Session Descriptions & Schedule

Save the Date! April 15 & 16, 2019

The Oregon Nonprofit Leaders Conference brings together 350+ nonprofit leaders for educational sessions on current, relevant and inspiring topics facing nonprofits today.  The ONLC also provides a forum for nonprofit representatives to meet face to face with regional as well as local funders (mostly Oregon and Washington).

The conference continues to be produced by a volunteer committee of foundations and nonprofit representatives, and is underwritten by the generous support of local funders, both foundations and businesses.

2018 ONLC Schedule 

ONLC Location: Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites, Ashland, Oregon

Schedule of Events

Monday, April 16th

ONLC Location: Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, Ashland, Oregon

  • 7:00 – 8:00     Registration and Complimentary Breakfast
  • 8:00 – 9:10     Welcome and Keynote
  • 9:30 – 10:45    Breakout Session 1
  • 11:00 – 12:15   Breakout Session 2
  • 12:15 – 1:15      Lunch (provided)
  • 12:30 – 1:00    Mini-Session TBD
  • 1:30 –  2:45     Breakout Session 3
  • 3:00 – 4:15      Breakout Session 4
  • 4:30 – 5:45     Networking Reception – Join us for wine tasting from local wineries, hors d’oeuvres, live music and a no-host bar hosted by the Nonprofit Association of Oregon (NAO)

Tuesday, April 17th

  • 7:00 – 8:30     Leadership Forum Breakfast: Board and Staff together with (optional, additional cost – can be added during registration)
  • 9:30 – 3:30     Full Day Workshops (Lunch Provided)

Monday, April 16, 2018

8:00am – Keynote Address

Talk is Cheap, Listening is Cheaper, We Need Both: What Nonprofits Can Offer

Keynote Address by Adam Davis, Executive Director, Oregon Humanities

In this busy world, listening is one of the true gifts we have to offer each other.  Each day is filled with information. People are telling their stories through a variety of media, and the way we communicate is changing.  Listening to others is still essential to doing good and sustainable, nonprofit work.  

In his keynote address Adam Davis, Executive Director of Oregon Humanities, will explore how nonprofit practice includes many (often hidden) opportunities to do important work that bridges differences. Davis will highlight the power of bringing people together around our mission-driven work and will give examples of times when thinking and talking about why we do what we do led to unexpected and positive results.


9:30am – Breakout Session 1 Options

Hints for New Grantseekers: Is Your Great Idea Grant Ready?

New to grant writing? Need a refresher? This session is for you!

Learn current best practices for writing a proposal to fund your project. Get a clear idea of what funders look for when reviewing a grant application, and make sure you know what information is needed to ensure you submit a complete application. Develop strategies for presenting your proposal, how to present information about your organization, and clearly outline your project or idea. Learn more about the decision-making process foundations use when selecting which organization or project to invest in.

This is a popular returning session, packed with great ideas and insights.

Presented by Polly WilliamsProgram Officer, The Carpenter Foundation


Insights on Equity & Inclusion

Have you noticed shifting demographics in your community but found it challenging to respond to these changes? Do you wonder what equity and inclusion have to do with aligning your organization’s mission, vision and values? Attend this session for an honest conversation about how to lead, integrate and practice equity, inclusion and systemic change within nonprofit organizations. You will hear an overview of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon’s diversity, equity and inclusion framework. We will also be looking at ways to work across differences, build awareness, and continue the conversation well after the workshop is over.

Presented by Sara Curiel Paez, Senior Consultant, The Nonprofit Association of Oregon

Meet the Funders – Session #1

Do you want to meet with foundation representatives that can help advance your program? At these popular “Meet the Funders” sessions you will participate in small group meetings with knowledgeable program officers. Advance prep work and registration is required.

Click HERE to read about the 2018 participating foundations.

11:00 am – Breakout Session 2 Options

The Value of Volunteers: How to Recruit, Retain & Recognize

How is it different to recruit a Millennial volunteer from a Baby Boomer volunteer, and  how can organizations attract Generation X volunteers? After your volunteers have signed up with your organization, how can you keep them around for years to come, and on the flip side, if they don’t work out, how do you fire a volunteer? What are some tried and true practices of recognizing your volunteers, and what are some that are a little more outside the box? Join our session to learn answers to these questions and more as this experienced panel shares their lessons with you.

