Center for Nonprofit Leadership

2017 nonprofit conference to examine fundamentals of success

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 15, 2017 — The Drury University Center for Nonprofit Leadership will host the sixth annual Nonprofit Communication Conference next month, bringing hundreds of industry leaders and community change-agents from across the Midwest to Springfield.

The 2017 conference will be held Friday, Oct. 6, at the Oasis Convention Center. The theme is “Back to Basics,” with a focus on the inspirations behind the organizations that are addressing some of the most pressing needs in communities throughout the Midwest. The training is Missouri’s largest single-day nonprofit conference, attracting nearly 300 people representing around 125 organizations from eight states.

The conference features 14 speakers and includes sessions on relevant and timely industry topics, including:

  • Fundraising Freedom
  • Leading from Your Strengths
  • Telling Stories through Financial Statements
  • Enhancing Accountability and Engagement
  • Getting Your Story in the Media
  • Strategic Planning for your Brand
  • The Power of Social Media
  • Frameworks and Tools for Defining Impact
  • Project Management in the Nonprofit World
  • Improving Engagement through Internal Communication
  • Fundraising Basics that Produce Results
  • Connecting Board and Staff Meetings

Major sponsors include Thrivent Financial, Connell Insurance, DL Media, Oasis Hotel and Convention Center, KPM CPAs, and Panera Bread.

The registration is $75, $65 group rates (5 or more), $59 students (ID required). To learn more or to register, visit www.Drury.edu/Nonprofit.

For more information, contact Dan Prater at the Drury University Center for Nonprofit Leadership, (417)-873-7443 or dprater@drury.edu.

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Drury faculty member selected to lead statewide nonprofit association

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 28, 2017 — Dan Prater has been selected to serve as the co-chair of Nonprofit Missouri, the statewide association of nonprofit organizations.

Prater is a faculty member at Drury University and serves as the executive director of the university’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership. In this role, he organizes workshops and conferences, consults local nonprofit organizations, and writes and speaks on industry-related topics. Dan teaches in Drury’s Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership degree program.

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Dan has spearheaded several local studies, including the 2016 “Springfield Area Congregations Study,” which examined the civic engagement of religious congregations in Greene and Christian counties, and “Volunteerism: A Study of the Springfield Area.”

Nonprofit Missouri, based in Jefferson City, is the collective voice to unite, strengthen, and advance the nonprofit sector in Missouri. Created by and for nonprofits, it is Missouri’s first organization to promote the common interests of the state’s nonprofit organizations. Board members include representatives from nonprofit organizations and universities in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and other regions throughout Missouri.

As of January 2017, there were more than 55,000 registered nonprofit organizations in the state of Missouri (www.taxexemptworld.com) with collective assets exceeding $120 billion.

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Media Contact: Dan Prater, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership: (417) 873-7443 or dprater@drury.edu.

Researchers unveil study on congregations’ community impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 9, 2016 — After two years of work, a team of researchers at Missouri State University and Drury University today released a report titled “Springfield Area Congregations Study: Profile and Community Engagement” that explored the dimensions and community impact of congregations in Greene and Christian counties.

“This study filled the gap in the community as there needed to be a study that shows how many churches there are, who they are and what they are doing,” said Dan Prater, Drury University executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. “It reinforces the truth that community issues require community collaboration and change.”

Study Results 

The study focuses on congregations as part of the nonprofit sector and their engagement in social services, volunteer activity and other forms of civic activity. It not only complements Missouri State’s studies on social capital and civic engagement, but also serves as a companion report to Drury’s 2014 Nonprofit Impact Study.

A total of 176 congregations completed the study’s survey. Among the study’s key findings were:

  • Greene County has a higher density of congregations compared to other similarly sized counties nationwide
  • 16 percent of congregational leaders are women and 7 percent are members of a racial minority
  • 91 percent have at least one organized group for members such as Bible studies and social groups
  • 88 percent sponsor social service programs that serve the broader community
  • 82 percent provide volunteers for schools, social service and other community agencies
  • 77 percent of congregations have leaders who are involved in community activities
  • 90 percent of congregations collaborate with other congregations or community groups
  • Congregation size has the most notable effect on community engagement

“The most interesting finding for me is there is a high level of participation among all churches, but larger churches tend to be more involved,” said Dr. Catherine Hoegeman, Missouri State assistant professor of sociology. “The next step is to see why that is and if there are ways to offer partnerships with smaller churches who often do not have the same resources.”

The report was a collaborative effort among four researchers: Hoegeman, Prater, Christina Ryder, Missouri State sociology instructor and director of community based research at the Center for Community Engagement, and Matthew Gallion, Missouri State alumnus and CaseWorthy Inc. client support specialist.

