The nonprofit technology community has asked for a new kind of gathering. We’ve received this feedback in program evaluations, annual surveys, committee discussions, and personal emails and calls for many years. In 2014, we launched the Leading Change Summit (LCS) as the first iteration of this new event model. It was a big test about what could work and what would need to change, and it was a lot of fun. There were incredible people involved that helped form and advance inspiring projects. It’s now 2015, and we think we’ve made the LCS model even better for year two. Here’s how:
Your Personal Strategic Planning Session
In planning and designing LCS, one area of consistent feedback was that the people who were most interested in this new model (nonprofit leaders who manage a team, a budget, and/or strategy) were also the people who felt it was most challenging to get away from their offices and teams to attend a conference. That’s why we’ve made you – your ideas, wish list projects, or ongoing challenges – the focus of LCS. From the opening session to the closing awards ceremony at the Idea Accelerator, the LCS facilitates a strategic planning process just for you:
- Keynotes will start the Summit, showcasing a diversity of ideas and real world examples of successful program and service transformation.
- Hubs help you meet other nonprofit managers and leaders who are working on similar topics or tackling similar projects.
- Workshops are designed to help you surface, design, and plan the projects or concepts you can take back to your team for implementation.
- The Idea Accelerator moves projects from the Summit even closer to implementation by gathering input and support from other attendees around specific projects, with pitches at the end of the day (and prizes!).
Focus on You & Your Ideas
There are already lots of conferences available to nonprofits – from state association events to software user conferences and everything in between. Those conferences, including our own Nonprofit Technology Conference, are great for meeting lots of people, finding new tools and products, learning about best practices, and exploring new topics from a range of breakout sessions. The LCS is designed to be a compliment to the NTC or other conferences you may attend, not a replacement.
At LCS, instead of attending breakout sessions where you’ll listen and learn, you will be supported in putting together a new idea, campaign plan, program design, technology project, or solution for your nonprofit organization. The workshop series at LCS steers you from stage to stage in your project development. Recognizing that not every participant will want or need the same support at each stage, there are always four workshops to choose from to ensure you can get the feedback you need.
- Community: This is the first step in any ideation process! Workshops during this time provide you opportunities to identify your community needs, assets, and potential for impact.
- Collaboration: The next step is identifying strategic partners whether they are inside the organization or others in the sector or city, and planning for successful engagement together.
- Creativity: Now that you’ve done initial discovery, the next step is to start really framing your idea. These workshops take place within the Hub groups so you are best positioned to get feedback and inspiration from peers.
- Technology: There are two workshops times addressing technology so that you have time to explore both strategies for the technology tools you need in your project as well as the tactical implementation plans.
- Sustainability: The final workshop time is focused on helping you identify the models for sustainability, a critical area to address before presenting your plans to your board and staff.
Whether you have a long list of project ideas or feel like you don’t know what you’d possibly work on at LCS, this facilitated strategic planning retreat will help you focus on the needs and opportunities in your work, build relationships with other social change makers and nonprofit leaders, and provide you with a space to get out of the day-to-day routine so you can be inspired and supported with your own plans for impact.