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Preconference Sessions

Tuesday, October 2

P1: The Fundraiser’s Guide to the Galaxy: Increase Your Potential to Take Over the World

Speakers: Breanna Polacik and Hannah Cortez, the Dotted i, Mary Peterson, Tim Lockie, Now it Matters, Amy Falcione, Big Picture Marketing, Cassidy Wendell, Cassidy Wendell LLC

There are two important pieces to taking over the world: passion to change the world for the better, and…money to make that happen! You’ve got the passion; we’re here to teach you how to raise more money. Join us for an action packed day and take home fundraising and marketing strategies to improve your organization’s potential for raising funds from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Step by step, we’ll dive into grant readiness and research, increasing brand awareness to secure loyal donors, impact stories, creating a social media presence, building relationships, developing sustainable fundraising strategies and more. This is a fantastic workshop for any member of the organization involved in fundraising. All participants will leave with a super-charged, intergallactic roadmap to achieving fundraising success beyond your wildest imagination!
P2: Strategic Marketing and Communications
Speaker: Shelli Bischoff , CEO, Conservation Impact and Nonprofit Impact   Are you trying to increase membership, reach a more diverse audience, or attract new donors? Are you tired of brainstorming ideas about how to attract younger generations? Does your board think social media is the answer to all marketing? Join us to learn how to apply a strategic, systematic, marketing and communications approach to almost every aspect of your organization.Gain the concepts, tools, and templates you need to create strategic marketing and communications plans and programs which will enhance mission, members, and money; and to create a larger and more diverse constituency. Designed for directors, board members, fundraising, membership or outreach staff and volunteers - this workshop is highly applied and practical, and is based on an approach tested and proven successful with hundreds of organizations.
P3: Leadership for the Common Good: Creating A Resilient Team from the Inside Out
Speaker: Beth Kanter, Master Trainer, Speaker, Author  
Within each of us is the potential to lead with excellence. Resilient nonprofit staff and board leaders possess strong selfawareness, self-management, and selfcare skills. They know their values, emotions, and communication styles. They have the ability to keep a pulse on their emotions so that they can stay flexible and positively choose how to react to different situations and people. Here's the good news: these are learned skills. Are you on the leadership learning curve? Are you hoping to move into leadership and looking for ways to build your skills? Are you building the leadership bench in your organization? Join us for this workshop and take a giant step forward.
P4: Becoming a Champion of Change
Speaker: Shannon Stober, Verve Exchange Consulting It is often said that the only constant is change. Fewer places highlight this truth more than the nonprofit sector, as our organizations are regularly charged with navigating changes in funding, staffing, our communities, and our world. These conditions, combined with our commitment to creating public benefit in our work, require us to remain nimble and agile in our mission delivery by proactively developing change management strategies and a change resilient culture. In order to do this, we must become Champions of Change.     In this fast-paced and interactive session, participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of change management theory; including best-practices for making the case for change, change obstacle identification, various approaches to developing change strategies, and tactics for ensuring change sticks. We will also explore key leadership behaviors to guide you in addressing resistance to change, as well tools to assist you in developing personal and team resiliency during times of change. Remember, change is inevitable, and the time to be thinking about change management is always now!     Learning Outcomes During this session, participants will:     
  • Characterize the components change management;   
  • Review the process of change management;   
  • Define best-practices in change management strategies and approaches;   
  • Identify factors that contribute to change resistance and their associated behaviors;   
  •  Explore leadership skills to assist in leading change management efforts.  

Concurrent Sessions

Wednesday, October 3 - Thursday, October 4

A1: Building an Inclusive Work and Service Environment

Speaker: Heidi Wallace, Executive Director, EmpowerMT

This entry-level training will aid in empowering leadership at all levels to build a positive workplace where colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds, life experiences and cultures feel valued and respected. Participants will deepen skills with new approaches for meeting consumer needs and building an inclusive work and service environment for all.


A2: Maximize Missional Impact

Speakers: Dee Incoronato, CSO, Intermountain; Jim FitzGerald, CEO, Intermountain and ChildWise Institute

There are many challenges nonprofits face in their quest to be both relevant and sustainable. Since the 1980’s, non-profit organizations have been using business tactics similar to for-profit businesses to manage their sustainability, maximum potential and impact. Most non-profits are supported with government, foundation, and donor dollars; in addition, they may generate revenue from services offered. Government, foundation, and donor dollar’s ebb and flow; all the while, revenue has narrower margins each year from payers.

