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For eight years, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) has hosted an annual conference for nonprofits in small towns and rural communities. This September, we're pleased to bring this engaging event to Bemidji. This day-long summit is designed to bring together staff, board members and volunteers from across northwestern Minnesota to learn, network and strategize. The event is especially designed for small to mid-size organizations, especially those working in regional centers, small towns and rural communities.

This year's Summit will tackle some of the most important perennial themes for nonprofits in Greater Minnesota. Conference sessions will address enduring issues faced by nonprofits including leadership, fundraising, human resources, communications and more. Throughout each discussion, we'll look at the ways that these issues play out in our Greater Minnesota communities and we'll highlight opportunities for building a vibrant landscape for all.

Conference Plenary Session 

Using Data to Tell the Story of the Northwest Region

Learn about the latest and greatest data for the Northwest Minnesota region. Ellen Wolter, research scientist with Minnesota Compass, will share trends about changing demographics in the northwest Minnesota region and Greater Minnesota and how these changes are influencing our communities. Ellen will also share how you can use new Minnesota Compass data and tools for Greater Minnesota to tell your own story about the Northwest Minnesota region, including a tutorial on how to build customizable profiles specific to your community. Minnesota Compass was founded and is supported by a collaborative of regional foundations with the aim that Minnesota community organizations will incorporate impartial, current information into their program development and fundraising strategies.

Ellen WolterEllen Wolter serves as a research scientist for Minnesota Compass where she tracks indicators for the project which provides community-level trends for Minnesota residents. Before joining Wilder Research, Ellen worked for the University of Iowa’s Center for Evaluation and Assessment and University of Minnesota’s Office of Community Engagement for Health conducting research and evaluation. She has worked with community-based organizations, state and local government, and higher education institutions for the past 15 years to develop indicators that support informed decision-making. Ellen holds dual master’s degrees in public health and public policy from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in English from Grinnell College. Ellen has presented her work at local and national conferences and currently serves on the board of directors of the Minnesota Evaluation Association.

Conference Luncheon Panel

Economic Resilience & Sustainability in Rural Communities

Over lunch, we'll have the opportunity to hear from Steve Anseth, Abdo, Eick & Meyers; Jason Carlson, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council; Nate Dorr, Northwest Minnesota Foundation; Liz Kuoppala, Mahube-Otwa; and Tuleah Palmer, Northwest Indian Community Development Center. There will be discussion around cooperating versus competing, growing a donor database and strategies for diversifying agency revenue. The conversation will also touch on how to communicate with your funders, how to apply for grants for multipurpose use, including brick and mortar, unrestricted dollars, and operating funds. There will be time for Q&A with the panel, so bring your questions!

Getting to BSU

The conference will begin in the Beaux Arts Ballroom. From there, workshops will be in either the Beaux Arts Ballroom, or the Lower Hobson Memorial Union in rooms Oza Windib, the Crying Wolf Room, or the Northern Room. There will be signs, as well as MCN and BSU staff available for directing attendees to their workshop locations. Attendees may park for free in the Bangsburg parking lot, about one block from the Beaux Arts Ballroom at the intersection of 14th St. NE and Birchmont Drive.

Northwest Chapter Advisory Committee

Jason Carlson, C.E.O., Tri-Valley Opportunity Council Inc.
Connie Carmichael, executive director, Living at Home of the Park Rapids Area
Gabriel E. Warren, assistant professor of marketing, Bemidji State University
Laura Lobo, owner, Voice Pizzazz

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Greater Minnesota
Nonprofit Summit
Thursday, September 20
9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Bemidji State University
1500 Birchmont Dr NE, Bemidji

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Sponsored by: