Resources for building a better nonprofit

United Way of Dane County partners with agencies for community convening, to strengthen local nonprofits to achieve measurable results and change lives. Offering nonprofit capacity building is an important tool we offer to strengthen local nonprofits to strategically affect outcomes.

We mainly focus our capacity building trainings in two areas – board development and volunteer engagement management. Other programs are periodically offered in conjunction with other local partners.

We hope you find these resources to be of value in your work with your nonprofit organization.

Be sure to register for BoardWalk Academy in February of 2020

Upcoming Trainings:

Refer to our calendar of events or search by month below.


March (click for details)

Wednesday, March 13
Introduction to Nonprofit Management (course)
In this course, you will learn skills and develop strategies that will take your organization to new heights of prosperity and productivity. You’ll gain a full understanding the role of the executive director and the board of directors, special event and meeting management, public relation strategies, and how to find a position in this fascinating and rewarding field of work.

Wednesday, March 13
Marketing Your NonProfit (course)
This course will show you how to use powerful marketing techniques to compete more effectively for customers, donors, members, and volunteers. You’ll also learn how to persuade the media to communicate your organization’s message and further its ideals and goals.

Wednesday, March 13
Starting a Nonprofit (course)

Do you dream of starting and running your very own nonprofit? This highly interactive, hands-on course is ideal for anyone who is interested in forming a new nonprofit, converting an informal group to tax-exempt status, or reorganizing an existing organization. It provides practical how-to information about incorporation, organization, and other issues pertinent to anyone involved with a nonprofit start-up.

Wednesday, March 13
Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials (course)

Take your first step toward a rewarding career in fundraising for nonprofit organizations!
First, you’ll explore the skills you’ll need to become a successful fundraiser. After that, you’ll discover where the best corporate and foundation fundraising jobs are and how to apply for them.
Next, you’ll delve into every area of nonprofit fundraising—annual funds, special events, corporate relations, foundation relations, major gifts, and planned giving. You’ll also learn about capital campaigns and find out why they’re a crucial element of nonprofit fundraising.
Along the way, you’ll view real-life examples of writing projects, from gift acknowledgment letters to proposals, and you’ll hone your own writing skills. In addition, you’ll explore fundraising software tools you can use to track your efforts and enhance your results.
By the end of the course, you’ll have a wealth of new nonprofit fundraising ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to success in this exciting career field.

Wednesday, March 13
Grant Writing Suite (course)

A to Z Grant Writing is an invigorating and informative course that will teach you how to raise needed funds. This course speaks mainly to nonprofit organizations, schools, religious institutions, and municipalities seeking grants from foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors. It’s also an excellent primer for individuals wishing to become grant writing consultants or community grant writing volunteers.

No matter who you are or what level of experience you have, you’ll find the A to Z of writing and submitting successful proposals here!

Thursday, March 14 at 11:30 am
A Volunteer’s Journey: March Member Meeting and Workshop (workshop)

Join us for an in-depth panel discussion with volunteer coordinators from Milwaukee Film,Sojourner Family Peace Center and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County!
The panelists will share their “journey of the volunteer”, from recruitment to on-boarding, ongoing management to off-boarding, and everything in between.
Learn why certain processes work for their organizations, how one volunteer’s journey may look different from another’s, and what these volunteer engagement professionals have learned along the way.

Thursday, March 14 at 12:00 pm
Online Nonprofit Conference (webinar)

The workshop topics for our online conference vary. Sample topics include: grant writing for nonprofits, donor database management, nonprofit leadership training, how to retain volunteers, effective leadership styles, online fundraising tips, corporate sponsorship for nonprofits, nonprofit funding, donor relations, how to get corporate sponsors, nonprofit communications, nonprofit marketing and more!

Wednesday, March 20 at 8:30 am (course)
Developing a Strategic Plan for Your Nonprofit Organization

Learn a model to achieve a critical level of strategic thinking in all employees. Apply the tools to your own agency and identify next steps in creating strategic thinkers on your team.

