The Initiative Foundation understands that effective nonprofit organizations are critical to thriving communities.
Successful nonprofit organizations work to remove barriers to employment, enhance local economic development, provide critical safety net services and increase civic participation. They respond to emerging needs and opportunities of children and their families--including returning veterans, seniors, new Americans, youth at risk and people with disabilities. They provide services and spaces that enhance the quality of life in Central Minnesota.
The Foundation's nonprofit development programs and services strive to ...
- Improve the fiscal health and management of nonprofit organizations particularly those that provide critical safety-net services and improve economic security for disadvantaged people.
- Increase the quantity and improve the quality of nonprofit services, particularly those that offer the promise of greater prosperity to citizens of Central Minnesota facing hardship.
- Strengthen board members’ abilities to lead and contribute to the organizations they serve.
iFound Training Video Series
Nonprofit organizations fill an essential role in our hometowns. They address gaps in the public-private framework to care for people, environments and communities. The better managed they are, the more effective our nonprofit leaders can be in executing their missions and helping Central Minnesota thrive. To make nonprofit management training affordable, flexible and convenient, we’ve created this series of short, concise, on-demand online courses to cover a variety of essential nonprofit topics.
While nothing can take the place of the personal relationships we build with our nonprofit partners, these training videos offer an easy and accessible way to train staff, board members and volunteers on critical organizational issues.
We hope you find iFound Training interesting, educational, and that you gain new knowledge and skills to become even more effective in making a difference in your local nonprofits and communities.
The Initiative Foundation has created these videos to support nonprofit development in Central Minnesota. The information provided is broad and general by design and may not reflect the unique needs nor address the particular situation of every nonprofit, or answer the specific questions of every individual viewing the courses. This information is offered as general guidance and does not, in any way, constitute legal, tax or business advice, and should not be so relied on. We urge all users to follow up their viewing of these courses with consultation from and reliance on their own legal or tax and business professionals, as may be appropriate.
Starting a Nonprofit Organization
You feel called to help your community. You have an idea for a new nonprofit. You don’t have the first notion of how to start this process. This course featuring seven chapters will help you figure out where and how to begin.
Nonprofit Board Basics
Have you been asked to serve on a local nonprofit board? Is it your first time serving? Think you know the ropes? Find out here! This course for beginners and experienced board members alike features nine chapters and presents a basic look at the legal and ethical duties and best practices of nonprofit boards.
As a wave of Baby Boomers retire, who will fill the nonprofit and civic leadership roles? Join Ben Winchester, senior research fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension's Center for Community Vitality as he looks at population trends and prospects for rural leadership.
Nonprofit Finance Basics
Nonprofit board members ensure the good stewardship of the organization's financial resources, and that starts with understanding finances so you can plan for the future. Review this six-chapter course to get a handle on the numbers and the story they tell.
Fundraising. It's the No. 1 need we hear from nonprofits. Watch this robust course and take the fear and intimidation out of the grant-writing process. Get started on the road to effective grant research and writing.
Finding and Working With Volunteers
Many nonprofits rely heavily on local volunteers to help get the work done, solicit donations and provide key oversight and direction. Learn ways to recruit, train, manage, evaluate and celebrate so your volunteer program keeps your organization humming.
Social Media Basics
Do you have a firm grasp on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube? Keeping up with the pace of change in social media can be daunting. Learn the essentials here so you can create an effective social media base upon which you can build.
Running Effective Meetings
Meetings are essential for sharing information and making decisions within our workplaces and communities. Learn how to prepare for a meeting, create an agenda, determine logistics, and record information from the meeting. This course will help ensure that when a meeting convenes, it is time well spent.
The Initiative Foundation is proud to offer an array of programs that provide nonprofit professionals and volunteers with the training, resources and mentorship they need to help their respective organizations thrive. Check out our list of current programs below to see which offering could best benefit your organization!
You know your nonprofit needs grants to sustain operations, but how do you identify and apply for the right grants? Join the Initiative Foundation from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24, for an in-person Grant School training at the Initiative Foundation's Little Falls office. Deneene Graham will share tips on identifying the right grants to apply for and how to improve your grant applications.
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, Aug. 24
Place: Initiative Foundation, 405 First St. SE, Little Falls
Cost: $20 per attendee; includes light breakfast and lunch
About Our Trainer
Deneene has worked with nonprofits and public organizations for more than 15 years. During that time, she has held various roles including grant writer, project manager, community impact specialist, research assistant, board member and community volunteer. Her most rewarding and successful roles have been those where she secured grant funding for programs she helped to develop. Deneene has also been on the other side of the grant funding equation as she spent several years coordinating the grantmaking process for a local funder.
Join the Initiative Foundation and Sourcewell from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, for virtual legal training event. Jess Birken, Birken Law Office, will share tips on avoiding legal issues and learning from the Feeding Our Future scandal.
Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Date: Thursday, Sept. 22
About Our Trainer
Jess Birken is the owner of Birken Law Office, which is based in Minnesota. She empowers nonprofits to achieve their mission by doing things right.
Rachel Ramjattan, owner of Nonprofit Plus and nationally-known fundraising trainer, will present an in-person October series on a variety of fundraising topics. Join for all or one event in this series. The trainings will include actionable takeaways to take your fundraising to the next level. Lunch will be provided each day.