Structured collaborations, although challenging for non-profits, pools and maximizes donor dollars, leverages resources, improves cost effectiveness, pools competencies enhancing client centered outcomes, spurs innovation, and generates disruptive forces. Thus, competitive advantage and missional impact can be accelerated through collaborative efforts. Why, then, are structured collaborations such a challenge? What trends in the marketplace are pressuring non-profits to “up” their game? Are strategic collaborations a viable strategy to maximize your organization’s missional impact?


A3: Handling Difficult Behaviors

Speaker: Bethany Williamson, HR Business Partner, Associated Employers

Handling Difficult Behaviors is a session designed to help the attendee deal with not only the behavior types of difficult employees, but also to recognize their own coping styles when confronted with these behaviors. We will help the attendee identify their responses to conflict, give ideas to resolve conflict, understand why employees may be behaving badly, and recognize different types of disruptive behaviors and how best to react to resolve.


A4: Make Yourself More Appealing: Rethink Your Approach to Direct Mail Campaigns

Speakers: Kevin Sylvester, Executive Director, Family Promise of Gallatin Valley; Laura Rhodes, Principal, Third Sector Consulting

It’s less than 3 months until the end of the year. Don’t send out a haphazardly written appeal letter this year! Make yourself more appealing by learning the tips, tricks, and successes of dynamo direct mailings. This session will provide a start-to finish timeline to help you prepare, distribute, and appropriately thank your supporters during your next mailing campaign. (Wait, was the dreaded “c word” used – campaign? Yes! There’s a lot more to a successful direct mail appeal than just getting your letter out the door.) The presenters will share some of their secrets that they have used successfully to raise more money for nonprofits in Montana and beyond. Come see real-life examples (good, bad and ugly!) and learn research based techniques that work in letter campaigns. You’ll leave with a planning calendar and new ideas that will help your next letter campaign raise more money for your organization.


A5: Executive Session with Derrick Feldmann

Speaker: Derek Feldman

This session offers leaders the chance for a more informal conversation with opening plenary speaker Derrick Feldmann and their peers from across the state. He will begin by offering his perspective on how to get past stereotypes and assumptions and move beyond the status quo. He will outline challenges he has encountered and successes he has seen in organizations where team members are actively learning how to engage diverse and new audiences in pursuit of a more vibrant, creative and productive organization.
Space is limited.


A6: Communications Must-Haves: The Tools, Policies, and Practices for Successful Digital Communications

Speaker: Amy Sample Ward, CEO, NTEN

Staying on top of the latest trends and tools can be overwhelming - especially when you are a department of one and a small organization. In this session, we will review some of the best tools and tips for your online communications knowing that your time and your budget is limited. This goes beyond social media platforms to ensure you know how to create policies and strategies to be an effective organization.

B1: The Art of Getting Noticed - How to Craft a Compelling Letter of Inquiry

Speaker: Julie Rodda, Owner, Rodda Consulting

Are you unsure why you aren't getting more 'yes' responses when submitting your Letter of Inquiry (LOI)? Do you want to know what is the right amount of information you should include in this introductory application? What does the funder really want to know and how can you make your best case? Since the LOI is often the first step in the application process, refining your skill at the introduction level is necessary for increasing your grant funding success.


B2: Beyond #Me Too: Building Harassment-Free Workplaces in the Nonprofit Sector

Speaker: Melanie Schell, Managing Principal, Bannack Group

Workplace harassment is an unacceptable and avoidable risk. Yet it still persists, even in the nonprofit industry. What is your organization doing to prevent it? Employers must provide a harassment-free work environment to protect their employees, volunteers, and donors, and the organization's resources and reputation. This session focuses on understanding harassment, identifying risks, and learning how to address and prevent it through anti-harassment policies and procedures – real, ready-to-implement ways to make your workplace harassment-free.


B3: Life/Work Balance

Speaker: Steve Beck, President, Beck Seminars

If you’re like most of us, life moves faster and is more complex now than just five years ago. E-mail, Texting, and Cell Phones have blurred the lines between your work life and personal time by making you constantly accessible. Sadly, many people mistakenly believe that this is necessary to get more accomplished and advance their careers. Life/Work Balance is about learning how to structure your life to improve your attitude, mood, and performance both personally and professionally.


B4: Winning the Long Game with Staffing

Speakers: Mary Peterson, Independent Consultant; Tim Lockie, President, Founder, Janitor, Now it Matters

From recruitment to staging, on-boarding, developing, motivating, reviewing and retaining excellent staff of all ages, to knowing when it's time to let someone go, this session will offer perspectives on best practices from both the nonprofit and corporate worlds.


