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Imperial County Nonprofit Capacity Building Training Program is open for applications! 

The Nonprofit Capacity Building Training starts in October, 2019, apply now to join the workshops. An overview of the training is provided below.  

Program Overview


Two workshops, from 9am-4pm, will be held in October and November 2019.  The workshops will be supplemented by at least one coaching call with each nonprofit in between workshops.  Site visits for one-on-one meetings with each nonprofit will occur during the week of October 21 so that trainers can have a better understanding of the operations and management of the organizations.  One to two online meetings will be held during the week of December 16 with topics to be determined. 


The final three-day workshop will be held the week of January 13, 2020. Each nonprofit will also have a final assignment to produce Education, Outreach and Marketing (EO&M) materials, which will be due May 4,2020. After the last workshop, EFCWest trainers will schedule a second site visit with nonprofits in February or March 2020 to assist with the development of the EO&M materials. Nonprofits will present their EO&Ms to the to the Local Health Authority on June 8, 2020 for the close of the program.



Nonprofit Capacity Building Training

October 8-10, 2019, Workshop #1: Systems Thinking and Root Cause Analysis

At its core, systems thinking is all about looking at the big or holistic picture before we make decisions. For example, even something as simple as getting a pothole fixed can be a systemic issue.  How a City makes decisions is often based on financial, political, social, environmental, legal and even technical limitations and considerations.  Thus, our pothole may or may not get fixed based on the money in the budget, the political will to spend that money on a pothole vs something more favorable to voters, social pressures from constituents to use money for their own priorities, and so on. As a result, if we want to get the pothole filled, we may need to take a system-wide look at what forces are working for or against the problem and how we might be able to influence the decision in our favor.

Health issues are far more complicated than a pothole.  Asthma, obesity and other health and social problems are complex and require a holistic approach to understand the underlying causes that can lead to effective actions to reduce the problem. For example, staying indoors on a red flag day may not help an asthma patient if their home has mold or too much dust. Providing opportunities (parks and gyms) to work out cannot address the motivation, or lack thereof, to exercise and lose weight. In response, this first workshop will introduce the concept of systems thinking and provide the tools and approaches to understand and analyze complex problems. The agenda will include instruction, activities and case studies in the following topics.

§  Using Systems Thinking to Better Manage Your Nonprofit

Internal: Understanding Your Own Organization through a Holistic/Systemic Lens

o   External: How to Build Your Organization’s Role in Imperial County

§  Systems and Complexity

o   What is the Difference Between a Simple and Complex Problem? Why Do We Care?

o   Exploring the Imperial County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) from a Systemic Perspective

§  Tools and Practices to Address Complexity

o   Using Root Cause Analysis for Complex Issues

o   Identifying Potential Root Causes of Complex Issues

Output: Participants will be expected to identify the root causes of a problem where their organization can have the greatest impact, and then to distinguish at least one new or existing opportunity they can develop or enhance as a potential project.

Outcomes: The outcome for Workshop #1 will be a greater understanding of systems thinking and the capacity to 1) better identify potential actions, 2) justify a specific approach to funders and 3) recognize the potential partners necessary to accomplish goals.

November 19-21, 2019, Workshop #2: Organizational Sustainability

Identifying an approach to a complex problem is a challenge, but even more vexing is building the capacity to address that problem over the long-term. Securing funding as a means to financial sustainability is one of the greatest challenges any organization faces. Equally important are workforce management and the ability to define organizational outcomes as they impact both the complex issue and the system as a whole.  In response, Workshop #2 will be broken into the following three segments.

Session A: Sustainable Fundraising

This session will focus on the project opportunity identified in Workshop #1 and participants will develop a fundraising plan to support efforts over a three-year period. Training will include basic tips and trends for private foundations and public money (local, state and federal) but also incorporate revenue generating opportunities such as lunches, auctions, services and products for sale. The benefits of coalitions and collaborations will be explored as well as corporate funds. 

Output: Participants will develop a three-year fundraising plan for their project.

Outcome: Participants will learn how to view their fundraising efforts through a systemic lens that includes multiple funders, stakeholders, partners and approaches. 

Session B: Workforce Management

In this session, participants will analyze their own organizational practices for hiring and retaining their workforce. They will be introduced to a systemic tool that will let them simply assess the six faces of their leadership and how each do or do not enable employees within their organization: engagement, enquiry, enablement, enaction, empathy and ethics. This session will also address the effective use of volunteers, interns and contractors and the legal definitions for all three. 

Output: Participants will develop a Staffing Plan to retain their current staff and entice new hires.

Outcome: Participants will learn to overlay their organizational operations with a systemic approach to break down silos, retain and hire staff, and understand empowering vs disempowering approaches to staff management. 

Session C: Outcomes and Measurement

Outcome measurement has become one of the most important activities that nonprofits undertake. Outcomes must be measured to:

§  Understand the effectiveness of an intervention

§  Identify effective practices

§  Recognize practices that need improvement

§  Prove organizational value to existing and potential funders

§  Obtain clarity on purpose and whether or not the organization is achieving its mission and/or vision

This session will help participants define how the project opportunity they identified in Workshop #1 can impact the issue they are trying to address from a systemic perspective.

Output: Participants will develop a Data Collection and Measurement Plan that includes how and where to collect their information that will determine the efficacy of their opportunity.

Outcome: Participants will learn to identify the necessary data and measurement approaches that will allow them to assess their impact on a complex issue so that they can effectively justify their project to a funder or other decision-maker. 

January 14-16, 2020, Workshop #3: Organizational Communications

Organizational communications material is the final critical element to a successful nonprofit. For this Workshop, participants will focus on the following communication elements:

§  Understanding the Target Audience

§  Building an Organizational Story

§  Building the 30-Second Message & Beyond

§  Delivering an Effective Presentation

Output:   Participants will leave this session with organizational outreach material that tells their compelling story, delivers a simple message and conveys their overall impacts and outcomes within Imperial County. 

Outcome: Workshop #3 will allow participants to better understand and communicate their impacts and outcomes within the larger system of Imperial County. As a result, they are more likely to be able to access funding, build support and develop potent partnerships within the community.

Post Workshop: Developing Education, Outreach and Marketing Material

While the classes will be over, the completion of this course will include a final assignment and site visit from the trainers.  Participants will be expected to work internally with their respective organizations to develop Education, Outreach and Marketing (OE&M) material that will support their efforts moving forward.  The OE&M material will incorporate the learnings from the three workshop sessions and include the following elements.

§  Target Audience (Who are we targeting and why?)

§  Our Organizational Story & Message (Why do we do our work?)

§  Our Impact on Imperial County (How do we fit into County efforts and what data do we have to back up our impact?)

§  How We Sustain Our operations (What is our funding base, who is our great team and how do we sustain them?)

§  Our Plan for the Future (Who are we targeting and how will we grow?)

Output:  Imperial County nonprofit participants will have completed draft and final EO&M material which will be due on the dates below. Final presentations on the EO&Ms will be given at the June 8, 2020 Local Health Authority meeting.

§  Draft EO&M Due: April 6, 2020

§  Final EO&M Due: May 4th, 2020

§  Local Health Authority Presentations: June 8, 2020

Outcome: The EO&M material will allow Imperial County nonprofits to effectively compete for funding, partnerships and other opportunities. In addition, the EO&M material can be easily integrated into websites, future funding opportunities and marketing material developed for conferences, meetings, etc.