2022 virtual

institute for trustees

IFT registration is now closed. If you have already registered for the conference as an individual or if your organization registered its entire board, you received an email on Sunday, April 10th with the subject Institute for Trustees begins tomorrow: Important Link containing the link for the IFT Resource Page. Please check your spam/junk folder for a message with this subject. If you are still unable to find this message, please reach out to r.turner@eccf.org for instructions.

Presented by Essex County Community Foundation, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, SouthCoast Community Foundation and The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

The annual Institute for Trustees (IFT) brings nearly 1,000 nonprofit leaders together for six weeks of educational workshops led by experts in the sector.

This spring, attendees are invited to participate in the IFT Kickoff and Keynote Session, 25 different educational workshops and a series of topic-driven, informal peer discussions. The event will be delivered completely virtually, providing attendees with both flexibility and value. Attendees can participate in as many live or recorded sessions as they’d like.

IFT 2022 Keynote Speaker

April 11, 2022 | 6PM – 7:30PM
Dr. Kenann McKenzie
Director, Generous Listening and Dialogue Center, Tufts University

about Dr. McKenzie

Dr. Kenann McKenzie is the Director of the Generous Listening and Dialogue Center at Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. She has worked for over two decades in the higher education sector as an academic counselor, researcher, lecturer, policy analyst and also as a high school administrator in the K12 space.

Prior to her role at Tufts, she served as Director of the BU Wheelock Aspire Institute, which supports the preK-12 educational sector with professional development based in a social justice framework and community engagement. In addition, she taught research methods at BU Wheelock and served as the Educational Leadership & Policy Studies’ faculty representative to the college’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

At the Federal education level, she served as Executive Director for the National Board of Education Sciences in the US Department of Education.

Dr. McKenzie has a BA in Africana Studies from Cornell University, an M.Ed. from the University of Virginia in Social Foundations of Education, and a Ph.D. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

In her civic life, she serves on the Beverly, Massachusetts School Committee and as VP III and education chair of the North Shore Branch of the NAACP. She founded the Aspiring Spirit Podcast in 2020. She is most proud of being a mother to amazing children who inspire her work every day.


Registration Opens: February 1
Virtual Kickoff and Keynote Session: April 11
Virtual Workshop Sessions: April 12 – May 26


Early Bird Individual Registration: $110 through March 11
Individual Registration: $130
Full Board Registration (Register your entire board for one price. No limit on board size.): $500

virtual workshop sessions

creating a diverse board of directors | April 12

9AM – 10:30AM

Speakers: Gail Fortes, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts and Alyson Molloy Hussey, Alyson Molloy Hussey Consulting

YWCA Southeastern MA recognizes that embedding equity, diversity and inclusion values into a Board of Directors’ work takes thoughtful intention and is a process that takes time. This workshop focuses on how Boards can better embrace diversity, create more inclusive environments, and advance their organization’s mission and delivery of services to the community equitably.


the essential board plan: four conversations to deliver an annual board work plan | April 12

12PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Jay Vogt, EssentialWorth

The Essential Board Plan is a comprehensive yet focused framework for creating an annual plan for the board (not the organization). The Essential Board Plan template includes all the elements of a comprehensive annual board plan, yet only the essential ones—so that your board stays focused. Plan components include board roles, board goals, accountable committees, and committee chairs and members. Creating an Essential Board Plan means engaging the board in addressing the key questions facing all boards : What are our roles as a board? How well are we doing in fulfilling those roles? What are our goals relative to these roles? Who is accountable to achieve our goals? Engaging with these questions in a structured way unifies your board, gives clear leadership guidance to your Board Chair, and helps your board become more productive.

courageous conversations | April 13

12PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Jermaine Moore, The Mars Hill Group

The ability to comfortably discourse about DEI and other social and workplace impact topics is an important skill to cultivate, in and out of the workplace. Many of us hesitate to have these conversations out of fear of saying the wrong thing or giving the wrong impression. This session provides strategies to help ensure these conversations are healthy and productive. – It will explore: strategies for facilitating difficult conversations; common roadblocks to dialogue and how to avoid them; how to foster healthy, productive relationships through dialogue.

strategic alliances: advancing impact through partnership | April 14

9AM – 10:30AM

Speakers: Anne Yurasek and Jim Berson, Fio Partners, LLC

As the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic persist and the timing of a return to “normal” continues to push out, many nonprofit organizations are struggling as they continue to pivot programs and services, maintain staff, client and volunteer engagement, and in some cases, make very difficult decisions about the future sustainability of their organizations. Our objective for this workshop is to prepare nonprofit leaders and board members to start to ask the harder questions about the future of their organization: How are we doing? What does the horizon look like? How can we amplify our impact today and in the future? Should we continue to go it alone? The session will help you to take stock of your current situation and chart the path forward by providing guidance around understanding your financial health, the viability of your core programming, the strength of your relationships, potential strategic alliance options, and how to get started.