B5: Inspire and Motivate Your Board. Rekindle Their Passion

Speaker: Peggy M. Owens, Partner, Sage Solutions Nonprofit Consulting

Engaging a board of directors is essential to your organization’s success. Turning the passion of board volunteers into action doesn’t just happen. It takes a systematic and ongoing effort by board and staff leaders. Participants in this session will learn why it's essential to connect board members to their passion. This is an opportunity to develop meaningful (and fun!) opportunities for board members to be involved and inspire support from others in the community. Being proactive with board performance is a very effective approach. Tools and techniques will be shared on how to gracefully evaluate individual board member performance. The benefits of an annual board performance selfevaluation will also be covered during the session. Those who attend this session will access templates they can adapt for their organization. This session is for both board and staff leaders. This session is for any nonprofit leader who needs assistance with board performance issues.


B6: Creating Powerful and Purposeful Programs

Speaker: Shannon Stober, Principal and Owner, Verve Exchange Consulting

Do you ever feel like you're building the plane while you're flying it? Unsure of how to use data to demonstrate and address critical community issues? Unclear on how to make a compelling request for resources from your board and development team? Looking for ways to evaluate your program in a way that makes sense to both staff and finders alike? If so, you're not alone, and it might be time for you to create a theory or change and logic model to guide your efforts. All too often we see these tools simply as components of evaluation, but the truth is, they're critical to all of our program design and implementation activities. Join us in this session to learn more about what these tools are, the various ways Yes they can be used, and how we can integrate them into our efforts!

C1: Building Nonprofit/Philanthropic Partnerships that Stand the Test of Time

Speakers: Moses Lee, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust;  Felicia Ennis, Oro Y Plata Foundation;  Amy Hyfield, O.P. and W. E. Edwards Foundation; Leslie Modrow, Billings Public Library Foundation; Susan Hay Patrick, United Way of Missoula County

As a nonprofit leader, do you wonder how to nurture enduring relationships within the foundation community that will stand the test of time as people come and go from either the nonprofit or the foundation? Do you want to ensure continuity of relations between organizations as people come and go? In this highly interactive session a panel of development experts will address the opportunities and challenges nonprofits and foundations face during leadership transitions, how to plan for these transitions, and troubleshoot when unexpected changes in personnel take place. Panel members include representatives from the Murdock Charitable Trust, O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, and Oro Y Plata, as well as experienced Montana nonprofit development professionals who have navigated leadership changes in their own organizations and/or the foundations with whom they partner. The session also includes a peer-to-peer exchange of approaches that have been strengthened nonprofit-foundation partnerships prior to, during and after leadership transitions. As a participant, you will leave with strategies for how to advance and even enhance your mission through the opportunities and challenges leadership transition offers.


C2: Productive Partnerships with Local Government

Speaker: Ed Meece, Principal Consultant, Answers & Consulting

Community based nonprofits and local government agencies serve similar constituencies as they address issues such as affordable housing, food resources, economic development, youth/aging services, public safety, and recreational opportunities. However, the policies, operations, and cultures of these organizations are very different, often discouraging the development of community changing alliances. “Productive Partnerships with Local Government” will provide an inside look at how such relationships can be built and sustained using practical strategies. This session will energize your efforts to successfully partner with city, county, and special district agencies, for real ‘win-win’ results.


C3: AmeriCorps as a Catalyst for Organizational Growth

Erin Barstow, Program Manager, MTCC Americorps; Dannette Fadness, Program Manager, MTCC Americorps

Is your organization limited in capacity, funding, time or energy but abundant in ideas, work and important impact? Take on an AmeriCorps or VISTA member to grow your organization at a low cost! Not only will your organization benefit from a national service member, you will join a national movement of preparing the next generation for civic and social responsibility. In this interactive session we will discuss AmeriCorps and VISTA programming in Montana and help direct you to a program to best fit your mission and needs. P.S. Don’t believe the rumors –it is not an overwhelming amount of paperwork!


