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Serving Nonprofits in Rural Communities. Liz Moore Dana Schaar Jahner National Council of Nonprofits Member Meeting 2014. Defining Rural. U.S. government has at least 15 different definitions Any place with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants and not located adjacent to an urban area

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serving nonprofits in rural communities

Serving Nonprofits in Rural Communities

Liz Moore

Dana Schaar Jahner

National Council of Nonprofits

Member Meeting 2014

defining rural
Defining Rural
  • U.S. government has at least 15 different definitions
    • Any place with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants and not located adjacent to an urban area
    • Any place that’s not in a town or city with more than 2,500 residents
  • Rural states vs. rural areas
http www dailyyonder com how rural are states 2012 04 02 3847
http://www.dailyyonder.com/how-rural-are-states/2012/04/02/3847http://www.dailyyonder.com/how-rural-are-states/2012/04/02/3847
what are the strengths of working in rural nonprofit communities for sas
What are the strengths of working in rural nonprofit communities for SAs?
  • Strong informal networks
  • Close relationships between agencies and between nonprofits and the people in the community
  • Know how to get things done on a shoestring
  • Collective sense of the needs in the community
  • Close ties between sectors (private, public, nonprofit)
  • People are looking out for each other
  • Trust that comes from a shared history
what are the challenges of serving rural communities for sas
What are the Challenges of Serving Rural Communities for SAs?
  • Resources required/dearth of resources
  • Rural philanthropy
  • Volunteers
  • Cultural differences in different parts of state
  • Engaging a statewide board
  • Working with local networks
  • When crisis hits a rural area (Bakken oil boom)
association resources training
Association Resources: Training
  • Lack of professional trainers or consultants
  • Not able to make money
    • Don’t have number of NPOs that can afford the fees to make it a source of revenue
    • Even in larger communities hard to cash flow
  • Technology has its limits
what rural boards of directors look like
What Rural Boards of Directors Look Like
  • Same 10 people
    • Working on younger board engagement – on horizon for MNA
  • States are aging
  • Many nonprofits are just the boards
  • Tool: NDANO developed checklist of annual requirements primarily for volunteer-run nonprofits
addressing challenges geography
Addressing Challenges: Geography
  • Plan for travel in budget
  • Try to get out as much possible – at least one time per year, travel impacted by weather
    • Montana – seven communities plus east; North Dakota – six communities
  • Town Hall meetings – only requires one staff member
    • Public policy as focus
  • Training – focus in larger communities
  • Meeting space
    • MNA: bring people to conference room space – professionalism
    • NDANO: no-cost space – college, library, etc.
  • Technology not the same – doesn’t create community
addressing challenges culture
Addressing Challenges: Culture
  • East vs. West in MT and ND
    • Staff familiarity with two parts of state (Liz from eastern MT)
    • Go in first with questions and get temperature before bringing services
  • Find an ambassador in local community
  • Use board members as ambassadors
    • Membership recruitment – Tool: matrix
    • Training PR
    • Representing needs of community to SA
  • Take time necessary for relationships
addressing challenges rural philanthropy
Addressing Challenges: Rural Philanthropy
  • Having champion like Senator Baucus
    • Advantage: we know our congressional delegation and they know us
  • Few funders– easy to talk with
  • MNA: funders tour – bringing in regional funders
  • Community foundations – local philanthropic presence
  • Endowment Tax Credit
addressing challenges lack of professional trainers
Addressing Challenges: Lack of Professional Trainers
  • Promote webinars that are already available – NTEN, IdealWare, discounts when possible
  • Obtain grant funding to reach remote parts of state
  • Pro-bono if possible
  • Go with trainer into community – help shape trainers’ expectations in terms of how many will attend and what community capacity is currently
  • MNA: need/desire to find funding for person in eastern MT
addressing challenges sa board
Addressing Challenges: SA Board
  • Meet quarterly – conference call meetings twice per year
    • Make travel easier – in person in August and on phone in February
  • Travel is part of their contribution
  • All committee meetings are conference call
addressing challenges local networks
Addressing Challenges: Local Networks
  • Networkers Cohort
  • Monthly conference calls
  • Met at annual conference
rural crisis bakken oil boom
Rural Crisis: Bakken Oil Boom
  • Infrastructure
  • Workforce
  • Affordable housing
  • Crime
  • Healthcare
  • Philanthropy
thank you

Thank You!

Session summary will be posted on National Council of Nonprofits website

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