the art of the ask in this digital world | April 16

10AM – 11:30AM

Speaker: Rick Blain, CFRE, Richard R. Blain & Associates, LLC

Whether you are new to the profession of fundraising or are a seasoned professional, you can learn more about “the ask”, especially as we need to become more creative working in this digital age of using many different fundraising platforms. Connecting with donors has never been more important, and we need to continue to do so in a meaningful way.  Topics to be covered include understanding why people give (it hasn’t really changed); preparing for the ask: it may be a little different; cultivation and solicitation: pivoting our approach; importance of “listening”: more important than ever; developing donor relations: communication is key; art of the ask: art + science + technology; and the “new normal”: what will it be?


show me the numbers: in god we trust; all others must bring data | April 21

12PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: David J. O’Brien, International Community Foundation and Matthew D. Craig, Chase Business Banking

In this workshop, presenters will describe what they have learned about the importance of assessment via interviews with 50 practitioners and thought leaders in the nonprofit sector throughout the country while conducting qualitative research for their recently published book, Building Smart Nonprofits.

How many sophisticated investors would buy stock in a company that didn’t report timely, actionable data? As in the for-profit sector, today’s nonprofits need to work to attract a growing number of stakeholders motivated by data-driven results. These investors—foundations, donors, even employees—are demanding ever greater accountability and assessment of mission impact. Fortunately, new tools and technologies are being developed to satisfy this demand, which at its core stems from a singular goal: a desire to deploy financial and human resources where they can do the most good. Stakeholders are no longer forced to rely on specious anecdotes about program effectiveness. But neither do they have to require time-consuming and costly studies—like double-blind or randomized controlled trials—that may be out of date before they’re published. A healthy and attainable middle ground exists.

In this session, presenters will discuss the use of some of the contemporary developments in evaluation and impact assessment, as well as how nonprofits—and their funders—are adapting and prospering in this new environment by using them to improve sustainability. Topics covered will include: – Developing a Culture of Assessment – Evaluation Hacks: the value of less elaborate, less costly, yet equally effective methods of assessing impact – Using timely reporting of easily understood data to improve sustainability by accessing the tsunami of funding increasingly available from investors who are seeking a “double return” (and increasingly triple financial, social, and environmental) on their capital.

don’t look down when asked to raise funds: 10 proven tips to make it painless (promise) | April 26

9AM – 10:30AM

Speaker: Kristen Tierney, The Tierney Development Group

We’ve all been there. You’re in a Board meeting, and fundraising comes up. You’re asked to volunteer, set a goal, or solicit funds. You look down, hoping you will not be called on to commit on the spot, then you scurry out of the meeting as quickly as you can, avoiding eye contact. What if you were asked to do only two things? Two things that would create a measurable impact on the nonprofit that you are serving? What if those two things help you to engage in the areas YOU want? What if, in the end, you end up surprised at how passionate you are for the nonprofit and suddenly you don’t mind raising funds, in fact, you find yourself unexpectedly bringing up your Board work or the work of the nonprofit you serve? When you leave this workshop, you will know how this happens to the nonprofit Board members I work with. I promise you will leave with a sense of relief, and I guarantee you will know exactly how you want to engage, and you will feel a great sense of relief!

10 best practices of highly functional boards | April 26

12PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Eric Phelps, Rainmaker Consulting

In this workshop participants will learn what makes a nonprofit board of directors an effective team and practical actions that they can undertake to improve their board’s performance. Topics will cover a range of areas, including: running effective meetings, delegating work to committees and sub-committees, building interpersonal relationships with fellow members, staff/board relations, collective accountability, and fulfilling the primary responsibilities of being a board member. In addition we will discuss ways to make your board participation as fun and extraordinary as possible even in times of limited connection and virtual meetings. This training is well-suited for executive directors, board chairs, committee chairs, and board members from organizations of all sizes.

same storm, different boats: navigating financial concerns in a post-covid world | April 28

