'Make it Happen' training program 'nudges' nonprofits toward growth

By Courtney Durham | The Daily Nonpareil

March 5, 2020

Through the nonprofit training program “Make it Happen,” eight philanthropic groups in Council Bluffs gathered for in a series of workshops designed to examine ways nonprofits can grow and better serve the community.

This program was funded by a grant from the Iowa Council of Foundations as well as the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation. The event was held at the Council Bluffs Police Department.

“They’re building relationships in these groups so when they leave here today they feel like they have a friend in this fight and they can ask for advice,” said Donna Dostal, Pottawattamie County Community Foundation president and CEO.

The course uses nonprofit advice from Jenni Frumer, former CEO of Alpert Jewish Family Services in West Palm Beach, Florida, and strength-based training.

The first meeting focused on identifying the motivation of giving. They also had a workshop about strengths — according to the Gallup “strengths-finder” model — hosted by Brent Dillinger, CEO of Peakfully Coaching and Consulting, and a Gallup-certified strengths coach.

“The strength movement is realizing there’s a whole collective number of strengths within our organizations,” he said.

Dillinger said as a whole, this can be “working together in ways where we benefit from each others strengths.” He then said, that could mean if you’re not good at starting conversations, or asking for donations etc., someone else could help give a “nudge.”

“This is one way organizations can better prepare for situations like conversations ahead of time,” Dillinger said.

Last week’s conversation focused on the organization’s annual fund for the year — money a nonprofit raised throughout the year generally used for day-to-day functions. These funds keep organizations up and running, and are used to help promote other campaigns for specific projects and events, according to donorsearch.net.

“Their homework this month will be to go back and look at the things that they have planned for this year through a different lens, through the donors lens,” Dostal said.

The seven month process will work on different aspects within nonprofits including: Working with associated boards, keeping donors and supporters in mind, using individual strengths and over all working together to build philanthropic efforts in the community.

Nonprofits were chosen for the training through an application process in 2019.

“At the end, the result will be a better community because they’ll be able to be more effective and generate more funds for their mission,” said Paul Strawhecker, president of his own company and resource development and counsel for nonprofits.