2020 Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference

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2020 Finance Conference - 1100x260

Breakout Sessions

All sessions, including the keynote address, will be recorded and made available to registrants in our Download Center after each day.

April 14

8 - 9 a.m. Town Hall

Bagels & Bytes: IT/Tech Roundable Discussion
Grab some breakfast and get ready to participate in this virtual discussion. After a short introduction, facilitators from Propel Nonprofits and Idealware/Tech Impact will guide you to breakout rooms where you can connect with peers from small-to-medium sized organizations. Compare notes on how technology can help you work from home, deliver programs remotely, and raise money during periods of social distancing and sheltering in place. Get advice on how you can make the best of this situation, putting systems and habits in place that make your organization more nimble and resilient for the long term.
Joel Barker, president, Brave North Technology; Karen Graham, director of education & outreach, Tech Impact; Luciano Patino, technology/IT manager, Propel Nonprofits; and Linda Widdop, managing director of client solutions, Tech Impact

11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Round 1 Breakout Sessions

A Dialogue: Governing in a Time of Crisis 
As nonprofit leaders and team members are racing to keep operations open and to be responsive to the needs of their clients, what is the role of the nonprofit board right now? Where is their leadership needed most to support the organization, its employees, and the recipients of its services? What are the critical changes that are occurring for the organization’s finances that have both short-term and long-term ramifications? Join us for a conversation about the role of the nonprofit board in this time of unprecedented uncertainty.
Kate Barr, president and chief executive officer, Propel Nonprofits; John Sullivan, chair, board of trustees, The Minneapolis Foundation; and Kabo Yang, strategic services consultant, Propel Nonprofits

The Power of Endowment
Nonprofit endowments are one of the best ways you can invest in your organization's longevity. They allow you to channel charitable gifts into a single investment that builds over time to create a solid foundation for an organization’s future. Join presenters from the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation as they explore the power of endowment. The presenters will talk about what an endowment is and the value of having one, along with ways to grow and market an endowment. Led by a team that manages more than 400 nonprofit endowments across the state of Minnesota, the presenters will also demonstrate how to use endowments to create an ongoing source of income for your organization, open your fundraising portfolio to planned gifts, and attract new donors to your organization. 
Mariah Brook and Elizabeth McCray, gift planners, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation


1 - 2 p.m. Round 2 Breakout Sessions

COVID-19: Navigating the CARES Act

As a result of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), among other funding sources, there are a several loan and grant programs providing economic relief for COVID-19 becoming available. This session will unpack the latest guidance about what’s known, and offer practical interpretation and advice about how to actually apply for and secure those resources.  We’ll also highlight useful approaches, tips, and tools to sizing your cash and capital needs as you navigate uncertain times.
Ben Aase and Kelsey Vatsaas, principals, CLA

Tax Reform: What is the Impact on Charities?
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts continues to impact nonprofits. Charitable contributions reported on individual income tax returns have drastically declined due to changes in the standard deduction. It is important for nonprofits to understand the different giving strategies individuals may consider in the wake of tax reform. In addition to covering the impact of tax reform on charitable giving, this session will review giving alternatives including charitable distributions from individual retirement accounts and best practices for making direct non-cash gifts to public charities. 
Larry Mohr, partner, Baker Tilly

2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Round 3 Breakout Sessions

Amplify Your Impact Through People Practices
People are often described as an agency's key differentiator. The hard and soft costs of your people practices can make or break your agency's sustainability. Attend this session to learn how to mitigate risk factors, proactively address employment-related issues, and create a desirable workplace culture.
Kelly Rietow, principal, Roo Solutions, LLC

Economic Justice and System Change
Increasingly, economic inequality has become a central problem of U.S. society. This rising economic inequality touches on the work of nearly all nonprofits. But how should nonprofit actors conceptualize the economy and develop responses to address the many economic problems that affect the people we serve? This session aims to provide some basic tools for thinking about and responding to economic challenges to promote positive change. In this workshop, we will have an interactive exercise that helps participants map how the economy shows up in the community where you work. We will follow that with discussion of how risk is racialized and how economic system change has occurred historically (and might occur again today).   

