National Forest Foundation

Learning Topics

Nonprofit and Collaborative Organizational Development

Nonprofit organizations, no matter what their mission, face similar challenges to each other. We have gathered key resources and tools to provide quick reference on the key issues that nonprofit board and staff members deal with every day. We have also included information specific to collaborative groups. For individualized coaching or referrals to help your nonprofit or collaborative group work through a challenge, please contact the National Forest Foundation’s Conservation Connect staff: Karen DiBari or Emily Olsen.

Not finding what you need? Visit our Collaboration Tools Search to see all tools and resources.


Selected Tools & Resources

The Collaboration Cloverleaf: Four Stages of Development
Research has shown that successfully addressing the factors below results in a more effective collaborative effort. There may also be some factors that your collaborative must address that aren’t listed here. We call this a cloverleaf as you will meet all of the challenges repeatedly and not necessarily in order. As the group moves around the cloverleaf, its members will increase in skill level, so the next time the group faces the same challenge, it will be better prepared. This tool is meant to give you an idea of “what’s next” and what might be missing.

Becoming a Nonprofit Organization
Starting a new nonprofit is neither an easy nor a swift task. One of the first steps is establishing an Advisory Committee, which may become the founding board, to guide the organization through the following 11 steps.

Best Practice: Maintaining an Effective Web Presence
This best practice document highlights the Grandfather Restoration Project Blog and the Deschutes Landscape Restoration Project Facebook page, and includes examples, how-to tips, and words of advice from experts involved with both projects.

Five Life Stages of a Nonprofit Organization
This tool outlines the the five life stages of nonprofit organization, and can help build your organization by detailing "Where You Are, Where You’re Going, and What to Expect When You Get There."

Steps to Becoming a Nonprofit
Starting a new nonprofit is neither an easy nor a swift task. One of the first steps is establishing an Advisory Committee, which may become the founding board, to guide the organization through the following 11 steps. Staying legal through the process can be difficult if you are not prepared. Below is an outline of the major steps necessary to start a nonprofit. These steps are a general guide and may not apply to all situations. In some more complex situations, legal assistance may be necessary.

Self-Monitoring Tool for Nonprofit Boards
This tool was adapted from "Benchmarking Your Organization's Development," by the Institute for Conservation Leadership.

Agreement for Non-reimbursed Volunteer Services
This agreement example outlines the relationship between volunteers and an organization (the Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana).

Tracking in-kind contributions and volunteer time
This tool will help you recognize the value of in-kind, or non-cash contributions and donations to your organization or collaborative.

Fiscal Sponsorship - Doing it Right
Fiscal sponsorship can go beyond just managing money and providing a vehicle for fundraising—fiscal sponsors can also provide legal, administrative and programmatic oversight. The services a fiscal sponsor provides depend on your needs and the practices of the sponsoring organization.This tool helps develop a good fiscal sponsorship relationship.

Selected Peer Learning Sessions

FACAphobia (March 26, 2015)
Ray Vaughan, Co-Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Forest Planning Rule Implementation, and a member of previous advisory committees, provided an overview of FACA and addressed FACA fears by discussing what is permissible – or what raises a red flag – under FACA. Following the refresher, Will Bulter from Florida State University discussed his research findings on how FACA may affect a collaborative, and Kendal Young, Forest Service CFLR Cornerstone Coordinator, shared his perspective from working with a CFLR collaborative group.

Collaboration and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (May 6, 2009)
In this peer learning session, participants discussed the Federal Advisory Committee Act: the three key tests for FACA, how to work collaboratively with the public without violating FACA, and other key details about the act and its implementation.

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