Seminars meet nonprofits' needs


April 18, 1994|By LESTER A. PICKER

One of the harbingers of spring, as surely as the returning robins, is the arrival of spring conferences, seminars and get-togethers of nonprofits in the area. Three events are worthy of note.

First, the Maryand Association of Nonprofit Organizations, better known as Maryland Nonprofits, is holding their annual meeting from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 29. This year the theme is "Side-By-Side," an examination of how the nonprofit sector interfaces with business, government and the media. Plans include concurrent panels, a luncheon, a plenary session and a marketplace that features booths staffed by nonprofits and vendors.

As I walked to a pre-meeting planning session for the media panel, Nick Brown, executive director of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, remarked at how far Maryland Nonprofits has come in the past 18 months. And, indeed it has.

With more than 300 members, the organization is an effective advocate for nonprofits. Its mix of services and products designed to help charities do their job continues to impress me. The planning session led by Peter Berns, Maryland Nonprofits' executive director, was typical of the association's attention to the needs of its members and should help make the day a rewarding one for members.

The individual sessions will enable participants to thoughtfully examine substantive issues which affect the very existence of nonprofits in Maryland. Time is planned for comments by panelists, as well as discussion with attendees.

You do not need to be a member to attend. Call Maryland Nonprofits at (410) 727-6367 for more details.

On May 12, the Baltimore Public Realtions Council, the Public Relations Society of America (Maryland Chapter) and Maryland Nonprofits are sponsoring their second annual "Nonprofit Power," a daylong seminar aimed at smaller nonprofits. These nonprofits typically have one person responsible for multiple marketing and PR functions.

Last year's seminar was a huge success, drawing more than 300 people and demonstrating the local need for more information on this critical issue in our media age. This year, the organizers are planning events so that attendees will leave with a notebook of basic PR how-to information, as well as a plan of action to boost the PR efforts of their specific organization. For more information on "Nonprofit Power" call Gene Bracken at (410) 727-0447.

Finally, on May 26, the National Society of Fund Raising Executives is sponsoring its 10th annual Focus on Philanthropy conference, one of the most anticipated events in the local nonprofit calendar. This all-day event is crammed with informative sessions, neatly segmented into "tracks" covering special events, strategic planning, volunteers, corporate philanthropy and major gifts.

Focus on Philanthropy also offers attendees the chance to view vendor wares, exchange literature, and explore placement opportunities available in fund-raising.

As usual, the conference is paired with a two-day training program for professionals new to the fund-raising arena. NSFRE's First Course in Fund Raising is a 12-hour program for people with less than three years' experience in the field. It covers essential elements of the development office and includes supporting materials that participants can take back to the office.

For registration information, call Carole Watkins at (410) 383-5591 before May 12. NSFRE offers scholarship aid to offset registration fees.

Les Picker is a philanthropy consultant. Write to him at The Brokerage, 34 Market Place, Suite 331, Baltimore, Md. 21202. 783-5100

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