Nonprofit Summit Goes Green, Helps Local Organizations

By Alisha Kinman

According to Chris Johnson, the executive director of the Nonprofit Center of North Central Florida, research from the State of the Sector, a report that evaluates the current economic climate and community involvement efforts in the nonprofit sector, reported that more than 43 percent of nonprofit organizations in Alachua County operate at a budget deficit and 16,000 residents in the county work for the nonprofit sector.

These were included in his introductory remarks for this year’s Nonprofit Summit, held at Emerson Alumni Hall and co-hosted by the University of Florida’s Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences on Wednesday, May 22. With the intent to educate and assist nonprofit leaders from organizations, the conference provided attendees the opportunity to learn new tips from nonprofit experts in North Central Florida.

This year’s summit included speeches about fundraising, financial planning, strategic communications and risk management. Small group sessions and roundtable discussions focused on topics ranging from how to attract great interns and professional development to board governance and risk management.

After the success of the Nonprofit Center’s previous summits, the organization added new, eco-friendly features. The Nonprofit Center teamed up with We Are Neutral to make the summit carbon neutral by using energy efficient lighting. And in an effort to use less paper, the Nonprofit Center e-mailing the schedule to attendees ahead of time rather than printing as many to hand out at the event.

The summit also utilized the Feathr mobile app, developed by a company at the UF Innovation Hub, that allowed participants to learn more about summit presenters and directly connect with other professionals attendees.

At this year’s summit, the audience seemed to be three times as large as in 2010, said UF professor Elizabeth Bolton at the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

Keynote speaker Kari Saratovsky, author and principal of KDS Strategies, Saratovsky’s strategic communications company, spoke about her perspective on millennial engagement and their role in nonprofits. She referred to her recent book, “Cause for Change,” in which she explained strategies for attracting and engaging “millennials,” those born between 1979 and 1995.

According to Saratovsky, 78 percent of millennials donate to causes they care about and are key audiences to target through future fundraising initiatives. Whether it is through “micro action”–getting millennials to become more involved through small steps–or through “tangible transparency”–explaining how donor dollars will be used–Saratovsky explained the importance of facilitating open communication and opportunities for millennials to become more involved.

To learn more about the Nonprofit Center of North Central Florida, visit

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