Changes to Nonprofit Tools and Learning Opportunities
If there’s anything we have learned over the past two years, it’s the importance of staying nimble. We all experienced significant change in our personal and professional lives, causing us to reassess what is most important and where we should concentrate our time. There is a prevailing view that we cannot go back, but rather go forward with greater intention and purpose.
At the Community Foundation, we are taking this opportunity to lean into our strength as a local philanthropic resource. We connect people who want to make a difference with their gifts of time, money or voice and organizations that have the community trust and expertise to create and accelerate needed change. We cultivate cross-sector partnerships to foster alignment and progress towards regional priorities, and we are doubling down on grant investments that foster long-term wealth building, especially for those most affected by the persistent wealth gap.
As we concentrate on leveraging our relationships and resources to create more sustained and systemic change, we are taking a strategic pause to reevaluate what the nonprofit sector needs from us now, beyond funding opportunities. As we go through this process of identifying where we can add the most value, we will be offering a more limited set of online and learning resources as outlined below.
Due to an aging platform and an increase in alternative available resources and tools, the ConnectVA website will be streamlined with the following changes starting next week.
Job Finder – Local nonprofits may continue to post open job opportunities but posting RFPs will not be an option at this time. We are working to integrate the Job Finder into the Community Foundation’s website refresh scheduled for later this year.
Events Calendar – For a period of time, nonprofits can continue to share local programs, trainings, fundraisers and meet-ups.
Discussion Forum – Going forward, this tool will be limited to posts from local funders with upcoming grant and award opportunities. It will now be named the “Funding Forum.”
Email Updates – Registered members of ConnectVA will now receive a digest of the latest postings in the above categories on Mondays and Thursdays through the “ConnectVA Update.”
The following tools will no longer be available:
Nonprofit Directory – The Community Foundation now uses Guidestar.org as its primary resource for conducting due diligence. Going forward, we strongly encourage local nonprofits to update their profile information on Guidestar or use it as a search tool for learning about other organizations. Please note that a Guidestar Gold profile is required to be considered for a Community Foundation grant.
Item Exchange – Listing needed items on your website or through social media can be highly effective. In addition, during peak giving times like the holiday season, the volunteer portal will share in-kind needs and wish lists on behalf of nonprofits registered in the volunteer match system.
Over time, the learning landscape has evolved in many positive ways. First, we are fortunate to benefit from a growing number of community partners and consultants that are offering learning opportunities for our sector. Second, the pandemic has taught us that relevant and innovative content can originate from anywhere and supportive networks are not limited by proximity. In the coming months, we plan to conduct research and hold listening sessions to explore future learning possibilities.
While some things are changing, you will still be able to count on us for several signature programs listed below.
Volunteer Management Training – We remain committed to a robust culture of civic engagement in our region, and we will continue to foster this, in part, through the continuation of training programs that help prepare organizations for successful volunteer engagement.
Issue-Based Learning Events – The Foundation will continue to host, co-host or support community events that further our education and awareness about issues affecting our quality of life in the Richmond region. These events will feature experts in the field, provide insights through trend and data analysis, and encourage action-oriented dialogue and activities.
Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program (ENLP) – Following graduation for the current cohort in June, the program will be on hiatus for one year as we review and update curriculum to account for new challenges and opportunities for rising stars in the sector. The program will resume in 2023. The ENLP Alumni network and related programming will continue without interruption. Learn more about ENLP.
Coalition Development – From time to time, the Foundation convenes nonprofit leaders facing a common challenge or working in a shared area of interest. The goal is to provide space and support for open dialogue, problem solving, and innovation towards best practices that will uplift residents of our community.
The following learning opportunities will remain on pause:
Nonprofit Fundamentals Classes – These types of sessions will not be offered in the near term.
The Community Foundation will continue to be a source of funding opportunities, guided either by the interests of our donors or the criteria set for each of our grant programs. We also remain committed to serving as ambassadors for the great work that is happening throughout our region, and we encourage you to stay in touch so that we know how your efforts fit into the bigger picture.
We appreciate your patience in this time of transition, and we look forward to providing additional updates as we solidify our strategy and offerings for the future. Thank you for your partnership. Together, we do more good.