Please join our expert panel as they share how to recruit, retain and recognize this essential part of your nonprofit.

Becky Snyder, Executive Director,  Community Volunteer Network

Ashley Hughes, Program Manager, Teresa McCormick Center
Erin Deason Carpenter, Development and Media Manager, CASA of Jackson County
Julie Barry, Principal, Ruch Community School
Wenonoa Spivak, Deputy Director, CASA of Jackson County

From Saving to Serving: On Intervening in the Lives of Others

Many of us try to make a positive difference in the world through our work and volunteering, and we often find that this can be difficult. The language of helping reflects this difficulty. Charity sounds admirable to some and offensive to others. Service can be bland, saving can be paternalistic, and social entrepreneurship can feel corporate. Join Adam Davis, the Executive Director of Oregon Humanities, for a conversation exploring why it’s so hard to find the right words for the good work we try to do in the world. How should we think and talk about our efforts to make positive change?

Presented by Adam Davis, Executive Director, Oregon Humanities

Meet the Funders – Session #2

Do you want to meet with foundation representatives that can help advance your program? At these popular “Meet the Funders” sessions you will participate in small group meetings with knowledgeable program officers. Advance prep work and registration is required.

Click HERE to read about the 2018 participating foundation.



12:30pm – Lunch Mini-Session

Lunch Programming – TBD

Lunch Programming – TBD

1:30pm – Breakout Session 3 Options

Becoming A Networked Nonprofit & The Three C’s of Social Media: Content, Champions, and Channels

Networked nonprofits and the people who lead them are taking advantage of social media’s ability to facilitate and expand their impact by connecting, building, and establishing trust with people in their networks.  Social media can be a valuable engagement channel in your online fundraising plan or to promote your nonprofit’s brand or programs. But the crowds won’t come flocking and open their wallets unless your organization creates a robust strategy based on the three C’s of social media.  Your strategy must include compelling content that uses best practices in storytelling and an army of champions who can influence others and generate buzz about your organization.   And finally, your organization must optimize engagement, organic content and paid social content across social media channels to build your fundraising prospect list.

Takeaways include an overview of digital trends: what has changed, what is the same and what that means for your fundraising strategy; how to identify, cultivate and deploy champions and influencers to support your digital strategy; and practical tips for engagement, content, paid social content, and champions on social media channels


Presented by Beth Kanter, Author & International Nonprofit Thought Leader

Federal and State Funding Shifts: What Nonprofits Need to Know

Government budgets are shrinking at every level. The first sweeping changes to federal tax laws have passed and the federal budget has been negotiated. The flow of funding to nonprofits is changing. As the past reveals, when public funds shrink, nonprofits are asked to do both more with less, acquiring greater caseloads and amped up requirements for performance. More will be expected from nonprofit leaders to deliver effective and efficient programs as entrenched social, economic and environmental issues grow in our society. During this session, we will explore opportunities and challenges brought on by the changes in public sector funding and review opportunities for nonprofits as they navigate through this changing environment.

Presented by Jim White, Executive Director, Nonprofit Association of Oregon


Meet the Funders – Session #3

Do you want to meet with foundation representatives that can help advance your program? At these popular “Meet the Funders” sessions you will participate in small group meetings with knowledgeable program officers. Advance prep work and registration is required.

Click HERE to read about the 2018 participating foundation.

3:00pm – Breakout Session 4 Options

From Heartache to Healing – When Rural Communities Face Tragedy Together

Our region has been challenged by natural disasters and human tragedies.  For rural communities, unexpected catastrophes create unique demands and challenges.  Facing limited infrastructure and often ill-defined communication plans, communities fall back on the nonprofit sector for support.  How do we, as nonprofits, rise together using whatever community resources exist, to successfully serve and seamlessly do what is needed with or without warning? When tragedy strikes us personally, as well as our community, how do we cope over the longer period of healing and reconstructing?