C4: Shift into Awareness

Speaker: Sara Close, Founder, Hello Soul

The way in which we are patterned through our past jobs, interactions, relationships and other experiences - whether these happen in the workplace or not - have a lot to do with our capacity to serve or fulfill on our missions in a sustainable, centered and inspired way. It's not just a pattern, but a story - and one that lays into our very physiology. But when you're under resourced, short on time, and volleying a sea of to-do's, it's hard to know where to begin in shifting the way we show up... especially when we're under stress. This is a fun, fast-paced talk that will give you several new tools and concepts to play with that will not only enhance your ability to lead in your business, but in all areas of your life. Sara Close is the founder of Hello Soul (, a MT-based company that offers boutique retreats and leadership offerings for women on a mission.


C5: The Super-Secret Truth About Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Speakers: Laura Brin, Development Director, The Traveling School; Emily Allison, Development Director, Bridgercare

Most development professionals know what online peer-to-peer fundraising is, and that it has huge potential. Yet carrying out an effective campaign can be overwhelming and challenging. Why do so many organizations get it wrong?

In this session, we will dig deeper into the ‘truth’ behind peer-to-peer. And the truth is, if done well, peer-to-peer is a highly effective fundraising tool. We’ll delve into commonly faced questions and guide participants through setting up and executing successful online peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. The interactive session will not only teach participants the tips and tricks to successful fundraising, they will leave knowing whether now is a good time to start a campaign and with strategic action items to start implementing right away!


C6: Fraud in the Workplace

Speaker: Peggy Bucholz, Chief Administrative Officer, Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

While many are drawn to the nonprofit sector because of their good intentions, this doesn’t mean nonprofit organizations are invulnerable to fraud. This session will cover identifying signs of fraud and the right steps to take afterwards (or before it happens) to protect your office and yourself.

D1: The New Nonprofit Reporting Model

Speaker: Paula Jacques, Shareholder, Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co., PC

Nonprofit financial statements will undergo their first major change in several years.  This session will explore what has changed, what has not, and how to implement the biggest change – disclosing information on your organization’s liquidity.


D2: Generational Changes and Fund Development Planning

Speaker: Chany Ockert, Consultant, Chany Reon Ockert Consulting LLC

As donors age into new life stages, their giving ability and preferred methods change. Further, technology has given rise to new methods of fundraising. Successful nonprofits respond to the donors' preferred giving methods while also adapting to changing expectations of younger givers. Using the traditional fund development pyramid, this session will demonstrate how different generations interact with each level of the pyramid and explain new fundraising methods/vehicles for each of those levels. This session will give you the opportunity to make your annual fund development planning more dynamic to adapt your current and future donors' needs and expectations.


D3: Combatting Distraction and Improving Productivity in the Nonprofit Workplace

Speaker: Beth Kanter, Master Trainer, Speaker, Author

Collaborative overload and  burnout from too many meetings, e-mails and collaborative technology tools can limit your organization’s and your team's ability to get stuff done.  This interactive workshop explores techniques to enhance personal and team productivity. The tips and tools, once you put them into practice, can help you achieve more in less time, while ultimately increasing the  focus and well being for every member of your team. Based on the ideas in “The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout”, this fun, interactive workshop will assist you to:

Learning Objectives

  • Assess and reflect on how you use technology for work,   recognize unproductive patterns and learn how to change them
  • Adopt best practices and techniques for taming the digital jungle that assaults our brains every day via email, social media, and working online
  • Identify ways to encourage technology wellness in the nonprofit workplace as a cultural norm


D4: The Dance in the Board Room

Speaker: Ned Cooney, Facilitator/Consultant, Echo Ventures Inc.

The 'Dance' in the board room is often complicated by murky expectations and unclear communications. The conventional wisdom that 'the board sets policy, the staff carries it out' is too simplistic because of disparities in expertise and information. This workshop will suggest a set of core principles for board/staff interactions to clarify roles, and explore different ways to look at the governance/ management relationship. Real-world scenarios will be used to illustrate problematic behaviors and beliefs, and practical tips will be offered to address them. The sometimes awkward dance of planning for executive transition, sometimes called succession planning, will be explored. Come with your 'burning questions' and learn along with your executive colleagues and fellow board members.


D5: Nonprofit Advocacy: Being Heard, Being Legal

Speakers: Laura Hoehn, Counsel, Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC, Aimee Grmolijez, Partner, Crowley Fleck Law

Advocating for your nonprofit’s programs and clients often plays a crucial role in your nonprofit achieving its mission.  Successful advocacy requires nonprofits to communicate and work effectively with lawmakers and other government officials.  It also requires compliance with federal and state lobbying laws.  Unfortunately, myths and inexperience about nonprofit advocacy may discourage some nonprofits from engaging in it, even when it can be highly effective.  This session is intended to provide participants with greater understanding of the key elements of effective advocacy from the perspective of experienced advocates and those making important policy decisions in Montana.  It also will provide a brief overview of lobbying laws and practical tips for complying with their requirements.