Gar Alperovitz, co-founder, The Democracy Collaborative; Steve Dubb, senior editor and director, Economic Justice Program, Nonprofit Quarterly; Emily Kawano, co-director, Wellspring Cooperative; and Repa Mehka, president and CEO, Nexus Community Partners

April 21

11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Round 4 Breakout Sessions

Personnel Strategies in the Face of Impossible Choices

This session focuses on personnel strategies and related financial effects for nonprofits who are faced with impossible choices around service continuity, cost reduction, possible layoffs, program closures, and organizational survival. Join us as we consider various approaches to staffing as we manage through the fiscal fallout of the pandemic. The effects of service disruption, loss of funding, working from home, and widespread economic upset are forcing nonprofits of all types to balance many equally important priorities -- preserving our mission, sustaining our wonderful staff, and trying to maintain some semblance of business continuity.
Curt Klotz, director of nonprofit innovation and Jessica Smith, HR consultant, CLA

Sustainable Investing: A Governance Guide for Nonprofit Fiduciaries
This is a time of fundamental change in the way investors look at opportunity and a significant part of that change comes from the application of sustainable investing concepts to investment analysis and portfolio construction. More and more nonprofits are seeking to align their behaviors with their values - including how they invest. In this session, we will address governance issues that are to be considered to nonprofits contemplating sustainable investing approaches. 
James Dykstal, senior consultant, DeMarche Associates; Daniel Lemm, director of finance and treasurer, Blandin Foundation; and Peg VanWagoner, senior consultant, DeMarche Associates


1 - 2 p.m. Round 5 Breakout Sessions

Capital Projects: Charting a Course for Success

Capital projects are complicated, stressful, and expensive endeavors for most nonprofits – no matter their size, experience or resources. With decades of combined experience in the fundraising, real estate, and construction management fields, the presenters believe there is a better way to prepare for and execute these projects. This session will highlight the experience of The Reading Center in Rochester and the lessons learned from its challenging – and ultimately successful – effort to construct a new building and achieve greater community impact. The presentation will include insights gleaned from a recent, informal survey of institutional funders that identified: how foundations assess the viability of capital funding proposals; the factors they consider before making the decision to invest; and the predictable, avoidable pitfalls that their grantees often experience during their capital projects. 
Paul Johnson, principal, NTH; Cindy Russell, executive director, The Reading Center; and Kim Snyder, principal, Excelsior Bay Group

Help! I’ve Been Elected Board Treasurer
Were you just elected board treasurer and you’re not sure what to do? Are you an executive director who has a new board treasurer and they need some finance skills to carry out their role? Or are you a board chair who convinced your friend on the board to be the treasurer, and now you need to create a financial game plan for the board? This session is geared toward helping new treasurers be successful in their new role on the board. Presenters will cover handy tools and practices that can help board treasurers develop finance skills, ask strategic financial questions, lead board development in finance, and keep the numbers connected to mission.
Mario Hernandez, director of strategic services, and Amanda Ziebell Mawanda, strategic services consultant, Propel Nonprofits


2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Round 6 Breakout Sessions

QuickBooks: Working Remotely   
The ability to work from home seemed like a luxury not long ago. Now we realize it is a component of disaster planning. How is your nonprofit navigating the change in accounting processes? In this session we'll cover remote access for desktop, moving to QuickBooks online, and apps that support internal controls while functioning remotely. You'll be able to ask questions of expert QuickBooks users and benefit from the wisdom in the "virtual" room.
Mary Cleary, consultant, Cleary Consulting Group, Inc.; Megan Genest Tarnow, principal, The Mobius Group; Bethany Gladhill, consultant, GladhillRhone; and Acacia Willey, senior accounting & finance consultant, Propel Nonprofits

Transitioning to the Finance Director’s Chair

C.F.O., finance director, director of finance, no matter what you call the head of the finance department, when you transition to the position for the first time your roles and responsibilities will change. This session is designed for staff who have recently made or are working to make that transition.
Keven Ambrus, chief financial officer & vice president, finance and Peter Olsen, director of finance and administration, Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul

3:45 - 4:45 p.m. Happy Hour

The post-conference happy hour is a perennial participant favorite. This year is no different! In the happy hour spirit, we encourage you to bring-your-own-beverage. Make Me a Cocktail will help you design a drink using the ingredients you already have at home, or check out these recipes for mocktails. Once trivia concludes we'll open small chat rooms for attendees to socialize, network, and share what they learned at the conference.

Trivia Time: Interactive Accounting Topics
Today's trivia will feature advanced accounting topics. Have your cell phone on hand to play along for a chance to win prizes. Topics will be introduced multiple choice trivia style with additional context added after questions and answers. This will be an action packed, high level session designed to highlight key advanced accounting issues but not dredge through the details of each.
Steve Anseth, partner, Nonprofit Services Leader, Abdo Eick and Meyers, LLP and Becky Johnson, financial manager, WomenVenture

Sponsored by:

Bremer Bank - new logo                   CLA

Mutual of America                      NTH

Hosted by:

Propel Nonprofits                     MCN Logo