Please join our expert panel members in exploring together experiences with their communities’ response to tragedy and the transition towards long-term healing.

Kathy Bryon, Executive Director, Gordon Elwood Foundation 

Anne Kubisch, President, Ford Family Foundation
Bryan Trenkle, Director, Greater Douglas United Way
Gina Zottola, Executive Director, Wild Rivers Community Foundation

Sustainability — How to Thrive in an Ever-Changing World

We have entered the Not-for-Profit Century. Purpose-driven businesses that circulate their profits are increasingly understood as an antidote to economic instability, social discontent and ecological devastation. Not-for-profit organizations that make the most of this opportunity will have a distinct focus on how they communicate their work, how they generate income, and how they nurture their workforce. In this fast-paced, participatory session, explore how applying asset-based approaches, lean entrepreneurship and sociocratic organizing can increase your organization’s resilience in an ever-changing world. This session is for nonprofit leaders seeking to boldly take their organizations where few have ventured.

Presented by Donnie Maclurcan, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Post Growth Institute and an Affiliate Professor of Social Science at Southern Oregon University

So Your Budget Has Been Slashed

Funding sources have dried up – now what? Come and listen to a panel of nonprofit professionals who have experienced significant changes in their budget.  How did they adjust?  Who did they ask for help?  Discover best practices including: never compromising safety, encouraging staff, sticking to your fundraising, and focusing on the target market.  Also, learn about reducing budgets, developing a contingency plan, monitoring the data, and keeping everyone informed.

Roger Hassenpflug, Consultant, Former CEO of Living Opportunities

Amy Thuren, Director, The Valley School
Barbara Johnson, Executive Director, Community Works
Emilie Wylde Turner, Chief Executive Officer, Living Opportunities


4:30pm – Nonprofit Association of Oregon’s Networking Reception

ONLC Networking Reception – Sponsored by the Nonprofit Association of Oregon

ONLC Networking Reception

Sponsored by the Nonprofit Association of Oregon

The Nonprofit Association of Oregon cordially invites all ONLC participants to a networking reception on Monday, April 16 from 4:30pm – 5:45pm. Network with your nonprofit colleagues in a fun and relaxed atmosphere while enjoying wine, hors d’oeuvres, and live music. A no-host bar will be available.

We’ll also be featuring a local nonprofit initiative making a big difference in southern Oregon. You won’t want to miss this! We’re looking forward to seeing you! Details below:

Date: Monday, April 16, 2018
Time: 4:30pm – 5:45pm
Location: Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites – Stardust Lounge
No cost to attend

About Nonprofit Association of Oregon:
The Nonprofit Association of Oregon is the statewide membership organization representing charitable benefit nonprofits of all subsectors, sizes and geographic locations across Oregon. Our mission is to strengthen the collective voice, leadership and capacity of nonprofits to enrich the lives of all Oregonians. NAO is proud to represent, be a resource for and advocate on behalf of our members and the nonprofit sector. For more information about NAO and how to become part of this membership network, visit

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Optional Tuesday Morning Leadership Breakfast Forum

Leadership Breakfast Forum: Building Better Boards with Amy Eisenstein

Leadership Breakfast Forum
Tuesday, April 17th
7:00am – 8:30am

The Leadership Breakfast Forum is designed for board members and senior staff. It is an opportunity to learn together. Because nonprofit board members may not have time to attend the entire conference, this forum is offered as a separate event –you can attend just this one event or combine it with a full conference registration. In either case, with her engaging and participatory style, Amy Eisenstein will give nonprofit leaders an inspiring start to the day.

7:00am – 8:30am –  (optional, additional cost – can be added during registration)

Building Better Boards: Fundraising Focused Roles and Responsibilities

Do you wish your board members helped with fundraising? Many board members don’t help with fundraising because they simply haven’t been taught how or given tools to be successful. Bring your board members (or come yourself!) and join Amy Eisenstein as she explores simple, yet impactful ways to get your board members engaged and energized in fundraising. 