Thursday, March 21-22
Telling Your Story and Making the Ask: Developing Your Case for Support (bootcamp)

This highly interactive sessions offers a deep dive into developing the case for support and telling your organization’s story in a way that is compelling to donors and moves them to action. Tailor your case to appeal to different audiences. Learn the range of publications that should incorporate your case messaging, including annual reports, proposals, solicitations, and digital communication. Learn the golden rules of solicitation and how to structure the two-person ask. Pitch your story through role playing with real donors and philanthropists.

Tuesday, March 26 at 12:00 pm
Online Nonprofit Conference (webinar)

The workshop topics for our online conference vary. Sample topics include: grant writing for nonprofits, donor database management, nonprofit leadership training, how to retain volunteers, effective leadership styles, online fundraising tips, corporate sponsorship for nonprofits, nonprofit funding, donor relations, how to get corporate sponsors, nonprofit communications, nonprofit marketing and more!

Tuesday, March 26 at 12:00 pm
Getting Started with Video Marketing (course)

Learn simple, easy-to-implement strategies to build your personal brand or business using video. We will focus on tools and tips that require little to no investment to get started including types of videos you can create, how to create valuable videos with your phone, where to share your videos to maximum impact and more.

Thursday, March 28 at 11:30 am
How to Use Community-Driven Media to Attract Donors to Your Nonprofit (seminar)

Funding can be a major obstacle for nonprofits. But the solution is in the stories of your community! In this session led by Forbes columnist and content expert, Genia Stevens, we’ll dive into how you can use community-driven content to build relationships that encourage consistent donors for your organization.

April (click for details)

Wednesday, April 3 at 8:30 am
Effective Employee Management for Nonprofit Organizations (course)

Discuss critical human resource management issues. Improve your awareness regarding best practices in performance management systems, personnel policies and job designs. Strengthen your knowledge of legal, technical and practical issues, which are important for better controls, compliance and growth.

Wednesday, April 3 at 12:00 pm
Online Nonprofit Conference (webinar)

The workshop topics for our online conference vary. Sample topics include: grant writing for nonprofits, donor database management, nonprofit leadership training, how to retain volunteers, effective leadership styles, online fundraising tips, corporate sponsorship for nonprofits, nonprofit funding, donor relations, how to get corporate sponsors, nonprofit communications, nonprofit marketing and more!

Friday, April 5 at 8:30 am
Create a Sizzling, Executable Fund Development Plan (course)

Sound planning and clear writing are just the beginning. Create a plan that is appropriate, communicate it to the rest of your staff and key volunteers, and know how to evaluate its effectiveness. This session will include planning, benchmarking with other organizations, and tools and ideas on how to track your progress. Understand your own data and history, and key indicators, that help you to strategically reach your demographic targets and achieve your financial goals.

Tuesday, April 9 at 9:00 am
Nonprofit Conference: Advance Your Skills in Fundraising, Social Media, Managing Meetings, Board Development and Branding (seminar)

The Nonprofit Learning Lab approaches all our trainings with an understanding that nonprofit professionals have a base of knowledge and are seeking out additional information and guidance to more effectively operate in their roles. We provide trainings that offer practical strategies to help nonprofits be more effective in their overall management.

Wednesday, April 17 at 8:30 am
Nonprofit Marketing and Communications Strategies (course)

Marketing is a comprehensive approach to providing services to clients including product, pricing, placement (i.e., location) and promotion. Explore a systematic framework for preparing a thorough marketing and communications plan including media, and citizen and community relations.

Wednesday, April 17
Introduction to Nonprofit Management(course)
In this course, you will learn skills and develop strategies that will take your organization to new heights of prosperity and productivity. You’ll gain a full understanding the role of the executive director and the board of directors, special event and meeting management, public relation strategies, and how to find a position in this fascinating and rewarding field of work.

Wednesday, April 17
Marketing Your NonProfit (course)

This course will show you how to use powerful marketing techniques to compete more effectively for customers, donors, members, and volunteers. You’ll also learn how to persuade the media to communicate your organization’s message and further its ideals and goals.