9AM – 10:30AM

Speaker: James Matzdorff, CohnReznick LLP

Same storm, different boats. All nonprofits have had to weather the COVID-19 storm, but not all nonprofits have had that storm impact them in the same way. While some nonprofits have had their best fiscal years ever, buoyed by generous donors and federal stimulus, others are struggling to stay afloat and have tapped into reserves or lines of credit just to keep the lights on. Each of these nonprofits has different considerations, concerns and opportunities to navigate as they enter into a post-COVID world. Covering topics such as mergers and acquisitions considerations, donor conversations, revenue diversification and operating reserve approaches, this seminar is built to provide you with takeaway topics to discuss at your next Board of Directors meeting. While the COVID-19 storm may have battered each nonprofit differently, all have the opportunity to land on a financial shore and a destination they determine, even if those choices might be difficult.

the power of stewardship | April 28

12PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: Carolyn Bess, Carolyn Bess Consulting and Chuck Gordon, The New Kensington Group

Our workshop will focus on the importance of developing a well-defined and thoughtfully executed stewardship program. This program includes: (a) taking regular inventory of what is and isn’t happening with stewardship; (b) developing acknowledgement processes and communication practices that routinely occur with donors; (c) involving board members in ongoing thanking activities; and (d) strategically executing solicitation tactics that allow organizations to engage donors in increased giving. This workshop will help organizations stem donor attrition and increase donor giving, both in duration and amount. It will help nonprofits create a sustainable fundraising program that supports the organization’s mission and constituents. It will be practical in nature, full of suggested tips & tactics as well as mini case studies that both demonstrate the impact of strong stewardship and push fundraisers to think beyond the basics.

how to align your organization’s investment strategy with its mission | May 3

9AM – 10:30AM

Speaker: Michelle Buckley, Boston Common Asset Management

Developing an asset allocation framework and selecting appropriate vehicles for market exposure may seem daunting but properly aligning an investment strategy with an organization’s communal mission often feels downright overwhelming. This presentation will help debunk some of the myths associated with mission-aligned investing. It will address the differences between Socially Responsible, Values-Based, Impact, Environmental, Social and Governance-Integrated and Sustainable Investing styles and provide a framework to help an organization select an investment manager who can effectively create a portfolio that adequately reflects the organization’s financial and mission-sensitive goals.

mapping the future: equitable and inclusive strategic planning | May 3

12PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: Molly Penn and Marita Phelps, PENN Creative Strategy

What makes a plan strategic is that it is created in context with what is happening outside of the organization. In the context of a world changed dramatically by COVID, the racial reckoning, historic inequities, socio-economic health disparities, environmental justice, and funders prioritizing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA), the old ways of approaching strategic planning need to be redesigned. In this interactive workshop, we will cover methods of applying the DEIA lens throughout the strategic planning process and how to shift the process to one that is inclusive of underrepresented voices. With particular attention to power dynamics, and who gets to weigh in on the future of the organization, we will engage participants through interactive exercises and generative dialogue sessions. We will pay particular attention to methods of scaffolding the planning to ensure DEIA continues to be centered throughout the organization. Intended put-into-action information will include: • How to frame good strategic questions to guide the process • How to imbed inclusivity into each phase of strategic planning • How to center stakeholder lived experience as expertise • Creating continuous learning goals • Setting accountability measures • Tangible takeaways will include: • Sample RFP for an inclusive strategic plan • Sample strategic plans that center DEIA • Sample DEIA strategic questions • Sample board discussion topics centering DEIA

onboarding and beyond – helping new board members become their very best | May 5

9AM – 10:30AM

Speaker: Gayle L. Gifford, Cause & Effect Inc.

No more dumping newbie trustees onto the board and expecting them to crawl their way up to speed! In this workshop, you’ll discover better ways to grow great board members, starting with your recruitment process. Then, you’ll explore ways to develop the knowledge, skills and participation of those newly elected trustees and conclude with the ongoing practices that keep fine-tuning your board team. And let’s learn from each other, so please come prepared to share your favorite well-honed practices.

how to be a supportive leader in a difficult time | May 5

12PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Sarah Carlan, MSW, SWC Consulting

Current political and cultural strife, and a global pandemic, have deeply effected our overall mental health. Because these phenomena are impacting everyone, we are experiencing a collective trauma. Leaders are seeing the impact of this trauma on their team members in the form of fatigue, anxiety, and a general sense of unease. How can we help create an environment where our teams feel supported and find work a place of respite in an unpredictable world? Join Sarah to discuss how to identify the effects of collective trauma and how to support a more resilient work place.

the joys and challenges of crossing the threshold: navigating executive transition | May 10

9AM – 10:30AM

Speakers: Nancy Jackson, Eos Transition Partners LLC and Doris Roach, DorisRoach.com

