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FAR Nonprofit Member Discussion Events

About FAR Nonprofit Member DISCUSSION Events

The Nonprofit Member Breakfast events are being conducted as online meetings and have been renamed as Nonprofit Member Discussions.  You can expect to continue to receive the same high quality, thought-provoking and helpful conversations found during our physical meet-ups– the only thing missing will be the breakfast! 

Schedule: Held monthly, Nonprofit Member Discussions are generally scheduled from 8:30 am to 9:30 am

Registration:  These events are open to Nonprofit Members and their nonprofit guests.  Registration free.

Size and Format:  These are facilitated informal conversations with an identified facilitator and a topic of discussion.  Size of the group varies depending on the topic and participant availability.  

Topics and Facilitators: If you are interested in facilitating a Nonprofit Member Discussion or wish to suggest a topic for discussion, please contact hq@far-roundtable.org to be put in touch with the committee.

Upcoming Nonprofit Member Discussions

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Do Your HR Policies Help or Hinder Retention?

Marta Sokol, CPA, MBA, Chief Financial Officer at Wireless Infrastructure Association facilitated a discussion among non-profit members to explore the impact of organizational benefits on staff retention.  One thing was quite clear:  while traditional benefits are important, FLEXIBILTY is the key driver to employee retention.  The participants agreed staff is most productive when they can work in ways that allow them the ability to address their individual circumstances or personal needs while also meeting the outcomes and results required of their position.  Most reported that some form of remote work is here to stay.  Some participants shared that their organization has transitioned to 100% remote work, others have adopted a hybrid model, while others have not implemented a formal policy one way or the other. 

With flexibility and remote work becoming commodities these days, and organizational culture that continues to be the top perk for most candidates, we discussed different ways of elevating the culture and the feeling of belonging in this new hybrid environment. We shared some ideas on how our organizations address these conflicting priorities.  

Robust health care benefits are also top of mind.  The non-profit members reported that increasing premiums are of concern. The limited amount of time from receiving renewal information to deciding, leaves little time for exploring alternate plans.  The group collectively reported increases of 8% to 12%. This is not a new issue but one that continues to become more complex each year.

Marta Sokol, CPA, MBA, Chief Financial Officer at Wireless Infrastructure Association

Facilitator: Theresia Heller, MBA, Chief Financial Officer at the National Association of Attorneys General

FAR Nonprofit Member-Only Discussion
October 20,  2022

Theresia Heller, MBA, Chief Financial Officer at the National Association of Attorneys General led a discussion with FAR non-profit members on the benefits and challenges of outsourcing certain functional areas versus keeping those in-house.

Every business at some point will consider whether to outsource a service. Points to consider are cost, skill level of employees, and technical resources. Nonprofits frequently benefit from outsourcing support functions that are critical to the business yet not specific to the core mission. These include IT support, accounting, human resources, member services, and in some cases marketing and sales. Some organizations use a hybrid model with outsourcing only specific tasks or portions of a function.

For a partnership to be successful, it is important to research potential vendors thoroughly and set the level of expectation through a detailed service level agreement or contract. Participants of the discussion pointed out that some vendors outsource their contracts to other vendors, sometimes in different countries, so be aware of the fine print and understand the ramifications (e.g., time zone differences, language barriers, etc.) if such a provision exists in the contract.

The FAR Resource Members are a convenient and likely source to start your search for a business partner. They understand the nuances of non-profit organizations and are positioned to provide immediate value to an organization.

All the participants agreed that regularly scheduled communication and setting and measuring goals help make a successful partnership.

FAR Nonprofit Member-Only Discussion – September 29, 2022

Brian Green, CPA, CAE, CGMA, Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations and Chief Financial Officer at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association facilitated a discussion with association executives about lessons learned when developing or updating your strategic plan.

The number one requirement is that the CEO needs to be a driving force in the process and that the executive team are engaged participants as well. It can be difficult to include the entire Board in the initial planning, research and drafting. It is usually best to have a subgroup of the Board assigned to work on the initial task. The meeting participants discussed the pros and cons of using an outside facilitator and agreed that having one was beneficial to keep everyone on track, to be viewed as a credible authority, and to help reach consensus, however a facilitator is not always required. It depends on the scope to the work and the personalities of the participants.

The plan should be for three to five years with broad goals, strategies, and measurements. Staff translate the plan to guide the development of the annual activities from which the budget is based. From there, individual staff goals are determined and cross-walked back to the plan. Annual metrics are agreed upon to measure individual staff goal attainment as well as the attainment of the overall goal. When possible, measure impact instead of activity.

