MNA SuperConference 2013 Reflections


As part of MNA SuperConference 2013, we had the chance to provide a special opportunity to students from the Grand Valley State University School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration. These students served as Social Media Fellows, covering the conference on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as it happened (via the #SuperConference hashtag), and providing blog posts of their reflections for us.

In all, there were more than 700 Tweets posted with the hashtag #SuperConference, and plenty of great information shared.

This week, we will be sharing the longer-form blog reflections. As we do, feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments. Which sessions did you enjoy? Which speakers were most engaging? Which local restaurant did you visit during the “Dinner with Friends” on the first day of the conference? How quickly did you devour your bag of caramel popcorn after our closing plenary session with River City Improv? (For me, it was too quick to admit in print.)

Thank you to our Social Media Fellows for doing such a great job, and to everyone else who attended, presented, volunteered, and helped to make SuperConference 2013 such a success!

Keep an eye on this blog for the coming posts!

TerrySubmitted by Terry Streetman, Membership & Advocacy Coordinator, Michigan Nonprofit Association

8 Revelations from a SuperConference 2012 Participant

What a privilege to be able to attend the MNA CMF SuperConference!  I was inspired and energized, learned a great deal of information and met new people with whom we can build relationships.  That is everything you could ask and more from an intense two day experience.

Revelation 1 came from a workshop led by Kid’s Food Basket from Grand Rapids.  They call themselves a “porous” organization, one that someone can enter from any point and get involved.  Not only do they leverage volunteer time, they have involved their volunteers financially to use their myriad volunteers as an income source.  Arts & Scraps has many common elements in mechanics and volunteer involvement, but we have not to date formalized programs for financial as well as time contributions.

Revelation 2 came from the Prize Foundation session.  Remember to look for unlikely and unknown sources for ideas and expertise.  Don’t be afraid to tackle big issues and throw open the doors to seek help.

Revelation 3 came from the advocacy preconference session.  “Keep laser-like focus on long term goals”.  Involve people around their interests and look for commonalities.

Revelation 4 came from the Impact session.  Keep a “burning patience”, nurture the backbone of your organization with optimism and perseverance to reach the goal of a successful collective effort.  I’ve often thought the best attribute to have is just plain stubbornness.  This is a much more elegant statement.

Revelation 5 also came from the  Impact session.  There is no silver bullet, just silver buckshot.  Again, an elegant phrase.

Revelation 6 on a personal level, from the Investment session, I recognized that  I’m fortunate enough to have a savings account.  I could invest that in causes in which I believe and put that money to work for social good.

Revelation 7 from the Creativity session:  a couple of wonderful tidbits.  “Money never solved a money problem”—enough said.  Don’t save creativity for big problems, rely on group input and repeat priorities often.

Revelation 8 is back from Kid’s Food Basket.  Make your MISSION seem needy without making your ORGANIZATION seem needy.

Add to this list of big ideas 6 viable contacts for serious follow up and a list of 18 items in a to do list generated by ideas.

This was a very successful two days!  Thank you to the Ford Motor Company Fund for the sponsorship.  I was so excited about it that I probably told 20 people that’s how I was able to attend.  It was a good investment in our organization.  We’ve had the first staff meeting with another scheduled next week.

Submitted by Peg Upmeyer, Director of Arts & Scraps and Superconference 2012 Attendee

Same Old Story?

When you sit down to write a grant proposal or talk to a potential donor, do you use the same old tired examples? Are your stories living on the pages of old annual reports or deep inside your website? We have been missing the heart of our stories for too long – the people. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have to compel others to action – whether it’s to donate, volunteer or engage them in your issue.

It’s because of this, that I am so excited that Andy Goodman of The Goodman Center will be the opening speaker at this year’s Michigan Nonprofit SuperConference. So my colleagues have called me an Andy Goodman “groupie”, that’s okay, I am proud of it. When his e-newsletter, Free-Range Thinking hits my inbox, I read it immediately. (and I don’t say that about too many newsletters). His book Storytelling as Best Practice is frequently referenced in my office and I have the dog-eared pages to prove it.

Andy will be giving our opening keynote address on the topic of “Storytelling: the First Big Thing” and we are very fortunate to have him also lead a subsequent workshop on the topic of his book Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes. Won’t you join me at the SuperConference this year? You’ll find me in the front row.

Registration is open now for the 2010 Michigan Nonprofit SuperConference. Check out the Web site at to see more about Andy Goodman and the workshops on Fund Development, Marketing/Communications, Management/Governance, and Professional Development/Leadership. Register today to secure the early-bird rate.

Submitted by Allison Treppa, director of marketing and communications for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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