Conference Deep Dives

July 28, 2021 / Comments Off on Conference Deep Dives

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In conjunction with our TRACTION conference, we’ll be doing a series of Deep Dives. These are full length workshops that provide participants an opportunity to “dive deeper” into a given content area. Three of our Deep Dives will begin the week of conference and continue afterwards at the same time and day each following week, much like a workshop series. One will start on September 15th and end the week of the conference. A final offering is our Legal Symposium taking place Wednesday afternoon.  

Deep Dives are $95 per attendee, and can be selected with your conference registration. Because there are limited seats available for each Deep Dive session, we’ll be offering them to MNA members first, and opening remaining seats to non-members in September.

DEEP DIVE 1: Your Narrative Garden with Thaler Pekar



  • Tuesday, Sept. 28th
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5th
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12th
  • Tuesday, Nov. 2nd

Session Cap: 50

Narrative leadership requires identifying small stories that are or can be assembled into big narratives. This is similar to how gardens are created from individual plants. Imagine stories as plants to be nurtured; projects and strategies as garden plots to be developed; and your organization as the larger landscape. Using the garden metaphor, we will explore how to find, plant, grow, and prune the stories necessary to successful realization of your vision. This metaphor – and this four-part program! – will provide you with powerful tools for being intentional about the stories and narratives you wish to cultivate.

Your Narrative Garden consists of four 75-minute sessions. The first three are all one week apart. The final session is three weeks later, so we can all gather to report on and support your progress toward cultivating your narrative garden. You’ll have access to Thaler throughout the program; practical and personalized activities; and many opportunities to learn, apply, and develop your new narrative leadership skills. 

DEEP DIVE 2: Gearing Up to Write Better Grants with The Dottedi



  • Wednesday, Sept. 15
  • Wednesday, Sept. 22
  • Wednesday, Sept. 29

Session Cap: 50

We all want to write better, more effective, and persuasive grants. This is the class to take your grantwriting to the next level -really! Participants in the Deep Dive #2: Gearing Up to Write Better Grants will learn in real time, with an opportunity to submit a working letter of inquiry from your organization for feedback from grantwriting experts, Hannah Cortez and Breanna Polacik. And now, the first 25 registrants will also have the opportunity to get feedback on their LOI directly from a funder, Patti Gilhausen of the Gilhausen Family Foundation. Why wait? Register today!

In this grant writing series, we will be focusing on how to level-up your grant writing skills by returning to the fundamentals, utilizing creative writing techniques to pull us out of our comfort zone, and using data to add impact. WIth this series, you have the opportunity to submit a Letter of Interest to The Dotted i prior to the first session to maximize your learning and receive direct feedback. Those that do not submit prior to the session will still be able to apply techniques taught to improve their writing. You’ll walk away from this series with tools and resources to approach grant writing with confidence and style!

Deep Dive 3: Developing Your Evaluation Strategy and Plan



This training is over the course of three days: 

  • Thursday, Sept. 30th
  • Thursday, Oct. 7th
  • Thursday, Oct. 14th

Session Cap: 60

Nonprofits with a strategy and plan for evaluation gain new insights about their work, have stories to share with funders and other stakeholders, and generate ideas to strengthen their programs.  Without an evaluation strategy and plan, nonprofits may waste valuable time and resources on surveys and other data-gathering methods that don’t provide helpful insights. 

In this three-part virtual training, you’ll go beyond basic evaluation concepts to learning how to craft strategic, informed decisions about evaluation for your program or organization.  

This training will be highly interactive – combining presentations, conversations, and individual reflection and work. By the end, you will have the tools and training to craft a complete evaluation plan for a program, small organization or department of your choosing. 

As a result of participating in this training, you will be able to: 

  1. Align evaluation strategically with mission, values and operations of organization,
  2. Plan for evaluation activities, and
  3. Overcome common challenges, including low survey response rates and poor data quality.

Learners will experience engaging interaction with the training team throughout the training and  will have access to their expertise during and between sessions. There will be assignments during sessions and suggested work between sessions so that by the end of the third session you will have a draft e evaluation plan for a program, small organization, or department of your choosing. 

DEEP DIVE 4: Organizational Approach to Racial Equity


  • Meshayla Cox (Deep Dive Speaker) Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Consultant, The Montana Racial Equity Project
  • Kaleigh Mency (Speaker) Deputy Director, The Montana Racial Equity Project

Session Cap: 50

Friday, October 1 | 1:00 – 2:00 | Deep Dive: Organizational Approach to Racial Equity

  • Where to start, what to do before building a mission, what is our vision of the future? How can the workplace influence the course of society? What conditions are needed internally to build an inclusive and equitable workplace? 
  • How exclusion and inequity present themselves at work
  • Expanding your cultural competencies

Friday, October 8 | 1:00 – 3:00 | The Cost of Implicit Bias at Work  

  • The pervasiveness of implicit bias in people’s personal and professional lives
  • Key terms and concepts to help staff understand the different dimensions in inequality and build shared language
  • Dimensions of difference
  • Strategies for reducing bias and moderating the negative effects of implicit bias in the workplace.

Friday, October 15th | 1:00 – 3:00 | Building an Inclusive Organization

  • Iceberg of racism and organizational culture
  • Realities of work-life for marginalized people
  • Why diversity programs fail 
  • Building a strategy to ensure a lasting commitment to EIJ 

Plus! Legal Symposium

In addition to our Deep Dives, we are also offering a 3 hour Legal Symposium, with experts in Montana nonprofit law.