Wednesday, April 17
Starting a Nonprofit (course)

Do you dream of starting and running your very own nonprofit? This highly interactive, hands-on course is ideal for anyone who is interested in forming a new nonprofit, converting an informal group to tax-exempt status, or reorganizing an existing organization. It provides practical how-to information about incorporation, organization, and other issues pertinent to anyone involved with a nonprofit start-up.

Wednesday, April 17
Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials (course)

Take your first step toward a rewarding career in fundraising for nonprofit organizations!
First, you’ll explore the skills you’ll need to become a successful fundraiser. After that, you’ll discover where the best corporate and foundation fundraising jobs are and how to apply for them.
Next, you’ll delve into every area of nonprofit fundraising—annual funds, special events, corporate relations, foundation relations, major gifts, and planned giving. You’ll also learn about capital campaigns and find out why they’re a crucial element of nonprofit fundraising.
Along the way, you’ll view real-life examples of writing projects, from gift acknowledgment letters to proposals, and you’ll hone your own writing skills. In addition, you’ll explore fundraising software tools you can use to track your efforts and enhance your results.
By the end of the course, you’ll have a wealth of new nonprofit fundraising ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to success in this exciting career field.

Wednesday, April 17
Grant Writing Suite (course)

A to Z Grant Writing is an invigorating and informative course that will teach you how to raise needed funds. This course speaks mainly to nonprofit organizations, schools, religious institutions, and municipalities seeking grants from foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors. It’s also an excellent primer for individuals wishing to become grant writing consultants or community grant writing volunteers.

No matter who you are or what level of experience you have, you’ll find the A to Z of writing and submitting successful proposals here!

Friday, April 26 at 8:30 am
Building a Culture of Philanthropy and the Secrets of Stewardship (course)

Increase your donor retention by building a culture of philanthropy in your organization. Learn how to identify, enlist, and motivate the right volunteer leadership and staff by finding appropriate ways for everyone to participate in fund development. Examine strategies and choosing the right donor/customer management tools necessary to succeed. Use qualitative and quantitative strategies to maintain positive and long-lasting relationships to help support your organizations mission. Understand trends: what’s new; what’s old and new again; trends in giving; generational change; and changing attitudes towards philanthropy.

May (click for details)

Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 am
Inclusion Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations (course)

Gain methods for creating an environment that is aware of and respects the broad spectrum of human diversity, which is imperative for healthy organizations. Increase your understanding of all aspects of inclusion to promote more productive work groups. Learn skills and competencies for working within an inclusive team.

Thursday, May 2-3 at 8:30 am
Wisconsin Volunteer Coordinators Association Conference 2019 (seminar)

This year we welcome Tracy Butz, Jeff McMullen, and Ali Starr as our keynote speakers and hope that you are able to carry their lessons on transformation, proactivity, and emotional intelligence back to your work as a Volunteer Coordinator and into your daily lives as well! This conference provides the opportunity to attend six different workshops led by leaders in our field with topics ranging from keeping out the bad apples, to planning special events! Please enjoy your stay, take full advantage of the professional development and networking opportunities, & celebrate 50 years with us!

Thursday, May 9 at 11:30 am
Volunteer Documentation: What are the “must haves” in your program? May Member Meeting & Workshop (workshop)

Friday, May 10 at 8:30 am
Development Ethics, Policies, and More (course)

Following strong ethical standards and policies must drive the fundraising profession. Nonprofit organizations operate for the benefit of: civic good, individuals in need, communities, and our donors. Soundly written and carefully vetted policies on gift acceptance, philanthropic funds management, ethical practices, stewardship, metrics, and accountability are necessary. Bring your organizations policies that are currently in place to class and compare them to some templates provided.

