The long-term success of area nonprofit organizations was the goal of a special nonprofits workshop at High Point University.

Fifty-seven different nonprofits were represented by some 80 attendees at the Capacity Building for Sustainability workshop, Thursday, June 13. It was held at the school’s Webb Conference Center. 

The workshop was offered free of charge by the High Point Community Foundation and the Nonprofit Consortium.

The program was led by Michelle Cole, principal of Development by Design, and Lisa Poplin, CPA, Director at Sharrard McGee & Co. 

Prior to the workshop, we asked the presenters, “What are the most common pitfalls for nonprofits?”

“Not treating the nonprofit organization as a business,” said Poplin.

“Not having a succession plan,” said Cole. “A lot of nonprofits don’t pass on the knowledge of the organization to emerging leaders.”

nonprofits workshop
Michelle Cole
Lisa Poplin, CPA

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, “capacity building” is not just about the capacity of a nonprofit today. Rather, it’s about the nonprofit’s ability to deliver its mission effectively now, and in the future. Therefore, capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit. 

Foundation Board Chair Ann Busby opened the workshop, greeting the nonprofits as the “most valuable organizations in the community.”

Poplin brought up-to-date information about changes in tax laws that will affect nonprofit filings. This includes a possible dip in donations due to fewer tax filers itemizing their tax returns. Her presentation covered legal points that can be easily missed as well as some best practices in accounting management.

Cole’s focus emphasized strategic planning and—most important—strategic reviews. And she also stressed building a strong board and being sure to leverage the organization’s talents.

Nonprofits are vital

“It’s vital to do everything we can to help charitable organizations thrive,” said High Point Community Foundation President, Paul Lessard. “Because they play such an important role in making the whole Triad community healthier and stronger with the wide and diverse range of services they deliver.”

The turnout was impressive and the Foundation and the Nonprofit Consortium thank High Point University for its first rate food and accommodations.