Leave with tools and exercises you can use at your next board meeting or retreat! Get started in advance with a free Ebook, “6 Essential Secrets for Board Retreats that Work” at

Presented by Amy Eisenstein, Author, Speaker & Trainer

Please note:

Registration fee: $20 per person
There are no early bird or group discounts available.
Conference attendance is not required to attend this event.
A separate registration/fee is required for this event.
The fee includes the cost of breakfast.

9:30am – 3:30pm – Full Day Workshops

The Major Gifts Challenge: How to Start (or Grow) Your Major Gifts Program

This session is targeted toward executive directors and development staff who want to raise significantly more money for their organizations. Get help making the leap into major gifts fundraising, and learn what you need to know to get started. Most nonprofit professionals are not effectively soliciting major gifts for their organizations. If you want to start or grow your individual giving/major gifts program, this session is for you. Whether a major gift for your organization is $1,000 or $10,000, you will learn how ask for and receive more major gifts this year!

Presented by Amy Eisenstein, Author, Speaker & Trainer

Building Rural Community Leadership Skills

Rural communities are facing more complex situations than ever before and doing so with fewer assets and less connectivity than their urban counterparts. Building new and advanced skills gives rural people and those who work on behalf of rural places, the tools needed to lead rural communities forward. This all-day Rural Skill Builder workshop will give you tools and ideas to be a bold, courageous and savvy leader in complex situations. Don’t miss the opportunity to gain new skills and network with other rural leaders in our region. Topics will include:

Systems Leadership in Rural Communities – Situations today have never been more complex, larger in scale, or more interconnected. Traditional leadership principles are excellent for community-based projects and efforts, but how do we affect critical challenges that are systemic in nature? Learn about the mindsets, processes, and skill sets that comprise systems leadership – the leadership of our era.

Emerging Rural Economies, Building on Assets – Rural communities often have distinct opportunities that can be seized to spur economic growth. We will help attendees identify, harness and leverage economic assets to build local control and advance economic prosperity, including bottom-up grassroots strategies that all rural community leaders can participate in to boost the local economy.

Bringing Out the Best in People at their Worst – Often, we face the challenge of working with difficult people, and sometimes we are the difficult ones! This interactive session will explore strategies for bringing out the best in people by building on strengths and recognizing that sometimes values and approaches may not align. The session will be structured around lessons from the popular book “Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst.”

Presented by:
Heidi Khokhar, Executive Director, Rural Development Initiatives
Michael Held. Director of Rural Economic and Policy Services. Rural Development Initiatives

The Happy Healthy Nonprofit:  Resilience from the Inside Out

This day-long workshop is about why self-care is part of doing effective nonprofit work, how to practice it, and how nonprofits can bring a culture of wellbeing into their workplaces and get better results – save money, increase productivity, and attract top talent.

To succeed in a complex world, nonprofit leaders need to build their resilience by developing robust skills in self-awareness and self-management.  Stress and the resulting burnout can be self-inflicted unless we learn how our inner dialogue drives our actions and we incorporate a strategy to make self-care a regular habit.

It isn’t just about our inner-self, it is also how we relate to other people and manage those relationships, especially in the workplace. If we lack the skills to avoid collaborative overload, manage difficult conversations, learn from failure, or create a culture of well being, the resulting physical, emotional, and mental strain gets in the way of our organization’s success.

This master class will focus on practical ways that fundraisers can build resilience for themselves and their team.  Together we can overcome the pitfalls of negative habits and toxic workplace environments to develop a replenishable source of energy, inspiration, and joy.

Part 1:  Inner Resilience

Understand how to avoid burnout by creating a self-care plan
Improve reflection skills with a self-coaching model
Learn personal productivity techniques

Part 2:  Outer Resilience

Practice how to handle difficult conversations
Learn how to create a culture of well-being on your team or organization using techniques like walking meetings and more
Learn techniques to transform failure into learning

This master class will be participatory.  We will have some content delivery, but participants can expect to be engaged in conversation, out-of-the box exercises, and even a walking meeting.

Presented by Beth Kanter, Author & International Nonprofit Thought Leader

Please click HERE to learn more about our exciting presenters.

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