Monday, Oct. 3: Sourcewell in Staples
- 9 a.m. to Noon: Time Waster or Friend(fund)raiser?: How to Turn Your Special Events into Money Makers
- 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Donor Journeys: How to Turn Your Supporters Into Loyal Donors
Tuesday, Oct. 4: Sourcewell in Staples
- 9 a.m. to Noon: Raise More Money With Irresistible Appeals That Inspire Donors to Give
- 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.: From Planning to Done: Get Ready For Year-end Fundraising
Friday, Oct. 7: Initiative Foundation in Little Falls
- 9 a.m. to Noon: Making the Big Ask: How to Prospect, Cultivate & Win Major Gifts
- 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Fundraising Planning Made Easy: How to Create a DO-ABLE Fundraising Plan
Join a virtual training from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to learn how to connect with local media. Nora Hertel, 2022-23 Initiators Fellow and founder of The Optimist, will share tips on getting noticed for the good work of your organization.
Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 12
Free Online Training
Here are some organizations that provide great resources on a wide variety of nonprofit topics and to which we often refer nonprofits for resources, information and training.
Click on the logos below to find resources, training and other guidance for your organization.
The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is the largest statewide association of nonprofits in the country. With over 2,100 member nonprofit organizations and 230 businesses as members throughout Minnesota, it is the premier place for nonprofit managers, volunteers and businesses serving nonprofits to come together under the umbrella of a statewide association of nonprofits.
Dedicated to serving those who serve others, Sourcewell provides nonprofit organizations in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties with high-quality, affordable services that promote healthy and sustainable programming. Learn more.
The Nonprofits Assitance Fund and MAP for Nonprofits recently merged to create Propel Nonprofits. Propel Nonprofits fuels the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits with guidance, expertise, and capital.
Over 800 members strong, MAVA is the largest professional membership association for leaders of volunteers in the state of Minnesota. It is an alliance of individuals and networks dedicated to providing support and resources to those who lead volunteers.
Blue Avocado is the bimonthly newsletter of American Nonprofits, a membership organization that provides practical financial information and support to U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, staff, stakeholders and volunteers. It is created by and for community-based nonprofits.
BoardSource inspires and supports excellence in nonprofit governance and board and staff leadership.
LaPiana nonprofit consulting firm is inspired by the socially-driven work of nonprofits and foundations, and helps improve leadership and management practices throughout the sector for greater social impact.
The Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community is a private community of nonprofit thought leaders, leader practitioners, progressive funders, policy makers, and instigators who believe “performance matters.”
Their vision is to trigger a mindshift within a vital core of the social sector to accept that mission and performance are inextricably linked.
We share the focus and purpose to inspire, motivate, and support nonprofit and public sector leaders (and their stakeholders) to build great organizations for greater societal impact and to increase the expectation and adoption of high performance as the path to this end. Their Performance Imperative is an interesting tool that provides a common definition of “high performance” and lays out in detail the seven organizational pillars that can help nonprofits achieve high performance.
Need help applying for federal tax-exempt status?
The IRS directs applicants who need help with preparing their applications for tax-exempt status to call Exempt Organization Customer Account Services at 1-877-829-5500. Detailed information on qualifying for federal income tax-exemption, FAQs, online training, and links to the application forms can be found here. Both Forms 1023 (the application for 501(c)(3) exemption) and Form 1024 (application for most other 501(c) organizations) have comprehensive instructions. The 1023 also has an interactive form which includes helpful hints and links to help applicants submit a complete application.
Additional resources can be found in the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) Nonprofit Legal Handbook, available to MCN members.
Learn About Continuous Improvement for Nonprofits Program
The Initiative Foundation, in partnership with Sourcewell and the Performance Excellence Network, is excited to announce the Nonprofit Continuous Improvement initiative, a six-month series for Central Minnesota nonprofit leaders. The continuous improvement program is designed to support leaders as they take action to improve operations, improve outcomes and become stronger, more vibrant resource providers for their service areas. Registration is open to any nonprofit team in the region and will fill on a first-come, first-served basis.
This is a $1,500 program with a value of being offered for $250 per organization. Limited space is available.
Scheduled dates are June 9*, July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 15*, Oct. 13 and Nov. 10*.
*Sessions are planned to be held in Little Falls.
Email Zach Tabatt for more information.
Sign-up for our Nonprofit Development newsletter for ongoing nonprofit news and information.
Fundraising School: Become an Inspirational Fundraiser
Fundraising School is geared toward executive directors, board members and development staff. Learn how to become an inspirational fundraiser using a simple blueprint! The program is divided into six virtual sessions with a four-week break followed by graduation:
- Get right-sized tech
- Inspire people to give
- Earn predictable revenue
- Raise $10,000 now
- Get your board onboard
- Create a fundraising plan
Sign-up for our Nonprofit Development newsletter for ongoing nonprofit news and information.
Nonprofit Academy: Executive Roundtable
We know it can be hard as a nonprofit executive director to build leadership skills and network with others. We are offering a new cohort-based leadership coaching option in partnership with Paula Chapulis, Aiyana Coaching.
Email Zach Tabatt for more information about upcoming Executive Roundtable opportunities.
Nonprofit staff gathered at a St. Cloud Lunchtime Learning session.
2022 Nonprofit Lunchtime Learning Sessions
To help local nonprofit professionals learn and connect, the Initiative Foundation, in partnership with the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Sourcewell, conveniently offers quarterly training, networking and information sessions over the lunch hour.
Noon on Sept. 6 via Zoom: Staff from the Initiative Foundation and from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation will discuss ways local community foundations can help nonprofits receive gifts other than cash. Learn about how you can receive gifts from retirement assets, gifts of land, life insurance, and other donations outside of the nonprofit comfort zone. Register here.
Keep Investing In
Thanks to our supporters and contributors for powering possible and investing in Central Minnesota. Keep the momentum going.