Essential Learning Series: Effective Organizations

Start a new chapter for your organization by going back to the basics. River Network is excited to make available our acclaimed training series: A Recipe for Effective River and Watershed Organizations. The series is designed to help executive directors and board leaders implement best practices in essential areas of nonprofit management.
Over the course of the webinar series, our staff walks you through key organizational best practices that will significantly increase your organization’s impact and sustainability. The trainings will provide you with useful tools and templates so you can immediately apply what you’ve learned.

This five-part series includes:  

  • Governance: Building Strong Boards to Lead Strong Organizations – Paco Ollervides
  • Goals, Strategies, Tactics – Oh My! Strategic Planning from Vision to Implementation and Evaluation – Diana Toledo
  • Fundraising Best Practices for Water Organizations – Caroline Bott
  • We Want You! Volunteer Recruitment, Management & Retention – Paco Ollervides and Jason Frenzel
  • Ensuring Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Your Organization – Diana Toledo

The trainings, originally recorded in 2018 and early 2019 were jointly led by River Network Leadership Development staff  Caroline BottPaco Ollervides, and Diana Toledo. Together they have over 50 years experience working with nonprofit organizations. Their work as trainers and consultants is informed by what they know has worked – and hasn’t – for your peers around the country.

Governance: Building Strong Boards to Lead Strong Organizations

Have you ever had a very committed Board and all your programs set, yet feel something is off and the internal effectiveness of the organization is just not there? Our experience tells us that even the most engaged Board members need some clarity and direction to ensure their contributions are worthwhile. In this webinar we will differentiate the various kinds of Boards that exist according to their stages of development. We will provide tips on how to clarify between Board and staff roles and highlight the essential tasks all Boards should carry out. Finally, we will share and discuss best practices from around the country that exemplify what strong Boards do and have done.


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Goals, Strategies, Tactics – Oh My! Strategic Planning from Vision to Implementation and Evaluation

Strategic planning is a disciplined approach to deciding what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. At its core, strategic planning is effective board governance. This session is designed to give participants a basic understanding of strategic planning and its importance in the health of the organization. We will review the planning process, roles and responsibilities, and answer frequently asked questions. Participants will learn the difference between mission, vision, and values and how these guiding principles relate to the planning process. We will dive deep into the environmental scanning and situational analysis processes to understand how these illuminate critical issues and opportunities. We will then explore the development of strategic goals based on these issues and opportunities. We will conclude the session by discussing the importance of plan implementation and review concrete steps to ensure that your next strategic plan does not become a doorstop.


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Fundraising Best Practices for River and Water Organizations

Fundraising offers donors the opportunity to invest in the change they want to see in the world. At its core, fundraising is relationship-building with prospective donors (individuals, foundations, corporations, etc.) It takes time, and it takes knowledge about fundraising principals, ethics, and the best practice. This session will explain the fundraising cycle (and the roles staff, board and volunteers play), the importance of planning and choosing appropriate strategies, and provide tips for building a strong development program for your organization.


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Volunteer Recruitment, Management, & Retention

River and watershed groups depend heavily on volunteers, and while every nonprofit reaps the benefits of donated labor, the value of volunteering action goes far beyond any price that can be ascribed to their work. Every volunteer who takes your cause to heart, your message to the community, and your mission into their lives brings you closer to achieving your goals. In this session we will share with you what motivates volunteers, how to build a successful volunteer program including tips for recruitment and management, and how to steward your volunteers up the volunteer pyramid to help you create committed leaders for your organization.


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Ensuring Equity, Diversity, & Inclusivity in Your Programs

In this webinar, River Network staff share our organization’s learning journey toward making our work more equitable and inclusive. We share two useful frameworks that we have found helpful to organize and prioritize our EDI strategies, and various tools, resources and best practices to support organizations’ efforts to re-imagine their work through the lens of equity.

River Network seeks to promote Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in our work and the work of organizations across our network.

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Resource Materials