Wednesday, May 15 at 8:30
Employment First Conference 2019 (seminar)
This year’s Employment First conference will provide an intensive, collaborative day of learning and problem solving for service providers, funders, families and self-advocates who want to transform services to support people with disabilities to build full lives in their communities that include employment, volunteering, recreational, social and other community activities. Service transformation requires strong communication and collaboration between all stakeholders at all levels. At this year’s conference, we will focus on sharing a variety of perspectives and experiences from these stakeholders and learn from others who have successfully forged through the changes we are undergoing in Wisconsin

Wednesday, May 15
Introduction to Nonprofit Management (course)
In this course, you will learn skills and develop strategies that will take your organization to new heights of prosperity and productivity. You’ll gain a full understanding the role of the executive director and the board of directors, special event and meeting management, public relation strategies, and how to find a position in this fascinating and rewarding field of work.

Wednesday, May 15
Marketing Your NonProfit (course)

This course will show you how to use powerful marketing techniques to compete more effectively for customers, donors, members, and volunteers. You’ll also learn how to persuade the media to communicate your organization’s message and further its ideals and goals.

Wednesday, May 15
Starting a Nonprofit (course)

Do you dream of starting and running your very own nonprofit? This highly interactive, hands-on course is ideal for anyone who is interested in forming a new nonprofit, converting an informal group to tax-exempt status, or reorganizing an existing organization. It provides practical how-to information about incorporation, organization, and other issues pertinent to anyone involved with a nonprofit start-up.

Wednesday, May 15
Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials (course)

Take your first step toward a rewarding career in fundraising for nonprofit organizations!
First, you’ll explore the skills you’ll need to become a successful fundraiser. After that, you’ll discover where the best corporate and foundation fundraising jobs are and how to apply for them.
Next, you’ll delve into every area of nonprofit fundraising—annual funds, special events, corporate relations, foundation relations, major gifts, and planned giving. You’ll also learn about capital campaigns and find out why they’re a crucial element of nonprofit fundraising.
Along the way, you’ll view real-life examples of writing projects, from gift acknowledgment letters to proposals, and you’ll hone your own writing skills. In addition, you’ll explore fundraising software tools you can use to track your efforts and enhance your results.
By the end of the course, you’ll have a wealth of new nonprofit fundraising ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to success in this exciting career field.

Wednesday, May 15
Grant Writing Suite (course)

A to Z Grant Writing is an invigorating and informative course that will teach you how to raise needed funds. This course speaks mainly to nonprofit organizations, schools, religious institutions, and municipalities seeking grants from foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors. It’s also an excellent primer for individuals wishing to become grant writing consultants or community grant writing volunteers.

No matter who you are or what level of experience you have, you’ll find the A to Z of writing and submitting successful proposals here!

Wednesday, May 22 at 8:30 am
Ethics and Values in the Nonprofit Sector (course)

Explore key moral issues of, and managerial approaches to, promoting ethical conduct among nonprofit employees. Learn how to promote proper conduct, how to manage ethically and how to handle potential problems in enforcing philanthropy rules.

Thursday, May 23 at 12:00 pm
Accelerating Sustainable Actions for Community Wellbeing (course)

In this interactive workshop, Jessie Lerner from the local non-profit, Sustain Dane, will lead participants through a deeper understanding of how they have the power to accelerate sustainable change using case studies, vision exercises and more. You will walk away with a better understanding of the scope of sustainability and how to take action today.

Friday, May 24 at 8:30 am
Advanced Proposal Writing (course)

Kick your grant writing skills up a notch! Learn how to work effectively with foundations, corporations, and other grant-making organizations, addressing their needs and interests while staying true to your mission. What are the grant restrictions, and are you ready to live with those restrictions? Learn how to approach contacts in advance to get a sense of the possibilities. Find out how to get around the “no unsolicited proposals accepted” rule through identification of key board members. Identify potential pitfalls of organization grants, and how to interpret an organization’s 990 and balance sheet to your advantage.

Wednesday, May 29-31
Fundraising and Development for Nonprofits Conference 2019 (seminar)

Whether your role is to increase gifts, or find elusive major gift donors, you will walk away from this conference with usable techniques that will return your investment in the program many times over. Each year, seasoned professionals and nonprofit newcomers who want to polish skills, acquire new ones, and network with other influential nonprofit professionals register for this “must attend” conference.

