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Registration Opens for 14th Annual Nonprofit Institute Conference, Showcasing Unity and Resilience

March 18, 2024

The benefits of strong partnerships and strategic planning will be the front and center topics at the annual Nonprofit Institute at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) conference next month as organizers highlight the theme of “Community Unity: Building a Resilient Nonprofit Sector.” Registration for the conference, which will be held April 18 from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., opens today.

CSM President Dr. Yolanda Wilson will reprise her role as keynote speaker at this year’s conference, inviting nonprofit leaders from across the region to reflect on their successes and the work still to be done.

“I truly believe that collaborative visioning truly begins through meaningful connections and conversations,” Wilson said in her address last year. “My goal then and my goal now is to foster a welcoming, inclusive environment that encourages active listening and open dialogue while seeking to understand our unique strengths and collective opportunities. Only then are we truly able to continue building success together for our students, our employees, and our community.”

Nonprofit Institute at CSM Senior Consultant Cara Fogarty cited several examples of successful partnership and resource-sharing under Wilson’s leadership. Wilson recently worked with the Nonprofit Institute to offer a servant leadership panel discussion and a student, staff and employee day of service as one of the centerpieces of her inauguration celebration next week

“Nationwide, one of the things that emerged out of the COVID pandemic is the necessity of collaboration and sharing resources within the nonprofit sector, and that’s really what the Nonprofit Institute is here to facilitate,” Fogarty said. “With the help of CSM, nonprofits can be even stronger, because CSM is engaged in the community.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to choose from more than a dozen breakout sessions focused on the topics of leadership, development, communications, strategic planning and management. Fogarty said that sessions are designed so that everyone from a volunteer to an executive director can leave with concrete steps to put into practice immediately.

Popular sessions from previous conferences, such as a “Meet the Media” panel, will be reprised, and new sessions have been developed to address common concerns. For example, the conference will, for the first time, address the growing impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in two sessions, a general discussion of “AI for Nonprofits” and a more targeted introduction to “Leveraging Generative AI for Nonprofit Marketing Success.”  Both sessions will help attendees gain insights into the fundamentals of AI technology and how it can be harnessed for everything from grant proposal writing to designing visual materials.

Walter Simmons, chair of the Maryland Nonprofits Board of Directors, will also lead a session that will take attendees beyond simple collaboration. In “Building Stronger Communities through Collective Impact,” he will educate attendees on what collective impact is and how to implement a collective impact approach to partnership.

"Collective impact describes an intentional way of working together and sharing information for the purpose of solving a complex problem,” Simmons said in his description of the session. “While collective impact seems very simple, and can be similar to plain old ‘collaboration,’ there are certain characteristics that distinguish collective impact initiatives and make them successful.”

The day will also include an exhibition hall to showcase agencies that provide services to nonprofits, giving attendees the opportunity to explore many resources in one place.  Networking time will be built into the day between sessions, at lunch and at an after-conference social gathering at Copper Compass Craft Distilling Co. in White Plains, hosted by the Charles County Charitable Trust and the Charles County Chamber of Commerce

The Nonprofit Institute at CSM is the premier source of professional development and capacity-building for the diverse array of nonprofits serving the Southern Maryland region. Registration for the conference is limited and the fee to attend is $65.

Learn more and register at https://www.csmd.edu/npiconference.

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