Upcoming Programs

Pilot Project in Polk & St. Croix Counties, Sept-Dec., 2021
See schedule below. All real-time sessions (whether in-person or virtual) will be on Wednesdays, from 2:00-4:00pm.

Polk & St. Croix Nonprofit Training Flyer

Please indicate your interest in this program by completing this form.

Description: The nonprofit peer learning program is a training and networking program that prioritizes group discussion and learning.  We will cover content that is important to nonprofit leaders, while centering the formation of a peer network for ongoing support, mentorship, resource sharing and collaboration.

Priority Audience: Early phase nonprofit organizations. For this first cohort, we are seeking to include a majority of organizations who are specifically committed to working for social, racial, environmental and/or economic justice.

Course Outcomes.  During this course you will:

  • Reflect on and clarify your personal leadership style and the relationship between organizational culture and leadership.
  • Explore pathways to build trust, communication, collaboration, and innovation in your organization.
  • Identify impacts of disruption and ways that organizations are adapting to these disruptions.
  • Learn and practice planning tools to help set a direction for your organization and adapt to change.
  • Develop skills to align mission with strategic plan and to address sustainability in times of uncertainty.
  • Evaluate your organization’s fund-development/resource development plan.
  • Create or revise a marketing/communication plan.
  • Identify opportunities for ongoing learning through connection with a peer network.
  • Identify strategies to build more equitable and just organizations and communities.

Expectations of participation: this program is structured for peer learning and engagement. While we will cover specific content of importance to non-profit leaders, the learning that happens is primarily due to participants learning and sharing with one another. To this end, we ask that all participants commit to:

  • Attend all or most of the peer cohort sessions (11 sessions – some which will be asynchronous – over the course of  4 months; Sept. 2021-Dec. 2021)
  • Be an active participant, both in learning and teaching
  • To the extent possible, do the pre-work for each session

Why – and how – are we centering peer learning?  We’ve heard from nonprofit leaders that the best way to learn about running a nonprofit organization is through one’s peers – people who are encountering similar challenges, who have creatively overcome barriers, and who are knowledgeable about the resource environment.  We hope that a peer learning environment will accomplish three objectives:

  1. Provide support to one another: peers can provide encouragement, suggestions, and offers of mutual aid.
  2. Share technical know-how: peers can lean on one another for information regarding how to build more effective organizations, and share intel about resources.
  3. Collaborate for community change: when it comes down to it, people get involved in the nonprofit world because they care about working toward positive, equitable, sustainable community change. The peer learning network will hopefully launch partnerships and collaborations, and long term relationships that lead to support for each others’ change initiatives.

Collaborating Presenters: Local nonprofit leaders will be featured in video presentations talking about their area of expertise. Collaborating presenters include:

  • Araceli Esparza, Midwest Mujeres
  • Kate Harris, Fundraising consultant
  • Harry Hawkins, Nehemiah Center & Justified Anger
  • Genia Stevens, Rock County Jumpstart & Belwah Media
  • Nasra Wehelie, Empathy4Equity
  • And more….

Program Delivery: The program will be delivered using both real-time group discussions or presentations (synchronous) and self-paced learning (asynchronous).  Prior to each module, participants will have access to instructional materials in the form of videos, webinar recordings, podcasts, or documents. Participants will also be asked to do pre-work such as  worksheets or reflection sheets, in order to prepare them for the real-time session. Participants will be able to access instructional materials at times convenient to them. If requested, we will also set up ‘zoom co-working’ hours for additional opportunities to talk through the materials with peers.

We anticipate that several of the real-time sessions will be conducted in person, while others will be virtual (using Zoom).  Real-time sessions will be facilitated and will be interactive, engaged, and active. We will engage different techniques to promote participation and risk-taking, including applied improvisation exercises, story-telling, small group collaborative exercises, storyboarding, and other facilitation techniques.


September 22Access to Online Course Components
Introduction to Canvas (UW-Madison portal)
September 29 & October 6Orientation, Leadership, Organizational Culture &  Asset Mapping
October 13 & October  20Planning Tools
October 27 & November 3Telling Your Story & Marketing Your Organization
November 10 & November 17Nonprofit Sustainability
December 1 & December 8Fundraising and Donor Relations
December 15Wrap-up, Evaluation and On-Going Engagement

Cost: We are able to offer this program for the low price of $25.00, thanks to funding from the UW-Madison Division of Extension Innovation Grant Program. Participants will be requested to assist with program evaluation.

For more information: please contact Kari Weiss, Community Development Educator, UW-Madison Extension Polk & St. Croix Counties. kari.weiss@wisc.edu 715-531-1941

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