Network Leadership: Conversations across Central Washington

June 5, 2018

“Thank you for your commitment to helping facilitate the conversations and building the momentum as we move forward!  The thought of what could come from this has renewed my energy.”      – Nonprofit leader in Ellensburg

Ultimately the success of a conference is measured by whether anything is different a month or more later. One month after the Central Washington Conference for the Greater Good, small groups of nonprofit leaders met in Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Yakima and Kennewick (and by phone) to continue the conversation on network leadershipstarted at the conference by Jane Wei-Skillern and Marty Kooistra

These groups wanted to explore in more depth what the key principles of network leadership meant within their communities:

  • Mission, not organization
  • Node, not hub
  • Humility, not brand
  • Trust, not control

Washington Nonprofits is compiling feedback from these conversations. Here is what we have heard so far:

  • In many cases, nonprofits are collaborating together, like a combined fundraising event in Tri-Cities to support arts organizations. Let’s celebrate – and expand—the good work!
  • Trust is a really key element in building strong collaborations. Building trust is an important place to start in creating a new mindset for leadership. People were concerned about having a lack of time to invest in trust-building connections.
  • Philanthropy is a challenge in moving forward because of how funding is allocated. Nonprofits feel a need to play safe, promote themselves over others, and complete for limited dollars. They expressed a strong desire to bring philanthropy into their conversations about network leadership.
  • Because network leadership is a new way of working, these conversations stirred more questions than answers. How do you manage equities of responsibility? How does identify fit in with mission? Who is the catalyst to get these things moving forward?

These groups advised Washington Nonprofits on what they most need in support: opportunities to learn, staff support to ease the administrative burden on meeting, access to experts like Wei-Skillern and Kooistra, and training on how to facilitate groups. Guided by these communities of nonprofits, we will continue to support these conversations and find resources to act on what they most need to succeed.

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