Another element of strategic planning is to decide what not to do. The organization cannot be everything to everyone. The meeting participants agreed this was the most difficult yet is necessary to free up resources for the most important initiatives.

Bottom line: identify aspirational goals, narrow the focus by defining where to play and who to serve. This is how to distinguish your organization from others and find “the sweet spot” – the ability to have the most impact and influence.


Facilitator: Valerie Evans, CAE Vice President,
Governance & Membership, American Society of Addiction Medicine

Nonprofit Members Discuss What Keeps Them Up at Night

Valerie M. Evans, CAE, Vice President, Governance & Membership at the American Society of Addiction Medicine led a discussion with Nonprofit Members to find out what is on their minds.  The topic that gained most attention was recruiting and retention. The challenges are different than during the height of COVID.  Previously, leaders received an influx of unexperienced candidates.  The upside is that they are now receiving fewer resumes with skills that better align with the position, yet the downside is that they are struggling to attract a robust pool of candidates to make the best hire, especially if the search is limited to the DC-Metro area. Participants shared their experiences and suggestions for attracting more candidates.  Of course, hiring is only the first step.  It is most important to retain the talent. 

While salary is a significant factor, it is equally essential your employees know about and utilize their benefits and further, that they understand the value of those benefits.  Engaging in individual conversations with employees about their specific needs provides helpful insight for developing creative enhancements to benefits, positions, and culture.  All agreed that culture was an essential part of retention and that association leaders must “walk the talk” and lead by example. 

Participant’s comments: “The discussion was engaging and insightful.”  “It was helpful to bounce ideas off of each other.” “I really enjoyed the conversation.”

FAR Nonprofit Member-Only Discussion –  Peer Mentoring – June 29, 2022

Jen Brearey, Chief Financial & Operating Officer at AdvaMed led a discussion with Nonprofit Members about the benefits of peer mentoring.  The focus of the conversation quickly turned to ways to build trust amongst peers, supervisors, direct reports, and Board members. 

Participants shared their experiences and approaches to earning and maintaining trust.  These included being your authentic self; being accountable by following through on expected deliverables and taking ownership of mistakes; and always explaining the “why,” by connecting decisions to the business purpose. 

The group agreed that knowing the personalities of the individuals you interact with is important to understand different perspectives.  Jen shared a free tool https://www.16personalities.com/ which reveals “what really drives, inspires, and worries different personality types, helping you build more meaningful relationships.” The bottom line: personal and business success is built upon relationships.  The stronger the trust, the stronger the relationship, the stronger the results!

FAR Nonprofit Member Only Breakfast Discussion – May 19, 2022

Angela Parker
Senior HUman Resource Manager
Center for Law and Society Policy (CLASP)

Non-Profit Members Discuss Workplace Wellness

Angela Parker, Senior Human Resource Manager at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)  facilitated the non-profit member breakfast discussion on May 19, 2022, titled “Workplace Wellness.” It was an opportunity for members to discuss the approaches to employee well-being which encompasses physical, emotional, and mental states.  Some of the key take-a-ways from the discussion included 1) support for wellness activities/programs must be supported and promoted by the CEO,  2) supervisors need to be extra sensitive to recognizing burn-out and other symptoms of other challenges, and 3) lead by example; participate in the activities and model healthy behaviors.  The participants shared the strategies they employ to promote well-being.  Angela shared the most intriguing of CLASP’s programs. “Protecting Your Peace (PYP)”.  PYP means maintaining a healthy environment for growth while guarding your state of mind.

Participant’s comments: “This was very informative” “Thanks for sharing the innovative wellness activities and programs.” “This is such an important topic.”

FAR Nonprofit Member Only Breakfast Discussion -  April 6, 2022

Association Executives Discuss Approaches to Legal Support

Stephanie Osborn, Chief Operating Officer at the National League of Cities facilitated the non-profit member breakfast discussion on April 6, 2022 titled “Approaches to Legal Support.”  It was an opportunity for association executives to discuss the various needs and activities that require legal counsel.  Contracts, intellectual property and human resource issues were among the top issues the participants identified.  Several of the participants have in-house legal counsel while the majority outsource the function to one or more legal firms.  However, it was clear that a hybrid model was ultimately used by all the participants.  Even those with in-house support require outside expertise or need assistance during peak periods.  One of the take-a-ways was to engage in a relationship with more than one firm.  This provides the opportunity to pivot when needed, taps into specialized expertise, can control costs and may help meet demanding timelines.


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