Leaving executive leadership of a nonprofit organization after lifelong service to mission-filled work is not for the faint of heart. And not for the board either – they play a larger than life role in it going well for everyone – the exiting executive, the staff, the candidates, and each other. It is a joint effort of courage, grace, and thoughtfulness. This workshop is an invaluable opportunity to learn about effective practices to navigate a retiring executive’s leadership departure, to understand the role of the board, and to share with others the joys and anxieties of leaving or in guiding the board process well. We will use tools to assess organizational vulnerabilities and the needed actions. Discussions on issues such as timing, good communication practices, transition committee responsibilities, use of interims, and internal candidate grooming will answer your questions. We’ll leave you with a resource list.

no money, no mission: best practices for managing your financial resources and obligations | May 10

12PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: David Orlinoff, Concord Financial Organization

Liquidity. Leverage. Sustainability. You know these words, but do you understand how your nonprofit can benefit from best practices around operating funds, debt, and investments? This interactive workshop will cover key topics in cash management, borrowing for growth and protection, and investing for optimum return. We will cover how you can monitor and project cash availability and prevent unpleasant surprises, how a line of credit and other forms of debt can actually be assets rather than liabilities, and how an appropriate investment strategy can support your mission (even if you don’t think you have enough spare assets to actually invest!). Feel free to bring questions related to your own specific situation.

is your organization campaign ready? | May 12

9AM – 10:30AM

Speakers: Laura Ewing-Mahoney, Sage Advancement Group and Brian Howard, North Andover Historical Society

There are many compelling reasons to launch a campaign. Major campaigns have the power to not only raise record-breaking amounts of money for your nonprofit but can also strengthen overall fundraising and communications for years beyond the campaign. BUT not every organization with an amazing project and enthusiastic board is ready to launch a campaign. Your organization’s board composition, staffing levels and experience, culture, pipeline, engagement practices and data management systems all have the power to make or break your campaign. In this workshop, Laura and Brian will lead an interactive workshop on how to assess your organization’s readiness to launch a major fundraising campaign. Participants will become familiar with the Campaign Readiness Indicators that are associated with campaign success. We will use case studies and a guide to frame our work and utilize breakout rooms, polls, and group discussion to learn and share. At the end of the session, participants will have a roadmap for evaluating their organization’s campaign readiness.

connection: the key to alignment and collaboration | May 12

12PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: Tim Van Ness, Van Ness & Co

One of the many things the pandemic has illuminated is that people long for feeling connected. Leaders need to find ways of doing that virtually. Leaders also know that to effectively lead an organization to meet its goals and serve its constituents there must be alignment and collaboration at the top of the organization. When there’s not, there’s a lack of clarity, greater disorganization and missed opportunities. Focusing on truly connecting as people through shared vision and values helps board members work more effectively with each other and with their ED. This highly interactive and experiential program will provide board members and ED’s with frameworks, strategies and tools for building trust-based relationships that will increase alignment and foster greater collaboration. Participants will walk away with approaches they can implement immediately.

understanding financial data for non-finance professionals | May 17

9AM – 10:30AM

Speakers: Elizabeth Stasiowski, Insource Services, Inc.

Board members bring a variety of talents and expertise to an organization or association, but they along with Chief Executive Officers, Directors and other key staff members do not always have extensive experience with finance and accounting matters. How can we both understand and then communicate the essential financial information we and they need to know to effectively manage and serve an organization? Organization management and governing board members cannot properly perform their duties if they do not obtain and understand information about the organization’s financial position. They can neither make informed decisions about goals and planning nor monitor the organization’s progress towards those goals, leaving them unable to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities. This presentation will aim to accomplish the following: – Identify a standard set of financial statements /reports that should be generated and disseminated to management and boards on a regular basis: Which reports? How often? With what level of detail? – Identify crucial numbers within these statements: What matters? What does it mean? – Discuss how to deliver the information: Formatting, graphs, ratios, etc., crafting a narrative from key metrics – Discuss the incorporation of dashboards: What to include? – Other miscellaneous items: Trend analysis, financial projections, what-if scenarios, capital projects, debt covenant forecasting.

everything you always wanted to know about planned giving but were afraid to ask | May 17

12PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Sam Samuels, Smith College

