and responsibilities to your staff members based on their skills, interests, and capacity. Provide clear instructions and expectations, and empower them to take ownership of their work. Offer support and guidance as needed, but also trust them to work independently.

3. Provide Feedback Regularly: Offer timely and constructive feedback to your staff on their performance. Recognize their strengths and accomplishments, and provide guidance on areas where improvement is needed. Feedback should be specific, actionable, and focused on growth.

Interested in learning more? Check out our upcoming training on Effective Staff Supervision.

This workshop will dive into supervision strategies including monitoring, feedback, supervision methods and how to build a high-performing team. 

Nonprofits rely on volunteers to fulfill their mission, programs and services and some organizations rely solely on volunteers to do the work of their organization. Recruiting, training and managing volunteers takes planning and strategy. We define volunteers as anyone who gives their time for free to support organization’s programs, services and mission. 

Tips on Effective Volunteer Management: 

1. Volunteer Appreciation: Regularly thank your volunteers in a meaningful way and track on your calendar how often it occurs! Your volunteers are leaders and serving as a volunteer is a form of leadership development. The work your volunteers do is meaningful to them in their personal and professional lives and it is also important to thank them and recognize volunteers for their time. Some ideas include: handwritten thank you letters, a $5 gift card, or a social media shout out. 

2. Flexible Opportunities: Provide flexibility for volunteers to accommodate different schedules and preferences. Flexibility allows volunteers to slowly build a commitment to longer shifts or leadership roles as they get to know the organization.

3. Retention: Foster a sense of belonging and community among volunteers by recognizing their contributions and building meaningful relationships. Provide opportunities for volunteers to connect with one another, share experiences, and celebrate successes.

Interested in learning more? Check out our upcoming training on Effective Volunteer Management. The content in this workshop is applicable to one time volunteers, recurring volunteers, leadership committees, chapter based organizations, affinity groups, alumni groups and more. 

By implementing the tips and strategies outlined in this series, leaders and professionals can foster environments of collaboration, resilience, and growth within their organizations. We encourage you to check out our upcoming series trainings to improve your professional development! 

Use the code friend10 for $10 off any of our trainings. 


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