Honing Professional Skills at the Iowa Nonprofit Summit

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As I begin searching for my first career out of graduate school, I was interested in networking with other professionals in the field. I received the opportunity to assist with the initial development of a new nonprofit in northeast Iowa called Camp Bangarang. Camp Bangarang is a fun, empowering, and completely free camp experience for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. After diving into the project, I decided to travel to the Iowa Nonprofit Summit in order to network with other nonprofit professionals in the area and develop my skills in the profession.

I participated in many fantastic workshops, but two stood out to me, and gave me professional skills that I will carry with me.

“Isn’t there a better way? Five meeting mistakes and how to stop making them”

This workshop was very eye opening for me as someone who strives to have a future leadership position in administration. Specifically, I hope I will be in charge of designing successful meetings. The presenter gave us practical examples of how to set the meeting up for success, worksheets to complete prior and during meetings to keep everyone on track and engaged, and other tips and tools to ensure that weekly work meetings are engaging and successful.

“Creating reciprocal and transformational higher education-community partnerships”

I attended this session as I felt very connected to the concept of nonprofits reaching out to higher education institutions in the community to become more successful. The three presenters gave a great workshop, and talked about the benefits of taking young professional interns into the program, but also about creating ongoing partnerships. They used many examples that reminded me of the Truman School both with IPP and with our internship course that allows for feedback to the student and to the nonprofit organization host. They emphasized the importance of co-educators among the community and how this hands-on mentoring and learning is successful for both the student and the organization.

Other successful workshops I attended discussed mistakes made in the grant writing process, how to learn from them, and retaining donors in the 21st century.

Outside of the workshops, I was able to meet and talk with many exceptional professionals in the field who were all very encouraging and excited about Camp Bangarang. I truly enjoy conferences for their all-encompassing opportunity to both network with like-minded people and learn in the workshop setting. I am very happy and thankful to the Truman School for providing me with the opportunity to attend the Iowa Nonprofit Summit!