June (click for details)

Wednesday, June 5 at 8:30 am
Fundraising and Revenue Development for Nonprofits (course)

One of the major challenges facing nonprofit leaders today is ensuring that the organization has the financial resources it needs to meet its mission and serve its constituency.Learn the basic types of revenue available to nonprofits. Focus on principles of ethical fundraising, learn to manage the philanthropic process, and develop plans that will enhance the effectiveness of staff and volunteers.Explore the structure of an effective professional development team, the role of institutional planning in setting fundraising goals, how to create the annual development plan, and how to implement capital campaigns and planned gift programs. The movement of nonprofit organizations toward earned income strategies is also discussed.

Wednesday, June 19 at 8:30 am
Nonprofit Boards and Governance (course)

Explore reasons why boards exist, and examine the roles, responsibilities and relationship to staff. Gain tools for enhancing board effectiveness including recruitment and development, meeting management and self-assessment.

Wednesday, June 19 at 9:00 am
Nonprofit Innovation Conference (seminar)

Everywhere you look in Northwestern Wisconsin, you’ll find driven, talented people working professionally or personally in the nonprofit realm. This conference was created with those driven humans in mind and if you’re one of them, you should check out what the day has to offer. Not only do we hope you learn some new things that might help your organization reach higher levels, but also that you can connect with others and strengthen your network. You never know what problems you can solve together!

July (click for details)

Wednesday, July 10-11 at 8:30 am
Financial Management Within the Nonprofit Sector, Parts 1 & 2 (course)

Part 1: Analyze the principles of financial management for nonprofits. Learn to apply the fundamentals of accounting, budgeting processes, cash flow analysis, expenditure control, long-range financial planning, audits, grants and contracts to nonprofits.
Part 2: Study budgeting and planning, tax issues, and internal/external reporting requirements for financial management.

Thursday, July 11 at 11:30 am
Managing Corporate Engagement:July Member Meeting & Workshop (workshop)

Wednesday, July 31 at 8:30 am
Legal Concepts Essential for Nonprofit Organizations (course)

Understand the legal frameworks under which nonprofits operate and are regulated. Discuss administrative and tax requirements. Review legal rights and responsibilities involved in the daily activities of nonprofits, including boards, executive directors, fundraisers and employees.

August (click for details)

Thursday, August 1-2 at 8:30 am
Wisconsin State Council SHRM Leadership Conference 2019 (seminar)

This conference will offer you leadership strategies that will strengthen your chapter, council or student group and present valuable networking opportunities for chapter leaders from across the state. Past attendees believe this is a must attend for chapter board members and one of the true values provided by the WI SHRM State Council for its leaders. The Leadership Conference Committee is enthusiastically planning great programming and entertaining events to provide you with details about the WISHRM Council positions, tools for maximizing effectiveness in the volunteer partnerships of chapter councils and leadership tips.

Wednesday, August 7 at 8:30 am
Legislative Relations for Nonprofit Managers (course)

One of the important roles of the nonprofit sector is to advocate for social and governmental changes. Learn effective methods of public advocacy, whether through direct contact with decision makers or through grassroots campaigns.

October (click for details)

Wednesday, October 16-18
Wisconsin SHRM State Conference

Wednesday, October 23 at 8:30 am (course)
Developing a Strategic Plan for Your Nonprofit Organization

Learn a model to achieve a critical level of strategic thinking in all employees. Apply the tools to your own agency and identify next steps in creating strategic thinkers on your team.

November (click for details)

Wednesday, November 6 at 8:30 am
Effective Employee Management for Nonprofit Organizations (course)

Discuss critical human resource management issues. Improve your awareness regarding best practices in performance management systems, personnel policies and job designs. Strengthen your knowledge of legal, technical and practical issues, which are important for better controls, compliance and growth.

Wednesday, November 20 at 8:30 am
Nonprofit Marketing and Communications Strategies (course)

Marketing is a comprehensive approach to providing services to clients including product, pricing, placement (i.e., location) and promotion. Explore a systematic framework for preparing a thorough marketing and communications plan including media, and citizen and community relations.