Working in the world of nonprofit often means that Executive Directors are pulled in different directions and need to utilize many skills and talents. They are required to accomplish great things with limited funding and personnel. Additionally, many nonprofit Executive Directors work in environments that are often isolated and stressful, straddling the space between staff, board members, donors, and the constituents they serve. They need a support group that can provide honest assessments and ideas regarding challenges, opportunities, and frustrations. They also need a group that can speak to unique topics of current interest that require special expertise that may be expensive and difficult to find. In support of its goal to equip nonprofits for success through consulting, education, networking, and resources, the Amarillo Area Foundation Nonprofit Service Center provides this service to Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations.
In 2006, the Nonprofit Service Center launched a series of Leader Circles designed to benefit nonprofit professionals in the Panhandle. The Executive Director Leader Circle provides a confidential environment where nonprofit leaders can freely learn and interact with their peers.
Circle members meet mont
hly to discuss management and communications issues, board relations, fundraising, marketing, and other topics. Each meeting offers a roundtable discussion or a featured guest speaker. A vast variety of community leaders, professionals such as attorneys and accountants, business and nonprofit consultants, and business leaders and owners have shared their considerable knowledge with the circle. Annually, local attendees of the Association of Fundraising Professionals international conference are invited to address the group to share highlights from their favorite session, key takeaways, and identified trends. An experienced facilitator helps participants use the Leader Circle to identify and meet their specific needs. Participation is encouraged and each meeting is open to everything from sharing best practices to asking specific advice.
Networking time is provided before and after each meeting allowing the members to make contacts, form collaborations, and exc
hange ideas. Additionally, every month a different member is asked to provide a brief profile of their agency and the important work that they do.
The Amarillo Area Foundation Nonprofit Service Center’s goal is to provide an interactive topical experience for participants, address the hot-button issues they are facing, and collectively take advantage of and share their knowledge and experience. In a recent survey, 100% of Executive Director Leader Circle participants indicated that each month they learn something that helps them in their work at their organization.
Below are testimonials from ED Leader Circle members:
“The Executive Director Leaders Circle is a very useful tool for nonprofit executives. Boards should be aware of the value of the meetings and strongly persuade EDs to attend. The Amarillo Area Foundation does a great job in offering this resource to the community.”
“I am so happy to be involved in the group. Being the only staff person, it’s easy to feel isolated, but when I can come and network and learn with other directors I realize I have a larger support system.”
“I have been an executive director for 19 years and still learn so much during the Leader Circles from my peers. It is wonderful to find out that big or small, all of our organizations have some of the same problems. It also brings me up to date on many of the issues facing nonprofit organizations today.”
“The Leader Circle is a meeting I look forward to attending each time. We are able to determine topics as a group that address current needs and issues. In addition to the excellent information presented, we are also able to share best practices, ideas, and peer-to-peer support.”
“It’s a lot like a unique club that meets once a month. I find it really supportive to meet other people who have similar problems and experiences and see how they handle these issues. It also helps to understand how their boards deal with different situations. Fundraising is always a topic and it’s great to hear how my colleagues are doing in raising funds to support their missions.”
If you feel joining the circle would positively enhance your role as a nonprofit leader or for more information please contact Roxann Ball at 806.376.4521 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
Or you can register HERE