A lot of words were being tossed around at a meeting hosted by the Flathead Nonprofit Development Partnership, all describing the general feeling of nonprofits in the area; “overwhelmed,” “worried” and “anxious” were a few. But among others were “hopeful,” “determined” and “invigorated.”
Ed Myers led an hour-long discussion on Thursday at the Museum at Central School in Kalispell focused on challenges nonprofits faced in 2011 and their hopes for 2012. Myers, a member of the NpDP steering committee, said such events were useful for networking and to help people realize their problems are not unique.
“I think a lot of nonprofits are so invested with their stuff that it’s reassuring for them to know that others are interested in the same issues,” Myers said.
The event attracted about two-dozen representatives from nonprofits around Northwest Montana, including groups such as the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and the National Parks Conservation Association.
Ned Cooney, program director for NpDP and a board member of the Montana Nonprofit Association, said the economic downturn has been one of the biggest challenges facing nonprofits and it will take time for the groups to rebound, even if the economy is showing signs of life.
Many of the concerns raised at the event were about how to increase funding, gain public interest and attract quality staff and volunteers. But the answers to those questions can be found by asking other nonprofit groups and Cooney said events like this can help those people connect.
“When they know your name, it’s easier for them to pick up the phone and ask for advice,” Cooney said. “(We) can learn from each other.”
Andrew Hagemeier, of the conservation association, said one of the primary reasons he came was to network with other people, allowing him to put more names with more faces. Hagemeier said nonprofit groups often don’t have as many resources as they should, but if the groups worked together, they could accomplish more.
He also said events like this, the third that NpDP has hosted in recent years, gives him a chance to update others in the community about what the conservation group is doing.
For more information about the nonprofit development group visit www.npdp.org or call (406) 756-3618.