“This study is a first-of-its-kind report providing an in-depth look at important traits and contributions of these groups in the Springfield area,” said Hoegeman.

Study design

The research team created a comprehensive list of 549 congregations. They followed the same definition of congregation used by the National Congregations Study (NCS), which includes a series of surveys done in 1998, 2006 and 2012 to find out about programs and other characteristics of American congregations.

To collect the information, the team designed a survey that included questions about congregational characteristics and activities, involvement of congregations’ leaders in community activities and congregation-sponsored volunteering at other organizations.

The questions were based on the NCS so comparisons could be made between congregations in the Springfield area and nationwide.

For more information, contact Dan Prater, executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at (417) 873-7443 or dprater@drury.edu; or Hoegeman at 417-836-5683.

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Drury study reveals impact of volunteers in the Springfield area

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 16, 2016 — Drury University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership will unveil the results of a new study examining volunteerism in the Springfield area during a news conference at 9 a.m., Tuesday, June 21 at Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center.

The study provides an in-depth look at volunteers in Greene and Christian counties, their service, and how they help organizations accomplish their missions. The 30-page report highlights trends in volunteerism, motives for giving time, and how organizations manage volunteers. One major finding: formal volunteerism (service documented by area nonprofits and institutions) has an economic impact of almost $45 million per year in the two counties.

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The study is a follow-up to the Center’s 2014 Nonprofit Impact Report, the first such report ever conducted in Springfield. The Impact Report revealed the sweeping scope of nonprofits in the area, including the fact that about half of all private employees in Springfield work for a nonprofit of some kind.

“Notably absent from our 2014 Impact Report was any significant data on volunteers and how their work supports nonprofits,” says Dan Prater, Director of Center for Nonprofit Leadership. “The new study gives us valuable insight into what is essentially the lifeblood of the nonprofit sector – and it provides clues as to how volunteerism can be strengthened and amplified in our community.”

The study was conducted over a period of two years and tracks a wide spectrum of formal volunteerism, from small organizations that exist almost solely as volunteer endeavors to large organizations such as hospitals that rely on platoons of volunteers for small but crucial tasks. It breaks down volunteerism data by ZIP codes, age, race, gender, education level, and income as well as the number of hours given and types of causes each group is most likely to gravitate toward. This information could help local nonprofits identify ways to better engage different constituencies such as minority groups, millennials or low-income families.

Hard copies of the report will be made available at the news conference. For information on the Center, go to www.drury.edu/nonprofit.

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Media Contact: Dan Prater, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership: (417) 873-7443 or dprater@drury.edu.

Drury-led conference helps nonprofits bolster their long-term viability

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 9, 2016 — Hundreds of nonprofit professionals from across Missouri and the Midwest are gathering today to help ensure the long-term viability of their organizations at the 2016 Nonprofit Sustainability Conference. The event takes place at the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks.

Organized by Drury University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership and presented by the Roy W. Slusher Foundation, this one-day event for nonprofit professionals and leaders is focused on fundraising, financial stability and growth. Speakers and panelists will generate practical ideas on fundraising, management, and other important issues that help bring about a strong, sustainable organization.

Dan Prater

Dan Prater

“The recession has had a crippling impact on many community organizations and on the people who give to them,” says Dan Prater, director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. “This conference focuses on strengthening and supporting leaders, helping them find sustainable solutions for their organizations.”

More than 200 professionals from Missouri, Kanas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois and New York will attend. The conference doors open at 8 a.m. Sessions begin at 9 a.m. For more information about the event and schedule visit: http://www.drury.edu/nonprofit/2016-nonprofit-sustainability-conference.

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Drury among partners selected for $1.3 million Northwest Project grant

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks announced today that a five-year grant for up to $1.3 million to address poverty in northwest Springfield will be awarded to a partnership led by Missouri State University, the Drew Lewis Foundation and Drury University.

The partnership was selected by a volunteer grant committee through a competitive process that began last fall. Major funding for the grant is being provided by the CFO, the Stanley and Elaine Ball Foundation managed by Central Trust and The Musgrave Foundation.

The goal of The Northwest Project is to pilot strategies over a five-year period to help families overcome the challenges that have kept them living in poverty and sustain their long-term success in emerging from those circumstances. The MSU/Drew Lewis/Drury partnership was selected for its vision of using a model that couples family support with neighborhood development and sustainability. This community-driven development model will work to bridge the gaps between people and resources through both case management services and a teamwork approach where program participants will be expected to support each other.