Planned giving. It’s just alphabet soup out there, right? CGA … DPGA … QCD … CRAT … CRUT … CLAT … CLUT … It’s just so confusing. Why bother? Well, it turns out that if you don’t bother, your organization is likely missing out on some amazing opportunities. For those who take the long view, time spent on planned gifts can yield the highest return on investment of any fundraising activity your development staff engages in. And you don’t have to be a specialist to get started. Some of the simplest planned giving strategies are also the most common and the most lucrative. This session will offer the forward-thinking trustee or executive director the basics of planned giving in broad brushstrokes. We’ll talk about simple bequests, beneficiary designations, and other basic plans. We’ll have just a little taste of the alphabet soup too, and touch upon resources you or your staff can access for help or training. You won’t come away from this session an expert. You will come away with some basic tools to speak with confidence to your supporters about how they can make a difference to your organization through planned gifts.

trust is a must: how a board creates a community of donors | May 19

9AM – 10:30AM

Speakers: Sondra Lintelmann-Dellaripa and Scott Selig, Harvest Development Group

In this board-centric workshop, we will explore the importance of trust, it’s a must. That is the fundamental principle of a healthy, robust, and engaged donor community. Most organizations experience TRUST issues with their community. Symptoms often include: a shallow donor base, no major gift donors, low volunteer base, high volunteer churn, a board that is described as “not engaged.” These are not system issues, not about experience or expertise in fundraising. These are TRUST issues. You are not alone. Trust is a journey for your community members. It does not singularly rely on your mission; in fact, it may have very little to do with your mission. Your mission is the purpose for your community, but building trust in that community requires much, much more.

building a culture of philanthropy: a strategic partnership between the board chair and ed | May 24

9AM – 10:30AM

Speaker: Kerry Bartlett, Carter

Engaging major and mega donors in your nonprofit organization requires a commitment to building deep values-based relationships. These cannot happen authentically without a commitment to a culture of philanthropy. Successfully shifting from transactional fundraising to relational giving starts with strategic organizational thinking and a partnership between the Board Chair and Executive Director. In this interactive session, participants will use a tool to assess their organization’s current culture of philanthropy, learn insightful tactics to engage Board members as fund development team members (in ways that are meaningful for them) and identify partnership opportunities for the leadership team. This topic is always relevant and will help smooth out the traditional ups and downs of the work we do. None of this happens overnight and becomes more important during a crisis … so now is the time to get started!

updating governing documents | May 24

12PM – 1:30PM

Speakers: Brad Bedingfield and Eleanor Evans, Hemenway & Barnes LLP

This session will provide an overview of best practices for updating by-laws and similar governing instruments for nonprofit organizations. You will learn the key provisions that modern by-laws should contain and discuss practical solutions to common governance issues.

funders are evolving, too: how can you meet them where they are? | May 26

9AM – 10:30AM

Speakers: Phyllis Corkum and Alex McCray, Philanthropy Massachusetts

Drawing on a half century of work with the grantmaking community, Philanthropy Massachusetts staff will offer perspectives on how the funding community has been changing in response to the pandemic, to the renewed exposure of racial inequities, and now, to the challenge of helping to create a new and better normal. Perhaps more importantly, they will provide guidance on how to approach and evolve with funders as we all strive to carry forward the spirit of trust and collaboration that has characterized our collective work over the past two years.

Philanthropy Massachusetts will share study findings and funder feedback indicating how foundations are evolving in the ways they are supporting their nonprofit grantees and partners. Case studies will illustrate how nonprofit leaders have informed foundations and funder networks to bring about more inclusive and impactful outcomes. Participants will learn about trends in the grant making world that address the calls for transparency, flexibility, and trust-based philanthropy. They will come away with tips to inform strategies on how to initiate and build relationships with grant makers of various kinds and how to position their organizations within the philanthropic community.

conflict management: a critical skill in your board's toolkit | May 26

12PM – 1:30PM

Speaker: Kenya Rutland, KJR Consulting

Organizational health requires a culture of trust and an environment where conflicting views are openly expressed, respected, and evaluated. Conflict is inevitable in any human relationship. If managed poorly, conflict can negatively impact team morale, productivity, and organizational results. Yet, if handled well, conflict can be a powerful tool for growth. Learning to resolve conflict can be very empowering and is a critical skill for every Board’s toolkit.

the IFT is generously supported by ECCF’s Corporate Partners

Sponsorship inquiries can be sent to c.bates@eccf.org.

thank you IFT partners!

Brace Cove Foundation
John and Mollie Byrnes
Amelia Peabody Foundation
Peter and Elizabeth Tower Foundation
Edwin S. Webster Foundation
ECCF Trustees

nonprofits & grants

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Rebecca Turner

IFT Consultant

community voices

“I am grateful for the opportunity to improve and strengthen my knowledge in nonprofit management and governance. I do not know where else I could go and find such a range of opportunities!”

– 2019 Institute for Trustees attendee

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