D6: Everyone is a Facilitator!

Speaker: Katie Deuel, Executive Director, Home ReSource

Learn the basic structures and considerations for creating effective agendas for all types of meetings and gain tips for running meetings to engage participants, make better decisions, build strong alliances, and generate accountability.

E1: Reignite your Purpose- Visioning with Collage

Speakers: Lizzi Juda and Lulu Delphine, Co-Directors and Facilitators, Turning the Wheel Missoula

Turning the Wheel will utilize reflective writing, guided prompts and our precut archetypal imagery kit to offer participants the opportunity to create collages, much like a visual map, that will reflect some or all of the following themes:

  1. Vision for personal direction - what do you want to create?
  2. Organizational vision - what do we as an organization want to create?
  3. Appreciation / What’s going well organizationally?
  4. What makes you come alive?


E2: Building a Transformational Gift Culture

Speaker: Joel Barker, Managing Partner, Great River Strategies

We all want to see increased donations. Your mission is compelling, you’ve hired (or are) a development staff person able to ask for gifts, and your board has donor connections. If the pieces are there, why haven’t they come together to build a successful transformational or major gift program? In this session we will discuss clear strategies to creating a culture of philanthropy and securing major gifts. You will learn strategies, tools, and methods you can take with you to begin tomorrow. We will also discuss your specific challenges and brainstorm ideas to help you gain more traction.


E3: No More Disappointment: Strategic Planning That Produces Results

Speaker: Janna Lundquist, CEO, Janna Lundquist Consulting

Does the thought of a strategic plan binder sitting lifeless on a shelf make you shudder? Too many organizations devote precious time and energy to planning that never leads to meaningful change. Staff, board members, and the communities you impact deserve better. Janna developed the GROW Framework to give leadership teams a productive, focused, action-oriented way to facilitate change at their organizations. The process leads teams through four stages: G – Guidelines; R – Reality; O – Opportunities; and W – What's Next. Outcomes of the process include the decision-making tools of a mission and values, and a high-level two-year plan. Most importantly, an accelerator project identifies the steps to jump-starting progress on the organization's top opportunity within three months. You’ll leave the session having drafted the above items for your organization, with a handout to share with your team members after the conference.


E4: The Power of Blogging and Thought Leadership for Nonprofits - 10:30-11:30 AM

Jay Wilkinson, CEO, Firespring

Most nonprofits that have tried to blog have failed miserably. In this session, we will share the collective wisdom we've gleaned from dozens of nonprofit organizations that have stumbled upon the magic formula for becoming thought leaders in their community. Join us to discover: 3 keys to becoming a thought leader, 7 components of the best nonprofit blogs, tips to optimize your blog's effectiveness, 4 ways to promote your blog, and tips for measuring your blog's performance.


E5: Confessions of the Reluctant Board Member

Speaker: Kari Anderson, Principal, Incite! Consulting Group

When you joined the board at your current nonprofit organization, were you given a manual TRULY detailing all of your responsibilities? Are you crystal clear as to what exactly you’re to do as a nonprofit board member?  Probably not.

Over the next 90 minutes, spend time with Kari Anderson, Principal at Incite! Consulting Group. As a former nonprofit executive director and current board member, she has tips and tools that will help you thrive as a nonprofit leadership volunteer. You’ll dive into roles and responsibilities that board members juggle in order to ensure organizational success.


E6: A Crumbling State Budget: Its Impact on Nonprofits and What We Can Do About It

Speakers: Heather O'Loughlin and Tara Jensen, Co-Directors and Facilitators, Montana Budget and Policy Center; Sarah Howell, Executive Director, Montana Women Vote

In 2017, the state legislature cut over $350 million from the state budget. By the end of 2017, cuts to health and human services totaled $95 million in state funds, resulting in the loss of over $100 million in federal funds. These cuts have decimated many programs for Montana’s most vulnerable families, and nonprofits service providers across the state are facing greater pressure with fewer dollars. How did we get here? What might we expect in the 2019 session? How can nonprofits and the nonprofit sector play a greater role in advancing solid public policy that helps, not hurts, our families and our neighbors? This presentation will walk through actions taken during the session and how nonprofits can share their experiences to help fight for greater investments in our communities. Presenters will provide specific tools to engage its board, members, and others, and strategies to reach policymakers.