A strong consideration in awarding the grant is the proposed comprehensive evaluation process, which will be coordinated jointly by MSU’s Center for Community Engagement and Drury’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership. In addition, Drury’s Community Outreach and Leadership Development Office will manage a centralized, online volunteer service to coordinate participant needs and reduce overlap of services.

The CFO encouraged grant applicants to consider a model used in Jacksonville, Florida’s “1,000 in 1,000” project, which has demonstrated success in reducing poverty by emphasizing “pivotal assets” that boost families’ opportunities for success. Examples of these include financial literacy, parenting skills, reliable transportation, affordable housing, quality childcare and others.

The MSU/Drew Lewis/Drury partnership also includes a number of community agencies that will provide resources related to these pivotal assets. These partners are: Ozarks Technical Community College, MU Extension, the City of Springfield, Consumer Credit Counseling, Springfield Community Gardens, Springfield Public Schools, Life 360 Family Services, Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, Great Circle-Parenting Life Skills Center, Hand in Hand Multicultural Center, Care to Learn, Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, Ozarks Regional YMCA and Schweitzer United Methodist Church Jobs for Life Program.

The first step for The Northwest Project will be informational meetings this spring to recruit and evaluate the first group of eligible families. For more information about the background of The Northwest Project, visit: www.cfozarks.org/northwest.

Drury launches Master of Nonprofit & Civic Leadership degree program

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 21, 2015 — Drury University will soon begin offering a new graduate degree for professionals seeking to enhance their skill sets in the nonprofit and civic sectors.

The Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership is a unique offering in a community where nonprofit organizations employ about half of all private workers and play an integral role in tackling pressing issues such as poverty, healthcare and education. The program aims to truly enhance the quality of life in the Ozarks by preparing emerging and mid-level leaders for executive service in these key institutions.

The degree takes full advantage of Drury’s highly interdisciplinary approach to education, bringing together academic resources from across campus and drawing upon the university’s longstanding commitment to civic engagement. It also harnesses the expertise of leaders from the Ozarks’ political, economic and cultural spheres, who will act as guest lecturers and mentors as well as facilitate exclusive internship opportunities. A key element of the program will be collaborative efforts between students and Drury’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership, which conducts research, training and networking for nonprofits in the region under director Dan Prater.

Classes begin in January. The 30-credit-hour program (10 courses) will focus on areas such as leadership, strategic planning, advocacy, resource management and governance. Designed with working professionals in mind, courses will be offered in a format that blends online and seated evening classes.

“When all of your training is on the job, then you really lose time,” says Debi Meeds, CEO of the United Way of the Ozarks, and supporter of the program. “And it is detrimental to the organization you’re leading. It’s important that you come to an organization with a professional level of knowledge, because then you can move that organization forward.”

“I never worry about the passion,” says Brian Fogle, president/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, which has supported Drury’s nonprofit training programs, conferences and studies to strengthen the sector. “But I think we can do a better job of providing that skill set that is needed.”

“There is no other graduate program in the region with a twin emphasis on effective leadership and harnessing the power of the nonprofit sector to enhance life in our community,” says Dr. Charles Taylor, professor of communication and director of the new program.

Drury is offering the first credit hour free (a $444 value) for those who enroll now. For more information, visit: www.drury.edu/ncl. To receive the discount, applicants will enter the code MNCL when completing the online application.

For more information, contact: Dr. Charles Taylor. Office: (417) 873-7391; email: ctaylor@drury.edu.

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Conference helps Midwest nonprofits sharpen communication skills

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 14, 2015 — Nearly 300 community leaders representing organizations from across Missouri and several surrounding states will gather Friday, Oct.16, at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center for the 2015 Nonprofit Communication Conference.

The annual event has grown to become the largest one-day conference of its kind in the state. Representatives from many of the region’s largest health systems, universities, charitable and civic groups will receive training on a variety of topics including crisis communication, advocacy, grant writing and fundraising. The conference is presented by the Drury University Center for Nonprofit Leadership, which is a statewide leader in training, research and outreach in the nonprofit sector.

According to the IRS, there are more than 1,500 registered nonprofit organizations in Springfield – including many of the region’s top employers. A 2014 study by the Center revealed Springfield’s nonprofit organizations comprise more than 50 percent of the city’s total private workforce – almost 40,000 people daily.

“Springfield is a model nonprofit community when it comes to collaboration and a willingness to take on social issues,” says Dan Prater, conference organizer and director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Drury. “This conference always features a lot of great energy as we learn from one another and share our experiences.”

Major conference sponsors include DL Media, KPM CPAs, Ollis/Akers/Arney, Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Panera Bread.

For more information, contact conference organizer Dan Prater at (417) 873-7443 or via email at dprater@drury.edu, or visit: www.Drury.edu/Nonprofit.

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